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I am a homosexual, Mum by Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina by Allan Gichigi (

(A lost chapter from One Day I Will Write About This Place)

11 July, 2000.

This is not the right version of events.

Hey mum. I was putting my head on her shoulder, that last afternoon before she died. She was lying on her hospital bed. Kenyatta. Intensive Care. Critical Care. There. Because this time I will not be away in South Africa, fucking things up in that chaotic way of mine. I will arrive on time, and be there when she dies. My heart arrives on time. I am holding my dying mother’s hand. I am lifting her hand. Her hand will be swollen with diabetes. Her organs are failing. Hey mum. Ooooh. My mind sighs. My heart! I am whispering in her ear. She is awake, listening, soft calm loving, with my head right inside in her breathspace. She is so big – my mother, in this world, near the next world, each breath slow, but steady, as it should be. Inhale. She can carry everything. I will whisper, louder, in my minds-breath. To hers. She will listen, even if she doesn’t hear. Can she?

Mum. I will say. Muum? I will say. It grooves so easy, a breath, a noise out of my mouth, mixed up with her breath, and she exhales. My heart gasps sharp and now my mind screams, sharp, so so hurt so so angry.

“I have never thrown my heart at you mum. You have never asked me to.”

Only my mind says. This. Not my mouth. But surely the jerk of my breath and heart, there next to hers, has been registered? Is she letting me in?

Nobody, nobody, ever in my life has heard this. Never, mum. I did not trust you, mum. And. I. Pulled air hard and balled it down into my navel, and let it out slow and firm, clean and without bumps out of my mouth, loud and clear over a shoulder, into her ear.

“I am a homosexual, mum.”

July, 2000.

This is the right version of events.

I am living in South Africa, without having seen my mother for five years, even though she is sick, because I am afraid and ashamed, and because I will be thirty years old and possibly without a visa to return here if I leave. I am hurricaning to move my life so I can see her. But she is in Nakuru, collapsing, and they will be rushing her kidneys to Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi, where there will be a dialysis machine and a tropical storm of experts awaiting her.

Relatives will rush to see her and, organs will collapse, and machines will kick into action. I am rushing, winding up everything to leave South Africa. It will take two more days for me to leave, to fly out, when, in the morning of 11 July 2000, my uncle calls me to ask if I am sitting down.

“ She’s gone, Ken.”

I will call my Auntie Grace in that family gathering nanosecond to find a way to cry urgently inside Baba, but they say he is crying and thundering and lightning in his 505 car around Nairobi because his wife is dead and nobody can find him for hours. Three days ago, he told me it was too late to come to see her. He told me to not risk losing my ability to return to South Africa by coming home for the funeral. I should not be travelling carelessly in that artist way of mine, without papers. Kenneth! He frowns on the phone. I cannot risk illegal deportation, he says, and losing everything. But it is my mother.

I am twenty nine. It is 11 July, 2000. I, Binyavanga Wainaina, quite honestly swear I have known I am a homosexual since I was five. I have never touched a man sexually. I have slept with three women in my life. One woman, successfully. Only once with her. It was amazing. But the next day, I was not able to.

It will take me five years after my mother’s death to find a man who will give me a massage and some brief, paid-for love. In Earl’s Court, London. And I will be freed, and tell my best friend, who will surprise me by understanding, without understanding. I will tell him what I did, but not tell him I am gay. I cannot say the word gay until I am thirty nine, four years after that brief massage encounter. Today, it is 18 January 2013, and I am forty three.

Anyway. It will not be a hurricane of diabetes that kills mum inside Kenyatta Hospital Critical Care, before I have taken four steps to get on a plane to sit by her side.



Will leave a small window open the night before she dies, in the July Kenyatta Hospital cold.

It is my birthday today. 18 January 2013. Two years ago, on 11 July 2011, my father had a massive stroke and was brain dead in minutes. Exactly eleven years to the day my mother died. His heart beat for four days, but there was nothing to tell him.

I am five years old.

He stood there, in overalls, awkward, his chest a railway track of sweaty bumps, and little hard beads of hair. Everything about him is smooth-slow. Bits of brown on a cracked tooth, that endless long smile. A good thing for me the slow way he moves, because I am transparent to people’s patterns, and can trip so easily and fall into snarls and fear with jerky people. A long easy smile, he lifts me in the air and swings. He smells of diesel, and the world of all other people’s movements has disappeared. I am away from everybody for the first time in my life, and it is glorious, and then it is a tunnel of fear. There are no creaks in him, like a tractor he will climb any hill, steadily. If he walks away, now, with me, I will go with him forever. I know if he puts me down my legs will not move again. I am so ashamed, I stop myself from clinging. I jump away from him and avoid him forever. For twentysomething years, I even hug men awkwardly.

There will be this feeling again. Stronger, firmer now. Aged maybe seven. Once with another slow easy golfer at Nakuru Golf Club, and I am shaking because he shook my hand. Then I am crying alone in the toilet because the repeat of this feeling has made me suddenly ripped apart and lonely. The feeling is not sexual. It is certain. It is overwhelming. It wants to make a home. It comes every few months like a bout of malaria and leaves me shaken for days, and confused for months. I do nothing about it.

I am five when I close my self into a vague happiness that asks for nothing much from anybody. Absent-minded. Sweet. I am grateful for all love. I give it more than I receive it, often. I can be selfish. I masturbate a lot, and never allow myself to crack and grow my heart. I touch no men. I read books. I love my dad so much, my heart is learning to stretch.

I am a homosexual.

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169 Responses to I am a homosexual, Mum by Binyavanga Wainaina

  1. qal January 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    thank you. thats how i felt of my orinentation. it came to me like a bout of malaria every nowand then … thank you for accepting yourself Nd helping me accept myself too.

    • El January 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

      This chapter is so beautiful, so poetic..

  2. R January 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm #


  3. Tendai January 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Good on you, Binyavanga. Brave, touching, profound. Wish you all the best and much happiness.

  4. Eddie January 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    Brave. Wishing you happiness.

  5. Leon January 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    This is so touching. I am happy I read this and that somebody I look up to has had experiences like mine.

  6. Brian January 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Thank you 🙂
    We are are wishing you all the happiness and ‘successful heart stretching’

    I love that you navigate yourself so well

  7. jobitek January 19, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    Binyavanga, this kind of courage demands that we stand up and introduce ourselves — this is who we are. Thank you for the missing chapter, which indeed was loud in its absence. For those of us who admire you, this helps us cement our deepest feelings of love for you. Take heart, you do not stand alone.

  8. Archie January 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    Damn!! Very Transparent. I like

    • Annette January 22, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      Beautifully written. Trying to colour within the lines of life can prove difficult, overwhelming even. Thank God for the reprieve of expressing yourself albeit to everyone and noone in particular.

      My two cents? Pray! Not for a cure or deliverance, but for clarity as you walk down this road. It is narrow and filled with malice and contempt. But if it is the road life drove you to and the path you chose to follow, do it with your chin up and your heart content.

