Out of Sodomy one footstep at a time. Today I am remembering George Oundo whose story of transformation reveals not only Georges moving story from childhood molestation but also give insight into how we have got to where we are today.
There are many lessons to learn from this story as told to my assitant Allen M.
I am Oundo George, 26.
I am a fresh creation, a chosen and appointed son of God. I have new loose masculine clothes, very humble and honest new friends. I belong to a more accepting family. Plus, I am a member of a church whose vision I am proud to associate with. I couldn’t have said the same during the past ten years.
Gender identity issues, ounded by Childhood molestation!
Raised in an extended family, I had both brothers and sisters but found myself closer to my sisters and other girls in the neighborhood. I loved babysitting, cooking, cleaning and singing; anything that girls liked too. I also had a number of dolls growing up. But then again, I didn’t like the girls in primary school and as Class Monitor, I canned the girls and spared the boys.
Still in Primary school, I had a good friend called Patrick who I slept with often and cuddled but don’t remember having any feelings for him. I was also caught in the school wash rooms with another boy and this is what raised my parents’ eye brows. However nothing much was done.
Early in my secondary life, I was molested by my dad’s accountant who I shared a bed with; an innocent plan made by my parents as Patrick (the accountant) was a visitor. Wanting me to become a Catholic Priest, my father took me to Jinja College, an all-boys high school. This was my firmest stepping stone. My obsession for cleanliness and neatness continued and I became known for making everyone’s bed in my dormitory. I also encountered other homosexuals and would escape from school with them every Saturday to meet older mentors at Speke Hotel, Kampala.
Mentored at the Night Clubs and a priest!
Homosexuality became my identity. By Senior Four, I had slept with several men, including Father X who later introduced me to Nick, my first white boyfriend. My name changed to Georgina and I had long painted nails, plaited hair, a bleached body and feminine clothes to go with it. My relationship with Nick didn’t last long though I had moved in with him. We cheated on each other and realizing it wasn’t going to work, Nick asked me to leave and he replaced me.
Repeat after me: The brain conditioning.
It was then that I went to Nairobi and enrolled in Human Rights along with Bible and Homosexuality certificate courses. These were to prepare me for the responsibilities I was to carry out. I started SMUG- Sexual Minorities Uganda, an umbrella organization incorporating all LGBTs – Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Inter sex persons- in Uganda Other LGBTs included Spectrum Uganda, Freedom and Rome Uganda (FARUG), Ice Breakers Uganda, Integrated Fellowship Uganda led by Bishop Ssenyonjo. SMUG aimed at advocating for gay human rights and letting the public aware that homosexuality if African and a human right.
Building the Story-upwards: Recruit kids into homosexuality.
Here is OUNDO'S Video interview on NTV News
In 2005, we realized the need for a gay youth organization which we worked on forming with Sam. This was meant to further educate the youth about gay rights, gay dating and safe sex- using condoms and lubricants. Under Queer Youth Uganda, we scheduled a school outreach programme where all members had to go back to their former High Schools and spread the knowledge on gay rights, encouraging more young boys to join us. I knew that our programme would not be welcome in these schools so we used underground means. But positive results were noted. We also formed solidarity groups meant to get to the entire nation. Strategies were laid to make this happen.
By this time, the gay community in Uganda had become more out spoken and radical. The likes of Ps. Martin Ssempa and Hon. Nsaba Buturo left us no option. We knew that if we were to beat them, we had to get to their level and then surpass them. I was chosen to represent Uganda at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, 2007. This was a big step for me. But amidst all these activities, I wasn’t in touch with my family. I felt it had neglected me because of my sexuality.
2007 was a very busy year. I had a number of encounters with Ps. Martin Ssempa, our biggest rival. It hurt deeply to hear him say convicting remarks to us. Like most Africans he despised homosexuality and what we did so we held many meetings to devise means of his downfall. We approached different embassies and the government asking for help to shut down all Anti-Gay organizations because of their discriminatory tendencies. We crafted a plan to attack Ps. Martin as an individual against human rights and a Pastor whose message is of hatred, discrimination and bitterness. Of course we read the Bible so much and scrutinized it to know how to retaliate anytime he hit on us.
