A Rwandan gospel singer has revealed to a Christian YouTube channel that he’s gay, telling BBC that he expected a backlash for coming out.
Albert Nabonibo, 35, said he was ready to face the challenges in a culture that was hostile towards homosexuality, and his revelation has shocked his fans.
Nabonibo has hidden his sexuality – and he is the first gospel singer in Rwanda to come out, the BBC reported.
“In fact there are many like me even there in churches. The fact is they hide it because of the mentality of church-goers and the community and for their security,” Nabonibo told the BBC.
“I feel for others like me who live in fear. They should go out to be heard, because we have to be received like other people out here,” he said.
The artist said he has already started to receive abuse since coming out.
“Some people have insulted me, some have called me foolish and others called me stupid. But there are some who understand me – like my brother who has always encouraged me to be who I am”.
The Rwandan government recognises the LGBT community’s right to live openly and safely, but it does not allow for gay marriage.
Most churches in the mainly Christian country preach that homosexuality is a sin, and these attitude prevent many gay people from living openly. Gay people in Rwanda are not open about their sexuality to their family for fear of being rejected.
LGBTI persons have reported societal discrimination and abuse, and LGBTI rights groups reported occasional harassment by members of the society and police.
Recent surveys also show that the overwhelming majority of people who live in Africa strongly disapprove of homosexuality. This is even the case in South Africa, the only country on the continent that has legalised same-sex marriage.
Africa’s strong anti-homosexuality sentiment, harsh laws and active discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex is a major human rights issue.