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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Addis Gays Cafe goes to

The favored gay blog in Addis Ababa, AddisGaysCafe, will be published on, under the URL ad: until the existing page under domain name is accessible in Addis Ababa.  

See you at WP :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Second Look at Coming Out
Written by Sonic Casuist (SC)
Moderator of EthioGLBT (North America Division)

The other night Ethiopian Lesbians hosted our first chat session with members, called “Talk to Me.” We had some great conversations and there was one in particular that I’m still thinking about.

I loved the coming out discussion; it was interesting to hear all of the different perspectives. I was very pro-coming out during "Talk to Me" (and still am). But, I wonder what I would do if I were the one faced with having to come out to my best friend who I'm also secretly in love with.

In my experience, coming out to my best friends has been relatively easy past the mini-inquisitions that they all like to give. I’ve always found myself having to answer a myriad of questions: “So does this mean you’re bi-sexual, bi-curious, bi-laterally intersected with the gay gene because you live in the states?” “Wait do you go down on women? Oh my god, if you go down on women then you’re definitely gay.” “Hmm but wait how do two women do it anyway?” And the list goes on… Yet, once I got past the interviews, coming out to my best friends was a walk in the park.

But telling my best friend that I'm in love with her is just plain scary to me. You're just leaving yourself open for so much…

SC: "Hey it was great seeing you again, gosh we've been friends for so long, I remember when we were in first grade together like it was yesterday"

Best friend: "ha-ha Yeah really, I'm so happy we're best friends"

SC: "Yeah me too, by the way the reason I'm not seeing anyone right now is because I'm in love with you and I've wanted to kiss you ever since you walked in through the door."

With that the words have escaped your lips and you can't ever take them back. If your friend flips out on you well then I suppose you'll have to pick up your ego along with your bruised heart from the floor and try to hold back your tears until after you leave the room. But, damn at least you finally came out and now you have your answer rather than pining after a dream that you're afraid to wake from. Hmm but, what if she answered, "then kiss me?"

I think we have been looking at coming out all wrong. Maybe it shouldn't matter whether the reaction of the people we love is good or bad. Maybe, coming out and/or being honest enough to tell some one you're in love with them is just something that we have to do in life. Like when we finally took off the training wheels from our bikes when we first learned to ride.

In Peace & Love

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Being real, abandoning the fake identity
Article Published by, Hodye

[This article has been modified from its original source]

Gay Ethiopians struggle to be themselves

As a gay Ethiopian man in Los Angeles, I interact with many communities including: the gay male and lesbian community, the Ethiopian community, and the American society at large. Each is rigidly defined and strongly independent.

These communities expect me to conform to their manner of living and adapt to their ideas, which is like visiting three different worlds each time I interact with them. I have experienced discrimination within each of these communities, and being a minority within a minority makes one more vulnerable to discrimination.

The Gay Community

When I discovered the gay community in Los Angeles, I felt relieved that there were other gay people like me. As a result, I was so blinded by my need for a supportive community that I totally merged with the gay community and its popular assimilationist ideas.

As a gay activist, I focused more on external coming-out activities like marching in gay pride parades, and followed an extroverted approach of being gay. I did not know gay liberation should include the internal journey of taming the demon of internalized homophobia, and consciously experiencing my repressed feelings of hurt and rage for growing up in a violent homophobic world.

I set myself up by looking into the gay community to be the loving family I did not have when I was growing up. Today, I have a psychological approach toward gay liberation and equal rights, and focus on gay liberation in my inner world. I am interested in embracing what is unique about being gay and do not concern myself with getting approval from heterosexuals or losing status in the straight world.

Ancient homosexual wisdom and tradition going back before Plato and practiced by many other gay Philosophers has been about discovering what gayness offers through self-realization. This self-realization involves coming out inside, and, after years of coming out to the world and marching in different gay parades, I realized I have not really come out.