      Finally, for all those who felt the need to drag my God’s name here in vain, remember all sins are equal. And judging others is a sin…

  9. Chiqy January 19, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    love you more each day. Baba and Mum love you too…xx

  10. Andrew Dave January 19, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    Hmmmm. I don’t think I will wake up one day to realize I am gay. Is it homophobic to feel disgusted by it?

    • Holmes January 21, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      At five a child realizes he is gay? C’mon, man. That’s bullshit. Okay, here’s my point. I love the way this guy writes. He has influenced me also. But i don’t agree with his reason for be what he sexually is. It’s not like i have sexual standards, no! Whatever sexual orientation one is, that’s their private business. I am simply giving my reaction because he has written about it.

      Man, the allegation that you realized you’re gay at five years old is blatant lie. A child of five has no opinions on lots of matters including sexuality unless somebody abused you sexually.

      Thank you for the beautiful works you write man. I love them.

      • chaichungu January 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

        I am not a quintessential moral pillar but man people need to stop making this homo and lesbo business is not natural. Even cows know the same and they don’t even have a quarter of a humans brain.

      • load January 22, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

        You might be wrong. I admired ladies at an earlier age than 5

      • Quail January 23, 2014 at 2:28 am #

        @holmes, who are you to question one’s experience? If it hasn’t happened to you, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened to the next person. Everyone’s life experience is unique to them and believe it or not, some people live remarkable lives not necessarily marked or affected by specific ‘tragedies’ i.e abuse. How irritatingly ignorant..sit down.

  11. Muthoni Drummer Queen January 19, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    Thank you Binyavanga. You have phrased your experience so beautifully. You are deeply loved and supported. You have every right to be whosoever you feel you are and who you choose to be. Thank you for being generous enough to share your truth with us.

  12. njambi January 19, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    I have read and loved your work for so long. Very, very, very brave. As a mom of a 1yr old boy, my heart bleeds for the little 5 yr old you. I wish I could tell you otherwise but… be brave in the backlash, for it will come. Hold your head high and be strong. You have accepted you and I pray that you will know the joy true love and every happiness. And you never know, mamma probably knew and she loved you.

    • Ongo Dear January 22, 2014 at 7:00 am #

      Njambi Is that what you wish for your Boy!, it’s a shame and I don’t know what kind of Mother you will be to that son of yours, how can you boost of a five year sex pervert, which kind of child is that, this fake stories you write to promote Homosexuality so you can smile all the way to the a bank.
      What alost society

  13. carol January 19, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    Happy belated birthday!

  14. P January 19, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    Thanks. A million. I wish you only happiness

  15. Stuart January 19, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Thanks for sharing and more so, having the courage to do so.
    Whatever orientation, you are one and the only, Binyavanga Wainaina.
    We love you and celebrate you.

  16. MD January 19, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    Thoughtful. Well written

  17. Nalini January 19, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    Heart. Courage. Smarts. Thank you for sharing your deeply felt struggles.

  18. Jean Adero January 20, 2014 at 1:18 am #


  19. joel nabibia musungu January 20, 2014 at 4:22 am #

    beautiful writing powerful message

  20. Natasha January 20, 2014 at 5:08 am #

    Beautiful, powerful, courageous. Thank you for your honesty. May you be abundantly blessed and experience the divine love you so obviously deserve.

  21. Mkamzee Mwatela January 20, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!… “I never allow myself to crack and grow my heart”… Well now it’s burst wide open, a bigger heart it will be hard for find. Thank you!

  22. mo Mchawia January 20, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    Touching, open but scary…

  23. Ronnie Osumba January 20, 2014 at 7:19 am #

    Ndugu Binyavanga, this is easily the most inspired piece I have read from you. We might never understand the extent of your struggle, we might never get to hear about your experience after this, but do know you are still loved. You have a right to be who you choose to be.

  24. Manyala January 20, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    Ok that was brave but. They say a ‘but’ in a sentence kind of negates whats been said before it?

  25. kafoi January 20, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Turn to God and he will heal you. He delivers murderers, homosexuals and all other sinners. He loves you and in Him, you will find peace.

    • Wanjiku January 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Self-righteous much?

    • jed January 22, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Oh get off your moral high horse!!!!

    • QQ January 22, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      Jeez! Judgemental much?
      How about this, you live your life and let other live theirs, K?

  26. Millie January 20, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Thank you for sharing, and congratulations. I hope this brings you more freedom to engage as yourself without ever having to hide anything. You are brave and we love you.

  27. wakiuru January 20, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    This is so profound…i love your courage binyavanga. Let nobody stop you from being the amazing person that you are.

  28. Maris January 20, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    Wow. Fly free so others may soar. Everything that Njambi said,…and more.
    Now I respect you even more. Be happy.

  29. Wagi January 20, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    damn!literary appreciation…powerful piece

  30. Shirley Sein January 20, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Wow! It does take a lot of courage to come out of the closet and accept who you truly are without being ashamed. Irregardless of all that, I still look upto you as one of my best writers and I love you more.

    • Susan January 21, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      There is no word as irregardless…

      • Mkadziwe January 21, 2014 at 11:38 am #

        There is, she just wrote it, and you read it.

  31. John kiragu January 20, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    You need help .. Am not being hypocritical or anything .. Neither am i criticising your “lifestyle” .. but you guy you need help .. Yeah, ts touching story and everything but ts not the write way to go .. Read the bible more often and you’ ll see what’ s wrong and what right..pray alot too! ..

    • RP January 21, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

      Read the famous Leviticus chapter 20 from the start to the end and cast the first stone if you have not disobeyed any of the other rules in the other verses except the one warning against homosexuality.

      Binyavanga has a right to pursue what makes him truly happy. Go on boy!

      • QQ January 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

        Thank You!! I cannot with the fake self-righteousness people have. Everyone has a right to pursue their happiness just as much as you do. An unless their pursuits harm you, what they do is none of your business.
        That’s my 2 cents.

    • Rhoda January 21, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      why do bible-pushers always have such atrocious grammar & spelling?? maybe it’s your “lifestyle”…

      • Patsie Mat January 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

        Lol. Rhoda, you’ve made ma evening.

    • Grace January 22, 2014 at 4:40 am #

      John kiragu- go sit somewhere with your self righteousness.

  32. Asu January 20, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    When I first read your memoir, I flipped through the pages fast. Anxious to get tho the point of this missing chapter. It was not there. I’m so happy I finally get to read it. Good luck with the heart stretching. And I, will try squash the crush I’ve had on you for years! Happy for you!

  33. Walubengo January 20, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I silently sit here and think wishfully. Saying to myself, that this is deep fiction. Binya at his best. But then I quickly realise it is not fiction. And it distances me, every other minute. Wanting to hate and then wanting to understand. Understanding is the difficult bit. I am just homophobic I know. So I will pick the words, Binya’s words and leave the rest.

