“If you are not normal who is normal?” One of my friend asked me when I opened up to him about me being gay. This was unexpected and brought me joy.
11th October is the national coming out day, while in many western countries it was a day to celebrate many African people were not aware of that day. I wished a happy coming out day to my friends from different countries of Africa and the common answer I received was” what? does it even exist?”One of them from Uganda responded, “That is not for Africans”. It was just 2 4 hours after the government of Uganda had declared to reintroduce the anti-gay bill, I am sure by “It is not for Africans” he meant coming out can turn into a strong rejection, discrimination sometimes even into attacks and persecution.
Coming out isn’t a must, it is a feeling of wanting to be real and yourself in from of others, it doesn’t mean shouting your sexuality to the world carelessly instead it is knowing how and who to talk to as the first step. At first, it is a fruit of trust. You need to come out to people you trust and see what happens. It doesn’t mean to be the only way to go, you can still come out to a strange and help you to grow your confidence when the person you trusted turn you down. It is a risk since you never know what to expect but it is worthy. Some will celebrate your honesty and your courage for trusting them and others will need more time to deal with it. It is a journey that each one takes differently according to his or her own background, culture, religion and education.
My coming out
All the time I came out to someone I felt a huge fear after, I never knew it wasn’t going to end up being the story of the city or the school gossip… I would only imagine the worst. My first coming was in the spiritual group I was frequenting, I was 18 by then. I shared it and suddenly the meeting finished. There was no comment after, till a few months later when one friend decided to be honest with me and told me that he doesn’t understand it. After 2 years the same person came to me and told me” I think you deserve to be happy that’s what matters”. They were seven and they are my good friends, some reached me out through years to tell me how I made them consider homosexuals with dignity, some celebrate life with me and are so cool open about it some instead never said a thing till today and we are still in touch.
My second time I came out, I did it to a guy I was crushing on, few months after my first coming up. I still remember the look he gave me and the smile he showed when he said “Don’t overthink about it, it will come to pass don’t worry, I will pray for you” He wasn’t even a prayerful guy but he knew I needed prayers. No one was talking about homosexuality in public neither in news, so for many, it was sickness or an evil spirit to pray for. I remember when I left him, I ran to my bedroom, hide behind the door, kneeled and prayed for minutes to be healed. In tears, I was asking God to forgive my sins and change me.
My favorite coming out moments
My favorite coming out was a boom of happiness. After 4 years that I have come out to my big brother, one day as I was traveling the following day, I wrote a letter and left it to him telling him to tell other brothers and sister my sexual orientation because I prefer to be among the first ones to know about it than hearing it from out as a rumor. He made me that favor and told my brothers.
I don’t know in which way he addressed to them but I remember one week letter my young brother sent me a text telling me that my big brother told them about my sexuality and he wanted me to know that whatever I may be in love with he will always love me as a brother. He said, “you are an exemplary brother for me, and nothing can take away that”. He also added that he will pray for me. My heart couldn’t contain it. I blasted into tears and I was feeling so light and somehow free. Since then they are my best counselors and my best friends. When I am confused I run to them and ask them advice even though they always start with” I don’t know how the guys’ world works but I think…”.
” I want you to know that I do love you so much and I will always be here for you. I value you so much and nothing, you hear me nothing and no one will prove me the contrary. Feel free with and introduce me to your guy or talk to me and invite your gay friends, just feel free with me the rest I trust you.” My big brother told me after sometimes. Those words gave me pride and I knew I was supported and loved by the people I love.
The second moment was when I shared it with a friend who is charismatic. I told him that I am homosexual and went on describing to him how homosexuals are being portrayed and rejected by some Christians and told him that some call us demons, shame …gradually I was just complaining. He was looking at me straight in the eyes and listening to me deeply then with a smooth voice he asked me “and for you, who are you?” I stopped talking and thought a few seconds before responding “What? What do you mean by who am I?” and he said “You are telling me how others are trying to define you but for you who are you? You need to find out who you are and stand there. No one must define you.
They don’t know you and they have no right to define you. I got to know you and if you are not normal, I don’t know who is normal. If people who are doing evil, killing and planning destroying other’s lives are normal just because they are heterosexual then there must be something wrong in defining what is normal and abnormal.
Believe me there is nothing wrong about you.” I grew up knowing that I am not normal, and something needs to be fixed the less I wasn’t expected to be called normal. It was such a relief.