I have been fighting homophobia in public, but not aware that I need to face it inside myself. I used to say I have no shame for being gay and wave my gay flag marching on the streets of Los Angeles. In reality, I had a lot of feelings of shame for being gay, but I never gave myself permission to feel my shame and partner the feeling. I was too ashamed to admit that I have shame, and I did not know I was entitled to experience all my feelings including my shame.

Growing up in a homophobic society and heterosexual family, I learned that feelings must be repressed. I compensated for my shame by participating in extroverted political gay marches. Many gay activists claim they have no shame for being gay. How can anyone grow up in this homophobic world and not have any shame for his or her gay identity? The greatest struggle to be free takes place inside oneself. As Jung said, "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."

Coming out inside has been about facing the demon of internalized homophobia and having regard for the painful experiences of my gay inner child. The more I am connected to my gay self, and have empathy for my struggle of coming out, the more compassionate I can be to myself and others. I can better recognize how I was made to feel ashamed for being gay and have empathy for the child I once was.

Ethiopian Community

Also, I am struggling not to merge with the Ethiopian community. Many gay Ethiopians who do not have a strong sense of self find it difficult to have an identity outside the Ethiopian community or the gay collective. Many gay Ethiopians deal with this complexity of interacting with different communities by creating different personas and merging with each community.

For example, I know many gay Ethiopians go to work every day and totally merge with the corporate system, then they visit their Ethiopian families and pretend they are heterosexuals and into dating women. Finally, on Friday nights, after dropping off their so-called girlfriends, they are off to some anonymous gay cruising place to experience their homoerotic feelings. Even worse, they continue with their lonely closeted lives.

There is a high price to pay for playing so many different roles and not being real. Hence, the fake identity and lying can eventually become one's dominant character. It must be a painful awakening in one's 40s or 50s to realize that one has gone through life with a fake identity and the closest he or she ever got to experience gay love was few anonymous sexual encounters. For many gay Ethiopians who live in Los Angeles or elsewhere, this closeted lifestyle was either chosen or forced on to them for many reasons.

When I was in the closet I used to come up with creative lies to hide my true identity because I was made to feel ashamed of myself and very scared of losing family support. Moreover, I grew up in a heterosexual Ethiopian family in which I was reared as if I too were heterosexual and was constantly told that heterosexuality was the only reality.

Any expression of my gay self would result in receiving violent treatments from kids in school and my family. This violent homophobic society was too scary for me to express my genuine self. In order to survive, I had to hide my true identity, and it makes me very angry to realize that I was robbed of the opportunity to experience a normal gay adolescence.

I have empathy for myself and other gay men and lesbians for spending many years of our lives hiding our true identities in order to please our heterosexual families.

The Ethiopian family in North America

It is very difficult to have an independent identity outside an Ethiopian family unit. The traditional Ethiopian family is patriarchal -- the father is the undisputed head of the family. The mother tends to encourage her children to respect the father's authority and seek family approval. No one dares to question the system, which sacrifices one's needs in order to keep parental approval.

In the Ethiopian family system, there is no room to express one's gay identity, and coming out to the Ethiopian family is viewed as bringing shame on the family. It is almost equal to committing a crime. For example, family members might blame their health problems on the coming out of their gay child.

It is not uncommon for Ethiopian parents in North America to keep their gay children in the closet by using guilt factors such as accusing the gay child of being ungrateful for everything that has been done for him or her. My intention for coming out to my parents was to have a real relationship with them and stop pretending. Unfortunately, many Ethiopian parents are more concerned with how others might judge them.

If having a gay son or lesbian daughter might make them look less favorably, then families prefer that child to stay in the closet and lie about his or her identity. What people might say is more of a concern than how their child might benefit from coming out.

As a gay Ethiopian man, I do not deny the complexity involved in interacting with three very different communities and coming out to an Ethiopian family. But I believe staying in the closet and creating a false identity is not the answer to this complex issue. One has to face the truth and learn how to be real despite the demands from each community to merge with it.

