I don’t know why I’m constantly drenched in rain water every Sunday on my way from service. Perhaps it’s mother nature’s way of telling me to stop going just because the music at my church rocks. Seriously, I’m a sucker for good music, secular or Christian. The church I go to in the middle of Kampala makes just the cut and no amount of anti gay rhetoric can keep me away from it. Unlike many gay people in the world I find it a waste of my mental energy to be so against Christianity. It’s such a drag being against anything or being angry all the time. Sure, I sometimes want to hit religious zealots in the head with my shoe but I don't make it a lifestyle to constantly be negative about 'Born-Agains' or Evangelical Christians. I try not to be angry or anti-anything. Mother Teresa said; “If you want me to come to an anti-war rally, don’t expect me to show up, but if you invite me to a pro-peace rally, then I will…” or something like that.
Some gay people I’ve spoken to are often repulsed at Christianity or the Bible, because of how they’ve been used to condemn them. I’ve never found need to lash out against any of these things. If I don’t like the way the pastor portrays gay people I just ignore it, because he might never come to know the truth that gay people are born that way. If the stonewall era-gay activists spent their time condemning Christianity rather than focusing on gay rights, the U.S would have come an insignificant way in LGBT acceptance.
Sitting in church today, for some reason I recalled how I had once immersed myself so much in Christianity in my first four years of boarding high school ( yeah we do six years here). I was in the choir, church committee, I led praise and worship, gosh I was so on fire! One Sunday during service it just clicked in my mind that there I was putting myself in a role model position in a way of life that condemned who I was…I was gay. I finally accepted. The preacher was going on and on about “how the gays are going to destroy our country, how they’re disgusting and how they’re unnatural.” How could this be unnatural when it’s all I’ve known my entire life, I thought. How could this be unnatural when I’ve tried to bury it and it has all failed? At that moment I walked out and I never went back. I figured that if there was any way I could honor this Jesus that I so deeply believed in, it would be to stop hiding my sexuality from myself behind veils of church leadership.
In the days that followed I pulled myself out of the weekly fellowships and ditched the committee meetings. When I left I had been really looked up to as a Christian figure in school and many people were let down. People kept approaching me asking what was wrong and I’d just shrug. It was kinda sad.
These recent months the realization has hit me that there are plenty of Ugandan gay youth in the church, that are the way I was then. There’s this 25 y/o guy I recently I met on the internet and weeks later we had a 'date'. I was nervous…what if he turned out to be not so good looking? That fear dissipated when I finally saw him. He was perfect. He had said earlier that I’d meet him at a meeting then we’d leave later. Awkward! I thought, but he was hot so I let it slide with little more than a whatever. Later I found out that meeting was actually a Christian fellowship and that he was a Sunday school teacher at his church. I was warmly welcomed into the fellowship as a friend of his. We sat far apart from each other, him on the opposite side. As I was seated there, the leader of the fellowship announced a verse and my ‘date’ was happy to read it…it was one of those that condemned certain things, one of which was homosexuality. I looked at him and wondered how he did it.
It really beats me that all these closeted, gay Ugandans I’ve met or heard of are actively part of their churches. They are in the choir; they are part of the counseling team, they are ushers. Some of them even gay-bash with scripture. Are they trying to distract themselves? Are they looking to be healed of their homosexuality? If it is the latter, I can’t complain. Who am I to say they can’t be healed. It’s their experience not mine. What I can say is I’ve had my experience and I’ve learnt and decided a couple of things. One is that I’m happy to be gay and just another inactive person in church, one that is just there for the enjoyment of the lights and music and the occasional feeling of being connected to this God person, and mostly, one that responds to the Homophobic Churchy bigots with absolute apathy.