Please comment on the following email I received from a reader…
Thank you so much for a blog that makes a gay person like myself feel as though I am not alone and all is at least well in the gay community. As a young coloured South African, I grew up in a relatively small community where homosexuality was often stereotyped and often “spat” on. I was always teased about being the skinny gay boy and I ended up being shy and it was a nightmare just to come out of the house at times. Through my varsity years I managed to see life outside of a small town and had my first gay experiences in the city. I had a newfound independence and managed to live on my own once I completed varsity and found a job. Somehow my past still haunts me and it can be frustrating at times to walk alone in the mall and picture someone shouting “faggot” at me in my mind.
My other problem is I go on dates with the most gorgeous guys but I am certainly let down by most of them who see me as a means of showing power over me or seeing me as nothing more than something to vent their sexual instincts on.
Perhaps if I may be allowed to ask the readers of this blog on what I can do to instil more confidence in myself and also on how I can predetermine ways in which I can find someone decent or know that should I do go on a date, how will I know if he will not turn out to be a dragon and someone I can relate to?
Thank you again for your blog and I wish you all the best in your endevours.
Feel free to leave your comments by clicking on the speech bubble or blog heading.
“My friend came out to his parents and they want to write him off… we want to know if there are any laws that state that they should pay his university studies and living costs… he is a 1st year student at North west university… please help us with any info and acts.”
Please let me know if you have any ideas that could help?
Simon Tseko Nkoli was an anti-apartheid, gay rights and AIDS activist in South Africa. Nkoli was born in Soweto in a seSotho-speaking family. He grew up on a farm in the Free State and his family later moved to Sebokeng. Wikipedia
What do you think of this tribute (thanks to Majola) to Simon Nkoli? I think it is a fantastic piece.
More about Majola
Majola is originally from the Eastern Cape in Zwelitsha Township, near King Williams Town. He started singing at the age of 9 as a member of a local gospel group the Heroes of Faith! His life changed when he made it through to the top 100 of the South African Idols’ second season at the age of 17.
This year he signed a international digital distribution deal with Africori, a company based in the United Kingdom. His debut album is a work in progress under the title Boet Sissy chronicling musical anecdotes of growing up gay in a township in post-apartheid South Africa. The 1st single from the project is a single entitled Simon Nkoli, a song that pays tribute to the South African gay Icon, Apartheid and HIV/AIDS activist! It is available for download on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google play and OK music.
As we grew up, we all aspired to be better people one day. To be recognised by the entire community. To be appreciated by our families, friends and colleagues… To have our own stable families, consisting of a wife, husband and kids.
Religiously, being gay is a very inexcusable and punishable sin. Both the Bible and the Holy Quoran prohibit this form of sexuality. Cultures and traditions view this form of sexuality as a taboo and a curse. But for Heaven’s sake, gay people also do celebrate Christmas, observe Ramadan, go to Mosque and church, and have their different religious denominations.
Quite frankly, though, would anybody in his/her conscious mind just voluntarily opt to join the community of rejected individuals? Would anyone voluntarily opt to undergo humiliation, mistreatment, rejection, violation, and curse? Of course, not!
I, personally, believe that, just like I happened to like people of opposite sex, gay people too just happened (by default) to find themselves liking people of the same sex. I refuse to believe that any gay person just voluntarily opted to go against the widely appraised cultures, religions, and beliefs.
Wentworth Miller of “Prison Break” gives a heartfelt message about his coming out. This was a speech at the Human Rights Campaign. He reminds people what it is like to be a gay kid, and talks about how he really tried to kill himself.
This is an issue that is very close to my heart and one that I can partially relate to. I came out to my close friends not so long ago, and although they did not understand it at first (they said I was so straight looking and acting – granted, it had been my closet mechanism), and so do not completely believe that I’m not going through a phase, they have been supportive and even set me up on dates sometimes. However I have not yet come out to my family; that is going to be a steep mountain to climb.
