First of all, I would like to excuse myself for those whose views differ from mine on this subject. I am a Rwandan, but I am considered different because of my sexuality.
Growing up, I faced many problems in my social life, being called silly names like (Cyabakobwa and so on), or being mistreated. This is something that still affects me in my everyday life.
I always wanted to change and be like everyone else, but after a long fight I failed: I never changed.
When I reached puberty, I started being attracted to men instead of women. I am gay.
Many people think that gay Rwandans were influenced by western cultures. This is a big lie and an insult.
I take myself as a living example: I’ve been in contact with Western Culture through the Internet for two years but I knew I was different since I was 12.
Right now, I am in my twenties and nothing has changed. I am still attracted to men. I’ve never told anybody since it would be called a shame and I would be an outcast in my family. It really is not easy; I didn’t choose that, and I wasn’t influenced by anybody.
I know that there are many children out there, many men and women who are in the same situation as myself.
They are misunderstood, humiliated and forced to act against their conscience, like marrying a person they don’t love.
This leads to many problems such as infidelity and spreading diseases. But the society refuses to acknowledge us. They still show a disdain and hatred towards even the concept that we live.
Gay people in Rwanda face a bunch of problems, such as discrimination, humiliation, familial rejection, health risks like AIDS and other STDs.
Because of discrimination, they are prone to AIDS, since they don’t receive any appropriate sexual education, and have to hide who they truly are.
They never get a normal lifecycle; never enjoy a healthy relationship with their lovers. Many gay Rwandans consider STDs as heterosexual diseases and they don’t take any precaution.
This is why AIDS has a higher rate among homosexuals as CNLS recent report showed.
I would urge every Rwandan to be aware of our existence. Parents and neighbors should not persecute children because they are manifesting gender problems.
This is attacking nature and it has consequences which can range from chronic loneliness to suicide.
Neighboring countries have criminalized homosexuality in the name of religion, which is really sad because it’s criminalizing nature, how someone was created.
The Republic of Rwanda supports the separation of the state and religion. I hope Rwandan legislators will follow the Constitution and fight for every Rwandan’s rights.
I wish also that some day we will receive equal rights like acceptance from our families and the society, and be allowed to marry the ones we love and not live undercover for the rest of our lives.
Name withheld on request