Bisexual Men On The Rise in Kenya

men-swingers-1Women these days not only worry that their man could be cheating on them, but that he could be cheating on them with another man.

Belinda, a lawyer who refused to give her second name for personal reasons, knows this only too well. It took five years before she found out that her husband had a string of male lovers.

When they first met, he claimed to work for a certain international cosmetic company that had a branch in Kenya. She believed him because he gave her no reason to suspect otherwise.  In fact, when she began hearing whispers from friends that her husband was cheating on her, she ignored them.

But three years and a daughter later, Belinda began to feel that something was not right. Her husband seemed to spend far too much time at work, or with his male friends.

So one day, she followed him on a Saturday morning to what he had told her was an emergency at work only to end up in an apartment in Westlands that Belinda discovered was her husband’s love nest, bought for him by his married white lover.

Further, she also learnt from the watchman that when her husband’s white partner was away, he brought other men to his love nest.

More devastating was the discovery that her husband and father of her daughter had no job and that the money they had been living on was from ‘back door’ dalliances with other men. That was two years ago. Now divorced and raising her daughter on her own, she warns women to be very careful about the men they choose to marry.

In today’s perplexing times, stories abound of married men who in their search for the next greatest sexual high are willing to pay as much as Sh30,000 a night to engage in illicit affairs with other men. Meanwhile, their wives are at home, tucked in bed under the naive assumption that their man is out with friends for drinks or, at worst, chasing skirts.

Men on the Down Low, a term used to describe a man who has relations with a man on the side and then returns home to his woman and family, is the latest fad.

Even church personalities want a piece of the cake. Last year, Televangelist Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, USA, found himself in hot water after three young men came out accusing him of having sexual relationships with them. The accusers tabled gifts and questionable pictures of the bishop as proof. The bishop later settled the matter out of court and paid off his accusers. Long is married to Vanessa Griffin and they have four children.

A story is also told of a top corporate self-made Kenyan man who is well known for ‘swinging both ways’. Once married, he is now a divorced playboy who is often photographed in the company of young, gorgeous women.

His women are known to get the best of everything. No expense is ever too costly — from expensive visits to the salon to plush living apartments. Ironically, behind the scenes, the top honcho is also known to carry on affairs with ‘men on the down low’ — married men.

It seems everyone is searching for that illusive higher sexual thrill, and the more illicit and wild, the more attractive the option, it seems.

But while most people choose to hide, some are very open about their sexual preference for both men and women. One search man is Mwangi Mukami, the Former Secretary and Adviser to the Interim Consultative Youth Council.

Then 26 years old, Mwangi Mukami came out of the closet and publicly admitted he was bisexual.

Mwangi who comes from a humble background in the slums of Kawangware in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya is now based in the US.

Having risen to national and global acclaim by building a prominent non-violent youth voice in Kenya and across Africa as a young advocate for social justice, Mwangi says most of his mentors had warned him that coming out of the closet would damage his image irreparably.

Mwangi’s profile peak was when retired President Kibaki created the Ministry of Youth Affairs in 2006. He served as the secretary of the Interim Consultative Youth Council and an adviser of the then vice-president Dr Moody Awori.

That was not the first time he would be talking about the matter, having sent a letter earlier to his family and close friends in December 14, 2011. Some of these people included PLO Lumumba, former vice-presidents Moody Awori, Kalonzo Musyoka and TV evangelist Teresia Wairimu.

“I sent an email to all my family members disclosing a very important part of my life. I was amazed by the response and emotion it generated among my closest confidants and friends,” Mwangi told Crazy Monday.

While his former pastor Televangelist Teresia Wairimu changed her phone number and organised a prayer session for him at Faith Evangelism Ministries, one of his kin wrote to him saying: “To me, it is a shock, disbelief, disappointment, doubt and fear. I have held you highly, you have been an icon, but to tell you the truth, you are on the wrong track, wrong route, and if there is a time you’ve lost direction it’s now. Whatever you’ve opted in a big way will not only bring destruction to you but to all of us.”

Meanwhile, another said, “You would rather buy a gun and shoot us all instead of killing our family in the eyes of the public. You are not any different from someone who kills. For from now on, Mukami’s family will be a disgrace, it will be scorned or branded accursed and bewitched.”

Mwangi says he has lived a very private and authentic life as a ‘bisexual’ person, but felt shameful and uncomfortable when classified publicly as a heterosexual.

My assumption for non-disclosure was that the majority of people would dislike, disrespect and even hate me if they found out and I was right. I refrained myself from ‘debating’ and confronting  who I am for years in fear that more reprisal, shame and rejection would occur, especially from people like you who I hold dearly and consider close,” he said.

According to Mwangi, the most affected person among those close to him was former Director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Prof PLO Lumumba.

“After receiving the email, he never got back to me. Being my mentor and a father figure as he paid my school fees, it was heartbreaking for him I think, and for me as well, but I respect his decision,” Mwangi said.

Efforts by Crazy Monday to reach the law professor for comment proved futile as he neither picked our calls nor replied our text messages.

Mwangi, who is currently based in the US, described ‘hiding in the closet’ as cumbersome burden to carry, since most people never comprehend, or understand the experience, pain and heartache that come with being different. Having had his first gay intercourse at 19, Mwangi says he has no regrets.

“I have been in relationships with both men and women and my emotions for both are equal. In my gay relationship, I am versatile; I can either be the man or the woman,” said the 28-year-old who claims to be single at the moment.

Mwangi’s ‘coming out’ is timely as he plans on coming back home in September to set up projects in support of the gay and lesbian community.

According to Gay Kenyan Men Rights activist and editor of Identity Kenya, Denis Nzioka, many people are secretly bisexual.

He further explains that most bisexual men are in relationships with women or married just to fulfill the society’s expectations.

“Bisexuals have a rough time from both straight and completely gay people. They are nicknamed the ‘half steppers’ as it is very hard for them to be in a committed relationship. Male bisexuals have it rough as the society is more accepting of lesbians. However, with Kenya being a homophobic country, it will take time for them to be accepted,” he says.

Women walking down the isle need to beware: What you see is not always what you get.

-The Standard



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