Thursday, February 3, 2011

PDA

Uganda is quite interesting with respect to it's views of sexuality and male friendship.

It is fairly well known that Uganda is quite strict on their lack of understanding for LGBT rights. When I came there was even a section in the newspaper that outed homosexuals in the community, in a way condemning them to possibly fatal mob violence from their neighbors. When I speak to people about it here, they brush off the issue without too much trouble. "We don't have gays here," they say. In fact, its one of the few faults that they find with America. "It's a great country," they'll say, "but at least here we don't have that gay problem."

Not getting into my responses to these comments, there is an ironic presence of affection shown by males to other males in this country. The guys that know each other and greet, and want to show respect, will touch their foreheads together, and hold in an embrace for a good 10 seconds. There are probably only a handful of days out of my some 160 here that I have NOT seen two men holding hands, with inter clasped fingers, walking around town. I have come to think that it is a good judge of how well I'm integrating into my community; the more adults that shake my hand and then hold on to it as we talk and walk around, the better I'm getting at becoming accepted. Today was a good day. I snagged 3 prolonged handshakes, and a hug-turned hand hold for about 35 meters. I even started sweating, and he didn't let go. That's true friendship.

I guess it is just a little odd to me that the country where they consider homosexuality to be an abomination is the same country where I've had to expand my comfort zone with male contact. Like it or not, Uganda, you've made me more comfortable about touching guys than in America. And we've got a gay problem, for god's sake.

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