Thursday, 13 August 2009

The plight of gays in Kinshasa

Kinshasa with Congo river in backgroundImage via Wikipedia

Source: CongoForum

By S. Luwa

KINSHASA - Despite its six million inhabitants, the capital, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo, is far from a city in which to live their sexual orientation openly. So far as everywhere in Africa, homosexuality is considered an abomination and a mode of relationship of the West. Just walking through the streets of this vast city to understand how difficult it is to be displayed with a same sex partner. Already those who are very effeminate are at any time pointing the finger when moving along the avenues. Moreover, within the family, the pressure is often so great that the daily life of a gay man looks like a real cross to bear.

Dody, a young boy barely out of adolescence, had to change its appearance due to threats from his parents to drive the home. They even made the decision not to pay his school fees after discovering his homosexuality. Until this discovery, his parents were already suspicious because the young man is very effeminate and homosexuals from attending his neighborhood. Once his family was convinced of his sexual orientation, she asked him to change his' dreadlocks' a male hairdresser and remove his earring. It will thereafter no longer attend his friends and although it has attained majority, his parents go so far as to deny release.

The case of Dody is also experienced by other young people in Kinshasa. Once they admit their sexual orientation, they are abused by their relatives who see this as a divine curse. Dennis, 21 years, Dody friend, had an almost similar situation. His mother and sister have morally threatened for months when they learned that the young man was gay. Deprivation at home and was brought to a final and occasional prostitution to meet their needs.

In the interview we had, he revealed that his customers were men filled with as that loved the company of young twinks. Not wanting to pursue his studies, he spends his time doing the oldest profession in the world and admitted that it provided him some comfort despite the privations he suffered. Curious, we asked how the meetings are held with clients because it is strictly prohibited keepers of hotels going to accept a couple of men or women. He stated that he met in their homes or in large hotels in the capital. Finally, he said that his clientele was composed of Congolese and African males, but mostly in Europe.

If Dennis has fallen into the very closed circle of prostitution gay Kinshasa, it is also the case for many boys who are rejected by their families or their relatives after their coming-out.

Many find themselves in poverty, which unfortunately is rampant in recent years in Kinshasa and throughout the country. They were prostitutes in the bottomlands of the city and its neighborhoods, often without precautions. Most of these banned live with friends (very rare) or rent a studio group. But it is almost impossible for a homosexual to rent, for example, a house because it is difficult to convince donors to accept a person with a particular sexuality. Sometimes they pose as straight but over time the truth finally burst into the open.

Jack, another young, made the charge in a neighborhood in the capital, a few years ago. Financially successful with his life, he decided one day to leave his family to live with him by renting a four piece in a popular town of Kinshasa. The young man was not openly a homosexual, at least at its close. When it moved into its "home", it was not long in arousing suspicions among neighbors because it received only boys many of which were effeminate. All of a sudden, the news spread like wildfire and the neighborhood was soon to show its hostility.

Therefore, Coco was the topic of conversation in the neighborhood and the jeers and the words of threat began to fall. An evening came what had to happen, a group of young people invested around his home to attack verbally. A few days after the young had to leave in a hurry to return the area to his family. Those who are not effeminate fare better but are forced to play a double game in order to avoid suspicion. They are mostly bisexual and live in hiding their relationships with men. Once identified, they are indexed as gay and suffer the criticism of society. In most cases to avoid moral suasion, they marry. We can cite the example of Roger, a Kinshasa who saw his fifties and was approached by the fear of one day becoming unmasked decided to take a woman to wife. Meanwhile, he continued to attend in the greatest secrecy his longtime friend.

Hostile acts are not isolated. They are present in the city of Kinshasa and nobody talks about because they touch on a layer which is constantly criticized his way of being. It should be noted that being gay is a heavy burden. Kinshasa is a city but a large village. In some semi-urban areas, promiscuity is such that even the privacy of the people suffers. The adoption of a law against homosexuality is in study at the Provincial Assembly of Kinshasa. It will undoubtedly an opportunity for the spread of homophobia. This will put the lives of many homosexuals in great danger. The official sentencing will also leave free rein to rumors that have always driven on homosexuality, among other things, it is linked to spirituality.

Moreover, among those churches called spiritual awakening, there are those that surround gay in prayer to help them out of what believers call of bewitchment. This is unfortunate because a young Kinshasa said he was subjected to sessions désenvoûtement because a prophet would have seen him in mind of a siren.

Aged 25 years, Patrick has always been a bit effeminate. With a svelte physique and a thin face, he had always aroused the suspicion surrounding his sexual orientation. No father, he saw him and his brothers under the financial responsibility of her elder sister living in Europe. One day, the latter having been accustomed to pray in a church teaches that homosexuality was a satanic link. According to Patrick, his sister would have left say that these kinds of people are inhabited by an evil spirit which impels men to love and want to have sex with them. Panic by this revelation, she called her family in Kinshasa and will require that his younger brother was taken to a branch of "his" church located in the Congolese capital. There, the prophet declared that Patrick was possessed by the spirit of the siren.

It should be noted that so far the absence of a ban that prevented the population is hostile to tackle openly gays and lesbians. The bill could well officially open the floodgates of insecurity in a community that has been hidden so far to exist.

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