I believe coming out is basically in stages. How one defines as being out is objective, in relation to the circle that they consider close and also in relation to whom they would consider “someone they would not come out to”. While it was liberating to be out to my friends, who are very close, I feel I am not yet completely out because my family, who are part of my circle of close loved ones, still have no idea. and the reason for this is because I’m completely terrified of what their reaction will be. I certainly am aware of their views on homosexuality, which makes it very difficult to broach the subject. My family has had very little contact with anyone who might even be gay, and they actively avoid LGBT people. They protect their world and societal views this way. Gay life and culture is so far flung from their daily experience or interaction that me coming out to them would be the equivalent of pulling out an inter-galactic alien life form out of my pocket and introducing it as my long lost twin. It just seems that impossible.
What hurts the most about this inability to come out is the distance that is created by my secrecy. I feel I am growing further and further from my family and that they are losing out on my anecdotes and experiences that I would otherwise share with them – my adult life is evolving without their knowledge or input and that hurts deeply as it feels that I am alienating them.
I feel like such a coward for not telling them, and then I counter those emotions by telling myself that my relationship with them has never been easy and has always been fraught with so much secrecy and shielding of the truth. I begin to feel that my inability to be honest with them is the product of a life-long bargaining sort of relationship with them.
I live far away from most of my family, so I feel that the distance shields me from any unexpected situations where I might be outed unintentionally, but the emotional distance created by this hidden secret is frightening for me. I feel its insidious.
But I have hope that soon (and it needs to be very soon) I will sum up the necessary courage to be open with them. I just fear that it might just be the last interaction I have with them.
One of my readers emailed me the below short story, and he has allowed me to post it here. I think it is really beautiful. Thanks Neil!
“Don’t feel bad about my death, my love, it was God’s plan. He took me away from you and I know the pain you are feeling, I am not suffering from the pain any more. Please let me live in your heart as I will always be there, you will always be in mine as I dance with the Angels. My love you were so good to me during my illness, you stood by me when you did not have too, you made the last days of my life the best I ever had and I thank you for that, now my sexy hubby I am setting you free and I give you my blessing to go and search for another man that will treat you as well as you treated me. Never feel that it was your fault that I had to go through what I went through, never blame yourself! Please remember that I loved your dearly and you were the best lover, partner, husband and friend that I ever had.
Love you lots
Leaning against the huge willow tree Justin read the letter, tears falling to the floor as he tried to deal with the death of his partner. Like a knife through his heart he lost the person that he loved dearly, not knowing how he would continue in life.
Thanks for being the best mother that any gay boy could hope for. Sure, it was a long road from when I came out to you until you accepted me fully. But we travelled that road together, and we have come out stronger together.
Thanks for accepting and loving me for who I am. Thanks for realising that me being gay is not just a phase, but who I am. And thanks for realising that being gay is not the whole of me, but just a part of me.
Whenever I reflect on our relationship, I am so thankful for who you are. Sadly, there are so many other LGBTI people who have not been accepted by their parents. And I realise that it takes a very brave person to go against society’s view and openly accept their gay child. Often a gay boy will first come out to their mother, and it is a mother’s job to love them and provide them with the support they need to come out to the rest of the family. A job you did very well.
Christmas time. A period full of happy memories with family members. We spend quality time with our family, laughing together, with them cherishing and loving us and us loving them in return. That is why Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year.
But it is also one of the saddest times for me. As I think of how my family loves and accepts me, I also think of how many families have rejected their children outright, just because they have come out as gay. It saddens and sickens me, and I cannot even begin to imagine what that must feel like. I guess I am just luck that I did not go through that.
How can a family be so cruel as to reject their loved one? How can parents, whose only job in life is to raise, protect and love their child, choose to tell them that they are no longer their child? This is inconceivable to me. No matter what one’s belief, religion or upbringing, the natural instinct should be to love your children and family unconditionally. Continue reading →
The below is a blog post from Richard Cordova (http://www.thebody.com/content/69145/of-lessons-learned-my-days-with-hiv.html) which I found very touching. I think these lessons are very applicable to us all, as you can interchange HIV with any other challenge in our lives, such as being gay. People will reject you for being gay. They will also reject you for being short, fat, skinny etc. That doesn’t mean that you need to hide it from people.
The blog post:
How do you feel about being HIV positive? Do you feel good? Bad? Scared? Maybe you don’t care … for me, HIV is there. It’s something I think about a lot, but I’m not scared of it. Not like I used to be. I used to be afraid of dying. I used to be afraid of people finding out I was positive. I used to be afraid I would pass it to someone else. Continue reading →