jeudi 27 août 2015

Being gay in DRC: Interview (1)

A few years ago, I decided to  do interviews with gay men from Democratic Republic of Congo. Especialy, those who are living in the capital city kinshasa. So, a friend of mine from USA, Doug Cooper Spencer, an african american gay activist and writer send to me some questions for the interview. For more discretions, we changed names of persons. Here is the first part of these interviews.

Name: The Reporter
Age: 42
Profession: Journalist
Married with four children
Sexual orientation: Bisexual (more oriented toward men)
Sexual position: bottom
City: Kinshasa (DRC)
Original date of interview: Saturday, august, 20th, 2011
Time: 05.00 PM
Last update: Thursday, august, 27th, 2015

The Reporter is a journalist who lives in Kinshasa. He’s among those gays who took a wife especially for escaping the pressure from the society and the family. He’s married since 2008 and had four  Children. But, he stills date men and he considers himself as gay man.

"When I discovered the term homosexual, I realized I was different from my other friends."

Note: He had his first child when he was a student several years ago.

1.      What is homosexuality?

·         The Reporter: It's a sexual attraction to someone of the same sex

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

·         The Reporter: Seven or eight years

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

·         The Reporter:  As a teenager

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

·         The Reporter: When I was a teenager I enjoyed the company of a friend of mine named David. I loved being with him. When he was away, I was sad.

5.  How did you feel about it?

·         The Reporter: I began to ask myself several questions about this feeling. I was afraid of this attraction to my friend

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?

·         The Reporter:  I didn’t know.

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

·         The Reporter:    Attending a friend named Germain. It is from this relationship that I really discovered what it was to be a homosexual

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

·         The Reporter:  Early. I tried to understand the sentiment that was hiding in me. I started reading books about homosexuality. That's how I discovered the wordgay’.

"I got married in order to comply with my family and society. Although I have a wife and children, I continue to have sex with men in secret."

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?

·         The Reporter:  When I discovered the term homosexual, I realized I was different from my other friends. I asked myself questions such as: Could I love a woman? What will my parents say? Am I normal or not?

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

·         The Reporter:  I don’t know

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?

·         The Reporter:  Yes, I know. In Congo, there is a famous singer named Defao. He was alleged homosexual but to date there has been no evidence of his true sexual orientation.

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

·         The Reporter:  I personally do not believe in that. According to books I've read, homosexuality existed in traditional African society. In initiation rites, for example, adult men had sex with young initiated men. So we cannot say that sex between two same sex persons didn’t exist in Africa.

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

·         The Reporter:  Yes, the stand against homosexuality becomes more virulent.  Personally, I witnessed an act against a young homosexual. People laughed at him because he was effeminate. They throw insults at him concerning his physical appearance. These kinds of acts occur frequently in Kinshasa. It's very sad.

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

·         The Reporter:   It has become more virulent because homosexuality is more visible today than in the past. There is also tmedia and churches  who criticize severely homosexuals. It promotes ignorance and hatred that leads to homophobia.

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?

·         The Reporter:  Yes of course. Evangelical churches, politicians, media and more.  I can quote  names of the bishop Ejiba Yamapia and the Deputy Steve Mbikayi. They are Africans.

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).

·         The Reporter:  There are some heterosexuals who are against homophobia. However, they are a minority because most people refuse to associate their name with homosexuality. I can mention the name of a national deputy named Francis Kalombo. During a television program on a local channel, he openly defended homosexuality in  DRC.

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

·         The Reporter:  Outside Africa, you have to help us because homophobia is becoming more and more virulent. It is not easy for homosexuals to life in most African countries. Organizations defending human rights should make it clear to African leaders that homosexuals are part of African society. As a result, each country must protect them instead of trying to pass laws against them. Finally, these organizations must also help  Africans to understand that homosexuality is not a disease or a satanic link.  For helping our plight, you can work with Amnesty International.

18. How do you deal with family pressure?

·         The Reporter:  In Africa, the sense of family is too strong. Being a man requires a lot of responsibility. After a certain age, you must marry a woman and start a family. Me, after my studies I had to give in to pressure from my family who became permanent. I got married in 2008 and have three children now.

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

·         The Reporter:  Somehow, I got married in order to comply with my family and society. Although I have a wife and children, I continue to have sex with men in secret.

 Interviewed by Justice Walu
Questions by Doug Cooper Spencer 

Copyright. Malebo Force. 2011-2015

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