Thursday, 20 May 2010

Homosexuals: Do They Have Rights?

I have to begin by quickly hitting the hammer on the nail. All of us have heard not for the first time but over and over again that some men like men, some like both men and women, some like to dress like women while others would prefer having a surgery to turn from a man into a woman and vice versa. When I say vice versa I mean some women fall into these groups too. There are others too, even though they are men are psychologically and emotionally wired to think they are women. There are women like that too. We all know about this and therefore let us not pretend to be shocked. Men who like only men are called gays. Their female counterparts are called lesbians while those who like both men and women are called bisexuals. Those who derive pleasure from dressing in clothes considered appropriate to the opposite sex are called transvestites while transsexuals are born with the physical characteristic of one sex but emotionally and psychologically feel that they belong to the opposite sex.

The summary of the above intro is that we have lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals amongst us. They have been there for millions of years and will continue to be till the end of the world. We should get that fact straight! There are here and there and yonder. One famous maxim within the gay community captured it aptly: “We are here, we are there, we are queer”. I therefore think it is high time we began accepting that fact and accepting them for who they are for they will never go away. They are an integral part of the universe and God’s purpose here on earth. A recent Stonewall homophobic campaign put it appropriately, ‘Some men are gay. Get over it’, and that is the simplest truth ever told in the history of mankind. It is a fact that being gay-a term am going to use to refer to both gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals in this article-cuts across all level and ladder of human existence. They are doctors, teachers, prison officers, politicians, pastors, administrators, scientists, musicians and any other thing you can think of including popes. Just like other human beings, they are good and they could be bad as well as ugly. They have talents just like every other person and breath and walk and have their being in the same God as every other person. They are in every country including Iran where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied they are and Nigeria where the former Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe told a group of learned audience in Geneva that they do not exist. He told lie and his audience knew that. Gays are simply everywhere.

The question here therefore becomes why some people are gay. I do not intend to answer the question here because that is not within the scope of this article. I intend to revisit that question later in another article. The main motive here is to argue that gays are human beings just like every other person and being human beings they also have human rights that should be protected and respected. My intention here is never to engage in religious lucubration; I am only interested in human rights and dignity after all religion has been playing a vital role in fanning the embers of homophobia. Many people are of the opinion that the ongoing homophobic attacks on the persons and dignities of gays are justified and should be tolerated. I do not share same opinion or sentiment. The world should have come of age to appreciate the fact that human rights are sacred and inalienable and that people should be allowed to live their life so far it is consistent with the law and does not infringe on the rights of others. It is very easy to condemn others but very difficult to proffer a solution and that is the reason I have chosen over a period of time to modify my philosophy of life and the core of my philosophy is that I will never remain silent or neutral when people are going through a difficult time as a result of their race, ethnicity, colour, language, sexual orientation, nationality or whatever other classifications unscrupulous people have invented to torment others.

People are going through hell today because they belong to a particular group or have certain features that are not as a result of their own making or consistent with what others expected of them or think they should be. Some white people still refuse promotion or employment to black people even in the UK simply because they are black. Due to equality law, they might end up giving other excuses for not employing them. UK is even better; other European countries could be a nightmare. Some blacks too are not even helping the matter. Some still have grudges against white people and Africans because of slave trade even though they are not directly affected by that evil trade. This is exactly the case amongst the Caribbeans who continually blame Africans for selling them into slavery. People are simply going through hell because of all these useless and baseless classifications and accusations. People are ridiculed all the time because their English is not as perfect as that of the Queen or because their table manners are not up to the standard of their host. The pathetic side of the whole scenario is that all these boundaries were simply man made. That is disgusting, appalling, pathetic and completely unacceptable.

Back home in Africa, my cousin's triplet would have been killed if they were born before the advent of white missionaries in the Igbo land of Nigeria. South African blacks went through hell during the apartheid regime because there were blacks and that was just barely a decade after the last major ugly racial incidents in the United States. The ethnic hatred that resulted in the Rwandan genocide just happened the other day and the massacre of Igbos in the northern part of Nigeria is not yet forgotten. Or have we forgotten so easily the sad story of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire, that of the Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Jewish holocaust under the Nazi Germany. It is purely against this background that I have agreed that every individual in all parts of the world should be allowed to live their life without fear of intimidation so far it has got no negative impact on others. The right to live is a fundamental and inalienable human right and should be guaranteed. We may have our differences with people's sexuality but let that not be a reason for us to remain aloof when people are going through difficult times because of who they are sexually. Each time we refuse to condemn acts like this we degrade our personality as humans. Something in us diminishes and dies!

