It’s quite easy to stereotype. It eases up the responsibility of explaining. Stating without variations is often much easier than describing exceptions and the whys that follow. Stereotypes do not give room for explanations too. They are cut-in-stone conclusions. The indelible absence of buts design them.
All aspects of sexuality has been stereotyped in Nigeria. The presence of a middle ground, of exceptions is met with a loud scream of Religion, tradition, self-righteous values and other deductions- man-made deductions about what is normal and natural and a crime.
Accepted or not, homosexuality has been present in almost all eras and cultures since the dawn of recorded history. This is a fact. Another fact is that homosexual tendencies have never and will never become an inclination of a majority. It’s the exception and not the rule.
The not too recent and shockingly widely approved criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria is another blot on our receptiveness to truth and a stark illumination of our hypocritical nature and concern about what the real issues are.
This article is not going to be entirely nostalgic in pointing out the alacrity with which the “law” was passed by our curiously passive legislative house which is quite lethargic when dealing with cogent issues that plague our landscape.
Also, this article won’t argue on the biology or biochemistry of homosexuality. There are detailed science texts on that.
This article will seek to serve as a reminder to all that seem to have forgotten how dark and brown-skinned people were not appraised by their intellectual, physical or productive capacities but we’re stereotypically labelled BLACKS and in hindsight below-white, slaves, despondent and incapable of anything worthwhile, except plantation farming. How’s that categorization worked out so far?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our checkered history, it’s that the minute we judge people, label them not according to their capabilities, productivity and doings but according to their colour, ethnic group, race and consensual sexual preferences; it becomes a crusade against humanity and our humanness is questioned.
Ostensibly, quite a few are going to point to religion. Our religiosity as a people. As Nigerians. But for a moment, let’s conveniently ignore or choose to forget the quite apparent part of the Nigerian constitution which describes the state as “secular”. Let’s talk about our religiosity and I think in this case; selective religiosity. Selective because of the swift nature it moved against a politically outnumbered and clearly minute number of homosexuals but is still inundated in the whispers of struggle or waves of struggle against the politically strong Child marriage propagators which I would at this point assume its cultural status in our country is still being preserved. This is not to still ignore the slow toddler-like steps religion has taken in demanding more dividends for the people from government. Criminalizing homosexuals became more pressing than demanding basic amenities.
Homosexuals, with a regulating law or not will always exist side by side with majority of heterosexuals. Do we pretend and in the current contexts conclude that a homosexual cannot succesfully run a business, discover a vaccine in the laboratory, create a ground breaking phone application or contribute meaningfully to national development? Does consensual sexual activity impair brain function?
Would we rightfully jail a gay inventor with a heterosexual murderer or a paedophile. Would we in our right frame of humanity equate both?
In furtherance of the debased popular narrative, most have gone to equate homosexuals with rape. Rape in all forms is purely diabolical and is rightly a crime as one of the parties in rape does not consent to the act.
Understanding and tolerating differences is the only key to peace. The bible clearly tells the tales of jesus dining with gentiles, even when he didn’t agree to their ways. The Pope has echoed this view by saying jesus would have welcomed homosexuals.
If you feel you can proselytize and convert them from their ways- you feel it’s not one of the normal deviations the world has and should come to accept, fine. But wouldn’t you rather preach to them at the comfort of their home than through prison bars for humanities sake?