Over the holiest weekends of the year (holy for the four days of rest) I encountered questions that left me tired. From the age of about five or six I have been subject to such questions. Sometimes, they came from friends, sometimes from adults and sometimes these questions were not questions, they were rhetorical accusations and assertions which sought to question my very being. When I read these questions over the weekend, I was not infuriated, I was bored. But it was when later on in the day I bumped into “an apology” that I was incensed. In essence, the person who had posed these stupid questions “had seen the error of his ways” and in response he said “I was just asking, I didn’t mean to offend”. Well, here’s the thing, the damage is done, I am offended. And this pint of spilt milk is one I want to cry over.
It appears that these days bigotry can easily be hidden and accepted as long as it is followed by a question mark. Asking me if I was born gay or if I made the choice to become gay seems like a logical question to most, but it is not. That you feel you need to question me in 2015 on my sexuality, choice or otherwise only exposes the bigot that you are. Your ignorance is one that I refuse to excuse. And yours is not a valid question. In an era of democracy and human rights, please explain to me what this knowledge you seek will do to benefit you? Are you asking because your son recently came out, or a nephew of yours has confided in you that he is gay and you are trying to understand? I think not. You are asking not because there is specific knowledge you seek but you are building up to insult and reduce my life to your notions of what is normal, after all you do say that my being defensive is a sign of something wrong and a certain abnormality.
Your questions can easily be likened to those of a South African who asks “why don’t they go back home?”, to a man who says “she wore a short skirt, she was asking for it”, to a white person who says “why don’t they just get work? They are lazy” and to society when they speak of a battered woman who has been killed by her partner, “why didn’t she leave?”. You are not asking from a position of seeking knowledge, your questions are your way of passing judgment. They further expose your privilege and how you ignore the pedestal from which you ask these questions. You are born with clarity, nature agrees with your being and so does science. You loving and having sex with women has never and never will be questioned. In fact, you never have to account, defend or explain why you love or are attracted to any woman, anywhere. You represent what is wrong with society and South Africa. You think you can judge me, question my existence and my life and when called out on it, simply retort with “It was an innocent question”.
Your questions are offensive and your apology is not accepted and should never be. And no, I am not asking you to take it back either. I want you to reflect on your position. That you think it is fine to say nonsense like “a man who wants to walk like a woman, dress like a woman and even have make-up on, can only be a choice”. Your assertions are homophobic, transphobic and prejudicial to many people who live with varying sexual and gender identities. Your questions are not only embarrassing but are also shameful, that in 2015, a man who describes himself as a pan-Africanist and “fashionista” could utter such. As said before, they are no different from those of racists, classists, Afrophobes and other bigots who police the existence of other humans simply because someone told you that you are born in the image of a God and science has backed up your way of living.
Let it be known that I will not apologise, not to you or anyone, for being who I am. If it’s a choice, then it’s a choice I made and you are in no position to question my choices. If I was born this way, then leave me alone, my creator knows his/her intentions with my life. And next time you feel you need to indulge your inquiring mind, read a book, Google or simply walk up to someone and ask, working for the SABC, surely there are many reference points. No need to subject us to your vitriol and call our outrage diatribe.
Disclaimer: This blog may or may not be directed at a certain SABC sports anchor whose tweets over the weekend were just plain stupid.