In the previous chapter, I sought to highlight how historical process of nation building have positioned same-sex desire as unAfrican, with Christianity and Culture often informing such false understandings. In this chapter, I begin a discussion of the study’s findings, which suggest fundamentally that the sexual identity construction processes of the Black male teachers who engage in same-sex relations is powerfully caught up in the effect of both Zulu culture and religion, in the form of Christianity. So powerful are culture and religion that they trigger a passing effect among participants, with their same-sex identities relegated to the private space at all levels of their lives, including in their communities as well as in schools. Culture and religion serve as regulatory mechanisms determining the acceptable behavior among the male teachers while also offering the boundaries through which one may resist homophobia. I show that the male teachers studies used passing as an expression and performance of selfhood. This meant publicly being seen as ‘good’ and ‘responsible’ heterosexual citizens while privately engaging in same-sex relations. The public projection of responsibility successfully placed the same-sex sexuality of the participants out of the cultural and religious radar, thus giving the men greater freedom to be part of a range of community and institutional activities. Writing about the notion of passing in the context of race and performance in the United States, Alexander (2006) notes that
passing can be extricated … as both a means of maintaining cultural membership, by assuming the necessary and performative strategies that signal membership, as well as the conscious and unconscious choice to engage other performances that situate racial [in this case sexual] identity.(p. 72) It is argued that the participants passed in order to tactfully gain membership of the group (be it the family, school or community). It also enabled the participants to hide the elements that may discursively have positioned them as outsiders—which publically claiming same-sex identities would 57have done. While all the teachers in my study engaged in same-sex relations, none openly claimed gay identities. They were assumed to be heterosexual because of heteronormativity and certain projections and performances of Zulu masculinity, which discursively confirmed their heterosexual state in the public. Passing therefore became central and was beneficial to the men because it allowed them to be socially respected and loved while at the same time shielding them from the punishment that may have ensued from engaging in socially (culturally and religiously) abhorred forms of sexual expression. Passing was a survival strategy.