It was a Wednesday (ladies’ night) when I went to enjoy my night with a friend. Normally one expects to find couples dancing and enjoying themselves to the music. Music played on Wednesdays in most clubs are those soft music (probably because it a ladies’ night
This Wednesday night, my friend and I hoped form one club to the other. When the music in a particular club became monotonous, we moved to another club. After we had visited two pubs in town we decided to settle for one famous club loved by many middle class persons. We chose to sit at the far end of the club as am accustomed. Being a ladies’ night out, there were several couples. Either the men had their girlfriends or wives.
Right opposite us, there were two men who were having a good time. Am a music lover so I kept going to the dance floor each time they played my favorite songs. Each time I made sure to dance with my lady friend who had accompanied me.
Each time I went to the dance floor I realized that there was this middle aged man who kept coming to dance next to me. Being a social place I danced with me and we connected and exchanged numbers. He asked if we could meet the following day and I agreed. I suggested that we first have a chat to know each other before the meeting. He Introduced himself as Patrick* after a long time chatting he said, “I believe you are a grown up and whatever we will talk about will be kept a secret.” I assured him of the confidentiality.
“I was born and brought up in a small town in gem in Nyanza and I lived there for many years before I moved to the Nairobi. The family life was good and I had a happy childhood. My parents worked hard to give us education opportunities. My mother was not Kenyan. They always advised us to think of our future. We are four and am the first boy, family of two boys and two girls,” he said smiling…
He continued, that time trying hard to get him because of the loud music, “My sexuality was never an issue until I left high school. School made me very occupied with studies that I never had time to think seriously about my romantic life and my parents also taught us good values. I never really thought hard about to have girlfriends because I knew I would have them after school. However I was very social and made many friends.
After school I found myself attracted to both men and women. I found this very strange.” I asked him how he coped with this. “I was very confused about the mixed feelings and used the internet to source information so as to understand what was really happening to me. After a lot of reading, I realized that I was a bisexual.
I asked him if any of his family members were aware of his sexual orientation and their feelings towards it. He said that a few of his family members were aware and had different opinions about his sexuality. I asked him if he was an open bisexual and he said no. he explained that he loves his life private because of security issues which surround gay men.
During this discussion I explained to my new friend what our organization does and asked him to attend one of our health sessions. He got interested and even asked if KASH was purely for LGBTIQ. I told him that we also work with sex workers.
“How sure can I be that I will not be exposed? Being African, gays are not allowed,” he posed. I explained to him that we work with men who have sex with men and he needed not to worry. I assured him that I would link him with other MSM group where he would learn how to live as a gay and how to protect himself from HIV. I also explained to him how our health sessions are conducted. I also explained to him our empowerment program where we encourage MSMs to form groups and link them to finance institutions where they are given loans to start up businesses. I told him that most MSM are youth and are jobless which increases their vulnerability to HIV. We ended the conversation since our friends were now becoming impatient. Patrick agreed to meet me in the next health session.
“I had many questions about my sexuality and life while growing up. I feel I like I had a forum to air these views without fear of punishment or disapproval many things would have been different he said”