By: Tinashe Wakapila
It’s time for the gay pride again, and there is an air of excitement. People from all parts of the country are flooding the airlines, bus or train stations; making bookings.
Gay pride or LGBT pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people to promote their dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements throughout the world. Pride has lent its name to LGBT-themed organizations, institutes, foundations, book titles, periodicals and the Pride Library.
Ranging from solemn to carnivalesque, pride events are typically held during LGBT Pride Month or some other period that commemorates a turning point in a country’s or province’s LGBT history or any history of the province. For Durban, July is pride month which coincides with the month when the city name Ethekwini Municipality was adopted.
Common symbols of pride are the rainbow or pride flag, the lowercase Greek letter lambda (λ), the pink triangle and the black triangle, the latter two reclaimed from use as badges of shame in Nazi concentration.
But let’s not get side-tracked. This article is not about the history of pride but about the excitement in and around the city of Durban that is underway. Fellow LGBTI enthusiasts are forming whatsapp groups and co-ordinating many other logistics of the event. Attendees of pride can look forward to the Mr and Miss Durban pageant and numerous performances which will culminate in all-night after parties.
However, on a low note, recent statistics reveal that the city of Durban has the highest HIV/Aids infection rate. The rate of HIV/Aids infection risk for the women who are sleeping with women, which was imagined to be low, has risen. Such issues need to be highlighted during this pride month with more information on how to practice safer sex being disseminated to those in attendance.
WARNING: The below contains explicit content
I always imagined the liberation of coming out when I was in the closet. The times I came out I felt a burden lifted off my chest.
I believe that coming out is term that was coined to allow people to meddle in your business; yes it is a liberal term meaning you don’t have to hide, but coming out it is a continued journey of a lifetime as long as you meet new people.
My family and I have a good relationship. My mother accepted me and my father agreed along so did my siblings. They all love me so dearly, but funny enough the coming out pamphlet did not come with the terms and conditions; now on a daily basis, I have to be a teacher and attain a level of patience with them.
Like for instance, I did not know that coming out has no end date; it goes on as you meet different people. The difference is that now you get to really say it with pride without the fear of what if my parents or family hears it from the person who I told. Rejection, stigma and hesitation will always be in people.
A case in point is the incident that personally happened to me with a family member where I literally nearly passed out. We are in the 21st century and some of the most sarcastic, ignorant questions come from ignorant people. The question that annoys me most is how you do it; how do you make love when God created Adam and Eve.
That question directly came from my elder cousin who was in the “dark”. I am talking about an academically groomed person, capable of utilizing the internet. My response was getting ready to shoot her down and say something sarcastic like “come in bed with me and I will show you” or “Google it” when it really hit me hard that once upon a time they would not even raise the topic they would just seclude me. At least now we were having a conversation. This was my chance to be able to really explain.
No matter how the question was posed, it was my duty as a lesbian family member to instil knowledge. This is what we the LBGT society lack sometimes; knowledge of informing others regardless of how harshly they pose the questions to us.
I sat her down and had her define the definition of love making in her own terms. I also asked her define her understanding of pleasure in such way that she would understand when I started explaining my own definitions.
With most heterosexual people, apparently to them sexual intercourse is penetration. They understand how everything goes down; were they miss us is the penetration part. This is where I had to intervene and explain to my cousin; without making her feel like she is having wrong sex or I am having wrong sex. We were at a family gathering and this topic ended up taking me about 15-20 minutes to explain because she kept trying to devalue my sexual relations because I did not get penetrated. I did not want to have a whole debate on what is sex and what is not. Our conversation ended up with a mutual agreement after I gave her an example in the straight context.
Me: Let’s say your friend’s husband has got a 13 inch penis and she feels satisfied and your husband has a 16 inch one. Does it mean she is having wrong sex?
Her: No because we have different types of vaginas
Me: There you go, you got your answer
Her: How do you mean?
Me: Some women’s vaginas just don’t have an appetite for big, small or any dick at all
She just shook her head and changed the topic to how the cakes were nicely made and since then we are on the same page.
The moral of this story is that I had the courage to engage in a conversation. With this way of teaching no one gets in anyone’s case. Always be ready to be attacked in hidden ways from people’s different questions. Sometimes we do know that such conversations just turn it into an informative scolding.
I like the question that people ask of who is the guy in the lesbian relationship. Instead of coming up with all sorts of angered responses, I always just simply say, when you see two chopsticks which one is the fork which one is the knife. That way it all ends in a reign of victory for everyone.
Being out is like having a wound and no bandage. The wound is then prone to every type of infection, if carelessly handled. For instance when I went shopping with my brother in-law we got into a baby shop and I marvelled the baby stuff in passing. I mentioned issues like I want to have four children of my own and he looked at me and shook his head. He then went on to say, but you are lesbian, you hate kids. I stared at him with bitterness in my eyes but again it was not his fault, he was just as ignorant as any homophobic person would be.
My first solution was to make him understand that as lesbian women our mind-sets are as much as any couple would have. He asked me how, it was really an annoying question coming from a person who had low sperm count and had to undergo IVF to pro create. I did mention to him that IVF was not only an option for straight couples; it was also for parents in the homosexual community. He tried so hard to explain to me, saying oh so why not do it the natural way. I just looked at him and our conversation ended because he himself had not procreated naturally.
It may seem like these were ways to attack the people I engage with, but they all warranted a response. With coming out, comes great responsibility, boldness and confidence; knowing your story and understanding yourself and surroundings better. It is often challenging but the minute you decide to curl up and be moody that’s when people take advantage of you and make you feel as if being you is the end of the world.
Although coming out does not erase homophobia do not be worried those issues. Coming out is not the end of the story; it is the beginning. Most days I wish I had stayed inside the closet, but hey, I am a girl who is out and there is no turning back now.
Let’s love our sexuality and continue learning xoxo.