Happy Pride!


Today is the beginning of Pride Month, the month set aside to commemorate the Stonewall riots and the subsequent fight for civil rights for LGBTQIA+ community across the globe and to celebrate the contributions Queer people have made to society. It’s the month where marches, parades and parties are held. Companies slap pride flags and colours on their brands and include Queer people in their marketing. Governments and civil society organisations usually silent on LGBTQIA+ rights, use the month to bolster their ally credentials. If this sounds cynical, that’s because it’s supposed to be. Pride month has descended into a month filled with frivolous parties and rainbow themed merchandise and memes. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good party and rainbow branded bottle of champagne. But that seems to be all we do during this month. And this year in particular, it feels so wrong to be in celebration mode.

Our world is so dark right now. It feels damn near apocalyptic; with a global pandemic, record level economic decline, political unrest, world leaders dividing and not uniting their citizens and the continued erosion of hard fought civil rights for marginalised communities all over the world including Black people, Indigenous peoples and LGBTQIA+ people. I feel an incredible weight on my soul right now. The sadness and hopelessness I have been grappling with is threatening to take over. I can’t justify celebrating anything right now.

What I can do is promise myself to examine why I am feeling so black and figure out how to deal with it. I can take this month to re-ignite the flame in my soul that is struggling to shine in the darkness. However that may happen, be it more posts or some other output, I will find that pride within myself again.

Until then, in the spirit of faking it until you make it, let me end this with a smile and say Happy Pride!

What’s love got to do with it?

I am a red-blooded man and I have a lot of sex. I’m not afraid to say it. Often times it’s mediocore. Sometimes it’s bad. And on a few occasions, it is mindblowingly fantastic! One of those happened last week. I have a regular sex buddy that I hadn’t seen in a while. Work and an overly active social life were making it difficult for me to drive to his place. Last week, the universe aligned and I found myself in his bedroom having an amazing time. On the drive home, I got a text from him where he said those dreaded three words, “I love you.”

71qiMFGEySL._SS500_I always dread it when I hear or read those words, especially when I know I don’t currently and probably won’t ever feel the same. Do I lie and say the words back just to ensure I keep getting laid? Or do I say nothing and hope it’s fine? Or do I do the honorouble thing and tell the truth, risking the end of a rather pleasant sexual relationship? I resent having to make this choice, especially post-coital in the middle of the night on my way home! And I especially resent having to make that choice because I always make it very clear when I embark on any kind of relationship with someone what I want from the relationship. I learned a few years ago to put everything out in the open as quickly as possible. This is perhaps a bit of a vain attempt not to lead someone into heartbreak and hurt. I call it vain because this assumes that every person I come into contact with is going to develop deep feelings with me. But, what can I say, I am a very lovable person.

Back to this particular night. I chose not to say anything until the next morning. I called him before I went to work and  laid out all my cards. I reiterated that my feelings hadn’t changed since we first started hooking up. We couldn’t be more than we were. I told him it was up to himto take the next step. I haven’t heard from him since, and you know, that’s ok. We had a great run. My sex life continues. I just hope I haven’t turned imto my worst nightmare; a 30-something cynical gay man who doesn’t believe in love anymore!

Memory Lane

Nostalgia1Nostalgia is such a dangerous feeling to have. It creeps up on you and all of a sudden the past is roses and rainbows and unicorns. You start going back and looking at old picture galleries. Sadness and fear take over for a brief moment; sadness because the past is gone and fear that the future will never be as good as the past. The festive season is the worst for some strange reason. I think it’s the heady combination of celebration, family and alcohol. They bring out the best and worst in all of us. Today has been one of those hard days for me. I found myself in the nostalgia trap as I was finalising my plans for the festive season.

What’s got me looking back? It has been juts over a year since the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with sent me the text messages that ended our nearly decade-long relationship. It hasn’t been easy for me to get over the hurt and betrayal I felt. A year later and I still find myself curled on my bed in sadness. Time and distance have made things easier, but every time nostalgia creeps in things get difficult.

