Ally / Tanzania
“I Was Born On The 26th Of June 19yrs Ago! I Didn’t Come From The Perfect Family But Somehow I Made It Through Life As A Baby, Unlike Other Kids That Were Always With Their Parents, I Grew Up With The Neighbours Since My Mother Was A Nursing Student. I Was Never Fed 5times A Day, It Was Once Or Twice A Day! I Was Never In Diapers Or Anything Of The Sort Because There Was Never Money To Buy Such Things! I Remember There Was This One Time That We Were Kicked Out Of A House Because We Lacked Rent And We Had To Spend 2 Days Outside In The Rain At Night And The Sun During The Day Time, But Somehow We Always Made It! At The Age Of Five, I Was Sent To Study To A Public Boarding School In Kenya (mind you i am tanzanian) That Is When I Started Noticing Something Was Different With Me! While All The Other Boy Kids Were Talking About How Their Brothers Had Girlfriends, I Was Busy Fantasizing About How I Could Become One Of The Girlfriends (weird i know) , While Everyone Else Was Busy Playing Soccer Or Any Other Sport, I Was Busy Being The Cheerleader! I Always Did The Opposite Of What My Sex (male) Was Doing, I Didn’t Quite Get It So I Just Took It Like Some Other Phase I Was Going Through, And It Was Going To Be Over Soon … I Was Teased, Harassed, Beaten-Up And Sometimes Even Left Hungry By Some Of The Prefects At This School. Names Such As Sissy, Gay, Faggot, Msenge (that is swahili for gay men) and bwabwa (slang swahili for gay men) Were Names That I Heard Throughout My Primary School Years, I Didn’t Quite Get It Until I Turned 13, This Was The Same Year I Was To Graduate My Primary School! I Met Some Guy Named Mike, I Was Actually In The 8th Grade, And He Was Like In The 11th Or 12th Grade… He Was Really Older Than Me (he is now married with 4kids) And He Finally Opened My Eyes. He Explained Everything To Me About The LGBT Community And How I Always Heard People Call Me Names And Never Seemed To Care All Because I Never Understood What They Really Meant! … ANYWAY … According To How He Explained It To Me, I Took It As A Very Normal Thing And My Answer To Anyone Who Ever Called Me Gay Was “”I Am Gay So What?”” Life Went On And Everytime I Stepped Into A Room People Always Looked At Me Differently But I Never Seemed To Care Until Something Tragic Happened To Me!… Two Weeks Before My Finals Exams, I Started Receiving Threats From Some Unknown People, Notes That Said “”Wewe Musenge Utatutambua”” ( “”we shall teach you a lesson, you fag”” ) This One Time I Found Tomato Sause Poured All Over My Bed, I Didn’t Quite Get What They Meant But I Think They Mimicked Blood Or Something, They Engraved The Words “”FAG”” In My Bedsheets, I Told The Dormitory Matron But I Clearly Remember Her Answer As, “”You Gay, Deal With The Hate”” I Turned To The Boarding Patron He Reacted In A Way I Never Expected No Grown Man Would, “”You Reporting So I Can Guard You? Nifanye Mumeo (make me ur husband)”” , I Always Knew I Liked And Was Attracted To Boys, But I Never Knew Sex Came With It Too! BUT I Never Gave In To The Patrons Demands, I Just Led My Mind To Think It Was Some Silly Stunt Some Boys Were Playing On Me, One Thing I Learned, Never Ignore The Simplest Of Details …… I Remember After All This One Night, I Was Woken Up With A Thud I Heard On My Bed, Someone Had Tried To Hit Me With A Stick But Missed, When I Woke Up I Was Held Tight By People I Think Two Or Three, I Was Beaten Up So Bad, I Couldn’t Feel My Legs, They Held My Head Under A Pillow So No Matter How Hard I Screamed No One Heard Me, I Don’t Remember What Happened Next But I Woke Up In The School’s Dispensary… With A Fractured Leg, An Arm And A Nose That Couldn’t Stop Bleeding … That Is When It Hit Me, That Being Someone Like “”ME”” Was A Crime/Sin/Abnormality To Others. … The Last Week Of My Schooling Wasn’t Much To Be Enjoyed A Few Parts Of My Body Hurt And I Couldn’t Stand All The Pity Looks Some Students Heard On Their Faces, It Has Been Six Years And Until To Date I Never Got To Know Who Those People Were, And My Case Was Never Investigated!
I Finished My Primary Education And Came Back To Tanzania For My Secondary And High School But My Expectations And Dreams Died As Soon As Things Started Unveiling Themselves, After That Hate Incident That Happened To Me I Started Hiding Myself, I Isolated Myself From The Company Of Friends, Family And The Society At Large! All I Did Was Stay In My Room And Just Read, Or Sketch Or Just Sleep All Day, I Was So Afraid That Anyone Who Saw Me Would Confirm Who I Was And Everything That Happened To Me In Kenya Would Happen To Me All Over Again!… For Month I Stayed Friend-Less, Just Me, Myself And I Until The Holidays Were Over And I Had To Go To Secondary School!