    All the best man.

    • Mildred January 21, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

      It is sad. Don’t call anyone idiot. We are all lost in many ways. Please my brother, you are not gay. You describe failing a second time with a girl. It might have been ED. Just check your sugar level. It could be the one causing your ED. Get treatment and stop using homosexuality as a scapegoat. Stop fearing women; they wont bite; Tell them the truth. You are as heterosexual as they come my brother. Stop over-explaining things. It is a bad idea. You owe nobody nothing. Just your God.

      • jeli January 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

        Even 100% homosexual men can sometimes “make love” to a woman, just like, in absence of women, heterosexual men often have homosexual intercourse. It is a matter of stimulation and hydraulics. But homosexual experience for their own gender the full spectrum of feelings (from desire and lust to love) that heterosexuals experience for the other. It’s just the way it is.

        • jeli January 23, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

          (I meant prolonged absence of women, obviously, like in Prisons).

    • chris January 22, 2014 at 5:28 am #

      I know am homophobic too but I dont understand why we have to be told of one’s orientation. Should I shout that I Fcuk women wherever i get the chance to…to be heard?

      • jeli January 23, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

        In my experience, heterosexuals do it all the time.

  34. Tony Malesi January 20, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    I like your sentences. Short and powerful. Keep writing. And hire bodyguards while strolling around Nairobi, otherwise you will be lynched. How dare you reveal your sexuality? In this country? But I still wish you the best.

    • caroline January 21, 2014 at 1:02 am #

      Brave. Well written. But unnecessary. what or who turns you on is your business.

    • zack January 21, 2014 at 4:37 am #

      He is safe, Kenya is not like UG. He is free to live his life as he dims fit

  35. Wambui January 20, 2014 at 10:09 am #


  36. Edwin Kiama January 20, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    Happy birthday Binya! Your courage sets you free. Spread the love!

  37. Ciru Kariuki January 20, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Happy Belated Birthday, may you find true love!

  38. SheDrinker January 20, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Great. Who enjoys most? The Opener or the Openee ?Are you the he or she? Enjoy the journey though.To each their own.

    • jep Kip January 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      @SheDrinker, Asking Are you he or she is like asking a chinese who eats with chopsticks, which of them is a fork and a spoon/knive!

      • Randye January 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

        jep Kip, That was the best response to that ignorance i have ever seen, it is a common ignorant question that i usually ignore, now i have the perfect response!

        • eddy m January 22, 2014 at 9:41 am #

          Why do homophobics think of the sex part when it comes to a person coming out as gay?… It just shows how ignorant and nonsencically religous thinkers are.
          Bravo Binyavanga.

  39. Willis Austin Chimano January 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Awe inspiring….. Hope you find the joy and happiness that you so deserve…

  40. Hadasa January 20, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    In this Century, it acceptable to what you are and accept it….its not like you are going to die because you are gay…i love your work and i love that you have finally accepted who you are

  41. Bernardine Evaristo January 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    This is powerful. Your courage and honesty will inspire many others in Africa and elsewhere.
    I salute you.

  42. Wambui January 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    As your cousin and now a mother of two boys, I’m comforted in your comfort with yourself. I pray the path ahead may be as clear as this missing chapter has been.

  43. mathilda January 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    This was so honest and moving. When reading this i started crying. I can add that i’m straight. I can only then imagine how this will touch other gay, lesbian and bisexual people, you are so brave in sharing this for everyone to read, inspiring and even just for people to know theyre not alone in feeling split and ashamed. You are a role model!!!

  44. CK January 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    It is through this article that I have been introduced to your writing and I ask myself “where have I been looking when I searched for brilliant writing”. You are an amazing writer! I hope your honesty will set you free and cause you to write what stigma and perceptions may previously have prevented. I wish you well.

  45. Wanjiru January 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Wow! I have never read any of your work before, but this is soooo powerful, so beautiful! I wish you the best, may you live your best life yet!

  46. Lynnette Njenga January 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Captivating, WoW!

  47. Janet January 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    I cant help the disdain thats welling up within m. Having wasted 7 years married to a man who had a wide assortment of boyfriends and essentially used me for my uterus and social acceptance has turned me a tad homophobic, ypu understand. The only positive thing I can say is thankfully you wont be manipulating any females to keep yourself closetted. Heres hoping you dont get on that adultery trip that gay guys seem to love so much (as if sleeping with a man who is married to a woman is the greatest and most validating thing ever).

    • Jordan January 21, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      Janet, I’m sorry your husband didn’t have the self-respect to be honest with himself and with you and hurt you in the process but what you do not realize is the kind of bigotry that sees no problem in making mistaken generalizations (‘that adultery trip that gay guys seem to love so much’) is partly what motivates closeted men to stay so deep in the closet and hurt others such as yourself.

  48. Muthoni January 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    This is a liberating piece.,may you have strength you will need it to leave truthfuly with yourself then others

  49. Bingu Wa Munthalika January 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Generally,its not something to be proud of.Be very much ashamed of yourself its not an orientation as you think, its a demon in you.Reconsider change your attitude and thinking ask yourself why its abnormal to the majority then think deep on how you can change it.


    • lorna January 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      @bingu u are a bigger idiot for being so judgemental.Let me enlighten you with a quote;live and let live.If it disturbs you so much,why don’t you move to planet mars coz guess what?homosexuals are not running out anytime soon!

      • Eddah January 21, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

        Lorna its unGodly period!

      • abraham January 23, 2014 at 11:51 am #

        We need to be courageous help people out of this condition of homosexuality, not cheer them on. It can’t be that we are all wrong while a few nut-jobs are right!

    • Jordan January 21, 2014 at 9:55 am #

      Bingu, just as missionaries instilled belief in majoritarian, authoritarian western religion throughout Africa, in a quest to change the attitudes of so-called ‘primitives’? Perhaps assuming you have the moral authority to decide who others should be is the first misstep.

    • Walubengo January 21, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Lorna and Jordan, my view has always been…why would you explain and try to justify what you do if it is right. I am thinking, if I make a woman pregnant, will I go asking for people to accept it or explain that that’s who I am? NO! NEVER! Anything that has to be justified or explained is utterly wrong, or abnormal to say the least. I have no problem with you homos, but trying to explain and justify it and calling it a RIGHT is the idiocy

      • Jordan January 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

        ‘I am thinking, if I make a woman pregnant, will I go asking for people to accept it or explain that that’s who I am? NO!’

        When you describe ‘making a woman pregnant’ as something requiring justification, I assume you refer to an accidental pregnancy that is not mutually desired or that the man in question has no intention of taking responsibility for. This is dissimilar to a consensual adult relationship between two people of the same sex, as it is a matter of bad faith. If anything requiring explanation is ‘abnormal’, I suppose any field of inquiry/learning is diabolically ‘abnormal’. You might as well bury your head in the sand in that case.