But it’s not a bad place to be. As long as you can see through the rainbows and unicorns and see the past for all that it was. There’s a strength that comes from acknowledging that good times were had but you can’t forgot the bad as well. That’s the problem with nostalgia, you forget the bad and dwell on the good. In doing that you can sucked in and fall in to a sadness. Every day is a struggle and as they say, time makes it easier. That’s the hope that I will have to hold on to.

I stand my ground (in six inch stilettos)

By Stylo

I claim the ground into which my stiletto is digging into as mine and I shall stand tall. I am so high up your heavy hurtful words cannot bring me down, go ahead and try and you will see just how high I can fly; get ready to eat dust though!

I remember me as a little boy wearing mother’s over-sized stilettos stuffed with toilet paper. He had the brightest smile on his face, he was happy, he was strong; even if it was only for a few fleeting minutes, he felt alive and free.

After another day of being bullied and taunted by mean schoolboys I would retreat to the safety of home and throw on a lovely floor length dress and with a hair brush in hand I became a pop diva in the mirror. All the hurt and shame of the day flew away with each sashay and twirl.

With age came a shift of expectations, new responsibilities and pressures arose and I wasn’t strong enough so I had to lock this happy little boy away and spend my days with a much sadder man.

For a long time after that I was a slave held down by this man, the man they all wanted to see. Their expectations seemed to come alive as impish creatures that drove my life with whips and pitchforks to places I didn’t want to be.

One night after another crappy day I lay alone in my bed and I thought of that little boy and what I had become, I wondered if he could still be alive, could he still be happy after all these years of neglect? The next day I got a wig and heels and went to look for him in the mirror where he used to be.

It took me a while to recognize him, he had changed, he didn’t smile as much, and his sad eyes looked as if to ask me if I was happy, I couldn’t lie to him because he knew that I was miserable. I made a promise to him that I would be brave and never let go of him again.

I do not hate being a ‘man”. I’m just a man who dresses differently, not different from many great men in history; Pharaoh wore a pleated skirt, a wig and eyeliner, Moses wore a short tunic dress belted at the waist and leather thongs.

The knowledge that my androgyny is a direct challenge to bigamist definitions of social order and conduct because it blurs the lines of fantasy and reality, masculinity and femininity, morality and immorality, gives me a real sense of power.

Vulgar is wearing your jeans with the faded V on the saggy crotch, unnatural is trying to pair those over-sized khaki cargo shorts you’ve worn for the past ten years with sandals and white socks.

Bigots ask, “Why do you do it”? I don’t think I could give a convincing answer to either you, them or myself. You don’t have to understand me. I am of the most certainty that even you do not understand yourself in all your ‘normality’.

What I do know is that with my feet flat on the ground all the time I feel unfulfilled, but, wrapped in red leather and elevated by a six inch heel I can touch completeness.

My life is balanced whether I’m in a suit and tie or a strapless mini, I can be any one I want to be. I give myself the freedom to live the fantasy here and now. I will not allow myself to have regrets. I embrace that I am different and there is nothing wrong with that. What was wrong was denying myself.

Is it that a man is not a man unless he wears baggy pants and doesn’t shave his armpits? Would you rather have me spit, pick my nose and scratch my crotch in public as well?

What is it about me that gets you so riled up? Do your fear how well I can win over your mind in the boardroom during the day and proceed to win over your throbbing loins in a dark club at night?

Go ahead and label me, like the fine clothes I wear; the labels separate the quality bespoke pieces from the hogwash. You may say I have a problem for dressing this way, I say the only problem I have is when I can’t find a bag to match my shoes!

Whether I choose to stand in loafers or Loubhoutin heels I understand that I shall have to grow a thicker skin (with a touch of foundation and bronzer of course), even if you shut me out in the dark my dazzling smile will light a path down which I  will find joy eternal in all my gender-bender splendor!

Let me be me

By Sir Noire

I did not sleep with Kuda*.

He is a hot 20-something guy with a nice firm supple ass, a glorious cock and well defined upper body muscles with a tattoo on his left arm that gives him the dangerous look that many guys, myself included are after.

