A Nigerian Woman’s Thoughts on Homosexuality in Africa : Africa Kill The Gays??

sharing a kiss!

Desire for a union, fighting for it!

love potent!forever yours.

An American Christian voiced her belief!

Top Anti- Homosexual Phrases Amongst Africans

1. It is forbidden by God read Leviticus 18:22, 20:13
2. Marriage is between a man and a woman for pro-creation,
3. It is satanic , it needs deliverance from God,
4. It is a white-man invention. Evil and foreign. “Faggots have no place in African Society”!
5. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve

Growing up in rural Middle-Belt Nigeria, I often would hear the word, “dan daudu” this term is attributed to a person who has the characteristics and demeanor of both male and female; however, with more pronounced male features. From my understanding dan daudu sometimes dresses like a woman and has sexual intercourse with both male and female. Dan daudu at times would marry a male and or a female for reproduction. I don’t recall hearing a revolt against this special gender amongst us. One could say, dan daudu would have his “cake and eat it is too”.

However, despite the exposure to the idea that there is a third gender group, I did not take the time to reflect on its implications, after all what does that got to do with me. My third year at undergraduate I was forced to interact with schoolmates on campus who recently identified themselves as homosexuals (they desire loving, sexual relationship with members of the same sex) and bisexual (they engage in sexual relations with both male and female or vice versa). Being the born again, sanctified and justified Christian woman of God that I was, I recollect expressing to the homosexuals and bisexuals every time I conversed with them, “you will go to hell!” I went further by pointing out to Genesis 19 from the Christian Holy Bible that talks about Sodom and Gomorrah, how it was destroyed by God because of their sinful sexual engagement with the opposite sex. For all these facts, I urged them to repent from their sinful ways.

It has been over a decade now since I learned about “dan daudu” gender and six years interaction with homosexuals and bisexuals in the Western world. Through these years, I decided to read outside my academic work, by studying and engaging with this group, I read books, articles and asked others questions. Through my analysis of “dan daudu” (which is consider third gender group in most of Northern and Middle-Belt Nigeria), homosexual and bisexual seem to have a lot in common. This commonality includes: the desire to be in a meaningful, loving relationship with members of the opposite or the same sex, fight for human dignity, respectful and peaceful coexistence with those different from them, and to be acknowledged for their human-ness; hence despite their sexual orientation, they too were created by the higher powers.

I am mindful that I run the risk of generalizing that homosexuals, bisexual experience is equal to Dan daudu or any other sexual orientation across the African continent, however, given the high-lighted commonality I mentioned earlier in this piece, as members of global family, we can’t ignore the fact that we have these people in our community. For the lack of a better umbrella term for the entire sexual orientation group I mentioned, I would use a western label “homosexual or gay” interchangeably throughout this piece. Finding constructive ways in dealing with this topic is crucial not only on the African continent but world over. In the past years Westerns and Africans dealt with homosexuality differently.

Early 1950s most Christian religious Britons believed that homosexuality was a disease that could be cure like any other illness (See,” Treatments of Homosexuality in Britain since the 1950s-an oral history: the experience of patients, http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/328/7437/427. Those who publicly shared their sexual orientation were giving the alternative of either going to jail or getting a medical treatment. This option in dealing with homosexuality contributed into hundreds of arrest and murder of gays in Britain. Homosexuals who chose to get medical attention to correct their desires as suggested by medical experts, ended up with entirely different problems, such as social and psychological challenges.

In the United States of America anti-homosexual rhetoric could also be trace to the early 40s when the U.S government made it clear that gays were not welcome and their sexual preference was rather unnatural. Societal pressure forced the government to sack military personals that were suspected to be gay. Homosexual women got raped, killed and harried by civilians; most of these attacks were done in the name of purifying American land from these evil doers (See, brief history,http://safezone.slu.edu/downloads/reading.homosexuality%20in%20america.pdf).

Today in America even though homosexuals have relatively basic rights by being allowed to coexist in some spheres; their interaction in society is limited. Like any other marginalized group in America, homosexuals live predominately amongst themselves. There are laws such as Proposition 8  which confines the constitution of marriage only to heterosexuals (Female and male) relationships. What such underdone law does is forces non-Christians into living by “traditional” Judeo-Christian institution of marriage and its ordinance.

