ALTHOUGH President Robert Mugabe’s government has made it clear that Zimbabwe is not for gays, same-sex relationships continue to take place behind the scenes, with homosexuals devising ways to survive in the homophobic society.

Online and gay-friendly bars and nightclubs are the outlets where homosexuals meet in Zimbabwe and operate away from the glaring eyes of society.

They use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp keep in touch.

Also, they use upmarket gay-friendly bars and nightclubs to hang out and enjoy themselves without any interference from the society.

Siphiwe, a hairdresser in Bulawayo, said she had no qualms being lesbian — although she, like others asked to use a false name for the interview.

From afar, her physical structure resembles that of a man. She is wearing jeans, and a shirt. Her countenance is that of a man.

Only on closer inspection does one realise that she has breasts and big ones for that, she cannot be a man. That is Siphiwe for you.

Siphiwe said she communicates with her partner and other lesbian friends via social media.

"I am lesbian and am proud of it. My own parents accepted me as I am and as for others, I don’t give a damn what they think," says Siphiwe.

"Since we live in a very homophobic society, it is very difficult to come out in the open. But l wear what l want and l don’t care if they call me tom boy," she says.

Asked how she found her partner, Siphiwe said: "I met her at one of the clubs. We became friends and l proposed to her and she accepted. That is how we hit it out. We usually go to the club where we first met and that place is frequented by other lesbians and gays.

"So we usually hang out there and enjoy ourselves far away from the prying eyes of the society."

Quizzed on who plays the male character she says: "Whenever you are shown a gay couple you immediately ask yourself who is the man and who is the woman in the relationship. It’s far from that. We are normal people having normal relationships. That is the bottom line."

Innocent, a gay, says life is difficult in high density suburbs for gays.

"I will never come out in the open about my sexual orientation because society will vilify me. I stay in Kuwadzana and can you imagine what the people will say when they discover that l am gay. I will even be afraid to go to the shops," Innocent said.

He added that his family is not aware of his sexual orientation. "I am scared that they will disown me."

Innocent said he and his partner always use protection when they have sex.

Asked how he met his partner he said: "We met over Facebook. We become friends on Facebook and that friendship developed and one day we went out and that was it.

"Today, us gays have our own Facebook pages and WhatsApp platform where we engage with each other and share experiences.  "Some of us have recorded songs calling for society to recognise our rights because we were born like this, we never asked to be gays," Innocent adds.

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