He lives a straight lifestyle, pretty much. He watches football religiously, only drinks beer (not that watching football and drinking beer makes anyone less gayer, but you get my point) and hangs out with a straight crowd who do not know what he gets up to behind closed doors.  He only wears loose fitting clothes and baseball caps, the ultimate ‘straight’ look.

But that is not why I did not sleep with him.

I did not sleep with him because he denied me the conviction of my own experience. Like how I have straight friends who are aware of my sexuality and are still comfortable to be my friend, to spend nights at my place or theirs, at times even sharing the same bed. He says I have been fucked by all of them. He can’t believe that I don’t have to lie about having a girlfriend anymore or that if someone is straight, it doesn’t automatically make them a homophobe.

But that has not been his experience as a closeted man who has obviously not come out to himself yet.

There is nothing more irritating than someone refusing you your own truth because of their narrow minds and because they have not experienced that truth yet.  And this is not a problem particular to Kuda only; it is rife within the gay community.

A tall/muscular/masculine guy is a top.
A skinny/short/chubby/fem guy is a bottom.
Two gay guys together are sleeping together.

The above stereotypes are taken as true. But from experience we all know how looks can be deceiving. Things are not always as they appear!

With all the experiences that we as the LGBT community have been through, we all know that our experiences have been different. Our stories of coming out and/or into ourselves are different. We all have different relationships with our families and friends. We come from different backgrounds and have different interests.

We are human after all.

Fitting ourselves into boxes is basically a denial of our own varied experiences and agreeing to the boxes that the outside world puts us all in. The beauty of being queer is that we already exist outside expected norms.

My name is Sir Noire and I am undefined by society. My personal convictions based on my own experiences are mine and no dangerous looking muscles or firm supple butt is going to change that truth!

*Names and identifying features have been changed to maintain anonymity

Be you, be happy

By Sir Noir

Tafara is Bisexual.

So are Ben, Themba, Vincent and Simba. Other than their sexual preferences and nationality, they also have something in common; I tried to get on with every one of them.

Tafara is 22. He has actually never had a girlfriend nor has he slept with women. But he is not a virgin. He has only ever been with guys and still insists he is bi-sexual. Themba is 30, homophobic and calls everyone a pussy and he does nothing else in bed except lie on his back or his face. Ben and Simba both have girlfriends who work in South Africa who they never regularly visit.

This is the reality among a lot of gay men in Zimbabwe. Even at 32, some men are still praying the gay away. Claiming they are half straight or have at least been with a woman at least once seems to have been hammered in a lot of gays as an indicator that you are a true man. All these guys are surprised when I tell them that I am 100% gay and have never tried to cross the line. I think, in a way, this has intimidated all of them.

Drama of course is abundant with this lot. When Themba is with people, and is talking to you on the phone, he refers to you with female pronouns. I may like men, but I am still a man and you are going to refer to me with the appropriate pronouns. When with Ben, you have to act as straight as you can, although he walks with a very obvious gay gait.

I truly trust there are people who are truly bisexual and are genuinely attracted to the both sexes. A lot of men in Zimbabwe, however, who identify as bisexual are truly gay and are trying to hide their gay because of the attitude that our society has towards homosexuals. And a lot of us hide who we are to the world unless we feel safe. But to believe that lie internally would be a tragedy.

I may be wrong. My friend calls me a baby gay. I came out to fellow gays later in life. I do not know many things that ‘come naturally’ to the gays like 80s music and films and fashion and I just became recently obsessed with Lady Gaga.

There is nothing as liberating as living life as your true self. I never advocate for people to walk with their gay on their forehead. We live in a dangerous society for our kind. I however think that admittance to self about who you truly are is important. And to share that person with people who are like you or who understand why you are that way is important. But then again, I am a baby gay. My ideas of gay are extremely underdeveloped.

Granted, each one of us has the right to come out in our own way and at our own terms. I am now in the phase where I am now telling new friends that before the friendship goes too far and I cannot undo the lies of being straight. And it has been amazing. Although you get those that will stop talking to you immediately, most are intrigued and want to hook you up with the gays they have only ever heard about and want you to hook them up with girls because apparently, gays have a reputation of hanging out with hot girls.

