HARARE – The young man begs to be identified only as Tanaka Tarambwa — a name he is confident no other man has because society has “largely labelled homosexuals as outcasts who do not deserve a place in society.”
According to Wikipedia, homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between members of the same sex or gender. As an orientation, homosexuality refers to “an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectionate, or romantic attractions” primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex. “It also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviours expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them.”
“From my early days in crèche, I identified myself with girls despite the fact that I was born a boy. I just had a feeling of attraction to girls and developed a resentment for boys,” said Tanaka.
Tanaka said he has got a twin sister with whom he was very close both at home and at school until the time they both turned sixteen.
“Naturally for my twin sister, she developed love for boys during adolescent stage and began to avoid me. She began to write love letters to boys and naturally had her monthly cycles — a development I found awkward and queer. From that time, my mother restricted me from entering my sister’s bedroom. That heralded the end of our close relationship,” Tanaka said.
Tanaka believes he has some hormones in him that make him identify and socialise with women better than he does with men.
“I love to plait my hair, put on some lipstick and paint my nails.
My friends are girls in the neighbourhood. I was not born a hermaphrodite as some people would like to believe. Like other normal boys, I sometimes have wet dreams and my voice is deep since adolescence. One thing is different though. I love to have sex with other boys because I feel I am a woman,” Tanaka said.
He revealed that he even buys prohibited tablets like Appetito on the market in order to enlarge his buttocks.
“A woman must be attractive. Men love curvaceous backs and I also need the same to attract them to me. I have gone on to use other serious appetising drugs with the hope of growing my butt so I can please my men during sex,” he said.
Tanaka also confided to this reporter that he had difficult moments at school because at one time he wrote a love letter to a fellow boy who was muscular and handsome.
“Unfortunately, the boy took the letter straight to the headmaster. The entire staff was shocked and so were the other pupils. My mother was called to the school and I was given marching orders from that conservative Catholic school,” Tanaka said, adding that he had to finish his secondary education at one of the private colleges in Harare and the incident had left his only parent distraught and hopeless about his future.
Although Tanaka did well academically, his mother has vowed never to send him to college or university for professional advancement. “I think I have offended the gods for them to give me such an outcast for a child. I spend many sleepless nights crying about this boy because he has made it a point for everyone to know he is gay. This is despite the fact that I am a leader of the women’s guild at church,” Tanaka’s mother said, sobbing.
Tanaka dispelled the myths and prejudices doing the rounds in Harare that he chose to be gay and must be a member of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe which is believed to be financially sound in order to enrich himself.
“I am gay out of a personal choice and I don’t belong to any sexual pressure group like Galz. I have heard that Galz members are rich from money donated to them by other homosexuals from around the globe, but I am my own man. I realise my own money through selling fast food at my own canteen,” Tanaka said.
Sexuality, reproductive health, HIV and Aids consultant Dr Caroline Maposhere, in an interview with NewsDay said she believes that there is need to educate society more on sexual orientation in order to avoid confrontation in cases where people differ on the subject.
“Stigma and discrimination arising from one’s sexual orientation can only be dealt with if more effort is given on educating people on sexual reproductive health and rights and the need to protect these rights and fight the stereotypes thereof,” Maposhere said.
Media practitioner and social commentator Farai Gwenhure urged gays and lesbians to abide by the constitution and avoid direct confrontation with authorities when it comes to exercising their rights.
“In a highly religious nation like ours where the majority of people is Christian, homosexuals are better off doing their activities underground. My view is that no one should persecute them, but rather they should be left to face the wrath of God. It is also good for them to conduct themselves in a manner that is not contrary to the laws, our Constitution is clear on that,” Gwenhure said.
Section 4.78 of the constitution reads: “Persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other.” This means that it is a criminal offence to engage in same sex relationships. Thus, although Galz members argue that the constitution gives the right to freedom of association, there is a general view that the same right is rendered ineffective by the above section hence they are in a dilemma and are more prone to arrests.