This was written for publication elsewhere, a few months ago. Read with that in mind. I have left it in its original form despite new developments – the passing of the anti-gay marriage law.
This is a delicate subject; I will walk on tiptoe.
Let’s begin with what it means to be gay.
To be gay means to be full of light-heartedness and merriment… Hahaha, gotcha. Okay, seriously, Gay is a term that refers to sexual attraction, or activity among members of the same sex.
I want us to look at this, not from a religious, scientific, medical or psychological point of view: that has been done over and over, the differing arguments persist and aren’t we bored? I want us to try a not popular point of view – the humane one.
I read this article about some guys calling themselves ‘The Gay Busters.’ They described in gleeful detail how four of them formed some kind of homophobic cult; what they did was detect homosexuals, pretend they were also gay, lure them to some rendezvous and beat them up, while at the same time, dispossessing them of their valuables.
What was even worse, the magazine could not suppress its smugness at the reportage, or its delight in the boys.
Another episode comes to mind. When I was a Corps Member, my flatmate came to my room to report, with great pleasure, that her (then) boyfriend and his friend had befriended a gay man in a chat room, asked him over, descended on him, stripping him naked and beating him up severely.
In a remarkable turn of events, the police had cruised by and they had arrested my friend’s ex and his friends and locked them up.
“May they rot in jail,” I said in anger.
“Who?” she asked.
“Your boyfriend and his cohorts,” I snapped. She was taken aback.
She came to me the next morning, seeking to understand what would make me feel the way I did about homosexuals. Here are some of the things I told her.
I told her that the people who believe that people choose to be gay, are so steeped in their revulsion that they will say anything to defend it; but they do not really know this.
I told her that being a homosexual was one of the most difficult things to be in homophobic Nigeria, maybe even more difficult than being an atheist – the difference being that religion comes up in discussions, and makes more of an appearance in daily life, than sexuality. In light of the foregoing, who would then choose such a path that would bring them so much pain and misery, physically, emotionally and otherwise?
I asked her if there was ever a time in her life when she stopped and said, “Okay, I am ready to start having sex. I choose to be attracted to men yayyy.” No. As she gravitated towards the opposite sex, she needs to understand, and accept that some “like poles” attracted.
I told her that there were a lot more homosexuals in Nigeria than she could begin to fathom. And because society drives them so far underground, they pretend, they hide, they live ‘normal’ lives, they mix with the rest and they have heterosexual sex. And as HIV is most prevalent in homosexual circles, and the ‘carriers’, to gain acceptance are operating in the mainstream – marrying, having kids etc, it is no wonder Nigeria has the second-largest number of people living with HIV. Whether we like it or not, many Nigerians are homosexuals, we can’t wish it away. And as long as they are forced to live pretend lives and have heterosexual sex, we are in trouble, and denial or wishing it away will not save us. There is a research that quotes a ridiculous percentage of MSM who also have sex with women, something scary and ridiculous like 70 percent. Scary. Ridiculous. True.
I also told her to picture a scenario where a close friend or family member was gay, probably someone she had known all her life. We think of homosexuals in abstract terms but let’s bring it home. Would she suddenly strip them of all the good qualities they had? In the face of new revelations, would that be the only thing that defined them? Would they be suddenly diminished? Unworthy? Suspect?
I told her that what two adults consented to, that did not hurt anyone else except in their imagination, should not concern us.
I told her that if we loved people because we thought they were deserving of love, when we came right down to it, who really was?
I told her that homosexuality was not synonymous with paedophilia or bestiality – remember, the presence of consent, and absence of pain makes the difference.
By definition, homosexuality is more a function of what you are than what you do. How would you feel about a celibate homosexual?
Finally for you, if the ALUU 4 were killed for ‘Sodomy, not for ‘alleged theft’, where would you stand?
Let us not find ourselves on the wrong side of history.
RANDOM THOUGHT; Homosexuality and Celibacy, which is more ‘unnatural?’ Think about it.
And have a lovely weekend.