Bongi - Johannesburg, South Africa
I first realized I was gay when I was doing my grade ten at school. It was really difficult for me to accept this about myself. I tried to commit suicide. Then my mother and my stepfather took me to a pastor at church. I had to go through counseling sessions with him. He helped me understand and accept myself the way I am.
Five years later, I found out that I was HIV-positive. I told myself that maybe God had punished me because I’m gay. But then, after attending counseling sessions, I accepted my status. The support that I’ve gotten from my church has been really important. We even have a support group at church for people who are living with HIV.
Even though my family and church are there for me, support from the community is really hard to get. People will insult you, saying disgusting words: “Look at this gay person who has AIDS. We are going to change you and make you a straight guy. But you mustn’t infect our girlfriends.”
I met my partner last year, and we have been together ever since. He’s HIV-negative and he supports me. He loves me and I love him. We live a normal life as heterosexual couples do—we even hold each other’s hands when we walk in the street. We are just two guys in love.