This is not to say that America refuses to act on its moral obligations towards its marginalized. America has come a long way, we have five states today that allow gay marriage: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and recently New Hampshire. However, even though these marriages are allowed by specific states, the Federal law does not recognize them as such. Religious groups, primarily evangelical Christians continue to fuel hate speech domestically for example see a court case on anti- gay protest, by Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas at a funeral service http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6274T020100308 . This contaminated, diluted hermeneutic ( reading) from conservative Western Christians found stronghold internationally amongst Africans who seem to be carefree as per things they allowed into their midst.

Most Western evangelical clergy men and other religious groups seem to maintain 18th century racist theory that Africans are like children, who need someone to lead them to the light ( See Hegel, “Philosophy of History” ). Evangelical minister Rick Warren a known author and pastor uses his white privilege and  influential status by pushing for dangerous agenda amongst Africans. Recently pastor Warren went to Uganda, supporting the country’s religious leaders with their cruel, ” Kill the Gay bill”. This bill in question criminalized homosexuality, anyone found to be gay would be thrown in jail, and other times killed if the person is H.I.V positive. Warren suggested that Uganda is a purpose driving nation because of its brutal take on homosexual activities in the country.( see youtube ” Rick Warren, Sen. Inhofe, Sen. Grassley, & The Family Uganda Update – Rachel Maddow” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t-gSJDpv1o&feature=related ).
Other Evangelical preachers such as Scott Lively, Don Schmierer and Caleb Lee Brundidge all joined hands to offer support  for Uganda to make a law against gays in the country. ( See youtube “Anti- Gay Bill in Uganda “ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy6E-zTSZjo). The push by these evangelical pastors caused an international outcry by the gay community as a result the pastors were forced to denounced it. Unfortunately the damage has already been done, Africa persistently becomes a free continent where everyone but Africans could offer remedy for their internal problems.

Most African clergy seem to have forgotten so soon the year 1885, with the help of Christian missionaries, Africa became a piece of pie that members of “first world” partook in its consumption. This period of 1885, scramble for African did not only allowed Westerns to purloin (steal) African lands and natural resources but also gave them alot of access to ignite a forceful fire of self-hate, dishonesty, disgrace, inferiority complex and corruption amongst the African people.This is not to suggest that Africans are not capable of committing atrocities,however, what Western dictatorship, colonization had done on the continent left a lasting legacy for what Africa is today, a troubling land fill with many woes. ( See Seun Kuti ” Don’t Bring that Shit to Me” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfeOPK0GobA&feature=related )

History tells us that the legacy of 1885, its constant imperial influences amongst the colonial subjects (Africans) is still awake; this is apparent in how Africans read the Bible, see themselves and hope to become, almost all in the image of the white man, their colonial master, (See Ngugi Wa Thiongo “Decolonizing the Mind and Moving the Center: The Struggle for Cultural Freedom”, V.Y.Mudimbe “The Invention of Africa” and Franz Fanon “Black Skin, White Mask”).

It is not surprising in recent years to hear of horrific events against homosexuals in Africa, to name a few: In Malawi a couple was sentence 14 years in prison and the law to justify it was that, their sexual orientation is “unnatural”. This conviction was later reversed by the president due to pressure by the international human rights groups ( see ” Malawi gays face 14-year prison terms” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/may/18/malawi-gays-convicted-unnatural-acts/?page=1).
Dakar, nine Senegalese men were arrested for “indecent” behavior and jailed with five years prison time.This sentence was condemned by gay-rights groups in the country. ( See “Senegalese gay men appeal a homophobic sentence” http://www.afrol.com/articles/32915), in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and others African countries they share the belief that homosexuality is sinful, anyone caught in the act would be thrown in prison.( See “Behind the Mask” a support group for hiding gays across Africa, http://www.mask.org.za/ghana-stage-anti-gay-protest/#comments).

