Our latest issue of Nisnis focused on the important theme of allies. One of the people we interviewed was Ato Alemayehu, who has a queer daughter. To hear more from him and others, make sure you read the seventh issue of Nisnis.
Question from Queer Ethiopia: Why do you think your opinion is different from so many Ethiopians in this regard? What influenced your views, and how were you able to accept your daughter so easily?
Ato Alemayehu: It is a very good question. Our culture is very strange, and it’s amazing to me. What makes my religion a little different is the fact that my religion is a personal thing. I don’t go to church every Sunday asking God for this or that. I believe in doing good deeds and being an honest person. I am not a churchgoer. I’m not conservative. My father and my mother are followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and they invite people to an annual celebration of the Holy Trinity. Although I grew up within that culture, the majority of my life has been spent in America, where I have worked and met several homosexuals. Given how I have experienced the different cultures of America and my sense of openness, I find it difficult to be close-minded. In America, you see the way that Blacks, whites, gays, lesbians, and all kinds of people live their lives. So, the question is, why would I act differently if it happened to me? I wouldn’t act or do anything differently because I find them where I work every day, they are my friends, and my daughter is no different from them. That made it so easy for me to accept.
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