      • Ragnar January 21, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

        So well written “crack and grow” applies to us all as intellectual persons

      • Nijo January 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

        @Walubengo, that anything that has to be justifed and explained is wrong, how about feminism and all other women rights and the environment or a God that arrived on the horse of evangelism you pompous ass! Self righteousness and ignorance and simple-mindedness. The world is full of judgmental pricks who think their whoring is justified because it’s acceptable by the majority. Binyavanga dude this is a beautifully executed prose, i missed it in your memoirs, i suspected you’s gay the moment i saw a glaring absence of sex in your novel, if i wrote a novel it would be replete with skirts on every page, also that chimamanda kept saying you were her best friend, i knew it doesnt take courage for a married woman to express such sentiments, it takes a suapicious sexuality hehe. Binyavanga live your life within the confines of the possibilities presented by your consciousness. Personally i think all human liasons are vulgar, i think killing any living thing is wrong, i dont believe in climate change, i believe in god but not in heaven, but i never impose my truths on the world, i’m here to live and not to speculate.

        • QQ January 22, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

          Sigh. *Slow clap*
          I couldn’t have said it better.

    • Bobbi January 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm #


      Might you be gay? Just wondering. I usually experience this kind of response from bigots and people who cannot come to terms with themselves.

      Lots of space to be yourself outside the closet. Come out and play.

  50. mokhas January 20, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Bravo sir.. bravo, for taking the most important step.. its really commendable

  51. Toroitich January 20, 2014 at 6:17 pm #


  52. Myra January 20, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    What I find disturbing about this piece is the Electra complex at age 5, as a girl I loved my dad still do, but not in a sexual way and had no sexual attraction for the opposite sex until I was a teen!

    The story is well written though

  53. Gee January 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Congratulations on your ‘coming out day’…I love your writing, I read this piece three times today 🙂

  54. murt January 20, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Beautiful – thank you for writing and sharing this.

  55. W January 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    Inspiration! LOVE and admire your courage to be so willing to share! Thank you and kudos! Wishing you the very best always..and in your continued ‘heart stretching’. 🙂

  56. Just another weirdo January 21, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    Judging from the responses of most people here, it is clear that they are quite impressed by the apparent courage it must have taken for Wainaina to, uuuumm, do I say “…… come clean”???

    It would seem like the public admission that one is gay is the ultimate act of fully coming to terms with the fact that one is “plagued” with this “abnormality”.

    If this is so, it explains why this particular admission by Binyavanga has attracted accolades and lots of “best wishes” from those who empathize and/or sympathize with his peculiarity.

    I now find myself wondering; there are other people who feel that they are equally “odd”. Could they be passing up a real opportunity to feel better about themselves and even be praised, understood and encouraged by others because of “staying in the closet”?

    There are those who have chosen “sex with themselves” and other inanimate objects a.k.a. “masturbation” as a lifestyle.
    Should they call a family meeting and announce that they are “masturbationists”?
    [They are so weird that there is no proper English noun existing that refers to them]

    What of those who are into bestiality, (goats/chicken/cows/their pet dogs e.t.c)?
    Should they also come out of the closet so that ordinary people and parliamentarians debate/discuss/encourage or discourage their sexual orientation?

    How can I forget others who have chosen never to have sex at all?
    Those who have opted for a rather odd, yes, even extra-ordinary lifestyle?
    A celibate lifestyle.
    Should those in that closet also call a press conference and announce it?

    Maybe it is about time I try and come out – (albeit partially and anonymously) – and say that even me, I am a weirdo – sexually.

    I am a heterosexual married monogamist.
    I have been enjoying and tolerating, in more or less equal measure, not very regular sex with my spouse of more than one a half decades – ONLY.
    Is this not considered strange sexual behavior in today’s world?
    Doesn’t my sexual behavior as a one half of a married couple qualify me for the “weird” group?

    Far too many spouses who have been together for long are barely having sex – WITH EACH OTHER. Barely.
    Some are not having sex at all – With each other.
    Others are not having sex at all – not with each other, not with other people, not with things and not with animals.
    How is that for extra-weird?

    Is there anybody out there who will show me some love for this public admission of my weird sexual choices?

    I mean, it is embarrassing to admit even to myself that I am not getting some as often as I imagine others in my position are getting despite having satisfied all “religious”, “legal” and “social” requirements that warrant me to get some on the regular.
    Even more embarrassing is the admission that most times I get it; I don’t really enjoy it – at least to begin with.
    I don’t even think about initiating it these days because I hardly miss it.
    Who can believe that our children have been sleeping in our marital bed while we sleep on two different seats in our living room?
    That has been going on for like 28 out of 30/31 days in a month for the last 3 months or thereabout.

    It is so weird that I would never tell anybody who would half way recognize me.
    Oh, wait a minute – I have told one friend who thinks I am taking far too much for granted in my marriage.
    My friend really encouraged me to stop “joking around with my marriage.”

    There are times I miss making love and think that maybe I should hustle for some.
    Then something ……. anything, happens.
    My spouse is asleep, the kids are awake in the living room, the kids are asleep on our bed, I am tired, my spouse annoys me [my spouse happens to be a very annoying person], a guest comes, a friend calls and we speak for too long – eventually, the low libido goes to below zero.

    Do we love each other? Yes we do.
    Do we like each other? Not particularly, especially nowadays.

    What is killing the passion? There is a lot of apathy.
    No one is really intentional about tending to the marital relationship.
    None of us seems to be really bothered about rekindling passion and connectedness.
    I used to try a lot harder to keep the fire burning a while ago.
    However, my spouse, who is basically a good person is most definitely not the lovey – dovey type.
    I felt that that my efforts did not mean much them given that they seemed so caught up in the rat race that their life was seriously out of balance – as far as I was concerned.

    I found myself getting repeatedly frustrated, hurt and angry and eventually I just stopped trying.
    I found more peace in resigning myself to a “low-passion” marriage.
    You know how you say, “whar-ever” and throw your hands?
    Now we are just moving on from day to day mostly concerned and stressed out by the pressures and cares of modern day living vis-à-vis unmet personal and family goals.

    Do we have a bitter conflict touching on fundamentals – infidelity, domestic violence, irresponsible parenting, alcoholism, serious financial impropriety, personality disorders, religious fanaticism, witchcraft, devil worshiping and the like? NO.

    In my understanding, it is nothing beyond the ordinary trifles of any marriage between two strong headed people.
    My only growing concern is that our quarrels have increased significantly especially since we both shifted base from the bed to the living room.
    Could the lack of sexual intimacy be responsible for the increased misunderstandings or are the increased misunderstandings responsible for the drastically decreased sexual activity?
    Who knows?
    Who cares?
    Yeah – that’s how bad it is getting.

