Listen

September 15, 2014
By MadeleineR GOLD, Fort Wayne, Indiana
MadeleineR GOLD, Fort Wayne, Indiana
17 articles 4 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
"But thoughts are tyrants, that return again and again to torment us." --Wuthering Heights


Our speaker was a “former gay” man who had converted to Christianity, a survivor of sexual violence, HIV positive, suffering from anal cancer, with no male reproductive organs (they had been cut off), requiring a catheter, bags for waste, and various medicines that he constantly has to take, even while giving his presentation.
He began by telling us that he had not eaten for four days when his ordeal started. He was 19 and met a woman of 59 who offered to pay him for sex. He said he was so hungry…so he did it. I lost track of how he ended up becoming a victim of sexual violence and homosexuality, because Sr. Immaculate handed me one of the pamphlets, which was open to a page of pictures.
The pictures were of victims of sexual violence—not homosexuality—with their intestines spilling out, bleeding, dying. Others featured a doctor’s examination of a man whose genitalia had been butchered and ‘re-created’ to represent female genitalia. All this while listening to the man’s voice in the background as he described his friend’s death after his intestines had ‘fallen out’ so to speak.
And there I was, sitting in front of an auditorium full of hundreds of young boys, watching as these pictures were shown to even the smallest children of six and seven. I put my hand to my mouth, trying not to vomit. I’ve never felt such a strong urge to be sick and to cry at the same time. So I covered my mouth and stared at the audience. Occasionally the speaker would turn to me (Sr. Immaculate and I were the only women present, and I was the only white person), and say things like “are you following me?” or “Do you understand?” to make sure that I was listening to him. I could only nod my head.
I wanted to stand up and leave, but I was seated in the front. It would have caused such a commotion if I had fled the room, discrediting the speaker, embarrassing Sr. Immaculate, scaring some of the younger children, so I sat and listened.
Humans are not meant to suffer that way. Those pictures and stories were not of the crime of homosexuality but of sexual violence. Just because you are gay doesn’t mean these things are going to happen to you. But that’s the moral of the story here. Being gay leads to this. The man even brought out a dildo to show the boys—if they see a classmate with a dildo, they’re supposed to report it to a teacher immediately. The boys are supposed to be on the lookout for the ‘spies’ the homosexuals plant in schools—young boys whose purpose is to convert other young boys to homosexuality.
Afterwards we took questions from the audience and several little boys came to the front to ask how someone’s intestines fall out, worried that it would happen to them, or asking how to avoid getting their genitalia cut off.
I was furious that children were exposed to something like this. It was something I myself did not even want to see. I’m aware that the world has these issues…but I don’t want to see pictures of butchered human beings. Beyond being disturbing to me, I feel as if they don’t respect the privacy and dignity of the people who are already victims. Sr. Immaculate asked me what I thought, so I told her that I was appalled by the brutality with which these people had been treated—human suffering such as this should be avoided at all cost. But I couldn’t tell her that this was a misrepresentation of homosexuality, and that I didn’t agree. I couldn’t tell her that I thought it was wrong to tell these boys that being gay would lead to this—because it doesn’t!—and I couldn’t tell her that I don’t think it should be illegal to be homosexual. I’m in a culture where this is the accepted norm—and I’m an outsider. I don’t get to voice my opinion on these topics, I can only listen.
I guess you don’t realize what you have until you leave it. This made me appreciate all the more the freedom we have in the United States to express our sexuality (even though I am Catholic, I support the right of human beings to be free. Just because I am Catholic and the church doesn’t support a homosexual lifestyle doesn’t mean they have to adhere to my religious authority and values), and to censor what our children see and hear. I don’t want my children to see or hear those kind of things. But if my children are school children in Uganda….I won’t have a choice. Freedom is not something to be taken lightly.


The author's comments:

I'm working in Uganda for three months, and I have loved almost everything I have encountered here. This is the exception. 


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