This Western view and reading of scripture, it imperial tactic could be seen on how some African clergy deal with homosexuals’ orientation. There is quite a consensus that homosexuality is un-African, this might read as if African clergy are trying to protect the dignity of Africans and their culture; I would suggest this is yet again, another way of wanting to please the colonial master. Donna Smith, a South African human rights activist expresses, “What is un-African is homophobia; some people believe homosexuality is an idea brought here by the white man. But it has always been here. What the white man brought was homophobia clothed in religious doctrines that we did not have before ( see Malian paper, http://www.mg.co.za/article/2006-11-06-fear-and-violence-still-rule-gay-township-life ). What Smith is suggesting is that, Pre-colonial African History tells us that, homosexuality exited, however, upon the arrival of Christianity and other foreign religion such as Islam, gays were forced to hide behind closed doors. Religious doctrines that confine marriage particularly amongst Judeo-Christian faith to a man and a woman forced Africans to abandon their tolerance for those who desire members of the-same sex, and multiple partners.Through my interaction with a number of Africans, those who were willing to discuss this sensitive topic shared how their relatives told them positive narratives about the peace and harmony that exited between all people of different sexual orientations.

I connected with a young man from Central Africa who works as a social worker, he expresses, “There are plenty of stories mostly oral history. As for stories from my grand-father, [he said homosexuality ] was pretty normal until the strange ones came (White men). Then the chiefs started to banish them from the village.” This claim could also be supported by other works that highlighted the existence of homosexuals in African societies, even though they were not labeled with that umbrella term. (See the book  “Allah Made Us” p. 7, 11. by Rudolf Pell Gaudio. Note. even though this book was written by a Westerner, from my experience and that of others, I could say the author did a relatively good job of describing the situation on grounds in Northern Nigeria).

Pre-colonial times, African societies where loose, not very rigid as they eventually became upon the arrival of  Christianity and Islam.  See ” Parallels in the Gender Minority/Sexual Minority Histories of Africa and Asia” http://www.colorq.org/articles/article.aspx?d=QHistory&x=parallels , ” Homosexuality in “Traditional” Sub-Saharan Africa and Contemporary South Africa*” http://semgai.free.fr/doc_et_pdf/africa_A4.pdf Homosexuals were also believed to have special divine inspiration, healing power, subsequently they were given a place of honor in society. ( See ” Parallels in the Gender Minority/Sexual Minority Histories of Africa and Asia” http://www.colorq.org/articles/article.aspx?d=QHistory&x=parallels ).

Given the situation we have at hand, I would suggest that African clergy and government to have a substantive priority by educating the masses about its past. It seems there is a dilemma amongst Africans about the origin of homosexuality on the continent. This unnecessary confusion amongst most Africans could be avoided if historical documents or oral history was past down in a way that could  be beneficial to the present generation.This is because, for those who have done their home work, they are aware that “gays” have always had a presence in African life. However, because of the narrow research done on this topic by those of us in “power” we have unnecessary disputes.

I would also suggest that the present generation of Africans must make a strong commitment to good scholarship and research, rather than depending on work by Westerners. This sort of move would prevent Africans from  divisive scholarship.It would be wise to make the effort by encouraging our young people to engage in critical thinking. When that happens, generation after would not be in confusion as the present.

As for those who depend solidly on  Christian  Biblical commentaries it would  be wonderful if you participate in critical reading of  the Holy Book instead of hiding behind foreign religious dogma.  Perhaps, revisiting the historical context, study how it has impacted African reality,its legacy. Africans must begin to ask questions as  a community about the Holy Bible such as: who wrote it? For whom was it written? Who are the characters in the book? Are the words written worth editing or are they infallible? Could one be African and belief in the Christian Holy Bible, if so what would  that Christianity look like.   Because as  it stands most African theologians hold firmly to Western commentaries to solve their internal predicaments.

©CopyRight, Yoknyam Dabale

32 thoughts on “A Nigerian Woman’s Thoughts on Homosexuality in Africa : Africa Kill The Gays??

    • Kanz,

      I accept your generous words with humility! You know, I do what I do for the future of our young ones, Africans around the world, I am committed to continue researching , analyzing, reflecting, and writing so that perhaps our generation after would have it better than miillions today. ( After all that is what our ancestors had done by pasing the baton to us, to make things better for ourselves and others) .

      Thank you for the support my brother,

      Yoknyam

  1. Hi Love,
    Thank you for sharing this work. I find your thoughts and ideas in this topic to be fresh and constructive.

    Thank you, and Peace.
    Jenny

    • Greetings Jenny,

      thank you for reading my piece, it took me couple of weeks to research and write on this sensitive topic. I am grateful that a lot of folks including you appreciate my work, I just hope that others get to read and perhaps reconsider how they treat others outside themselves; those ‘strange” “un-human” beings that we have in our midst who seem to be here to stay.