    Deep within me I know that something’s gotta give and it better be sooner rather than later otherwise, the sexual monogamy of one or even both of us may be a thing of the past.
    Is my spouse getting some elsewhere? I think I would know or have a nagging suspicion if they were.
    I do not suspect as yet although I know that it is a real possibility if nothing changes.
    I am not getting any and have not even toyed with the idea.
    I doubt I would allow myself to go down that road.
    My conscience and my spiritual convictions would not allow me without putting up a serious fight.

    Can someone please recognize me for sharing this very personal piece of information – albeit anonymously?
    Hey, how about I call a family meeting and tell them how weird my sex life is?
    What if call a press conference and announce it?
    With proper positioning, I am sure some media house would be interested in featuring me bearing out the gory details of my sex life – or lack of it. I might even make the prime time news. I dream…..
    How about I ditch the anonymity that this part of the World Wide Web affords me and come clean to all and sundry about the oddity of my sex life?
    I am certain that there are people out there in cyber space who just out of curiosity would not mind knowing more about the person behind this story.

    It is not my intention to make light of Wainaina’s “issues” as highlighted to the public herein.

    I am just wondering;
    Who really needs to know that Wainaina is just another weirdo – courtesy of his sexual preferences?

    Let me ask that again s-l-o-w-l-y:
    WHO —– REALLY —– NEEDS —– TO —– KNOW that Binyavanga is just another weirdo?

    Other questions one might ask are;
    WHO —– REALLY —– WANTS —– TO —– KNOW that Binyavanga is just another weirdo?
    WHO —– EVEN —– WANTS —– TO —– KNOW that Binyavanga is just another weirdo?
    WHO —– REALLY —– CARES that Binyavanga is just another weirdo?
    WHO —– IS —– REALLY —– BOTHERED that Binyavanga is just another weirdo?

    I suggest that these questions are serious and all “weirdos” and “wackos” intending to come out clean should consider them carefully especially as they plan on their “coming out” options.

    Why do I say this?
    Because, being a weirdo is not an absolute. It is relative.
    Anyone who sees things from a radically different perspective than your own will most likely be a weirdo at best, or a complete wacko in your eyes.

    Every human being makes it to someone’s “weirdo” list and someone else’s “wacko” list.

    Granted, Wainaina is a weirdo in my eyes – actually, more of a wacko.

    But what I find most weird is that he finds it necessary to tell Kenyans and the world that he finds himself more inclined to those of his own gender for romantic liaisons.

    That is what I find most intriguing.

    Is it for therapeutic reasons?
    Is it empathy that he desires?
    Is it catharsis through self-revelation he seeks?

    Is it information he is giving us just for information’s sake?
    Could it be just an academic exercise for him? He just wants to see how people will respond.
    Could it be just another story he is telling? He is a writer after-all.

    Could it be that he really wants to contribute to societal development through creating a deeper awareness of a situation/condition/preference that the vast majority consider rather odd?

    If something disturbed me so deeply that it took me 39 years to admit to myself something I’ve felt since I was 5 years of age, I would most probably look for someone to confide in and explore the issue with.
    I would do this first before I embark on exploring it with the world – those who would be bothered anyway.
    I would take up the issue with someone I love and/or trust.
    Someone like a sibling maybe;
    A best friend,
    A lover,
    A spouse,
    A priest,
    A counselor,
    A therapist,
    A psychiatrist,
    A customer care rep at the other end of a toll-free line e.g. Safaricom’s number 100 for their pre-paid customers [bad joke]?

    That’s how I would do it, if I were him.
    I am not prescribing the standard procedure for coming of out of the closet.
    I recognize that it is my modus operandi that makes me think that Binyavanga’s public admission that he is gay is as strange as his sexual orientation.

    It is a well known fact that there is the thing, and then their is the thing behind the thing.

    What is it that is really driving Binyavanga Wainaina’s public admission?

    That is the next lost chapter I wish he would write as brilliantly as he usually does.

    I believe that allowing the world a peek into his innermost thoughts and motivations in so far as this revelation is concerned would evoke the interest of psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, journalists, gossipers, curious onlookers and a host of other audiences

    Over to you, Mr Wainaina ……..

    Now that you have told us the what, how about you tell us more about the why and maybe leave the how to our imagination.

    • njoki January 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

      Very well put. An article within an article

    • Scientist January 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      This is for the ignorants to get enlightened

      • Skein M January 24, 2014 at 10:21 am #

        Thank you, Scientist, for this very informative link: a fascinating summary of scientific studies that uncover some of the biological roots of sexual orientation.

        Especially pertinent, in the context of this forum, is the concluding video in the series, which reviews a study of societal attitudes to homosexuality in Sweden, where queer was once a swearword. Three factors were found to be responsible for a marked upswing in tolerance and acceptance of gays over the past three decades: the passing of anti-discrimination legislation, an increased visibility of lesbians and gays, and an appreciation of the verifiable fact that homosexuality has a biological cause and is a normal variant of human sexuality.

        This is why Binyavanga’s courageous and poetic revelation of his “gaiety” is so admirable, necessary and important at this juncture. When politicians across Africa are courting the self-appointed moral majority and stoking populist prejudice by enacting draconian anti-gay laws, we need brave public figures who are admired by honest folk to stand up and show there is nothing shameful or unnatural about being gay.

        The pernicious prejudice preached by fundamentalist bigots of every religious stripe, particularly those narrow-minded bible-thumping sects spawned by the money-grubbing American evangelist crusaders, who win converts among the downtrodden by using the classic scapegoat trick of labeling a minority community as aberrant, must be countered with the truth: human sexuality is a continuum, not a binary male-and-female duality.

        Just reading through the comments here, it becomes evident that Binyavanga’s personal revelation, expressed so poignantly and disarmingly, is convincing even avowed homophobes to at least examine their prejudices and start to tolerate, if not fully accept, gays as normal. It is quite striking that all those whose hearts remain hardened use religion to condemn him unless he changes his sinful ways. Such bigots will never hear the human, biological truth, but the rest of us can nevertheless turn the tide against intolerance and persecution.

        Bravo, Mr Wainaina, may your heart keep opening.

    • kolembo January 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      Binyavanga is free. It’s the world that had chosen to listen so intensely. It cannot be comfortable camping out under other people’s beds. Wainaina is free. And rightly so. And it really DOESN’T matter whether or not you care. It’s just that he finds himself in the curious position where others feel they have a right to determine who he loves.

      The government is not interested in your life at home in bed with your wife.

      As it should be.

      • QQ January 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

        I wish there was an up-vote option for comments. I would have up-voted this to oblivion. Just another Weirdo is just trying to cloak bigotry in philosophy. We see you…
        Also, ‘The government is not interested in your life at home in bed with your wife. As it should be…’ is easily the best thing I’ve read here today.

    • Joy January 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

      that moment when the comment is better than the post!

    • writer January 21, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

      really good writing, really makes sense.

    • Anna han January 22, 2014 at 6:23 am #

      I feel you….

