Gay Life South Africa

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Welcome to the Gay Life South Africa (Gay Life ZA) blog – a very inspiring community of blog posts for gay people. I am a young gay guy living in Cape Town, and this is the space that I write some of my thoughts, opinions and experiences.

I am just one voice of the millions of other voices out there. So, if you send me your voice, your story, I’ll publish it so that there are more voices speaking out. I always appreciate any comments on my posts and I hope that you tweet anything that you enjoyed.

I will almost always publish good content written by you, and keep it anonymous unless you request otherwise. Click on be a guest blogger to write a post.

Follow me on Twitter: GayLifeZA

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Send me your coming out story

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As gay people, we each have a coming out story to tell. For some of us, the process was easy: family and friends accepted us. For others, it was painful. We may have been rejected by people we love and respect. Some of us feel like we cannot yet come out.

Coming out is not a single event. We come out to some people before others. There may be some that we share openly with, and others that we will never tell.

This is one thing that makes the gay community unique – we all share a uniquely similar story. Let me share your story. I’m happy to keep you anonymous, or share your name. It is up to you. Send me your story either by clicking the “be a guest blogger” link, or the by using the contact page. You can also read my coming out story. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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Interrogating the Gay Identity: What it means to be gay

Like many minority groups in South Africa, the LGBT community continues to be subject to discrimination and marginalization, perhaps even to a greater extent than other minority groups. In fact one might be compelled to argue that the discrimination against individuals who are in same sex relationships or who are merely attracted to people of the same sex has become normative. While prejudice and discrimination against other minority groups in South Africa – be it racial, cultural or religious is frowned upon, it seems that discrimination against LGBT people is an exception and is collectively accepted and in other instances even enforced. This is quite disturbing given that fact that South Africa has the most progressive constitution with regard to rights and freedom of expression. In this democratic country, people enjoy freedom of expression, or so it may seem, and when that right is infringed on, political parties and other organizations take to the street in protest and advocacy. Gay identity

However it is very disappointing that when freedom to choose and express one’s sexual orientation is subjugated as is almost always the case, no one dares to take to the street and fight for that right except for the gay organizations. In essence, the argument raised here is that the gay community still lives under the ruins of oppression and discrimination, and whenever a person or a group of people is subject to prejudice, labelling and stereotyping is almost always guaranteed to be part of the package. This then brings me to the topic at hand, What does it really mean to be gay? Many notions and beliefs about the gay identity exist, some unfounded and some have an element of truth in them. I will focus on a few stereotypes that I have frequently encountered within the gay community as well as from the heterosexual community which I have understood to bear both elements of true and false.

Many people hold the belief that the principal characteristic of being gay is that of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations, and that characteristic eventually becomes assimilated to the gay identity and becomes the gay identity. But is this true? Well one might agree with this stereotype and say that it is true, however one far-reaching reality has to be taken into consideration: heterosexual people also engage in promiscuous sexual relations, perhaps even more than gay people, but why is the heterosexual or the ‘straight’ identity not recognized as primarily characterized by promiscuity? To most people, it almost always comes naturally to blurt out that gay people are promiscuous, essentially implying that the gay identity is that of promiscuity, but why is it not equally natural or collectively acceptable to say that ‘straight’ people are promiscuous and that the essence of the ‘straight’ identity is that of promiscuity? Is it possible that this label is avoided for the latter group because even if they do engage in this practice, hope still remains for their redemption while the gay community is seen as a lost cause with no hope for any redemption? The answer does not come easy, however one thing stands out, that labelling and stereotyping is a form of power play where the marginalized and/or oppressed get assigned labels that act to further marginalize them. Critiques might then ask the question ‘are gay people not promiscuous?’ The answer is of course they are; some of them that is. The counter question then is ‘are ‘straight’ people not promiscuous? The likely response is that they are, some of them that is. Then why are we splitting hairs!

