“If you’re ready to share, you’re ready to share I suppose,” Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina says about his recent coming out essay and short documentary in an interview on NPR’s Tell Me More. Wainaina explains that when he was writing his memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place, he contemplated writing about being gay, but thought that his language wasn’t ready or lyrical enough and so used this as a reason not to do it for a long time.
“I feel like I kind of did this because there’s a lot going on in Nigeria with the new laws and so on, but really, in a certain way, by the time I was hitting that ‘send’ button to my friends to put it up on platforms, I felt, this is one of the most successfully put together and honest pieces I’ve ever written,” Wainaina says.
In the essay, which is titled “I am a homosexual, Mum”, Wainaina talks about his parents and not telling them he is gay before they died. In the podcast he explains that his memories of them are fond: “In both my mother’s case and especially in my father’s case, you know the last conversation I had before he died, he pretty much opened the door wide for me to bring it up and sometimes I feel like your parents are hostage to you much more than you are hostage to them.”
Discussing people’s reactions to the news he says that while he did get some negative responses from friends-of-friends on Facebook, the vast majority of the feedback on Twitter was positive and he has recieved a lot of love and support from people.
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- One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina
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Image courtesy Fab Magazine