    • Mochama January 22, 2014 at 7:00 am #

      We all are whacko in our own weird ways.
      ‘Just A Weirdo,’ you have written a wonderful tale.
      Do I have your permission to re-print it in a national paper ( sans the ‘Binya’ bits)?

    • kuria January 22, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      my thoughts exactly!

    • Joe W January 22, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

      Sir, you choose to ignore the larger point that Binyavanga is standing up against fear and ignorance, despite threat to personal safety, and speaking out for what’s right.
      As a straight person, you do not live in fear of discrimination, alienation, violence, imprisonment or death because who you choose to love.

      I pray this will have a real positive difference to attitudes towards gay and lesbian people. I salute you Binyavanga for having the courage to come out in a oppressive situation and challenge fellow Kenyans and Africans in their homophobia.

      Well done Binya!

      • Mildred January 23, 2014 at 4:54 am #

        I Think we are all lost in this one. I think homophobia has been blown out of proportions.
        Neither heterosexual people or homosexual people need to air their dirty linen in public.
        They both can’t for instance have sex in public! All these things happen in the inner rooms!

        Why should any of these two groups tell us what they do in their inner rooms?
        Isn’t that their business?

        A penis, a vagina or a butt are natural creations; just expose anyone of them in public and you’ll be lynched! Why you ask ” Don’t all these world be judges have their own sexual organs under their pants? (actually throbbing in the case of an exposed vagina … well, butt too)

        The problem is not the organs; the unthinkable is to expose them in public. That is what we are, hypocrites. Keep the organs covered. That is the norm! We all believe in it! Stop pretending. Don’t we all preach water and drink wine?

    • Natalie January 28, 2014 at 4:34 am #

      You are my hero. I read your memoir and it knocked me over. Now you’ve cracked me open. You are a real artist–in speaking your own truth, you pierce the hearts of others, free us momentarily from our own static. I am grateful and hope to have the guts to follow suit, to be honest whatever the risk.

    • anonymous February 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      Thank you, anonymous. Thank you very much!

    • Nkem viany Njelita February 6, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      I wonder seriously what they think when they put up this their acknowledgement of sin sorry their lifestyle. Please bear yours and let me bear mine.

  57. Eng Mwangi January 21, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    I have more questions than answers after reading this but the answers to those questions are all in the piece. I would like to argue, maybe convince you about something that I know not about. I could even try and judge you but I am only one of the many whose heads are a degree away from flipping after reading this.

    All I can say is, any decision a man maketh is right if he so deems. You Only Live Once man. Live it that once!!

  58. Tracy Parker January 21, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    Be yourself and be true to yourself. Live life to the full and be glad you are on our beautiful planet.

  59. Cookie January 21, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    I applaud you for being brave enough to do this and to do it so beautifully. You got my heart stretching 🙂

  60. Brian Kae January 21, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    You do you Binyavanga, be brave as you are now the courage of many others!

  61. Kipkulei January 21, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    So now am supposed to understand? No. And its not homophobia, its being naturally human.

  62. Taruri January 21, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    Wow… So beautiful, so heartfelt, so amazing!!! Thanks for sharing your truth with us. Thank you for showing us your journey with this. We need more truth like this… I send you love and wish you so much happiness. Blessings!

  63. Nyangweso O. January 21, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    I am in awe, first of your writing, and second of the strength and courage you have displayed within this piece. To do what you have done, in this climate, is the sort of thing that creates heroes. I don’t know you personally yet I am so proud of you. I wish I could shake your hand with that kind of respect I was taught to display to “wakubwa” because that is what you are in my mind, a true mheshimiwa. As a straight ally I am so grateful to you for being someone the LGBT youth can look up to. I wish you the best; I wish you all the happiness and peace. I hope you get to experience the kind of joy that comes with true love. May God bless you, in this life and in the next. Asante!

  64. Lillymumo January 21, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    Amazing and captivating piece. To be in comfort and happy with self is to be trully alive. So go on and live in that place however difficult it may/will be atleast the missing chapter is finally found and you in turn are liberated…

  65. Jordan January 21, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    This must have taken great courage. I respect you for that. As a gay man I also find the bigotry spewed by religious zealots in the comments here totally inappropriate. There is a certain arrogance in a belief system which allows a person to assume complete and impeachable moral authority over others and custodianship of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ (in terms of such direly simplistic and unquestioned dichotomies).

  66. joe January 21, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    its alright wainaina..i think mummy knew it# she did.. she loved u still. you free now! xo great a writer u are! God gifted# for the rest of your life, live it your damn life bro en let nobody bring u down!! we luv u# keep writin…

  67. Evans Okeyo January 21, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    wow..thanks have carefully chosen words and taken your audience until a long journey back and have indeed changed my perception about homosexuals…

    • Rawlings January 21, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Close your eyes and in a meditative mood ask yourself who am i?and is this right?Hear your soul speak not with your ears but through your heart.For God speaks in a still small voice.He created you and He knows you more than the way you perceive of yourself.Forget about your gifts,talents,popularity and everything that defines you,and let your soul speak,please hear…You are not living for yourself a lot of people across the world look upto you…make the right choice please hear your soul speak.

  68. Rista January 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Why is everyone so silent about the heartbreaking revelations of the 5 year old? Or do we prefer the sensational revelation and not the painful one?

  69. E January 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    beautiful piece from the heart.

  70. Swoozie Bisiery January 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    You are brave… I hope you have now found peace…

  71. Mkadziwe January 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    Please write some more and explain this! But why BW? Why? First your little spoilt sis, then now you. Hapana. Explain to us homophobics how this is so.!!!

    • njoki January 21, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      Who is the spoiled little sis. Please give me a link. And yes why why why?

  72. linah phoenix January 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    And sure this is the day you write about this place….. being right or wrong is just a matter of perspective that has been set by the society……no one should judge you for being who you are and neither should you feel any remorse for it…..
    I can not tell you that I understand, because I am not in any position to be in your shoes, but you told your story better than any person can…..

    (p.s: everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but then again, if you do not have anything nice to say keep your peace and shut up!!!!)

  73. Gidson January 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Sounds like guilt, that’s how every truth sounds anyway.

  74. Tina January 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi,, Binya…
    I really must say YOU ARE BRAVE. As a christian, i,ll pray that you find your true-self cause that’s my call to help people recover from struggles thru a Christ – Based Program in Kenya … All this may be brave but false since the devil wants you to believe in your desires but GOD created you special in his own way, will n desire. God cannot make errors … n neither is he confused.

    There is HOPE! ….. you can be delivered!