There is a saying, "In the world but not of the world." Just because I have to interact with different communities does not mean I should merge with them. No community can possibly provide all our needs, and the only place one can find love and acceptance is within. Having a connection to our inner world helps us to be less dependent on the outer world for approval and acceptance.

Internet Source

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Four Seasons
(Could it be our Four Seasons?)
Article contributed by,
Moderator of
EthioGLBT (North America Division)

When we browse Homosexuality in Ethiopia in the past, unlike our rich history, it is something of a blank. As most of us knew, tradition and culture is a key element for all habesha people in this world. I don't know why I start to write this but I felt we need something different and I want to bring up this for today.

By experience when we are aware of our homosexuality we felt that we are the only Ethiopian one that exists in this world until we meet someone. After that if we are lucky we might find others, though we will plan our future by formulating our own identity.

This identity is my topic for today. After I start meeting up with habesha gays I noticed they categorized themselves in several classes. Only for this posting, I want to categorize them in four classes and on top of that I will name them with easy things to remember. Just like seasons, I would say we have Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring kind of identity we have.

Lets start up with Summer boys. These hot guys just like the summer sunshine, they are rare and hard to find and they don't care about their sexuality at all. Some of them even work at open gay places as striper, promoter or whatever job there is out there. They live their life as destined by God. To live such a wonderful free life though, they have to pay heavy price. They are anti socialized with their fellow Ethiopians because of their outness. Unfortunately, though thanks to rigid tradition and culture, it is unthinkable for straight Habeshas to accept another homosexual habesha.

Designer Baz

When we go to the Fall seasons ones, I was trying to put here people who are very skeptical. These ones know they are gays but they want to do all their staff secretly. They don't look or act as gays, on top of that they rarely go out to the clubs. Only they want to do it when they feel the urge. If they are young, they pretend to have girlfriends to kid themselves or close friends. If they are older, mostly they have wife and kids to accompany their long journey in life. They really live two double life, one for themselves and the other one, for friends and family's, mostly though in this case for family. The funniest thing is how they try to separate the respective life styles. I bet you here, if they put their resume on line they can get nice careers out of it.

Lets move to Winter boys, my special ones, I don't know why but I have some soft spots in my hearts for this category boys. Mainly, I have been there not so long ago. Here and there, I hear some sort of stories about winter boys in one way or another I feel their pain. I want to associate wintry boys with the winter dark and cold. They are in deep closet and they never had any experience with another human beings. They never been in ghetto places, their only fantasies are limited on cute guys on the street and Hollywood hot actors. Basically, they are handicapped to live their life for so many hidden reasons. Some of them have complicated situation, some of them are not mentally ready to go to the next level. The next level would enlighten their life entirely. Other who passed in this route should help out this folk's life, left and right.

Last but not least, come Spring boys. These are the luckiest ones and they do all the gay activity clubbing, going out with their boys and don't care about their identity that much. The good thing about them is since they are in between summer and winter they can get the both benefit with out heavy price. Benefits like not being reject by their own community. I get a chance to meet guys in this category even though I would like to appreciate their effort to live life at the fullest, I must say though; I am a little disappointed in the lack of unity shown between them. Most of habeshas gays who are in this categories can do a lot things for others (by saying this for other I was trying to say for the distant gay) for instance, if someone from summer boys come out and want to share his problems, he wouldn't get that much response from others.

One of this group member, once, put his personal number here and when I asked him if he gets any response out of it, he told me he didn't get any. The fall and winter boys have some other problems to solve with, let alone to do some gathering. The reason I start up writing this, is at this point of in time, it is essential first to let know where did we stand. If we know our position, we can go forward with more opportunity. I also want to ask people are they happy with their life and life styles? If they don't, what do they want to change?

" Ability is of little account without opportunity"
- Napoleon Bonaparte

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Online forums, blogs, articles on
Homosexuality and Ethiopia

Although it's not in big extent, it's noticeable. Even if for the most part it's dreary, it's praiseworthy. Lately, few Ethiopian websites/blogs are giving due attention to homosexuality in Ethiopia. Be it for a positive outcome or merely just to discourse, my admiration goes for the darers to instigating the issue.

