John Boke Mwikwabe is a peer educator in Naivasha, Kenya.This is the second blog post written by John. To read more about John, see What It’s Like to Be a Peer Educator, posted on March 18.
So far, the biggest challenge I have faced has been dealing with gay peers. This is mostly because I am the only one in the group who knows about the gay men, while the gay women find it very easy to reveal their status as lesbians. It seems like both straight males and females prefer lesbians as opposed to the gay men. One major reason often aired by peers is that they think the idea of a man sleeping with another man is a “sore sight,” as opposed to that of a woman with another woman, which they perceive as sexy. This leaves me in a sensitive situation: protecting the gay men who are part of the group and who insist on secrecy.
I can recall the first question I asked peers when this concept was brought up. I asked them if they would prefer to have a gay brother or a gay sister. As you can imagine, this was a hot and steamy conversation. All the male peers preferred a gay sister, and the vote was split amongst my female peers who were torn between both. One of the memorable responses came from the men who challenged the gay brother concept, stating that they would prefer a sister because they presumed the sister would always be seen with a hot-looking girl, and the brothers wouldn’t mind imagining what they were doing. When sensitive topics such as these are raised, I try to tell the peers that gays and lesbians are also our brothers and sisters, which begs for the need to respect their status and to be decent with our comments. We all agreed to be civil and open-minded and view others as human beings first.