    You may not understand this feeling that is real yet unreal since it originate from spiritual rimes. You have fought it… so so hard that now you have to accept and live with it. That’s how the devil works. When you cannot fight it anymore , he wants you to believe in it n give in. But there is a HIGHER POWER …JESUS CHRIST, WHO HAVE DESIGN A BEAUTIFUL FUTURE FOR YOU. TRY THIS MAN JESUS…like you’ve never done before!! WALK WITH HIM WHOLE HEARTEDLY N YOU SHALL SEE THE LIGHT. THE DARK SHADOW WILL LEAVE YOU FOREVER. THANK YOU FOR SHARING! WE LOVE YOU! ….. and are praying for you every sec n min of the way. “i just hope you read this”

  75. Tengenenge January 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    An absolute shame…no pretence

  76. daniel kariuki January 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    its now evident that gays and lesbian rights have entered the world’s mainstream.Soon many gays and lesbian Africans will come out of closet and proudly declare their orientation like Wainaina.Homophobes can take this to the bank.This is the arc of history and its unstoppable.its through Wainaina’s writing that i ask all the “haters”to stop hating and start loving.Live and let live.

  77. Nyaga January 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    All the best men. I applaud you for being brave. I hope to one day borrow a pinch of your courage and take the step you have taken.

  78. HARRIET OWALLA January 21, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    Great work but I really believe that you need God.That feeling will not go away simply because you are with a man but you need the love of God to cover your heart and mind. That is true joy and not even happiness. I love you and accept you as you are but I feel that void of emptiness in your heart that only God can fill. Thanks for opening my eyes

  79. Lily January 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Lol @justanotherweirdo, you’re brave too. What can i say,maybe coming out leads to some sort of relief & means that you’ve come to terms with it…who knows

  80. kamaa January 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    take heart proficient writer.. so so heart pricking. atlst u tried fighting bak n by reavlng it paints hw much u r against it. may de almighty console u efficiently n stem de brave tides in u, it isolates u frm many.

  81. kolembo January 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Well done Binyavanga. Now we’re motoring. There’s nothing like before and after where you’re writing is concerned by the way. You remain the giant that calls Africa to a larger imagination of itself. Keep moving.

  82. The Amerucan January 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Interesting story BW…

    Lakini dude,get some help. What you are doing is unnatural. It is as a result of a union between a MAN and a WOMAN that you came to be. If your father was gay…….jijazie….

    Get a woman…..if you don’t want, remain celibate. God put so much effort on creating beauty encapsulated in the female form and its all out here for you. So you and your kind stop wasting His time and talent.

    Keep on this gay thing and you wont even have a son to make such a confession in future. Grow up, be a MAN and take your place in society….

  83. him January 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    thank you so much for doing what many are still so afraid (and rightly so) to do. it is not easy being one of the first but many will follow and slowly Africa will start to evolve from the darkness of homophobia.

  84. David Muriithi January 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    And the much needed public discussion homosexulaity is properly ignited. Well done Binya. I am proud to call you my friend. #freeatlast You only have one life…YOURS!! Live it and love the naysayers…for they will be legion

  85. Beverley Naidoo January 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    Let’s remember Tata Mandela’s words at his inauguration: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.”

    Apartheid police swooped into bedrooms with their flashlights to determine the colour of those sleeping together. The white Calvinists who devised the ‘Immorality Act’ in the name of ‘racial purity’ claimed – and believed – that the Bible and God was on their side. Are those who claim moral – and legal – superiority today over gays and lesbians really any different?

    All courage to you, Binyavanga, and may writers from Africa and around the world speak out in defence of those who are being persecuted because of their sexuality. Oppression of whatever nature is obscene. Equality is indivisible.

  86. putty January 21, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    yaaaaaay! yipppppeeeeeeeeee! faaaaaaabulous! woooooooo-hOO!

  87. Ekwa Msangi January 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    The truth is beauty and the truth will set you free. Stand bravely in your true essence brother. Bless you and thank you for your bravery…

  88. sam January 21, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    kwani being gay is the new fad?

  89. jj January 22, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    No amount of words or emotions can justify what is already wrong.This is an unnatural act just lyk beastiality…..this person should seek spiritual help from a true church n from a true servant of God.

  90. kenn January 22, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Before you left Njoro Boys for Mangu there was Isutza,the head boy. Is he a character in the ‘Missing Chapter’?

  91. Debs January 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    So beautifully written. . . . who are we to judge . . . . i am in tears . . . .you just spoke for so many who have lost their voices, those whom the system has failed, those the system has now rendered criminals.

  92. Mildred January 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    I have always wondered if it is necessary to explain what you are to the world. Is this a confession?
    If it is, then, confessing what? If whoever we are is ok in the eyes of God and man, why is it necessary to explain? If this is the world we all leave in, don’t we all belong here?

    Why do gay people go out of their way to explain what they are? Are they not happy with what they are? Are they helping us to believe they are not ok? Why would the world need the gay community to explain themselves? Or have they suddenly found themselves in an alien planet (EARTH)? Are gay people from another planet? Could it be possible all gay people are actually martians?

    Is it possible that all heterosexual people are some alien invaders who landed on earth some hundreds of years ago and started slowly assimilating the gay people who were the natives of the earth until their numbers have gone down so badly?

    Why do I say this? For all natural things it is obvious. Have you found a man going nuts asking why trees are here? Why is it that two eyes are enough? Why are five fingers so Natural? Why is it that we question things that are Natural?

    If all things that happen under the sun are ok, why in the world would a gay parson explain or confess his orientation to anyone? Why are heterosexuals the right ones and the gays the wrong ones?

    Please, if you are gay; Keep it to yourself. If you are heterosexual, please don’t tell us. Who the hell wants to know?

    • Joe W January 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      …”Why do gay people go out of their way to explain what they are? Are they not happy with what they are? Are they helping us to believe they are not ok?”…

      Mildred… the news isn’t the fact that Binyavanga is gay but that he has chosen to come out in what is a very oppressive situation, so challenging his fellow Kenyans and Africans in their homophobia – that’s the news in this item and, yes, it’s very important.

      • Mildred January 23, 2014 at 4:35 am #

        Joe W, I respect you argument. What I am trying to say is simple.

        To be or not to be? I would say, be what you are and stay what you are.

        One debate leads to another and another and we always come back to the beginning.

        We are all screwed up. We are human beings, have you forgotten?

        How does discussing Binyavanga’s sexuality help the world?

        Now the poor guy has become an open book and everyone is ready to read, digest and burn his pages!

        He is now a bigger work of art compared to his writings! Is that the aim of this discussion?

  93. Nancy January 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Though I read this shocked, I wish you well Binya, I always admire your writing. Also, previous comments tell a lot.

  94. Mildred January 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    I hope for the love of God Binyavanga is not taking us for a freaking ride. Hell forbid if he is looking for materials for a new Novel into the psyche of the heterosexuals and homosexuals of this world! Where will we take him if he comes back and says. “Hell, that was the most incredible research into the mind of the human race … I am as straight as a measuring line!”

    Jesus! God forbid if we are not unwitting writing the next novel for Wainaina.

    You are a Literary Genius my brother!

