A Motswana man speaks candidly about being born a homosexual
Following a recent media workshop on how to report positively on gay issues, one gay man, Caine Youngman spoke candidly to Real Lives about being born gay and how he tried in vain to be straight.
This is his story as told to FRANCINAH BAAITSE.
“I grew up in Tati siding near Francistown. I used to wear a traditional loincloth like other boys while our sisters wore Makgabe.
For us to eat we had to pound millet, maize or sorghum. So as you can see I am a Motswana, born and bred and cultured in Setswana ways.
I grew up around girls in an extended family and there were many female cousins.
I discovered in early primary school years that I was gay. When I was in standard three there was a fellow classmate that I kind of liked. I adored him in a very special way but I did not understand it then. What I knew was that it was a different feeling.
When I reached puberty stage, I thought the feeling would go away, but it did not. I thought since teenagers are controlled by hormones it would somehow vanish.
My friends and cousins used to arrange courtships for me because they thought I was afraid to make a move on girls. So there was a particular girl whom they found for me. The girl would come to our village every school vacation and I would make sure I leave the village before she arrived. In the end she gave up on me.
The more I discovered that I was gay, the more worried I became. I changed schools thinking that the attractions for the opposite sex and the gay tendencies would go away I even moved to a different village.
By the time I reached 19, I knew for certain that I was gay. I sought help from social workers and the church. I thought maybe it was a medical condition.
By the time I was at the University of Botswana I gave up on trying to change from what I am and accepted that I was gay. That is when I started my first relationship.
So I had sex for the first time at the age of 21 and it was with another man. I have never had sex with a girl or woman in my entire life. Since I was young I have been attracted to boys and I believe I was born gay.
I am currently in a relationship but my partner lives outside the country.
From a family orientated background, I hopefully want to marry. I am from a loving family and I hope to have one in future. My mother and my family know about my sexual orientation and they respect that and that is why I am asking our government and our community to stop judging us. Let consenting adults be consenting adults.
Sex cannot be regulated. Our laws criminalise homosexual sex because it contends that it is against the order of nature. If it is so, then we are all culprits and violating that law because oral sex, masturbation and any other form of sex which does not involve a penis entering a vagina, is against the law. The order of nature that we are told about is penis entering a vagina.
It is sad for our country, which is supposedly democratic to be so controlling.
Sex is not the only aspect of a relationship. For a relationship to work you need a spiritual and emotional commitment and some of us find such fulfillment in the same sex whilst others find it in the opposite sex and some get it from both the opposite and same sex partners.
That is why I am calling on government to provide equal health services for everyone regardless of their sexual background. Botswana is a country seen to be respectful of human rights. Our government provides free condoms and other contraception for heterosexuals. But it will never win the war against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases if it does not provide protective measures for the other sexual groups.
There are married men who have male partners. I am talking about the bisexual, someone who can have sex with both men and women. We have many like them in our country,” Youngman stated.
Youngman believes that being gay is not a psychological disorder. Backing him is the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which has stated in Wikipedia that until 1974 homosexuality was a mental illness. If fact even the World Health Organisation is in agreement with the statement.
Psychology was one of the first disciplines to study homosexuality as a discrete phenomenon. Prior to and throughout most of the 20th century, common standard psychology viewed homosexuality in terms of pathological models as a mental illness. That classification began to be subjected to critical scrutiny in the research, which consistently failed to produce any empirical or scientific basis for regarding homosexuality as a disorder or abnormality. As a result of such accumulated research, professionals in medicine, mental health, and the behavioral and social sciences, opposing the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, claimed the conclusion that it was inaccurate, and that the DSM classification reflected untested assumptions that were based on once-prevalent social norms and clinical impressions from unrepresentative samples which consisted of patients seeking therapy and individuals whose conduct brought them into the criminal justice system.
Since the 1970s, the consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions globally is that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexual orientation, while there remain those who maintain that it is a disorder.Thereafter other major mental health organizations followed and it was finally declassified by the World Health Organization in 1990. Consequently, while some still believe homosexuality is a mental disorder, the current research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, reflecting the official positions of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.