Here’s what often happens in Cameroon when a family learns their son is gay: They throw him out of the family home, cheered on by homophobic neighbors. This story is different.
By Courtney Stans
The incident occurred on June 17 in the Emana district of Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, where 19-year-old Thom (a pseudonym) lives with his parents and brothers.
The neighbors there have made clear their hatred of homosexuality.
Although Thom has an effeminate manner, he is loved and trusted by his parents and brothers who live under the same roof as him.
“He is a child like all the others,” his father said. “We see no difference between him and the other children.”
But the neighbors disagree. They are bothered by the boy’s sexual orientation.
That disagreement came to a head quickly on June 16, when Thom was in the large courtyard separating his parents’ home from the rest of the neighborhood.
“This isn’t your backyard! Stop touching my wall,” said one of the neighbors. Thom was taken aback. Tears filled his eyes.
His father, noticing Thom’s emotional state, soon learned about the neighbor’s behavior. Without hesitation, he went out to confront him.
The neighbor quickly lost his temper and called Thom “a faggot” and the father “father of a faggot”.
“Being gay is not wrong,” the father said to the neighbor. Referring to the widespread African belief that gays are demons, Thom’s father told the neighbor, “If your sons are holy, then let me live with my demons”.
At that, the neighbor retreated to his home without saying a word.
Courtney Sans adds:
Thom’s father displayed admirable behavior — the type that should be encouraged among all parents of homosexual children. Parents should learn not to be ashamed of their LGBT children and instead to respect and love them as they are.
Courtney Sans, the author of this article, is a Cameroonian journalist who writes under a pseudonym. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.