Homosexuality maybe deplorable but to the best of my knowledge, it is not as deplorable as corruption ravaging Africa today which has led to millions of deaths and millions of Africans seeking refuge here in the UK, Europe and America. It is not as deplorable as stoning a human being created in the image of God to death. It is not as deplorable as murdering a person created by God in the name of God. How can we tolerate the fact that people are being stoned, hanged, decapitated, imprisoned, ostracised and tortured just because of their sexual orientation? We cannot continue to remain silent and neutral for silence and neutrality empowers the tormentor and ridicules the victim. I say it again, no one can claim to believe in God and yet in the name of same God kill his fellow human beings. Any religion that advocates violence including killing in the name of God is not a religion. Most of us who are strongly against the homosexuals are heavily involved in fornication, adultery, abortion, sex before marriage, corruption, stealing, cheating and many other evils condemned by the same Bible being used to condemn homosexuals.

Where is the wisdom in condemning others of being sinners when we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory and mercy of God? It is purely because of this that Jesus Christ asked the hypocrites who brought the adulterous woman before him to be the first to cast their stone, if they have not committed such a sin before. And what was their response? They are all chickened away! That is the way all of us would soon chicken away if we don’t change our views towards these brethren. How can a man who claimed that murdering people in the name of God is a holy act condemn homosexuals? How can those who perpetrated the 7/7 bombing and September 11 debacle begin to condemn homosexuals. Or are the homosexuals the reason for the ongoing corruption and poverty in Nigeria despite being the second in Africa and sixth in the world in terms of oil reserve and even the highest in gas reserve. Or are the gays, lesbians and the bisexuals the reason for the never-ending war in Somalia and Sri Lanka. Are they the cause of the ongoing credit crunch? Are they the reason for the war between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants in Northern Ireland? Did they cause the genocide in Rwanda? Are they responsible for the looting that has devastated the economy of African nations and rendered millions poor? Are they the reason why Nigerians do not experience uninterrupted power supply? Are they the cause of the bad roads, lack of potable water, insecurity, assassinations, high maternal mortality rate, lack of access to quality education and numerous other things taken for granted in the west.

I think we better begin to get our own lives and allow others to live theirs. The present day argument being used to suppress the gays, lesbians and homosexuals was used over 200 years ago to justify the slave trade and some are still using it today to justify killing in the name of God. Live and let live! I am a Christian, a Roman Catholic and come from a place very rich in history of oppression, suppression, corruption and injustice that ordinary water and electricity is a luxury. As a result of my upbringing, I see everybody as my brother. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, white, disabled; all of them are my brothers and I love them and thank God for the spice and variety they are introducing into this world. God is capable of doing everything, if He does not want any of them, He could have wiped them off the face of the earth within seconds. And so far He has not done that, I am inclined to believe that they are still precious in the eyes of the Lord.

Therefore, let there be no more hatred. We have had enough of hatreds, bitterness, walls and wars. Love and Peace should be the watchwords. Wherever there is peace and love and unity and brotherhood, that is where I belong and that is my father’s land. Ubi pacem, Ubi patria! And wherever there is hatred, oppression and victimisation, please count me out! And when I die I would want to be remembered more as that guy who never sought the riches of heaven and earth, but the universal brotherhood, equality and freedom of mankind! The founding fathers and those who drafted the American Constitution were well aware of this issue hence the inclusion of the ninth and fifteenth amendments in that famous constitution.

1 comment:

  1. "Homosexuality maybe deplorable but to the best of my knowledge, it is not as deplorable as corruption ravaging Africa today"

    Really?! This is the statement that got stuck in my mind as I read this. As much as you attempt to uphold the cause, it is absolutely ridiculous to compare homosexuality to corruption in Africa. There is no basis for that. You speak of openness and accommodation ...but its apparent that you dont know what any of those means in the realms of this tepid insulting rant.

    Homosexuality is about the struggle of a sexually oppressed minority in a largely str8 world and the desperate attempt by the present civilization to consign them to the fringes of human existence. Compassionate charities that reduce and compare their lifestyle to vices are insulting at best. They dont need your pity or sanctimonious posturings. They require you to simply recognize that they ARE right in the affections they bear and they HAVE a right to love that way