At the University of Yaounde, Cameroon

Perfect proof that I not only survived my adventure in Cameroon, but prospered from it. Here I am at the university where I presented Queer 101 to a crowd of about 200 students, professors and visitors.

Turns out I am the first openly gay man to stand up in Cameroon and share my story. And the response? Amazing. First off most had never seen a one-person play before, so they expressed great enthusiasm as I switched from character to character. I got loads of laughs (it’s a comedy so that’s a good thing) and great applause.

During the short Q&A session, one man labored to ask me if I was gay myself. He seemed uncomfortable asking an even gave me permission to pass if I did not wish to answer.

The room grew still and it seemed people leaned forward in their seats as I told them that yes, I am gay and how I wish it were a gay Cameroonian on this stage tonight instead of me, but sadly he or she would probably not feel safe. Then very gently I spoke about queer issues.

Then for the next days the discussions began, all very polite and often without actgually saying the words gay or homosexual, but we talked. Then the gay Cameroonians revealed themselves to me, and there were many.

I feel amazed, stunned that I had this opportunity. I need more time to process it though.

I then premiered my play in London and Birmingham and in a few moments I will board a flight to Madrid. (Big Smile!)

This post has 5 Comments

  1. Joe G. on April 8, 2005 at 5:03 pm Reply

    Congratulations on your work in Cameroon. You’re a queer missionary (so to speak)! 🙂

  2. encarna on April 8, 2005 at 9:08 pm Reply

    You GO, Peterson! I can tell from your BIG SMILE that your Cameroon experience was joyful and rewarding. Can’t wait to hear more about it (and see your pictures) when you get home. It sounds Amazing. Whew.

  3. jimbo on April 9, 2005 at 10:06 am Reply

    Really pleased to hear of the groundbreaking that you’ve done in Cameroon. Goodness knows Africa needs it.

    I tried to get to see you in Brum, but arrived ten minutes too late…and the doorbell didn’t seem to elicit any response. Ah… better luck next time. At least I know where Brum’s gay quarter is now!

  4. cml on April 10, 2005 at 10:35 pm Reply

    i am so proud of you and so happy for you. so, so happy! it’s a relief to see your picture, read a little of your story, and imagine your smile.

    i miss you.

  5. Ruthie on April 14, 2005 at 3:44 pm Reply

    What an amazing story – I admire your boldness and your gentleness.

    Respect to you darling!

    Ruthie

    PS. Nice cap 🙂

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