A Rwandan gospel singer, Albert Nabonibo has told the BBC he expected a backlash after telling a Christian YouTube channel on Monday that he was gay.
Albert Nabonibo, 35, said he was ready to face the challenges in a culture that was hostile towards homosexuality – and his revelation has shocked his fans.
Rwandan laws do not outlaw gay acts but same-sex marriages are not permitted and most churches in the mainly Christian country preach that homosexuality is a sin.
This has meant that for years Nabonibo has hidden his sexuality – and he is the first gospel singer in Rwanda to come out.
“In fact, there are many like me even there in churches. The fact is they hide it because of the mentality of church-goers and the community and for their security,” Nabonibo told the BBC.
But Nabonibo who was born in Kacyiru suburbs of the capital, Kigali, said it was time people to know that being gay was normal.
“I feel for others like me who live in fear. They should go out to be heard because we have to be received like other people out here,” he said.
But he has already started to receive abuse since coming out.
“Some people have insulted me, some have called me foolish and others called me stupid. But there are some who understand me – like my brother who has always encouraged me to be who I am.”
Whatever negativity he faces, Nabonibo says will continue “singing for God”.
“I will live with those who accept me and those who reject me – I know it will be a daily battle.”
Albert Nabonibo says it is time for Rwandans to know that it is normal for some people to be gay