Don’t Tell Gay People How to Mourn

I edited the original poem by the brilliant Dominick Pupa to apply to the Kenyan context. At the time, we were expecting the ruling in the anal testing case which came through today. The court ruled that it’s perfectly OK to poke and prod people to get evidence of anal sex. Now I mourn some more.

Us gays.
We make you look prettier.
We dress you for your important occasions.
We plan and attend your weddings even though you take vows to an entity that hates us.
We are involved in every movie you see.
We are involved in every TV show you watch.
We are involved in every song you listen to – even the homophobic ones.
We teach your children without having to tell you it’s us.
We protect your communities without having to tell you it’s us.
We nurse you back to health without having to tell you it’s us.
We clean your gutters, paint your houses and mow your lawns without having to tell you it’s us.
We fix your pipes without having to tell you it’s us,
We govern your citizens – sometimes openly, sometimes only until we’re involved in a scandal after years of spewing homophobic rhetoric.
We are on every, single one of the sports teams you root for, but are usually hesitant to say we’re there because we don’t want shit thrown at us on the playing field.
We are at the root of every cue you take in life – even those of you who wish us dead.
We fight and die on your battlefields without letting you know it’s us
We police your neighbourhoods without letting you know it’s us,
We clean up your messes.
Without the guarantee of safety and respect in return.
Can you imagine doing ALL of that work without DECENCY as a reward?
So don’t tell me I have to view #PulseOrlando as an attack on a Western country instead of an attack on gay people.
Because we’re not Kenyans when you call us faggots, we’re not Kenyans when you legally fire us, we’re not Kenyans when you evict us leaving us with no place to go, we’re not Kenyans when you say that we should all be stoned to death, we’re not Kenyans when you say nasty shit to us when we’re walking down the street looking “different” (and yeah, we do hear you), we’re not Kenyans when you legally force us to undergo intrusive anal testing to determine whether we had sex, we’re not Kenyans when you deny us health services or throw us out of school.
In all of those circumstances we’re just gay people, and being a Kenyan doesn’t matter.
So, out of respect for everyone who fought and died before me, I’m going to take a few days to mourn as a gay man before I mourn as a global citizen.
And then after that, you can resume telling me I have to be at war with people I don’t know, even though I’ve been at war with my own countrymen my entire fucking life.
Be happy you’re at war with Al Shabab. Because you are definitely going to lose the war against us.

(Original post by Dominick Pupa 06.13.16)

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