How can a parent explain anti-gay hatred to a child? Stella Nyanzi — a Ugandan anthropologist, social science researcher and mother — writes here about her children’s puzzlement over why so many people were celebrating the passage of the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act in a parade and public gathering on March 31. (Nyanzi photographed the anti-gay parade, as shown below, and while doing so was punched in the face by a policeman who tried to stop her.)
‘Why would Christians be happy that Uganda wants to imprison Uncle Sandra?’
By STELLA NYANZI
A tough evening for me. Trying to explain today’s Uganda to six-year-old Ugandans is DIFFICULT.
First of all, I tried to explain to my children why Born Again Pentecostals and Muslims and Anglican Protestants were singing, dancing and thanking God for a law which is going to lock up many of my friends, relatives and colleagues for life.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Kato, my younger twin son, remarked. “Why would Christians be happy that Uganda wants to imprison Uncle Sandra and Uncle Raymond and Auntie Sue?”
“Because those Christians do not understand how God works,” Baraka, my nine-year-old daughter, explained to her little brothers.
“But why did the president also go to those thanksgiving prayers? Did he also sing and clap and dance and pray in tongues? Is he also happy about this law?” Wasswa, my older twin-son, asked me.
I struggled to explain why President Yoweri Museveni is happy about the Anti-Homosexuality Act. WHY IS HE HAPPY ABOUT THIS? …
I explained and explained and explained but felt that I did not quench the curiosity of my household. And then my children asked [another] difficult question. This time it was my daughter who was perplexed.
“But, Mama Stella, how can your boyfriend be a policeman yet the policemen beat up people everyday and tear gas others waiting for the Lord Mayor? And even a policeman boxed your face today! Are you safe, Mama?”
Too stunned to respond, I offered a tempting diversion: re-re-re-watching Tom & Jerry cartoons… We are watching cartoons to momentarily escape from the grim reality of life in Uganda today.
See Stella Nyanzi’s photos in the article “The rotten roots of Uganda’s anti-gay celebration.”