      Respect my sister and thank you again for reading, feel free to share the blog with others.

      loving thoughts,

      Yoknyam

  2. hi yok,
    This post is great! Very touching. I’m happy you came to see normality of LGBTs (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people) as children of god and I hope to look at the scholarship you referenced in more detail. I took a class last semester on how foreign traders would privilege ‘pure’ Orthodox Islamic African cultures over heterodox Islamic cultures that retained local superstitious belief. This led sometimes to the suppression of the superstition and imitation of orthodoxy (in places like Mali) in order to gain economic favor with the Muslim traders. It is interesting to wonder how this may have influenced local understanding of sexuality as well.

    I wonder if this post would be worth sharing through Duke’s LGBT blog?
    http://www.bluedevilsunited.com/
    I think this post would be very relevant and interesting to their readership, though I also think some readers may find it uncomfortable to read this, because it is so frank about homophobia (as it exists in America, as it was taught to you, etc.) I know a few of the editors; i will ask them their thoughts on linking to this page. I would also recommend their blog to you!

    A few points:

    I am confused though by this one statement:
    “Like any other marginalized group in America, homosexuals live predominately amongst themselves.”
    I agree that gay communities evolve separately of the mainstream like other marginalized groups, but even in a general sense, there are probably more people who are LGBT and seek out other LGBT community but continue to live in the same straight communities. People live with their families/choose communities based on other interests or based on racial identity instead/ live anywhere they can afford to live. To say they “live amongst themselves”, even in a general sense, almost sounds like saying they are so strongly defined by the gay identity that they self-segregate based on this identity, which I don’t think is what you mean. [And as a side note, I wonder can it be said of any marginalized group that they really live “predominantly amongst themselves”? My feeling is that all minority groups ultimately live within the majority culture still, because it is the default and most prevalent, even if you live in minority neighborhoods.]

    I think you mean that gays (and other marginalized groups) in America are more likely to live separately due to ostracism and discrimination? This may be applicable to racial minorities living in minority neighborhoods, but difficult to confirm for LGBT, because sexuality is more easily hidden than race or gender, so it is also possible that those who fear discrimination hide their sexuality and live in the mainstream instead. perhaps better to say simply “Like any other marginalized group in America, homosexuals [face discrimination]”?

    Also, if you’re interested, “homosexual” is not offensive generally, but because the word is associated with the clinical studies that condemned it, it is more common to specify the group(s) you are talking, be it “gay men”,”lesbian women”,”bisexuals” or by some combination (“gays and lesbians”). sometime, “gays”is used to refer to both “gays and lesbians” but some disagree with this, because it is downplaying the female identity relative to the male identity. when talking about all marginalized sexualities, “LGBT” works. Though I think “homosexual” is good in your article because you are reporting historical details about their treatment, before there was mainstream recognition of these differences.

    • Sis. Irene,
      pardon me for the delay in responding to your highlighted points, as you know your inquires demanded critical reflection, hence I needed to take my time and was busy handling other projects, at any rate, I will attempt to reply accordingly:
      I would say, great observation about how Africans accept yet resist foreign ways of becoming so to suit their end goal for acceptance. It is interesting that you used the word superstition, to explain how some Africans abandon them so to fit in with their muslim counterparts. The term superstition carries a heavy load on the power of naming as per what is and what is not, who is in and who is out. Mostly, African related ideas, culture have been labeled as backwards, as it relates to religion, their practices “supersition’ now given the African situation as colonial subjects, in order for them to fit in and perhaps gain some place of belonging, they would give in to hegemonic terms and condition. In a nut shell it is about who gets to legitimate things, African reality is mostly questioned because it is not “Western” or “Asian” with this measure, they have become a continue tool for imperial construction and oppression. In the same way, I would suggest, this sort of experience , narrative apply to the homosexuals in our communities. Those who make the decision, control say their sexual identity is nasty, un-human, un-common hence it must be destroyed! That is the easy way out, instead of finding ways to husband their lives amongst the majority.
      I looked over the Duke University, LGBT website, read few stories, I would say certainly, you are free to share it with them. Thank you for the link, I wasn’t aware that things like that existed even though I attended a number of gay pride, events while at Duke. It is precisely the sort of outlet we need to help those at the margin of our social fabric.
      I understand your concern about my usage, homosexuality, yes you are right it doesn’t content must anger and hate that the word gay carries. I decided to use the umbrella term homosexual so to make things easier and I also studies similars that are very much apparent amongst most of the orientation to come to my conclusion. Thank you for such a great observation, I will bare that in mind the next time I write on this issue.
      I agree about the fact that, homosexuals are still members of Americans society, but the point I was trying to convey is that, even though America seem to be a bit more open compare with other countries, it is not the heaven that others seem to want to believe. Granted gays have some freedom of speech, coexist with the rest of the heterosexuals but due to un-written law of discrimination towards them, they actively create environment that is “gay friendly”, a place where they wouldn’t have to conform to the ways of heterosexuals. By doing such , I would claim it is a form of imaginations caused by the majority.
      Yes, you are free to share the blog with others, as long as they credit me fully:)) hehehe
      My dear sis, thank you for keeping me on my toes, to think of things differently. It is always a wonderful thing to me, learning from others. I believe this is one of the major way we could move forward.
      loving thoughts,

