Like many Christians who spent their early years in Sunday schools, the first time I heard of males wanting to have sex with males was in the Bible. Per the Bible text, the apt description of the actions of the men and women of Sodom and Gomorrah was savagery; they were evil and deserved to die.
Fast forward and the first time I heard talk of homosexuality in my home was on the eve of my departure into Senior Secondary School. My mum in her delivery of the ever-popular ‘woo ko yi ooo’ speech, often delivered to sons before departure to school, warned me to be careful of the friends I make. She insisted I should not even eat anyone’s shito because I could be drugged and sexually abused. Yeah right, I thought, because it sounded highly preposterous. I was a virgin then and couldn’t imagine anything sexual, worse of all, a colleague male student desiring me. Ah!
Well, reality dawned on me few months into the first term when in the biggest scandal I have heard of in any school, a syndicate of homosexual students was busted and over 30 of them sacked and many others suspended or punished. Here too, I believed the many counter claims of framing up and innocence some of the affected students expressed. Well, my problem was that I couldn’t just understand that it was possible for a right thinking educated young boy to desire another.
Throughout my three years in secondary school, one tag many colleagues did not take kindly to, even if in jest, was to be referred to as ‘bartiboi’: the ‘patois’ reference to a homosexual. The stigma attached to being perceived gay was so intense that, it was an unspoken rule to abhor anything that may falsely lead to an impression you were one.- You had to be passive about R&B and love hip pop; you didn’t have to watch Nigerian movies or soap operas and even if you did, pretend you didn’t know the names of the characters or storylines.
I guess that’s where my strong views against homosexuality are rooted.
Had I written this piece even a week earlier, my sentiments would be distinctly different from what I am about to express. I always considered myself homophobic and, while I can’t physically harm anyone for being gay, I mentally justified any attacks on gay people I saw or read in the media. I could not fathom having a friend who is openly gay, and could almost see myself telling any abused homosexual that ‘it serves you right’.
The past week, however, has been the longest period I have spent, scrutinizing my real position on homosexuality. After few minutes pondering, three things are certain;
Very paradoxical, I know, but funny enough, those were my conclusions and I believe in them.
My opinions on gay rights have not always been this lenient. I believe my stance against them certainly softened when last week, I kept getting messages and calls enquiring the veracity in rumours that ‘Kinto’, a good friend of mine, had been lynched at Nima. Well, ‘lynched’ means ‘killed’ and so naturally I was very disturbed and I wondered what at all he had ‘stolen’ and why from Nima of all places? Well, before long, there was a 15-second video circulating, in which a blood drenched and swollen-faced Kinto professed, ‘I want chop Salim’.
You want chop who? Ei,
Well, Salim is a guy and screen shots of Kinto allegedly courting the affection of this Salim were already making rounds on social media.
Looking at the disfigured face of Kinto and the blood-teary tattoo of his late mum on his chest, I wasn’t surprised at that confession. Without suggesting the homosexuality allegations against him are either true or false, I am sure in a similar situation, I would have not only claimed to want to chop Salim, I would say I want to marry him and have children as well; for fear of my life. Right after Kinto uttered those four words, there was commotion and further battery.
Shocked to the core and feeling a friend’s plight, I asked myself a few questions.
NO wait, Eat from the same bowl? Hmmm, well, all things being equal, Yes, but if I imagine what a gay man probably does with his hand during their encounters, I will rather want to pay for his food so we put our separate bowls on the same table and eat.
Fair, isn’t it?
Being gay and desiring someone of the same sex is a choice, and contrary to what various activists claim, I am not convinced people are born gay. Factors that lead people into making such negative choices vary but all are not justified.
I do not subscribe to the use of contraceptives (because I am a Catholic). I eschew the abuse of hard drugs and cannot stand the sight and scent of okro stew. Am I justified then to get Ashaiman guys to discipline all those who engage in these things I so don’t like?
I would like to believe I stand for the personal safety of all, including homosexuals, but should any man decide to hit on me or woo my young nephew into this nefarious act, someone ‘pls’ tell me how I can get through to Salim’s Nima friends.
Twitter – @Pasinoman