I am planning to have a secret gay wedding : even though I know it is illegal in my country
I will call myself Jemah to protect the innocent. I was born in Kenya to a demonstrably staunch catholic family. To say that my upbringing was austere and severe is to dabble in understatement. Both my father and mother were equally cold and distant. We were supposed to obey and never question. My dad used to repeat that dreadful mantra than an African child’s ears are on their buttocks. That meant that anything done out of hand was followed by a severe walloping. I did get some kind of defiant immunity to the pain and there were times when I could go for ten minutes with constant whipping without letting out even a yelp.
My mum would then try to “heal” us by insisting that we had to thank our father for heeding his biblical duty and not “sparing the rod to spoil the child”. I never got concrete proof, but I always got the feeling that our father was definitely beating up our mother on a regular basis. We were not very sympathetic. After all, she was an accomplice to his misdeeds and had once put us through the agony of bathing through salty water after a beating in order to heal the wounds quickly.
As you can imagine, I have gone to hate the Catholic Church with a passion that borders on the pathological. Whenever I see a nun or priest, I feel as if they should be paying divine retribution for all the rubbish that they spouted in order to get our parents to abuse us. When I heard that the child had been aiding and abetting child abuse; it only served to confirm all my prejudices.
I wish I would get the chance to speak to the Pope. I can tell you that he would be getting an earful from me. Some fool in our village decided to have unprotected sex with his wife because the Pope said it was the duty of every Catholic to procreate till they could no longer procreate. This despite knowing that his wife had been infected with HIV during a botched blood transfusion (don’t even get me started on the Kenyan health services).
Well, Gay Weddings Are Banned…Big Deal
For reasons only known to itself and its rightwing co-conspirators, the Kenyan government recently decided to reiterate that it did not support gay wedding and was actually banning it. On the pain of death, we were told as the gay community that we should not exist or enjoy any type of sex life. Some irritating ignoramus even had the audacity to suggest that this was equality since gay people were entitled to straight sex…yes, he was that stupid.
They say that banning something makes it infinitely more popular. That is precisely what has happened with gay marriage in Kenya. Those of who never dreamt of entering the permanent prison that is marriage are now positively inspired to test the new regulations. Actually, they are old regulations that were brought in by a hypocritical British Empire that wished to have control over even the sexualities of their subjugated colonies. It is ironic that a son of a hero of the anti-colonial movement is actually enforcing the oppressions of the colonialists. Such is the silliness of African politics that we are now wedded to the oppressor, enforcing and propagating his imported prejudices.
I am determined to get married to my boyfriend. We had not considered that option. We love one another and never felt the need to prove anything, let alone via a useless ring. I know many married straight couples and all of them (without a single exception) are constantly complaining about how difficult it is to remain married. My own humble view is that if it is that hard then you should not be bothering your pretty little heads joining the institution. Otherwise I see little practical merit in continuously complaining about something that you are effectively wedded to (pun fully intended).
Listening to that jaded politician waxing lyrical about the benefits of marriage to his perfectly decent wife was enough to bring out all the furies in me. I was going to get married whether he liked it or not. Promptly, I ordered my boyfriend to propose to me. Thankfully he seemed not to mind my bossiness (it happens sometimes) so the plans began. I took great pleasure in announcing to my mother and father that I was getting married. They looked perplexed and their faces turned to hope before the joy came. My mother nodded approvingly that she knew that deep down I was an obedient child who had been possessed by the devil. I then told them that nothing had changed and that my future husband was going to be my current boyfriend.
All Hell Breaks Loose
I knew something like that was going to happen because I had spent nearly 20 uniformly awful years with my parents. I knew them like the back of my hand. Dennis my fiancée was rather surprised when I insisted that we had to come with a friendly private hire taxi that was not afraid of being intimidated and had a new car (in Nairobi that means anything that has a manufacture date that is not before 2005). Suddenly my mother was screaming at the top of her voice that the devil had come into her home. She seemed to realize too late that I had actually come with my fiancée, a man that she had never met before but was predisposed to hate with a vengeance of an old grudge.
My father was shouting: “Get out, get out you bad boy! You have brought shame and curses on our family. Never come back here or I will kill you myself. I curse you. You will never be happy. You will die a painful death and alone. You will die of AIDS a thousand times”. The latter statement made me angry: knowing that all my uncles and aunties and some of their children had died of that horrible disease. To wish it on your child is really the height of stupidity but I have come to expect such from my father. He will find any dogma going and stick to it as if it were his own invention.
I lost all the little respect I had for him long, long time ago. That is why I never told him that our mum had been sleeping with Mr. Gwende next door right from when we were in primary. I often caught them in the garden but just kept it to myself. Some Christian family…give me a break!!!! He was threatening to beat me up; but I had long ago decided never to strike back. The problem was that there were some rent-a-vigilante types in the village. Unemployment and crippling ignorance made them ripe fodder for coming after a soft target like two gay men in Kenya surrounded by an angry village.
There were comical scenes as we jumped into the car and Oscar the driver sped away. He seemed to manically enjoy playing with fire. He would slow down to give the villagers a chance to get closer before speeding away. I knew that my father was never going to report me to the police. It would be far too embarrassing to admit that a seed of his had spawned a homosexual. He would rather bottle it all up, just like he had bottled up all the nonsense that his fundamentally unhappy marriage had brought about in his life.
Secret Gay Wedding: Everything is On Cue
I never thought it possible but I have a friend who has decided to act as a priest for a fee. Apparently he needs insurance just in case we are discovered. I read that somewhere in Zimbabwe or Zambia (one does get lost in the homophobic hell holes that are some African countries) was caught and tortured for arranging a gay marriage. Maybe that was the fat that was awaiting us but I was long past caring. I know that the mainstream Kenyan society does not like or love me so I am returning the favor by hating them back. They can all go to hell as far as I am concerned.
The gay wedding will go ahead and we will invite members of our own community who have looked after us at a time when our blood family had thrown us on the wayside. Our secret gay wedding will be a happy occasion that finally links two people who were meant to be together right from the start. I don’t care if the Kenyan government does not approve. We have no intention of divorcing and we are too poor to pay the alimony anyway. There is unlikely to be any child support so we are good. Let them froth at the mouth. I have proved the point that gay people have a right and responsibility to get married when they want to. Do not give the homophobes an inch. They already took their mile; long time ago when they decided to harass our community.