Marcelo. Photo: private.

The 21-year old Marcelo currently lives in Windhoek, Namibia. By the age of 13, he realized that he might be gay.

I ignored it for the longest time…thinking, hoping that I would grow out of it, but clearly never did.

Marcelo kept his sexuality for himself, no one should know about it.

I decided to be the little straight boy that concentrated on his academics and tried to portray this image of so-called ‘normalness’.

In movies, series and on YouTube Marcelo could see others being free to express themselves just the way they are.

It gave me the strength to realize if I truly wanted to be myself, I need to stop living to make others happy and start putting my own happiness first…for my own sanity.

Coming Out

Most of his family members and all of his friends know his feelings about other guys. He lives openly as a gay man and is open to talk about it with whoever asks. But his coming out was related to a girl.

I decided to come out after dating this amazing girl on and off from grade eleven until my first year of university. I decided to be true to myself after seeing that I wasn’t being fair to her as well as to myself. I saw her fall for me knowing that I could never be the person she truly deserved.

Marcelo broke up with his girlfriend before his last exam during his first semester. The first person who knew was his best friend who proved that he is a good ally [straight person that supports queer people].

He said that he still loves me and that ‘nothing has to change’. Hearing these words made me feel safe and kind of gave me that last push into coming out to the rest of my friends.

Marcelo’s family took it better than he expected.

My mother, sister and one of my older brothers said that they accept me and love me regardless of who I choose to love.

The reaction of Marcelo’s oldest brother confused him. His oldest brother’s response to his coming out was a simple „No“. Marcelo does not know what his oldest brother tried to tell him with this. He became even more confused when his oldest brother told him over time that it was fine for him and that he is living his life as he wants but that he [the brother] would still pray for Marcelo.

I am not sure what he prays for. Whether it’s for me to be straight, for me to be ‘normal’ or simply for my wellbeing.

Falling in love

This far in his life Marcelo never experienced any prejudice or bad treatment because of his sexuality and has never regretted coming out and living openly gay. Now, one month into his first same-sex relationship, he is nervous however, nervous about how people could react. Due to the quite fresh relationship, not many people know about it. His sister and one of his brothers vaguely know his boyfriend, and are happy for him so far. Nevertheless, he is unsure about how the public will deal with it.

Not knowing how a new crowd of people will react, forces us to not reallty feel comfortable holding hands or simply hug or kiss in public. Going on dates and afterwards not being able to kiss him goodbye or simply hugging him is really one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt.

Own Commitment

To make sure things will become better for queer people in Namibia Marcelo is committed to the „LGBTQQIAAP [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer, Questioning, Inter*, Asexual, Allies, Pansexual] Youth“ which he founded at the NUST [Namibia University of Science and Technology]. It shall create awareness and educate as many people as possible about queer love and life.

Struggling with religion

Marcelo was raised Christian but at this moment, religion is the biggest conflict in his life.

For the longest time, I could not associate with a religion that says I am an ‘abomination that won’t inherit the kingdom of God’. Religion is still something I am trying to figure out and it is causing me so much confusion throughout my life.

In his opinion churches are well aware of the plight of queer people but they choose not to speak about it because it might be an uncomfortable topic for them, a topic they can easily avoid.

Wishes for the future

Marcelo has a whole list of wishes for Namibia’s queer community. The community should be more unified and stop discrimination between different sexual orientations. Queer persons themselves should put their own desires first instead of trying to fit in with or conform to the heteronormative agenda of the majority of society.

Regarding his personal future, he would like to be able to be able to marry in Namibia and adopt children with his partner as well as receiving acceptance from society in the sense of not being judged when they walk in the mall holding hands or saying goodbye with a kiss.

All I ask for are basic human rights which we as queer humans are being deprived of, simply because we love differently or because we might identify differently; look different as opposed to you; dress differently or even act differently. We are still humans and do not deserve to be mocked, victimized, attacked, and deprived of marriage just because you are uncomfortable. It’s my life and I deserve to live my life as I see fit.