      Yoknyam

      • Oh I’ve been slacking checking this blog, I didn’t even notice your reply till now.

        The campus is becoming more friendly in a lot of ways, we just celebrated “Coming Out Day” on the Duke plaza, and there are more pride flags on display than before (though there are also people who try to take those flags down).

        Another interesting thing: I’ve met more people who actively embrace the label “queer” (though it is often considered more derogatory) and use the abbreviation LGBTQQ to include “queer” and “questioning” or LGBTQQIA to include intersex and asexual people as well.

        Lots of love,
        Irene

  3. “I would suggest that African clergy and government to have a substantive priority by educating the masses about its past”

    And I will say Amen to that!

    I’m just beyond impressed with your post, and the thoughts you expressed. Hopefully, we will get to that stage in Africa where we value the wisdom contained in our own cultural worldview and share them more with the world, I believe the world will be better for it.

    • Bro. Mide,

      you are right by evoking the prayer that seems to never cease for us Africans and our like. I say, may we continue to keep pushing, I am of the conviction that, there is a way out.

      Our Mothers and Fathers who have fought for African liberation held to that hope, however, a shift had occured and in order to regain the vision and the fight, present generation Africans should have a solid priority that goes beyond enriching the self through Fake, False way of being, i.e material things that perpetuate the oppression of our people.

      I am humbled by your generous words about my work, I hope I don’t let that get over my head, thinking I have arrived.

      May the grace of the ancestors and the blessings of God lead your path….

      Yoknyam

  4. So you have become so westernized that you have to condem the decency of africa in recognizing that homosexual relationships are not just funny and rediculous but entirely stupid and futile. Is a man’s anus asexual organ? Answer me! If the anus is not a sexual organ because it was never designed by God nor evolution to be a sexual organ then all attempts by homosexuals and their sympathizers like you to raise cain about it is tantamount to intellectual stupidity.

    • Andy,
      I had to laugh when I read your comments and criticism.
      Firstly, you accuse the author of becoming “so westernized” [sic], yet your arguments rely solely on western prejudices and constructs. The whole point made by the author is that homophobia is an imported and unwanted western concept, and that in traditional (pre-colonial) African societies it appears not to have been the norm.

      You speak of “the decency of Africa” – one would only hope that you are not using any of the Abrahamic texts to inform your moral compass. The Abrahamic God is a petty, capricious and jealous Being who advocates and encourages such practices as the oppression of women, rape, paedophilia, genocide, child sacrifice and slavery to name but a few. Forgive me if I do not share your view that these things should be considered “decent”. You should also remember that the Abrahamic texts were originally recorded by Middle Eastern, Iron Age nomadic desert tribes, most of whom were completely illiterate and thought the earth was flat. For them, the concept of God was no more than a convenient (and popular) ruse to explain the things they could not. As alluded to by the author, these texts should read in the context of what they really are – a collection of highly embellished oral histories (most of which bear not even passing resemblance to known historical facts) and legends, many of which were borrowed (plagiarised) from other religions. Even the story of Jesus is not without a virtual cornucopia of historical precedents – in Greco-Roman mythology Apollo, Dionysus, Perseus, Hercules, Pan and Semele to name only a few, were all products of unions between Gods and mortals, and many of those mortals were virgins when they were impregnated by the Gods. Even Krishna was supposedly born of a virgin. It would seem that, in ancient times, any religion worth its salt had to include a virgin birth! And then of course there is Osiris who had been worshiped for more than 2,000 years before Christianity came onto the scene. Not only was Osiris the son of a God and born of a virgin, he was killed by the forces of evil but rose again from the dead ….. sound vaguely familiar? It should!

