Why I made my sexuality public - Binyavanga

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY NDUTA WAWERU
OUT OF THE CLOSET: Author Binyavanga Wainaina who confessed his sexuality on January 18
OUT OF THE CLOSET: Author Binyavanga Wainaina who confessed his sexuality on January 18

Binyavanga's decision to publicly declare his sexual orientation has elicited different reactions from Kenyans and other Africans on social media.

 While many people have lauded him for being courageous, others condemned him, terming homosexuality unnatural. While the reactions were coming in, Binyavanga was working on the documentary We Must Free Our Imagination, on which he states his willingness to work with every Kenyan and African that has an imagination to change the continent and what compelled him to come out.

 “I came out because of my friend, Kalota, who died. When he died, his parents were kicked out from the church,” he said. Kalota died in December 2012 because he was too ashamed to get a HIV test, and had suffered a lot because of his 'mannerisms'.

In the video, Binyavanga calls for people to make new things and have an education system that makes them think. He encourages the people to take charge of their fate and their future.

“We can agree not to cooperate but we agree our system needs many kinds of things and many kinds of people in many kinds of ways.”

 He also talks of his experience in high school and in church; how everyone blamed demons on everything that went wrong with the economy, politics and education; and how it affected the society.

 According to him, Africa is rising but the spirit of creativity that is growing is under risk from the puritans. Binyavanga says people should learn tolerance even for the things they do not understand.

 He said the anti-gay laws in Nigeria are one of the things that made him write his essay. Binyavanga blames the establishment of the sodomy laws on Victorians. “The countries that have the sodomy laws are the countries that had been colonised by the Victorians,” he says.

 Binyavanga says China and Thailand never had such laws and the phrase 'homosexuality is unAfrican' is wrong. He says the violence against the homosexuals have been there since a long time ago, with doctors carrying out 'electronic shock therapy' to fry the homosexual's brain to turn them into dutiful sons.