samedi 29 août 2015

Being gay in DRC: Interview (2)

Name: Black Tiger
Age: 45
Married (since July 8th 2011)
one child (since 2014)
Profession: worker
Sexual orientation: Bisexual (more oriented toward men)
Position: Top
City: Kinshasa
Date of interview: Thursday, august, 18th, 2011
Time: 04.30 PM
Updated saturday, august, 29th, 2015

Black Tiger is a married man and he lives in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo. Nobody in his family knows about his real sexual orientation.  

I live my life as a gay man in secret. I learned to live hidden in response to societal attitudes toward sexual minorities.

1.  What is homosexuality?

  • Black Tiger:  It is a relationship between two same-sex

2.  What is the earliest age you can remember having homosexual feelings?

  •  Black Tiger:   when I was 14 or 15 years

3.  When did you realize that your sexual feelings were different from heterosexuals?

  • Black Tiger:  During my teenage years. Comparing to my friends who were attracted to girls, I was attracted to boys.

4.  Is there a particular event or moment in your mind when you realized you were different?  Can you share it with us?

  • Black Tiger:  There is no one particular event but often when I was walking down the street, my eyes were attracted to boys. In college, after gym class, I was excited to see my fellows naked in the shower.

5.  How did you feel about it?

  • Black Tiger:  I felt a pleasure to feel that feeling

6.  Were there others when you were growing up that were known as homosexual (male or female) in your city or neighborhood, or village?  If so, what do you recall was said about them?  How were they treated?  How do you recall them (homosexual men or women) living their lives?

  •  Black Tiger:  No

7.  Every day we learn how to live as heterosexuals.  Were you taught the ways of homosexuality?  How to live as one?

  • Black Tiger:  I discovered homosexuality alone. I live my life as a gay man in secret. I learned to live hidden in response to societal attitudes toward sexual minorities.

8.  When did you discover the term ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’?

  • Black Tiger:   I believe it was more than 15 years ago, through erotic magazines and books.

Despite my marriage, I am gay and I'm attracted to men


9.  A person’s sexual orientation is shaped well before that person recognizes there is a name for it.  A heterosexual is heterosexual before he or she knows they are heterosexual/’straight’.  The same is true for homosexuals.  How did you feel when you learned the name for your sexual identity as a homosexual?  What did it mean to you in terms of how you saw your future?

  • Black Tiger:  It's a bit hard to say. I was already gay before I discovered the name for my sexual identity. This does not surprise me.  For the future, I am afraid that my family finds out I'm gay.  

10. Do you know of or have you heard about homosexuals that lived in the past in your society/culture?

  • Black Tiger: No.

11. Do you know of famous people (past or present) in your culture/society who were/are homosexual or at least bi-sexual?  Can you name any from the past or safely name any today?

  •   Black Tiger: We hear about some local celebrities. But it is unnecessary evidence to confirm their homosexuality or bisexuality. So I can not mention their names.

12. They say homosexuality is a foreign concept to Africa.  What do you think about that statement?  Can you prove your assertion?

  • Black Tiger: I think this is not true. Homosexuality has always existed in Africa but remained hidden following the customs and traditions. This is not a concept from abroad or imported by Europeans.

13. Has the stand against homosexuality become more virulent than you can recall growing up?  Give us some examples.

  • Black Tiger: Today it is more virulent than when I was growing up because in the past homosexuality was not very publicized. During my childhood, people spoke very little about it. Today, many people talk about it but in very negative way.

14. Why do you think it has become more virulent?

  • Black Tiger: It has become more virulent because of the evangelical churches that condemn homosexuality seriously. These are many evangelical churches in the DRC in recent years. According to the followers of those churches, homosexuality is an evil behavior.

15. Can you give me the names of people or organizations in your country or elsewhere in Africa that are stirring up homophobia?  Who are these people?  Are they all African?

  • Black Tiger: Yes, I can give one name, the bishop Ejiba Yamapia and the Deputy Steve Mbikayi. They are initiators of bills criminalizing homosexuality in Democratic Republic of Congoin 2010 and 2013.  There is also the country's media that disseminates misinformation about homosexuals by claiming that they are mentally ill or people possessed by evil spirits. People who are stirring up homophobia are evangelists, journalists and also politicians. They are all Congoleses.

16. I’m sure there are heterosexuals who do not agree with homophobia, or laws against homosexuals.  Do any of them speak out?  Are any of them public figures? (Politicians, entertainers, sports figures, intellectuals, writers, artists, etc).

  • Black Tiger:  I don’t know

17. What can those of us outside Africa do to help?  What organizations can we work with to help your plight?

  • Black Tiger: I think that those outside will not help us unless we agree to no longer hide. It is very difficult that they help us when most of us dare not appear. Personally, I'm afraid to be openly gay in Kinshasa. You can work with human right associations.

18. How do you deal with family pressure?

  • Black Tiger: I have no pressure from my family because I did not make my coming out.  

19. As a gay man do you thing you got married to be in accordance with the African society?

  • Black Tiger: I got married just to be in compliance with our customs. However, I also wanted to have kids. Despite my marriage, I am gay and I'm attracted to men.

Interviewed by Justice Walu
Question by Doug Spencer Cooper

 Copyright. Malebo Force. 2011-2015

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