Thursday 16 January 2014

Opinion: To Be A Homosexual in Africa Today

The freedoms I have
Sometimes I forget that privileges and conveniences I have by reason of birth and location, taking many things for granted that many others desire to see, if they can beyond, the next hour.
The life I have today I cherish, the health I have has been a constant blessing - each day I desire the world is a better place for all people, sadly, for some, each day is a worse hell than the day before.
I have no answers to many of these problems, but I hope for the few I meet, I can seed a word of hope, some encouragement and maybe more to brighten them up towards the things they face.
Justified to do justice
Yet, I have watched as people secure in the sense of who they think they are from their religion, their status, their morality, their identity or their beliefs of superiority bray like an irate mob to consume those who are different.
They have found an easy outlet of convenience, justified in their words and deeds to act in the stead of God and culture to remove from their communities those that do not conform.
The hatred dripping from their fangs like vampires after a feast of bloody abandon, they have whipped up a frenzy of hysteria; we must protect our values from corruption, but the corruption they perceive has always been part of our humanity, from the time there was the opportunity between people to find affection and express that affection as intimately as they dare to care.
Difference and diversity
Before the law that instructs about whether things we right or wrong, we existed almost oblivious of each other yet enjoyed the brotherhood and neighbourliness of our humanity until knowledge came of how different we were.
Some celebrated and embraced our diversity, others exploited and exacerbated our differences, the former was the selfless act of love in the mould of the Good Samaritan, and the latter was the selfish act of hatred giving scope for unimaginable evil.
Yet, we are allowed the courage of our convictions to take the easy path of convenience and follow the crowd of thoughts that would ostracise the other to belong to the many.
We have schooled ourselves to not acquiesce, groomed ourselves never to tolerate, and decided we cannot accommodate those that are to our thinking different, bad, dangerous, evil, degenerate, repulsive, hell-bound and condemned.
A fellow human being
Such is the homosexual to many of us, a fellow human being, who should if we had our way never be fellow, nor dare to be human for their being does not deserve to walk the streets we walk.
But think on this matter; in any population on the face of the earth and the diversity that each unit when compartmentalised might contain, anything from 1% to 10% or more would be so radically different from us – shall we treat them like dogs for their status, their race, their tribe, their handicap, their sexuality, their speech, their beliefs, their views, their culture, their lifestyles, their origin, their mix, their loves, their hates and much else?
Then think on this, if you belonged to any minority where the tyranny of the majority reigned supreme to blackmail, to persecute, to bully, to prosecute, to excoriate, to condemn, to lynch and to put to death.
That is the unbearable existence of the gay African (a fellow human being) in their hostile communities; anything up to and possible more than 80 million* Africans who have always lived in Africa and hardly been exposed to influences outside Africa are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual or intersexual, they have nowhere to go but to live in Africa, where they belong, by birth and by right.
*[The 80 million figure is an estimate of possibly 8% of the total population not being heterosexual. More references appear below the blog.]
Worst examples of leadership
The purpose of leadership in the face of vulnerable minorities is not to accentuate the differences amongst the people they lead that would persecute the few, but to demonstrate the magnanimous virtues of maturity, to offer all the protections of the law possible and to moderate all their expressed views and actions to minorities amongst them.
This is the failure of leadership we have witnessed in politics and governance being demonstrated in pandering to populist demagoguery, for the truth is that homosexuals have always been amongst us in Africa until someone found some political gain in pointing fingers at them.
The almost 80 million African homosexuals are not going to disappear overnight because some law has been promulgated to the glee and satisfaction of the majority.
What are you doing?
The lynching of homosexuals in streets near you, where you have given your support to depriving your own fellow citizen and countryman of life by your words, your actions or your silence would not eliminate them.
By God, if sexuality were a matter of choice like one could change clothes, homosexuals would definitely wear different clothes from what they wear now to conform and be assimilated into your norm.
For all those that debate and contend that homosexuality is a choice and a lifestyle, if you walked a long hard mile in the shoes of a homosexual, your choice and lifestyle would be that of a heterosexual but we have enough science to prove that homosexuality is as set as the colour of your skin – you can tone or tan your skin, but you cannot change your race.
Address your humanity
As we acquiesce to the 21st Century extermination of the African homosexual, each one of almost 80 million of them, the lives lost in World War I which we celebrate the centenary of this year and those lost in World War II combined, along with the gruesome evil of the Holocaust, would not begin to number close to the task of ridding ourselves of this homosexual menace.
This is not about the West, this is about our own, our own people, fellow human beings, their lives, their livelihoods, their existence, their pursuit of happiness, all quietly seeking to fulfil their potential in their own countries, provinces, states and communities, like any other person born into this world desires, given the opportunity.
If you for a moment were homosexual, what would you do?
Address your humanity and with that see the humanity in others.
Thank you.
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