Binyavanga Wainaina, an influential author from Kenya, has come out gay to protest homophobic laws on the African continent.

Wainaina, the winner of the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing, publicly announced his sexuality in a short story titled I am a Homosexual, Mum published online over the weekend.

“I, Binyavanga Wainaina, quite honestly swear I have known I am a homosexual since I was five,” he wrote in his story.

“Nobody, nobody, ever in my life has heard this. Never, mum. I did not trust you, mum. And. I. Pulled air hard and balled it down into my navel, and let it out slow and firm, clean and without bumps out of my mouth, loud and clear over a shoulder, into her ear.”

“'I am a homosexual, mum.'”

Though arrests are rare, gay sex is prohibited in Kenya. Recent anti-gay laws in Nigeria and Uganda have received international condemnation.

In a tweet to his more than 10,500 followers, Wainaina thanked supporters: “Ten million thank yous to the thousands of Africans and others who have given all kinds of public love, support. We live in a beautiful continent.”