Since time humans have practiced bigotry one form or the other, be that someone’s race, ethnicity, color of skin, caste system of India and much more. But as society has progressed, people all over the world have grown more sensitive and tolerant towards each other but few lingering practices of bigotry still exist and on top of the list stand the most politically convenient and racially inclusive form of discrimination, “Homophobia”. Why should someone be afraid of people who are gay or lesbian? Are they here to cause harm and damage to property? But wait, we as humans have more tolerance towards those who cause us physical and financial harm then we have for gays. The only reason is their sexual orientation. The point is, what one does in the privacy of one’s bedroom is nobody’s business. But all over the world and specifically in Africa outrageous laws have been enacted by the governments to punish gays, Lesbians and other transgender i.e. LGBT.
In countries like Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya draconian laws have been enacted to curb homosexuality which is considered against society and the sad part is all this is influenced due to colonialism and influence of religion and all the culture and traditions of the past were forgotten. However in the west the very countries which ruled many of these African countries and promoted their form of social virtues are now bastion of liberal society where homophobia is not tolerated one bit. Laws are in place to ensure that gays, lesbians and transgender persons not to be discriminated. But somehow this “juice of revulsion” towards homosexuals has been so deeply “marinated” into the bones of African due to colonialism and there is no sight of ending one of the last vestiges of bigotry.
Many in Africa or as the matter of fact in other places besides the African Continent, still believe, there is a strong connection between homosexuality and AIDS, which is an absolute fabrication of the truth but with constant bombardment by western missionaries and the constant torrent of funds pouring in to promote social virtue like “abstinence” in Africa is an unstoppable force which only solidifies this silly idea. It is not very helpful when African leaders like President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria make irresponsible and insensitive statements about Homosexuality for cheap political gains and instead focus on solving problems like bad economy, lack of education among women and terrorism plaguing a country like Nigera with Boko Haram getting out of control. the leaders of African countries especially Nigera should focus more of their time and energies solving these problem which are much more dangerous.
Activists are threatened, science is ignored and homosexuality is considered a decease spread by the west and their decadent lifestyle. Right now AIDS is killing more people in Africa than the Ebola Virus and instead of taking steps to prevent it by education and asking people to use condom, the issue is diverted towards gays and the proverbial finger of judgment is pointed towards homosexuals and they are blamed for all the problem people face and so many innocent people have paid with their lives. Just over a decade ago Africa was witnessing some of the worst form of ethnic problems and who can forget the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 but now everyone is coming together to form laws against homosexuality. I was watching the news one day and I saw anti gay protest in Uganda and one particular placard caught my eye it read “Obama We Want Trade Not Homosexuality” and the people were grateful of the Ugandan Parliament.
Africa is fast losing its natural resources and wild life and illiteracy among Africans is still very high. Thousands die each year due to starvation and malnourishment among African children is one of the highest in the world. With all these problems, how can centering action against a harmless minority will give any solution to all the problems faced. Homosexuality is not decease or a mental problem which can be cured as many religious organizations claim. It is a natural phenomenon which as modern citizens of the world we must embrace.
I once asked a gay friend of mine why the rainbow colors were chosen as the symbol of gay rights and he said that an artist in San Francisco named Gilbert Baker designed what is believed to be the first modern gay pride flag by combining eight stripes, each a different color with its own symbolism: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for the human spirit. If this is what a group of minuscule minority feel and just want to enjoy life on their terms, then who are we to judge, control and brand them as evil and call them the ills to all our problems. All they ask is for equal rights under the law.
Look Back and Move Forward
If we check history some of the greatest men have been gay from Alexander the great, Roman Emperor Hadrian, renascence legends Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Literary genius like Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde and in modern times, music legend Elton John, one of the best women comedian Ellen DeGeneres, designers Gianni Versace and Giorgio Armani. The list is endless.
Countries like Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda have a rich history and traditions and they must look back beyond their colonial past and did deep into their own culture which was full of tolerance. Some of the best answers are in the past and Africans and Asian also must embrace our Gay, Lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters. We must move towards a more congenial and open society where no one should be discriminated. If people are capable of coming together from different race, culture, ethnicity and religion to discriminate homosexuality, than we are equally capable of getting together and end this “apartheid of small minded believe” and live together as children of god under one rainbow.
Powered by Facebook Comments