I Moved Back To Tanzania Because Cash Was Becoming Kind Of Scarce And So My Mum Had To Figure Out Another Way To Pay For Me… SO… I Was Moved To A Boys Only Catholic Seminary … I Knew In My Head, This Was Such A Bad Idea But I Didn’t Want To Seem Choosy, While I Already Knew What Our Situation At Our House Was, So I Went To School, Whole Heartedly! … Two Months Passed And No One Seemed To Care About What I Was. I Got Comfortable And Life Just Moved On, But As You Know. Not Everyone Will Be Supportive I Was Always Bashed By A Few Older Students, I Was Sexually Harrassed, My Butt Was Always Grabbed And Some Even Went To The Extent Of Grabbing My Pubic Parts To See If I Had A Penis, I Endured All This, Because I Had Dreams To Chase. I Remember It Was In April, And I Met This Boy Named Donald, He Was The True Definition Of A Gentleman. He Understood Me Like No Body Would, I Literally Didn’t Have To Say Anything, He Would Already Know What I Was Thinking, I Don’t Know What To Call It But Whatever It Was I Can Describe It As Some Of The Best Moments In My Life, He Loved Holding Hands Infront Of Everyone Else, We Would Sit And Talk For Hours About Life After School Or Fantasize Of How I Wanted To Be The Next “”ALEXANDER McQUEEN”” ( my interest is in fashion design) And How He Would Want To Be The Next “”ALBERT EINSTEIN”” … A Single Action (a kiss) And The Three Words ( i ♡ u) Changed The Whole Scenario For All Of Us … One Month Later, Donald Was More Than Lets Say A Brother The Way I Perceived Him, He Was My First Boyfriend! We Made The Relationship A Secret And Faked Up Becoming Enemies Just To Stir Away The Rumours That Were Spreading Around The School But No Matter What Word Still Got To The Nuns And Monks That Led The School (This Is Where My Dreams Ended) … I Was One Day Called To The “”Academic Office”” By The Academic Master And When You Are Called To That Office Two Things Run Through Your Mind “”SUSPENSION”” or “”EXPULSION”” And I Couldn’t Think Of Any Mistakes That Could Have Me Deserve Such A Punishment … When I Got There My Mother At The Corner Of The Office Sobbing, The Academic Master And The HeadMaster Of The School! I Was Asked To Sit Down And This Is How The Conversation Went If I Remember So Well!
Academic: Unamjua Donald? (Do you know who donald is?)
Me: Yes Sir
Headmaster: Who Is He To You?
Me: A Friend.
Academic: A Friend Who Kisses You Goodnight, A Friend Who Writes Love Notes To You, A Friend That Is Always Holding Your Hand … What Kind Of Friendship Is That Between Two Boys?
Me: (quiet, looking all nervous)
Academic: Before Your Inner Woman Surfaces Please Leave This Room, Maana Nakuona Unavyotetemeka ( because i can see how nervous you are getting)
Everytime I Think About It, I Think This Is The Shortest Conversation I Ever Had My Whole Entire Life, I Went To Talk To Donald And He Said Yesterday It Was His Chance But His Parents Weren’t Present. We Decided To Stay Away From Each Other Until The End Of The Term.
I Was Later On Called To The Dicplinary Office And Asked Questions That They Confirmed, If I Gave The Right And True Answers Then My Chances Of Being Expelled Were 0% … But The Centre Of This Interrogation Was Always, “”Who Is Always Influencing The Other”” The Answer That I Gave The Teacher Was “”We Are In Love, So There Is Nothing Like Who Is Influencing Who””. After That Interrogation Me And Donald Drifted Apart … Then The End Of The Term Arrived And I Received A Letter Of Expulsion, It Turned Out The Answer I Gave Them Made Me Take The Fall For Both Of Us, Because I Was The Only One Expelled… He Stayed… I Felt Kind Of Happy Inside Me Because I Knew I Had Some Bravery In Me To Be Able To Take A Fall For Something That We Both Were In BUT Aside I Felt My Heart Broken Because I Knew That Situation Was To Change My Whole Life For Good.
Sometimes I Sit Down And Ask Myself, Was Being In Love With Donald Illegal? Nowhere In The School Rules Did It Say Anything Of The Sort!… Is Love That Illegal? … Alot Of Students And Teachers Always Made It Sound Like Being Me Was A Crime/Sin/Abnormality!
Well After The Expulsion, That Is When Drama Began! And I Mean Some Serious Shit Went Down! The Doctors I Visited, Pastors That Heard To Pray For Me, Witchdoctors I Had To Visit Is To Come.
I Never Went Back To School After That Whole Expulsion Scenario. My Mother Believes People Like Me (Gay) People From The LGBT Community Don’t Deserve To Be Educated. For The Past Six Years I Have Been Struggling To Make It Out There In The Tanzanian Fashion Industry … But Lack Of Financial, Moral And Psychological Support From Family And Friends Are Very Hindering … Everytime I Fail At Something My Failure Is Blamed On My Sexuality And My Lack Of Education … I Just Sit Down And Wonder To Myself Sometimes. Like My Mum Never Took Me To School Why Would She Blame Me For My Lack Of Education.”