      Andy, I hate to be the bearer of sad tidings and burst your bubble, but there is no tooth fairy, Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. By all means, read your Bible – it is, for better or worse, a text which has shaped society as we know it. But read it with an enquiring mind in the knowledge that it is little more than a collection fables, written in the infancy of our species by many authors, in many languages and has been edited over millennia. It is most certainly not the infallible word any God(s). I know all this may come as an unsettling revelation, but take heart. To quote Douglas Adams who so succinctly put it, “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

      Finally, (and I do apologise for the long-windedness of this post) I will address your vexed question “Is a man’s anus a sexual organ?” You’ll be delighted to know that it is! Both men and women of all sexual persuasions enjoy anal sex, as do many other mammals – like it or not, it is an integral part of our evolutionary heritage. As an evolutionary biologist will tell you (better than I), the configuration of our sexual organs is a relatively recent innovation in our evolutionary history. Some animals, (fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and a few marsupials) only have one orifice which serves for both the evacuation of waste and for sex. It is posited that anal sex, at one time in our species’ very distant past (perhaps long before our forebears even looked like apes), was the only type of sex available – sexual organs were predominantly internal and our ancestors only had the one orifice with which to work! And that the sexes of our ancient ancestors from perhaps millions of years ago, were physiologically much more similar than the sexes are today. Vestiges of this (initially female) heritage are still in evidence modern mammals – haven’t you ever wondered why males have nipples? It may also explain why the rectum, in both sexes, is large enough to comfortably accommodate the average penis; why the posterior wall of the vagina is very thin and can tear during childbirth or even during sex in some cases; and why the centre of a man’s sexual pleasure, the prostate (often referred to in popular culture as “the male G spot”), is accessed from the rectum of all places – talk about convoluted plumbing arrangements! It could be conjectured that it is yet another intriguing evolutionary remnant of our lineage surviving from a time when our ancestors had but one orifice for both excretion and reproduction. Like our vestigial tails and appendix, like nipples on males, it seems to serve no other purpose than to remind us of our humble origins!

      Andy, I laughed heartily at your unintentional and clumsy oxymoron, “intellectual stupidity”! Judging by the calibre of your retort, “intellectual” is perhaps not one of your strengths! Suffice to say that, whether you are aware or not, you are being duped by right-wing fundamentalists. Be under no illusion that your Pastor is more interested in holding power over you, subjugating and exploiting your mortal and material self under the nebulous guise of tending to the needs of your “immortal soul”. Religion is big business. And, as the centuries progress, it has stooped lower and lower to peddle its poison. These days it’s not uncommon for perpetrators to have the effrontery to anoint themselves as Prophets – any deceit, it would seem, is permissible, and often rewarded, in the perverse world of religion. Individuals have made millions off the backs of the poor in the US Bible Belt alone, fleecing a public hungry for “wish fulfilment” – the vain hope that, after their earthly demise, they will live forever in a magical perfect place in the sky spending the rest of eternity singing praises to an almighty, omniscient and omnipotent, Supreme Being. Personally, I can think of numerous other things I’d rather do with an eternity – perhaps learn Japanese or write a symphony! Eternity is an awfully long time and I’m fairly sure that I would be inexorably bored after the first week of sing praises to a God who, if mortal, would be seen as being pathologically insecure. Religion is touted by its proponents as an universal panacea when in fact it is, at best, only a placebo with a lingering, bitter aftertaste. At worst, it divides nations, exploits the poorest and most vulnerable in our society and turns brothers against each other …. and it has this done for millennia.

      In addendum, celebrated public intellectual, Christopher Hitchins, once candidly noted “homosexuality has been observed in over 400 species. Homophobia in only one.” Begs the (rhetorical) question “Now, which one seems unnatural?”

