Makerere researcher and activist Dr Stella Nyanzi has spoken out on the conversion of Ugandan LGBTI activist, Val Kalende, who confessed on TV that she is no longer a lesbian.
Val went live Salt television on Sunday to announce she is no longer gay; and is to be married soon during the “Sunday Service Live”.
Val Kalende, a former Daily Monitor journalist, won asylum in Canada on September 8, 2015 at the peak of gay phobia in Uganda.
According to Stella Nyanzi, sexuality is fluid and flexible and changing and in flux.
“I have been around the Ugandan LGBTIQ community long enough to know this because I have observed all sorts of switches, changes, shifts, developments, transformations, conversions, etc in individuals, couples and communities. I have seen the pendulum swinging back and forth, back and forth, back and forth,” Nyanzi wrote on her social media page on Monday.
She said Val Kalende’s publicised testimony about converting from lesbianism into heterosexuality is not shocking to her.
She [Val] is not the first homosexual to make public declarations about converting back to heterosexuality, Nyanzi argued.
“Religion does all sorts of things to people. We know the long list of so-called Ex-Gays who were paraded around Uganda by Pentecostal homophobes. We know how some of them faithfully married heterosexual spouses, and how some of them swing it both ways, and even how some of them relapsed back into selling homosexual services to any buyer. Gay, Ex-Gay, Ex-ex-gay… we know you!”
She gave three reasons
Nyanzi said what is important is that the Ugandan queer movement cannot reduce or denigrate the great and varied contributions that Val made to the early grassroots organising.
Secondly, Val’s lesbian, bisexual and transgender ex-lovers and friends must neither doubt nor question their own identities.
Val’s sexuality is Val’s business not ours! Val is going through another interesting transition and needs “our love” and understanding even in this moment.
Thirdly, religion is both powerful and dangerous. It has long tenterhooks that can reach even the strongest among “us”. Val’s religious confession should not generate confusion in the LGBTIQ communities in Uganda.
“As the pendulum swings back and forth, pray that each individual finds the courage to live a life that is true and fulfilling. Live and let live!”
Nyanzi said if religion helps one to find one’s truth, “embrace it. If religion leads to a life of shame and lies, flee from the poison”.