Another common but frequently overlooked stereotype is that the gay identity is something that can be easily and freely obtained and discarded at any time. The belief is that anyone can be gay or lesbian if they choose to and that when they do not feel like it they can swiftly change back to being ‘straight’. In other instances, being gay is recognized as a passing stage that the individual will grow out of. In the religious community it is seen as some sort of possession by evil spirits and hence can be healed by prayer or by performing certain rituals. Essentially, these beliefs suggest that the gay identity is an illusion, that it does truly exist. This stereotype is typically spread by the homophobic heterosexual community; however gay people cannot be exempt from the blame as well. Some people are gay today and ‘straight’ tomorrow, some are known for having lived a heterosexual life and all of a sudden divorce their partners and take on a gay or lesbian cloak, this only serves to strengthen the stereotype and sends confusing messages to the general public. Of course one has to appreciate the cultural and religious push and pulls that lead other people to take on a fake sexual orientation identity so as to please the demanding society, however it is that giving in that work to keep the gay community in the fringes of society. This then means that we, as gay and lesbian people have to re-evaluate our own positions and convictions if we are to strengthen advocacy of LGBT rights in South Africa.

I believe I have raised a relevant argument, this article is not necessarily about whether promiscuity is associated with being gay or not, it is not about whether the gay identity if fluid or fixed, but it is about the religion and politics of homosexuality, it is about the popular opinions of the homophobic community and how all these work together to oppress and marginalize those individuals who identify themselves either as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. I have used the stereotypes as examples to illustrate how little and seemingly harmless labels can be used as weapons of mass destruction, or in this case of gay identity destruction.

I believe that an identity is a powerful socio-political and psychosocial tool; it gives one (or a group) a place in the larger scheme of things, it conveys certain characteristics and attributes of the individual or the group. When that identity is tarnished, the entire being or life form of the individual or group or community becomes tarnished and loses its credibility and good social standing, and after the tarnishing comes the ridicule, then the oppression and discrimination. Where we stand, the gay identity has been tarnished and hence the marginalization of the gay community, but were are not beyond reparation – how do we go about repairing our bulldozed identity, well for me it starts with accepting, nurturing and embracing my own identity as a gay person before attending to the group identity.

What does it really mean than to be gay? Well different people hold different notions and subjective beliefs of what it really means to be gay. For me it means being ME! It is not necessarily a separate identity or an identity that I can put on and take off like a hat, it simply means being me. If I am a good person, gentle at heart, conservative, religious and kind, then for me being gay is that. If I am an outgoing, extroverted and fun loving person, than for me, being gay is that. If I am an intellectual, successful professional, than being gay for me is that. For gay people, the gay identity is their own identity; it is their persona, who they truly are to others and to themselves, that is the gay identity. It is not separate nor does it stand out, but it’s just part of the package.

Finding Love in the Mother City

Where do I start talking about finding love? Yet alone in one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities in Africa? Coming from a much smaller place – Durban, where everyone is laid back and always seem to be on a “Go Slow”, I have found the transition to be rather difficult.Table Mountain Cape Town

I have been here now for all of but three months, and made all of but one friend. So how does one attempt to find love in the city without being consumed by the seductive and erotic nature of the gay community and not swallowed by the drug and orgy scene? Maybe I am asking for too much too soon. Continue reading

Suicide letter

Dear Reader

Today I have dressed formally as a boy but unfortunately this is the first and last time you ever see me dressed like this without a soul hanging high in this rope.

There was never a boy in the first place. I shouted and screamed in order for some of you to notice what I was or to acknowledge my sexuality.

Yes let me say acknowledge because you made it clear that there will never be acceptance. But I think I had to make it easier for you to accept me now as I am hanging high in this rope formally dressed as this lifeless boy.Suicide letter

A boy you have nagged me about my entire life. I wanted to make him come back for the last time but unfortunately he was long dead and my homosexuality was born but you chose to ignore it because you thought of disgrace and disgust when you saw me. Continue reading

Bisexual boy is confused in his dormatory

A question raised by a guest poster:

Okay so like I’m bisexual, right, and I’m in a school that doesn’t like homosexuals. Well, ever since I got to that school I have been hiding my identity and for some reason some people thought I was gay and made rumours about me. Well I ended up getting over that just to avoid them. Bisexual dormatory

So come 2015, I’m now a boarder in that school and not a day scholar any more. I then got appointed as dormitory prefect, not forgetting they don’t know I’m bisexual. Then as time goes on, there’s this guy you start falling for and I realise as time goes that the guy is checking me out. But the guy is not gay or bisexual. He likes this other girl and who knows if they dating. But then this guy keeps doing the same thing. Continue reading

7 Realities of Gay Sex: it is not like porn

Before I knew the realities of love and sex, all I had to go on was porn. I was never a porn addict, and I never watched much of it, but hey, we have all had a look at some stage or another. This formed an idea in my head of what gay sex is about. We discover the following myths about gay sex:

1. We don’t last that long

Guys cannot last for a full 30 minutes like they do in porn. These scenes were shot over a number of attempts to make it look like they last forever. They also take breaks in between. I’m not saying sex will only last 5 minutes — with foreplay, sex can last hours. However, the hardcore action part won’t last that long without taking a break in between.