The fake it court case which was built on Solid Lies!
We also had a court case (LGBT Vs Government) and we accused the Kamuli C LC1 Chairman- Kireka, John Lubega of discrimination and misuse of office because he had arrested some gay members. I went ahead to get false witnesses to testify against him. Ps. Ssempa was here too and we saw it as a chance to show him how authoritative we were.
LET US MAKE SODOMY THE COMMONWEALTH OF CHOGM:
That same year, we sought for participation during CHOGM and got the support of the British Council and the Common Wealth NGO Forum. We were then invited for a talk on homosexuality by the Amakula Film Festival after it screened a Nigerian movie on homosexuality. I thought I moved the audience with my sensational talk about gender identity and sexual orientation.
Meanwhile, Ps. Martin was holding a rally against homosexuality at Kololo Airstrip. We sent our spies to disguise themselves as journalists and cover the event.
We spent a sleepless nights preparing a presentation to Prince Charles who was coming for the People’s Space at Hotel Africana the following day. We addressed the issue of same sex marriages being discriminated in Uganda and were appealing to Her Majesty the Queen to take the Penal Code, Sections 140- 148 (that were penalizing homosexuality) back to England. We agitated for the same rights as the gays in Britain have and for the event, we made placards that had comments like “Am gay, Mr. Straight Please Forgive Me”, “You Think Am Gay, So What?”and “SMUG Embraces CHOGM” However, our plans were frustrated by Ps. Ssempa’s presence again! We were not given chance to air out our views.
SLOWLY WAKING UP-BEING GAY IS A NIGHTMARE
At the beginning of this year, I got a strong feeling of sorrow, loneliness and discomfort about my life. I knew that despite all the money that the gay society offered me, all the knowledge on gay rights and the fulfilling work that I did, something was lacking. I also began to have a series of nightmares. In one dream I was dead and was surrounded by mourners. In another, there was a strong force pulling up and down and I woke up so tired and weakened, like I has been at war. These went on for a while and I was compelled to share my desire to go to church with a gay friend. He comforted me but was also disappointed at my desire to go to church.
PRODIGAL LOOKS FOR THE ONELOVE PASTOR
So stressed, I came to the White House with hopes of meeting Ps. Martin but I bounced and wasn’t able to get his mobile contact. So I went to Hon. Nsaba Buturo, the Minister of Ethics and Integrity and explained to him what I was going through. He is the one who called Ps. Martin and connected me to him. I must admit I felt very humbled and embarrassed to face the man I had confronted bitterly so many times, to apologize and ask for help. But I barely had to. Talking to him calmly for the first time, he embraced me, gave me shelter as I had nowhere else to go, clothing, food and a welcome that I hadn’t anticipated. Ps. Martin has a yearning to place everyone in his care exactly where God wants them to be. And that, he has done for me. I haven’t met a gentleman so loving. Even in the past, whenever he met us, he would want a handshake and would invite us to his church. I never saw it coming.
I have been gladly welcomed by Makerere Community Church; I already have mentors taking me through deliverance and believe that my future shines brighter now. I am learning how to pray and read the Bible, viewing it in the right perspective.
REMORSE AT THE LOST YEARS. MAYBE SOMEDAY..
However, I can’t help but feel like I’ve given away too much of life to doing wrong and I’ve lost so much. My family, a good education, respect from society and its going to be a challenge to start over. I had even thrown away my dream to babysit my own babies as I loved babies growing up. I now long to be a family man, a preacher of the gospel and a living example to all homosexuals still tied up in bondage.
A couple of nights ago, I dream't that I was standing before a huge crowd with Ps. Martin by my side, and I was telling a story. The crowd was so silent, listening to me. I believe I was testifying. And when the time is right, I am going to tell everyone of God’s delivering hand that picked me from a hole so deep.