My name is Sir Noir and I am gay Zimbabwean. No pretense of who I love. And I am a very happy man.

Guest bloggers

It’s been a whole nine months since my last post. I’ve been working on my career, and doing pretty damn well. I’m also working on going back to school this year! That’s the short story on why I’ve been so quiet online. So instead of leaving my blog blank, I’ve invited a few of my friends to contribute articles to the blog. I’ll be publishing those as I get them. It should be really fun and exciting to read some other perspectives on life as young gay black Zimbo!

Under Attack?

I’ve been grappling with the generally negative tone of my posts. I tend to be inspired to write when I see or feel that our community is under attack, usually from the outside. This is one of those moments, although it seems like this time, the damage is being inflicted from within. What do I mean by that? Well, let me explain.

Every so often, various lists are created and circulated via certain messaging platforms and become viral. The lists usually have some malicious content, and only function to spread rumours and lies about the individuals named. Some have called them harmless fun, but I disagree wholeheartedly. The latest list comes in the form of a snarky newsletter, which the author has promised to keep publishing weekly. The tone is malicious, hateful and hurtful. It’s really disappointing that at a time when we are reeling from the massacre in Garissa, the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, the mysterious disappearance of Itai Dzamara and countless other issues, the contribution of our community is the diatribe that is this list. Whoever the writer is, and there are many theories circulating about his identity, he has done nothing to help our community. He has played into the often cited stereotype that we are a bunch of bitchy queens intent on bringing each other down. I hope he realises that these are fellow human beings that he is so gleefully attacking. We are under such assault from the country at large that we don’t need to arm the gun and pull the trigger ourselves.

Then there’s the video, a 13 min sex tape that is doing the rounds. I won’t describe any of what I saw. I feel sorry for the two guys in the video. Their lives aren’t ever going to be the same again. They are going to have to live with the aftermath of this video going viral for a long time. And in a country where possession and distribution of pornographic material is illegal, both of them and anyone who has shared or received this video could face some sort of legal action if the video gets to the relevant authorities. What surprises me the most is that a lot of people have been sharing this video. I know that it’s a salacious and titillating thing and people want to share the latest gossip, but what about the individuals involved? I’m sure they didn’t create it so that their faces could become the most famous among gay Zimbabweans. I hope people stop sharing it. I hope people delete it from their devices. I hope people stop judging them, this can happen to anyone. We need to rally behind this pair and make sure their mistake doesn’t cost them their security, safety or livelihoods.

Rant of the day

It’s happened every year I’ve been back in Zimbabwe. The national papers are awash with stories of deviant men sodomising other men, boys and women. The stories then get linked to homosexuality. We seem to be the cause of all the social ills of society. Out gay people and LGBT organisations are vilified, maligned, raided and arrested. Comments on social media range from “burn dem chichi man” to “it’s against God’s law” to “even animals know which hole to stick it in.” I’m sick of reading about this, especially on websites and pages create for the LGBT community. We all know it’s happening! It doesn’t mean we need to be constantly reminded of it. Nobody is offering solutions on how to deal with it. Nobody is countering the hate speech in the comment threads. Posting these links becomes an exercise in futility. We read and comment about how hateful it is and then the next day another article is posted, and the cycle continues. We need to focus our intellectual energies elsewhere. There are vibrant and sometimes intense discussions on twitter that unfortunately not many LGBT Zimbabweans follow. We have a lot of supporters out there. It’s high time we got actively involved there and showed that we exist and we won’t be shamed into silence. Just my rant for the day!

Goodbye Fred Phelps

Someone sent me a link to a story on the death of Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church whose claim to fame is picketing funerals of American armed service members with banners reading “God Hates Fags”. I always wondered what I would think and how I would react when someone I didn’t like and who had caused so much heartache and pain to people died. I must say, I’m feeling very indifferent. I know there are people who loved and cared for the man and their loss and grief must be acknowledged. But that’s all I can give. And that’s all the ink I’ll give to him. Now hopefully the world can move past his brand of hate.