I never had a problem with my sexuality, that is, before religion told me to. I was always a queer kid and many people let me know that, but it’s something that never really bothered me. I felt exactly as myself and never aspired to be anyone else. The fact that my family did not have a problem with my being different gave me the confidence. I am not saying I knew I was gay then, but I remember the first time I was attracted to a boy. I was around 11, and a new boy had transferred to my school. He was a class ahead of me. I had never see such beautiful boy, I was so attracted to him. I would sit and just watch him playing with other boys, and just desire him. Being a class ahead of me meant we couldn’t be friends, plus he wasn’t from my village, so I only saw him during school days.
After primary school, I went off to high school. In Kenya all the best high school are single sex boarding schools. So, I went to an all-boys high school in my district. I was by now a teenager and always horny, and so were all the other boys. So, to scratch the itches we used to jerk each other off; getting a hand job was a very `normal thing’. No one used to talk about it, and no one went further than that, but there were always rumours that some boys were going all the way. I remember the boy I liked the most, at some point we fell in love; we were tender with each other. We did the hand job thingy, but we also hugged in darkness and kissed. We used to talk sometimes. He was a footballer and I played basketball. How do I know I was in love with him? We liked to hang out with each other unlike the other boys with whom we just jerked off and get on with school till the next time we were horny, which would be two days later.
I don’t know what happened because a rumour started that I am gay. I never really worried, this is partly because my friends and basketball team mates never cared about the rumour or treated me differently. The gay rumour actually worked for me; there were more boys interested in me. Once while we were playing basketball I tripped one of my friends, he fell and angrily he called me gay and I called him a slut. Two days later we were back to being friends. So, for me being with boys and sexual attraction to boys was very `normal’. I knew I was supposed to find girls attractive and desire to have sex with them but I never did but I never felt guilty or ashamed about it. I thought it was a phase every boy was going through and I will grow out of it.
After high school, I had a year off before going to college and Idols UK was in its first season. I was following it and all the talk about Will Young, who later won, being gay. So, finally I decided to look up the meaning of the word `gay’ in the dictionary and the it hit me; that is what I am. I realised I am a gay man, again this did not come with self-hatred or shame. I was actually relieved to know I was different from those skirt-chasing school mates and cousins. To me boys were much more attractive and interesting than girls.
At the age of 20 I was off to college; I had unrequited love, discovered alcohol and realised that I enjoy outdoors sex. The risk of being caught makes it all too thrilling. In all this time I never had a problem with my sexuality. While in college I became a protestant. I was brought up catholic. I knew the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and how God burned all those ‘homosexuals’. I knew about heaven and hell, and I always desired to go to heaven. But as a catholic I was never burdened by these things; I gave them a passing thought but not enough to make me feel ashamed of who I was. I never thought there was anything in me that was wrong, and I needed saving from. I became a protestant because I did not believe in that Catholic mumble-jumble about Mary the mother of Jesus being the queen of heaven and praying for us. I wasn’t really there for the doctrine I was just rebelling from my upbringing and sticking it up my family’s face. Of course they did not care whether I was Catholic or protestant. A friend of mine gave me a book by the late Myles Monroe to read and it really had me thinking. Basically, the good preacher was saying that for you to fulfil your potential you must connect with your creator who is your source and you do that by being born again. Of course I wanted to live to my full potential and if this is what it took then I was willing to pay the price. So, confessed Jesus as my Lord and saviour and got born again and joined one of those evangelical churches. My new-found salvation came with a heavy burden self-loathing and shame and the biggest fight of my life. The Bible and my new church began to show me how sinful and abominable I am, how much God hated homosexuality and how homosexual have no place in the blight and glorious kingdom. The self-hatred and the shame was too much to bear, so I went and confessed to a pastor and asked him to pray the gay away. We began what would be a conversion journey to a glorious straight man that God loves. The conversion involved counselling, bible reading, fasting and prayers and the laying of hands. That ‘attack’ strategy was sure to remove the gay demon. Of course, it never worked, I don’t why but it never did. I prayed, no I cried to God to make me straight. I knew there was no way God was to fulfil my purpose in life as a gay man and the only way I could ever be anything worth being proud of I would have to be straight. I was so determined to change, and prayers and the laying of hands were not working so I decided to take matters in my own hands. I was gonna ‘throw myself into a volcano’ to show this loving God that I was willing to pay the sacrifice. By this time in nursing college I had discovered how one can do a temporally chemical castration. You just use a family planning injection used in women, if used in a man it kills off the sexual desire. Since these injections were available to me because I was doing the practical experience in a hospital, I started to inject myself and I would have no sexual desire. I had found my answer. I did this secretly for months before one of my college mates warned me that God had told him to warn me that I was doing the right thing but the wrong way. I believed that was it and I reluctantly stopped. Needless to say, the homosexuality ‘demon’ had not left me. This thing was persistent. It was about my final year in college and I was studying for the final exams. I remember getting these terrible migraines, sometimes even blinding every week. At time I could not go out of bed for days. I thought it was because of the exams but thinking about it now, that wasn’t the reason. You see I had always done exams and passed and passed very well, so exams are never a big deal for me. Now when I think about that period I can say that the headaches were a physical manifestation of the self-hatred and guilt I was feeling. Here I was willing to make any sacrifice to fulfil my highest potential and this God who was supposed to love and save me had left me to the dark forces of the gay ‘demon’.
I never had a problem with my sexuality until religion told me to!
I am atheist now, and the gay ‘demon’ still persists in me, but we sure do have a lot of fun!