Gay rights activist talks about his ‘troubled’ upbringing in Alex

Gay activist Asser Nkosi. Photo: Sipho Siso

ALEX – Bullying of a young schoolboy drives activist to start educational campaigns to raise gay rights and awareness in Alex.

A young Alex boy rejected by his playmates because of his sexual orientation, gave 21-year-old Asser Nkosi the drive to start gay rights activism in the township.

Nkosi suffered the same humiliation when he was growing up. Nkosi is a born and bred Alexandrian from the Phase 1 section of the iconic township who started his schooling at Emfundisweni Primary School and later moved to Pholosho Junior Secondary School before matriculating at Minerva Secondary School.

Bullying by playmates over his sexual orientation drove Asser Nkosi over the edge and propelled him to action. Photo: Sipho Siso

“I was often teased not just my playmates but by their parents as well who often referred to me as istabane, intondolo or inkonkoni, all of which referred to a gay guy,” he said.

“I would often ask my mother what all this meant when they called me names and she would just dismiss it and say to me she will tell me when I am grown up. Those who did not want to use those names would ask me which toilets do I use, those of the boys or girls?

Even teachers would do the same. They would ask me whether I am gay or what? Some would even go to the extent of describing me as into le [this thing] and this made me lose self-esteem and want to close myself behind closed doors all the time.”

Bullying by playmates over his sexual orientation drove Asser Nkosi over the edge and propelled him to action. Photo: Sipho Siso

When Nkosi came knocking on the doors of his playmates to play, he said the parents would say his friends were not there. “I could see them giggling through the windows. This hurt me so much,” he added.

Nkosi endured this right up to matric after which he moved from Phase 1 to Bramley and attended Boston City College on Louis Botha Avenue where he met people who accepted his sexual orientation.

He started his activism after the death of his mother in November last year and when his father moved back to his traditional home in Limpopo.

“I was approached by a young boy who said he had been bullied by his friends at school over his sexual orientation. This immediately triggered the activist in me and I decided enough is enough. I needed to stand up and educate the community about gays and the fact that they too were human beings just like anyone else and deserved to be treated with dignity.

Gay activist Asser Nkosi. Photo: Sipho Siso

“I did not want to see another child going through the humiliation and ostracising I suffered. I have decided to use the media as an education platform for community members and also other community events to give talks on gay issues and rights,” concluded Nkosi who is a first-year media studies student at Boston City College.

By: Sipho Siso