It wouldn't be a tall tale at all, if one evoke, homosexuality is becoming more common in our society than prior days, after observing recent developments.

The other day while I was just browsing on Ethiopian GLBT related links, I have come across an interesting results I haven't seen before and thought, there could be others who have missed it like me, so why not put them all together here - both the known and unknowns.

Apparently, in the forums, most discussions lack decency and civility especially due to ultra-conservatives' one-sided posture and hatred. But this is not the case on CyberEthiopia website in the Warka Forum section. Entitled 'Homosexuality...what lies underneath,' the forum mainly tries to examine the cause of homosexuality and hence, encompass studies that try to reason out. And remarkably enough, one of the forum members forwarded EthioGLBT group's promotion message. (Thanks to whoever who did that). Read More
[For people in Addis, if you encounter difficulty with the above link, check it through Secure Tunnel, HERE.]

And we're all acquainted with this one and perhaps, have already had a say on it, as it might be the first to raise such issues on Ethiopian blog. Meskel Square's - Holding Hands article was one of the most popular, if not the leading, that grasped everybody's attention and made many to contribute their thoughts. Read More

Xmas Baz

Here are other miscellaneous links worth read-through:

Leoul Goshu on Nazret News Portal - The Young and the Homeless
First appeared on The Daily which then shortly, the Ethiopian News Portal, post it in it's EthioBlog. The piece portrays the hardship, a young gay Ethiopian had gone through in US and how he managed to stand up for his rights. But, in a while, his story envisioned another issue among readers. Issue if I can put it like, 'Ethiopia & Homosexuality'. As many as our homophobic citizens, many of the comments offered are negative. Read More
For viewers in Addis, check it here

My Fashion's Gay Ethiopians Behind the Mask - Meskel Square Review
On its third issue, the first glossy fashion magazine of the country dare to deal with minorities' way of life, no matter how the majority of the society try to overlook it. Here is Andrew Heavens, the man behind Meskel Square, analyzing My Fashion Magazine's article. Read More

Leoul Goshu on Seattle Times
- Students hope Day of Silence sends message loud and clear
Cara Solomon at the Seattle Times tells us how the National Silence Day had an impact to convey the message - tolerating the presence of GLBT youths in the society. Along with Leoul Goshu's personal experience and others, the author had a wide look on the pressure GLBT youths are challenging in their social life. Read More

Haile Selassie's view towards Homosexuals, a Pro-Rastafariansim website, extraordinarily raise an issue, whether the Emperor was against homosexuality or not during his rule. Look what it takes the enthusiastic members of the forum to come up with the conclusion. Read More

Wikipedia - Gay Rights in Ethiopia
Accurate information about Ethiopia's constitutional stance towards homosexuality. You can also find other related figures regarding the country's deal with homosexual. Read More

Homosexuality in Ethiopia
The original story first appeared on Behind the Mask website. A three parts commentary by a gay Ethiopian living in South Africa. He tells of threatening conditions and persecution of LGBT people in his native country. Read More

Ethiopian gays are organizing themselves in Washington D.C.
Sebastople, one of those behind said that "we feel proud to announce that the gay Ethiopians in D.C are busy preparing for the annual Ethiopian Gay Summit Pride parade on June 11 2005 at Washington DC...They feel its time that they raise a flag of their country with the gay flag alongside..." Read More

We are Gay and Ethiopian
In the struggle for gay equality, it's important to at least get others to listen to what we have to say. Not because we have to get a majority of people on our side: civil rights does not (or more accurately, isn't supposed to) depend on majority approval... Until we learn how to fight oppression systematically, all we can really do is... Read More

SGL Revolution in Addis Ababa
Here is a post fom the EthioGLBT yahoo group; a stunning report on how SGL life is taking more public and private space. The site emerged from the successful gayethiopians yahoo group with about 300 members, mostly in the diaspora and moderated in the US. Read More
Enjoy them all and prepare yourself to be the next headliner! :)