|Apinda Mpako, Pan Africa ILGA|
|Apinda Mpako, Pan Africa ILGA|
AllAfrica blogger SebaSpace has finally found the job he would like to do in Uganda. It begins with a cover letter to President Museveni.
Dear Mr. President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni:
Please consider my application to be your minister for homosexual affairs.
OK, perhaps that would be too narrow a remit. Could you maybe hire me as your special adviser on matters relating to sex and sexuality? Whenever human rights activists from the US, or wherever, come nagging you at your country home in Rwakitura, I would serve as your public relations manager, your go-to guy. Naturally, I would also be available should you wish to clip the ears of a stubborn MP or some wayward speaker of the house.
Simple. First, who better to hire than a gay man whose fabled objectivity keeps friends and foes on their toes as they fear he might call them out when they are not looking over their shoulders? Second, you need simple lessons in sexual public relations. Of course you are right when you argue that if you were to kiss your wife in public, you would lose an election in Uganda. But on the issue of gay exhibitionism, you are preaching to the choir.
Yours truly has lived on four continents and attended more gay pride parades than some folks have had hot dinners. But I remain someone who intrinsically frowns on public displays of soppy, frivolous gestures. That runs a whole gamut: from engaging in hissy cat fights in bars to backseat sex in car parks, from hanging by the chandeliers to 'cottaging' (sex in public restrooms) - really, any form of militancy that seeks to push the envelope with lurid displays of affection or simulated intercourse. That cut-and paste-stuff looks good in San Francisco's Castro District, but should otherwise be taken home and kept there.
An article published on Tuesday by New Vision read:
"If am to kiss my wife in public, I would lose an election in Uganda. Western people exhibit sexual acts in public which we don't do here,' [Museveni] said, adding that, Africans do even punish heterosexuals who publically expose their sexual acts.
Yes, Mr. President, we should keep our gay sexual peccadilloes in our gay bars, in our private parties, inour bedrooms. But, it would help if you would say this when addressing not only American pressure groups, but Ugandans too. Activists must indeed respect the confidentiality of sex in our traditions and culture, but so should Pastor Ssempa and his ilk who fail to respect our traditional expectation of sexual confidentiality when they incite masses by playing pornography on the pulpit.
We need to make sure that our repressed attitudes towards sex, in general, are not piggybacked on as an excuse to deny gay Ugandans equal rights. That includes access to the medical care they need. As for your perennial refrain of there being "no killings, no marginalization, no luring of young people using money into homosexual acts", you are right, too. Well, almost totally right.
The problem is that you say there is no discrimination, but then stay deafeningly silent when your minister of ethics works himself into a lather, barges into gay gatherings in public hotels and unceremoniously closes them down. How can that be looked at as anything other than discriminatory when it is fairly apparent that activists have a right to gather like any other Ugandan? Also, why is there such a time lag between your ministers' silly, ignorant pronouncements that young people are being recruited into homosexuality and your repudiation of these foolish claims?
Let me help you monitor this paranoia and manage your addresses in a more timely way. I not only promise to help you clean up Uganda's battered image as the worst place in the world to be gay - an utterly outrageous claim when juxtaposed with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Iran and the US's North Dakota and rural Georgia. I will also help you figure out tactics to remove all the opportunistic politics from this discussion.
Despite what some on our side claim, I agree that you are not an enemy of the gay community. But you could surely do with a consultant to fine-tune your message and infuse it with much-needed consistency.
I hope you will seriously consider my candidacy as your minister for homosexual affairs. You can reach me at
A Ugandan gay public relations specialist and jobseeker
On the blog beat
Blogger SebaSpace is a gay Ugandan living in Uganda. You can reach the author by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@Sebaspacee).