"I am homosexual, mum." That's the title of a short essay by Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina.
He came out publicly this past week when the essay, which he called a “Lost Chapter” from his 2011 memoir "One Day I Will Write About This Place," was published.
In it, he imagines telling his mother about his sexuality as she lays dying in a hospital.
But Wainaina never got that chance to tell his mother. She died while he was living abroad.
Instead, it took more than a decade after her death until Wainaina made this decision to come out.
“I cannot say the word gay until I am thirty nine,” he wrote in his essay.
Kenya is one of several African countries that has passed anti-gay laws. Earlier this month, Nigeria introduced a law outlawing homosexuality.
Under that law, same-sex couples who live together can be punished up to 14 years in prison. Uganda also has an anti-gay bill in progress.
Wainaina felt that it was time for him to come out in public, in hopes to spark more of a conversation about gay rights on the African continent.
“For me it’s important that piece was written when I wanted to find myself in a place of love in the public domain, when very serious things are looming in Uganda and in Nigeria,” Wainaina said.