I had just enjoyed the FIFA women’s soccer world cup. It was sad to see the end of it. I had googled the teams and learnt the players name, I fell in love with jersey number one- Hope Solo- of the American team and in the end I felt like a good feminist.
While googling I found out that they were some out players and coaches; individuals who were proud to be gay or bisexual and weren’t afraid to tell the whole world. I found it interesting and odd that I did not know any male soccer players who were publicly out of the closet.
So anyway I sat on the couch with my housekeeper covered in a warm blanket watching the Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. Orlando Pirates were on fire as they constantly attacked Chiefs, I am an avid Pirates supporter- the only one in my family I may add- and my housekeeper is a Chiefs supporter, so seeing as her team was not performing she told me a story, well not a story but actual events taking place in her neighbourhood in Soweto.
She told me nonchalantly about how there was a war in her neighbourhood, I took my eyes of the screen and looked at her.“A war?” I asked baffled at what she meant. “Yes there is a war between the gays and straight men” she said. “How do you mean?” I asked my bafflement increasing. “They are killing them one by one” she answered. Hearing her say that made me feel like I was the one being hunted, fear arose in me and sadness swelled in my heart.
I have gay friends and some of them are really close; they came out to me when we were fourteen and so my hurt was increased by my circumstance. I remember when they came out I could not believe it but as time went by I realised that their characters had really not changed; they were the same persons they were before coming out the closet.
My housekeeper continued her story about how they were raped, stabbed, tied to the bumper of a car and dragged behind. I felt a cold chill as she told me in gory details how each gay was killed, a well of tears were near out my eyes but I asked for more details more evidence for my anger and wrath. She told me that even though gays were being slaughtered like cattle more and more gays were coming out of the closet, that at the deceased gays’ funerals other gays were seen loud and proud, dressed to the nines and helping with the funeral process: dishing up for the killers, washing the dishes and just making sure everyone was attended to. I could not believe their humility, such humanity was unfounded and yet it was found and shown by the very people who were despised for being an oddity.
The soccer match ended, Pirates had won but my joy was overshadowed by what I had just heard and so I went to my bedroom and cried silently. I as a woman had to do something, I had to let it be known that this war should not be tolerated and that all women should bind together to stop this mediocrity, the gays that were being slaughtered were sons, brothers, cousins and uncles- they were in equal essence human beings. Each one had a mother and I could hear their screams echoing with each gay slaughtered.
I am first and foremost a Christian but I am also a feminist- yes the two can and do coincide. I once read that as Christians it is not our place to judge or condemn but it is our place to love. Women are born with the inherent ability to love even the most wicked of people, we were given the intelligence of emotions that wrap around logic, we see beyond what the rigid male eye sees; we see the heart, the mind, we see the true human being as is, regardless of being gay or straight. As a feminist I fight for the equality for all women regardless of their sexuality and as a Christian I love all beyond given sexual orientation.
God gave us high pitched voices for a reason- so we could use them as sirens to the mediocrity going on. I mean if a woman did see this going on why did she not scream, tell them to stop, run and comfort the young men dying, did a woman call the police, was it a woman who called the ambulance?
We women can set up marches, write articles and take photographs of the atrocity going on but what would we do when it happened in front of our eyes, what happens when you hear a friend telling you a similar story to mine? Do you laugh it off or shrug it off? In the end it is our actions that count in the actual situations.
I am guilty of being inaction when my housekeeper told me the story- I half smiled to cover the hurt, I said nothing and nodded with every gory detail. I should have told her I thought it was wrong, I should have cried in front of her to make her understand the plight of the seriousness of the matter but I didn’t instead I went to my room and cried silently.
Well that was the last time I do that I will stand up for what I believe in, I will be very vocal about it and I will scream, shout and tie myself to a bumper if I cannot cut them off it.