By Aaron Aroriza, Uganda:
There was a time when the word 'gay' only meant happy. And then there also came a time when most of us didn't know what the new 'gay' meant. We hadn't encountered anything in our mother tongue we could equate to the word, let alone be able to understand the whole concept of homosexuality. And it wasn't that homosexuality didn't exist in our local African societies. Make no mistake. It did. But it was a well-kept secret – something a minority practiced and society well hid from its younger generations.
That time is over and Pandora box has been opened.
I found myself in another kind of box when my eight year old nephew asked me what homosexuality entailed. He wanted to know what it is the gay do that the rest of society is clamoring to have them locked in jail for. He's been watching the news of course. And he is asking questions I never could have asked at his age. Not that I wasn't a curious kid. No. But such questions could never have occurred to me since I never could have imagined two people of the same sex getting sexually attracted to each other.
I first heard of the concept of homosexuality a few months before I celebrated my thirteenth birthday. In my entire twelve years, I had never heard anyone even so much as whisper anything that could remotely allude to that kind of sexuality. Playing dad and mum was the order of the day then. And child curiosity always led to interesting girl-boy adventurous encounters. Why did kids play dad and mum?! My guess is that it's because they watched mum and dad and figured that was what they were respectively supposed to be in future. That opposites attracted, made instinctive sense.
In a world where it's going to be normal for two females or two males to kiss in church and even have their wedding ceremony aired on TV at kid-friendly watching hours, I have a feeling that sooner than later, more kids will be asking about gay sex before they ask about sex as we used to know it. Homosexuality has made it to public domain and has even been openly debated in our African parliaments while sex (and sexuality) we like to call normal is still being kept in the closet.
The president of my country, Uganda might have signed the anti-homosexuality bill into law but the issue of homosexuality is already out of the tightly locked closet our forefathers had kept it in and is now out there on the streets, in church, all over TV news and being discussed in schools. There-in lies the genius in the pro-gay movement and the lack of it in the anti-gay movement. Kids will get to know more about homosexuality long before they figure out what mummy and daddy do behind closed doors. The anti-gay activists are out fighting the gay and ensuring their cause gets media attention (most times they even give graphic descriptions of gay sex) while they keep the subject of normal sex a rarely publicized one. Which of the two concepts do you think kids will experiment with first? Your guess is as terrible as mine!
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