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Kenyan author reveals he's gay to challenge homophobic laws

NAIROBI -- Influential Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina has revealed he is a homosexual in an autobiographical short story released to protest anti-gay laws on the continent.

One of Africa's most powerful writers and a founder of the Nairobi-based literary network Kwani, Wainaina published a story online at the weekend that announced his sexual orientation, entitled “I am a Homosexual, Mum.”

The story has generated widespread support on social media, although also earning strong criticism from some.

“Ten million thank yous to the thousands of Africans and others who have given all kinds of public love, support,” Wainaina said in a message on Twitter. “We live in a beautiful continent.”

Homosexuality is outlawed in most African countries and discrimination is rife on the continent.

“I, Binyavanga Wainaina, quite honestly swear I have known I am a homosexual since I was five,” he wrote in the short story.

“Nobody, nobody, ever in my life has heard this. Never, mum. I did not trust you, mum. And. I. Pulled air hard and balled it down into my navel, and let it out slow and firm, clean and without bumps out of my mouth, loud and clear over a shoulder, into her ear.

“'I am a homosexual, mum.'”

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