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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Africans and Homophobia--Make the Change


If you know me, then you know I used to be a homophobe. I knew a couple of queer people in boarding school and being at a stage when we usually ganged up, or walked in groups, it was relatively easy to absorb prejudices against gay people. I mean we didnt single gay people out, walking in gang just made you egalitarian with your prejudice: we hated on people that wore rubber sandals and people that didnt want to be lawyers, doctors or engineers or people that had the misfortune of being in the bottom in the bottom half of the class. I digress, all i want to point out was that being in a clique often made it easy to hate on the outsiders.

As I grew as a person though, and matured into thinking for myself (and might I add, after I had left school so no risk of a random gay dude butt-raping me, but thats my vestigial homophobia speaking lol ), I started evaluating these attitudes I had, to understand why I held them. Why didnt I like to be around gays, even though I had nothing against them? And I found out...nothing.

There was no reason whatsoever. (Oh yea, i mean concrete reasons, paranoia doesnt count.)


The prejudice i had against them was just that: a prejudice. Does the bible condemn it? Maybe, maybe not. If we condemn everything Scripture said was wrong, Jesus would have wacked the shit outta the adulterous woman. He had every right to, I mean, he was as sinless as they come. But he didnt. Cos he was giving us a model: humanity trumps morality. What you think is right or wrong should not get in the way of the respect we have for ourselves as people. And while I cannot claim to understand them completely, gay people, are first and foremost, people. Not a subset, like society wants us to believe. There is no such thing as a subset of people.No one has figured out people. People will be people: we cant be understood. We are all fallen trying to reach back to the vision of perfection : gay, straight, trans, all races, all classes, all religions.

If we want to criticise people on moral grounds, be equally moral for all gender expressions and sexual orientations. This is one area where Africa, is unfortunately, still too clingy towards its past. People justify their bias by saying , homosexuality is not in our culture. Well it is now! C'mon son! Neither was cinema, clubbing, facebook, flying in planes, Christianity, Islam, democratic politics and gin and juice but they're all part of it now. (And by accepting it wanst part of our culture, I dont say it didnt exist, but it wasnt engaged in by a significant portion of the people, or openly enough to be registered as part of their reality.) But today homosexuals are seeking expression. We subject them to a life where they have to be brave to be who they are, all bcos we cant let the past go? So will you be the wife of Lot that will stare back at visions lost? or will you welcome a new African culture, a blend of the past, present and near future? All Im saying is, times have changed. Arent you all the ones going on about change? If Greece had held on to 'culture and tradition' they would have died as city-states instead of emerging as a unified country that launched a global culture. If America held on to tradition, black people would still be slaves or worse yet, they would still be allegiant to the British crown. If people held on to every single tradition, our modern age would never have arisen gaddamit! We cannot hold on to a culture that glorifies dehumanisation, or continue to live in denial of the reality of our times. There are parts of our culture that deserve being held on to, our arts, our history, our language, our dress, our sense of worth and value and work ethic, our spirit of tolerance. People are all too quick to sweep these under the carpet, but when it comes to homosexuality, we suddenly become African ambassadors. Never mind the fact that some of these people we hate have done more to promote African culture and keep it alive than some of us have.


I guess all Im saying is, we need to join the rest of the world in the new age. Lets bring our African flair into it, and let us not, in the new global culture be known as the continent of homophobes. Let people see the hospitality, tolerance and communal bond we are known for. Change is inevitable. Maybe we were a dogmatic society in the past. But new information and new realities demand a new orientation.Instead of finding justification to hate in your religion, find justification to love. Thats what most religions are about. Thats what humans are about. But if you choose to be stuck in a state of mind that is judgmental or tries to make people into what they are not, then you need to answer some questions. First of which is: Are you God?

10 comments:

ShadeNonconformist said...

It's so sad that people are being oppressed because of their sexuality.

What pisses me off the most is all these silly claims of "african culture" and what not. I can't stand the hypocrisy. Most people don't even know what African culture is. We pick and choose when to be "ambassadors" of African culture. The irony as you pointed out is that people who are gay more often than not "have done more to promote African culture and keep it alive than some of us have." Smcheew.

Hopefully people will learn to focus on the real issues that hamper Africa's progress: corrupt leaders, tribalism, education, bad roads, salaries, etc, and not issues that have no head or tail.

I mean granted the bible tells me that homosexuality is a sin, yet the same bible tells me to be tolerant and love my neighbor as myself. That's the most i can do and share with others God's word. After all I'm not God and who am i to judge you? That's between each person and God.

Lol @ gin and juice.

Realist said...

lol@ we should bring our African flair to it... lol so it is foir us to be gay in an african way...lol

Anytime i see someone who is homophobic i get a feeling thay they are closet homosexuals and/or scared of their longings for same sex partners. Or they are just ignorant murrafuckas...lol I love when pre-marital straight sex gets a pass but homosexuality is a no-no. Is pre-marital sex part of our culture? lol

nice one bro.

Naijalines said...

Loving this, well done. One of my favourite posts on this blog.

Continent of homophobes? Mba, we no wan dat o. Shay dem go hear?

What people don't realise is that homophobia portrays Africa in much the same way as stereotypes of Africans as savages and backward people.

El Divine said...

@shade it really is..and its what pisses me off too. you will see them bad-mouthing homosexuality as un-African. Offer them palm wine, and they'll b like "oh no, gin and juice pls". oloshis

@yes oh, realist let us be whatever we are in the way Africans do things: sensibly, with pride and decorum. how can they force my african bros n sis to be doing things closetedly. now that is un-African.

@naijalines at all at all, anyi achoghi ya. (we dont want that)
and my point exactly. why must we always be the inhumane and dogmatic ones?

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Nice post. I have learned not to judge people just because they seem different. And with homosexuality, I have learned that God made us all in his image and not one of us is a mistake. Plus, what anyone does in their bedroom, sexually, is not a bit of my business.

So, yes, to not having a continent of homophobes. It just won't do.

El-Divine said...

thanks man..you got it on point.

Vanity said...

this is why you are my new twitter bff

btw why cant i find your blog??

great, amazing post btw

Prism of an immigrant said...

Very well put... It is time for us to speak out for tolerance

http://lookingglassofanimmigrant.blogspot.com/

Azazel said...

Very awesome post..
Lol El Divine u sure ur not coming over to the other side??

Ese said...

LMAO... homophobia - insecurity about being heterosexual