2. It is not always that clean

It is not that clean every time. Sometimes things get slightly dirty (not always, but sometimes!). Learn to deal with it. As long as you eat healthily, things should not be too bad.

Porn is fake

3. It doesn’t slide in that easily

It doesn’t just slide in so easily first time. The porn actors have a lot of experience, and have warmed up and loosened up before the scene was shot. To help things slide in easier, make sure you are relaxed beforehand. Take a bath, and use plenty of good quality lube.

4. You look great just the way you are

We don’t have to wear make-up during sex. Don’t feel like you are unsexy or inadequate. Porn actors use make-up to look like they do. You should just be yourself — that is much sexier in the real life. Sure, you can trim a bit, but we are never going to have such beautiful skin as they do in porn.

5. Sex is not only for young guys

Much of the porn industry focusses on young guys between 18 and 22 years old. But if you are past that age, don’t worry — you will still get to have hot sex with people who find you attractive. We need to get our mindset away from this assumption that after age 22, we are no longer beautiful.

6. It doesn’t shoot that much

We don’t always shoot so far and so much. If only a little comes out, there is nothing wrong. Sometimes the porn scene combines multiple ejaculations in one, and sometimes they even use fake semen. When we are very excited, things may shot far, but don’t expect that every time.

7. You should wear a condom

Wear a condom. I don’t care how sexy bareback looks in the porn video; it is unsafe and unclean to go bareback. Even with your regular partner. A condom not only protects you from STD’s, but it also keeps your member a bit cleaner.

 

 

The difficulty of finding love in a gay life

I have read and heard of many people saying: “I am a good-looking guy and quite laid-back. Why is finding love so hard? Why is it so hard for me to find love?” Or the usual, “I got into one of those dating sites and was excited about the prospects of meeting someone. But all I got were guys who were looking for sex, sex, sex and sex disguised as ‘love’. Am I missing something?”

I think the one thing that makes it very challenging for us gay people to find love and commitment is that we are all in very differing stages of acceptance and growth. Most times people are at a stage that is appropriate for the behaviour they exhibit, for example, wanting just casual sex and asking questions like “are you bottom or top?” And these guys may not always be in their 20’s or 30’s, but even older than that. So you get a lot of back/forth, up/down and confusing actions by many.

Finding love - online dating

Others who you would assume should be over all that so-called “juvenile” behaviour end up disappointing you by asking about your dick size, etc. You wonder what the guy was up to in his early 20’s to only get started with that at the ripe age of 48? If you happen to see someone very attractive on a dating site, but end up turned off by that line of questioning, it is easy to become discouraged. Continue reading

Gay dating: Things not to do on a date

Gay dating is not easy. It is hard to find the right guys out there. We all read about things that we should do on a date. But here are some things that you should definitely NOT do on a date! Hopefully this makes your gay dating easier!

1. Ask for feedback

Unfortunately for you, a date is not going to provide the feedback that you usually expect from a test, exam or performance appraisal. There will be no 8 out of 10. If you ask your date for feedback on how you did on the date, you are just going to sound like you lack confidence and your date will lose interest. You will know you did well if you get another date with this guy. Also, don’t ask for feedback on how you performed in bed! That’s weird!

Wine glasses on a date Continue reading

Coming out as gay – better late than never

I knew from the age of 18, (41 years ago), that I was not straight, and assumed that meant I was homosexual. Within a year I had revised that to bisexual, a revision I’ve had no reason to question since, and accepted that my basic sexual identity was gay, if not exclusively so.

Gay males kissing in shadow

In succeeding years I ‘experimented’ with gay sex, finding it suited me well even when not always satisfactory. But I also learned early that while my sexual appetite skewed toward gay sex, my need for intimacy went all the other way, and at age 25 began a relationship with a woman that continues to this day. I also found that my sexual identity as gay did wax and wane over time, at least within certain undefined boundaries, though I have never doubted that I am gay. Continue reading