  95. QQ January 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    My goodness! The bigotry I’m seeing here is numbing my brain. How a woman can say ‘anything that needs to be justified is wrong’ when we have women everywhere trying to justify feminism just astounds me. How we can sit and judge someone based solely on his sexual orientation, something they have no control over, is beyond me when we are the same ones here moaning everyday about being discriminated against because we’re black, or fat, or short, or ugly, because we’re not the right community, because we’re poor…or any other thing you’ve felt discriminated against for. MY GOD! The hypocrisy hurts my brains.
    I am not gay, just FYI, before y’all start throwing shoes at me.
    As I said up-post, everyone is entitled to their happiness. And until your pursuit of your happiness interferes with mine then I really don’t see what your life has to do with mine.
    And as for the Bible-pushers, please! Have all the seats at Kasarani stadium with that self-righteousness. The Bible says love, respect and treat EVERYONE with kindness regardless of who they are. Not people who look like you only and hate the rest, not people who live a life like yours and hate the rest…it says EVERYONE. So excuse me if I’m not jumping onto your self-righteous, bigotted bandwagon. It seems we only use the bible to justify what is right to us, anyone else be damned. Even the colonialists felt they were righteous and that the bible justified everything they did. So, don’t tell me the reason you hate someone is because they are gay and the bible says to hate them. The bible says no such thing. The bible does not appoint you the moral custodian. The bible does not tell you to be concerned with who another person sleeps with. How would you feel if I tried to dictate to you what to wear, what to eat, who to sleep with just because I THINK I’m morally supeior to you? The bible does not say consider yourself superior to someone else because you have read the bible. The bible tells us to love each and every damn one of us.
    Live your life, let other people live their lives, that’s all I’m saying.

    • Mildred January 23, 2014 at 4:24 am #

      “Live your life, let other people live their lives, that’s all I’m saying.


      QQ, this is my point exactly. Don’t go crying … Oh I am a woman …. oh I am black …. I am gay…
      This is how the oppressor turns to use your fears against you …. Your supposed weakness …

      Be proud of what you are! Don’t over-explain it if you know you are right.

      It is like a zebra shouting. ” I am a relative of Donkey and horse and I have black stripes … oh crap … what I meant is I have white stripes.

      Please Kenyans of all orientations! Give me a break!

  96. Joe W January 22, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    A selfless action by a brave man who uses his voice to speak for the many who cannot.
    Well done Binya. I am proud of you, you legend!

  97. alex January 22, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    Coming from him, I would say I am not the least surprised that Binyavanga has come out. This is not a man who is willing to live his life a lie. From time to time he spews out stimulating takes on the state of the world and Africa in particular about which he wrote, “How to write about Africa” a piece of work which has continued to receive rave reviews since its publication. Binyavanga quite literally does not care what this society thinks of him as an openly gay man, all that he asks is that society lets him and all others willing to out-rail from the conventional societal track be.

  98. angel January 24, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    I love your work man. I do

    Who are we to judge whats rights and whats not, in this age of fornication and adultery, bestiality and rape…may he without sin cast the first stone…that his orientation, let the man be. Has he asked any one man to turn his ways and join his? I don’t think so. lets quit with all this self righteous bs and move on.

    Being at peace with your god (whoever you take him to be) and being at peace with yourself is what matters most

  99. chess January 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    fine you are gay. question is, who cares. i fear for the kids who look up to u. u have really confused them

  100. Bobbi January 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    I care that you have come to terms with yourself and revealed you truth to the world.

    I care because my son or my brother might be living in a personal hell unable to be himself because of the stigma you are currently at war with. Why would a five year old know he likes men. How can he even be sexually aware. I dont know. The bible says its wrong, and yet I will wait for dowry goats to be paid before I say my vows in church. There is alot about this world that God is yet to teach us.

    Peace of mind has no premium. I hope you have found this priceless state of mind.

  101. gmm January 26, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    As a US African American, I can relate to your struggle, being torn to be who you are and familty and community expectations. I, too, have only been able to live freely as a lesbian after my parents deaths, though I suspect my mother always knew. Though she would ask after my ” roommate,” there was something that could not be named, could not be spoken. See, parents–especially mothers–see these things in us. And yes, from choldhood, even as early as five. I am so in awe of you for writing this.

  102. Adel Chombe January 26, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    Binyavanga all this is nonsense, at five there’s no
    way you knew sex, let alone sexual orientation.
    Then again, you’ve already admitted that
    disclosing to your mum about your sexual
    orientation was not going to be good news, at
    back of your mind you know it’s not a good thing
    to be proud about.
    You sound like may be you were compelled to be
    a male prostitute to eke a living down south.
    Really, I do not care about the “morality” of it, my
    problem with you faggots is one: why don’t you
    guys keep your bedroom matters to yourself ?
    Just pound whatever @$$ you mutually consent
    on and keep it to yourselves!
    Are faggots being paid to “disclose” your
    orientation? This
    is just a way of gaining cheap publicity.
    Sin is sin yes, but even a warthog knows the
    difference between male and female.

  103. Holmes January 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    That’s the reason i said “I have no sexual standards.” Anyway, on a rational note, toddlers and sex? Are you kidding me? I hope you ain’t.

    Binya being or not being gay ain’t really an issue. He chose his orientation and as a big admirer of his work, the least i can do is to support him hoping he knows very well what he’s doing.

    It must have really drained him coming out as he did and i think lots of others who’re like him – in a country full of hypocrites – will be strengthned by his decision.

    What i don’t honestly get, Quail, is the toddler dimension and sexuality. It sounds more to me like he was shifting blame (or something?). More like the “saved” bullshit of ‘i didn’t do it, Satan made me’?

    I think i understand what it took him to get out. The meaning of sacrifice, you know. Much like fresh blood falling with life still in it.

    It’s been really a journey for him. With a “lost chapter” and so on.

    Finally, Quail, i, Holmes, sit down.

  104. Tracey January 30, 2014 at 2:31 am #

    And now, may you breathe, Binya, with fullness, with ease and with life.

  105. kevin May 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    you are a disgrace to Kenya and Africa as a continent. without knowing you have influenced most people
    negatively. Africa need men who will fight for her not gays


  1. Binyavanga Wainaina, 1971–2019, RIP - Inside Politics - May 22, 2019

    […] chapter’ of his memoir, in which he imagined a conversation with his late mother, titled ‘I am a homosexual, Mum’. In a subsequent talk at TEDxEuston, titled ‘Conversations with Baba’, Wainaina shared the […]

  2. Binyavanga Wainaina, Pioneering Voice in African Literature, Dies at 48 - Tanjarin - May 23, 2019

    […] Wainaina privately grappled with his sexuality. In 2014, he published what he described as a “lost chapter” from his life story. An intensely personal essay, titled “I am a homosexual, […]

  3. A Tribute to Binyavanga Wainaina | PEN South Africa - June 4, 2019

    […] ‘I Am a Homosexual, Mum’, an imagined confession to his late mother at her deathbed, Wainana offered a voice that continued […]

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