      Yoknyam,
      Please forgive my verbosity and congratulations on well researched, provocative and thoughtful piece. Your insight and observations support what anthropologists and ethnographers have reported regarding the attitudes toward homosexuality in numerous pre-colonial indigenous cultures. For instance, in Australian Aboriginal cultures, those males who display an overtly feminine demeanour are often revered within the paradigm of the traditional clan structure. Some are homosexual, some are not. They are looked upon as “special”, spiritual people, espousing both the male and female and can be equally accepted hunting with the men or tending children food gathering with the women as the traditional roles dictate. They were most certainly not ostracised or persecuted …. until the missionaries arrived. It is fortunate that many clan groups rejected the Church in favour of retaining their traditional values and practices. There is a lesson there somewhere ….
      Thank you again for writing such a compelling article!

      • @ Graeme H,

        thank you for such a thoughtful response/ reflection. You certainly got the message I was trying to convey. I think part of the confusion amongst many africans is the fact that many don’t have a good picture of their history. heritage, or even the religions they so often love to invoke when it comes to matters like that of homosexuality. I think part of the way forward is to start with the knowledge of self…….etc

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  6. hi yoknyam,

    this is not totally true my sister. and it even hurts me more to know that you were a born again Christian a few years before this study. and now it has caused you to doubt the word of God. you say that African Christians should stop trying to ‘please’ the white man and check the bible properly. the bible says it clearly in Leviticus that “if a man should lay with another man as he would a woman, then he should be killed”. I don’t even support killing gay people. they are still human beings. But I am of the opinion that they should be helped. I believe it is a psychological problem. because God’s plan for his children when they meet sexually was for reproduction. what is the use of a union when there is no fruit? I’m not saying that the purpose of every sexual intercourse is child bearing but I am saying that there has to be that option EVERYTIME. a hundred years before now there was no artificial insemination so gay couples could never have conceived then. tell me if you truly love your partner wouldn’t you want to reproduce after your kind? there is a purpose for everything. we eat for nutrition and growth we breathe for respiration and so also we have intercourse for reproduction which biologically needs a male and a female. please consider this. think about it. the bible is true and pure. dont for a second doubt it. i love you all.

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  8. I know Christ have people who can as warrior for him.hmm bro thank you very much may God keep on remain in you for ever and ever.bro try to put it as a text.

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  13. A good day to whoever wrote this article,
    I am glad that as Africans we are beginning to think for ourselves and not wait for the white man to do the thinking for us. I would like to address a few things and misunderstandings alike in your article.
    1. “This bill in question criminalized homosexuality, anyone found to be gay would be thrown in jail, and other times killed if the person is H.I.V positive” I would say you are wrong when you stated that if the accused is HIV positive he would be subject to death. For as long as i have been Ugandan, I know for sure that the Law doesn’t segregate the accused based on HIV status. I took that as an exaggeration to emphasis your point. I suggest you do more research on it so you make amendments.
    2.”Most African clergy seem to have forgotten so soon the year 1885, with the help of Christian missionaries, Africa became a piece of pie that members of “first world” partook in its consumption.” This happened because by that time we were the least informed of people and I see the same thing happening with the Homosexuality ideal, but its rather fortunate that this has found us aware and a bit informed in terms of what is worth standing for.
    3. Questioning the validity of the Bible is more or less a philosophical problem which would take us in circles as well as leave a bunch of questions upon questions unsolved. for example “who wrote it?” People believed to be inspired the Holy spirit. this would lead us to who the Holy Spirit is and on and on which doesn’t solve anything. “For whom was it written?” People. “Who are the characters in the book?” The people. “Are the words written worth editing or are they infallible?” No because they are believed to have been inspired by the infallible one. Who is the infallible one-God. Why is that His Word can’t be edited, Because He is God. This would take us ages to have a good response and at the end of it all no solution has been drawn and then we are back to the same questions we asked in the first place.
    What i suggest is that, the problem is not about the Bible but the people who use it a given time. I can as well assure you that the same scripture can carry a bunch of interpretations some of which might even contradict each other, but why is that so? well nothing to do with the scripture but it all has to do with the interpreter.
    4.”it would be wonderful if you participate in critical reading of the Holy Book instead of hiding behind foreign religious dogma.” I don’t think that reading a scripture that directly condemns an act is in anyway hiding behind religious dogma. I am a Christian and i wont say that i know it all. As much as i know about the Bible i would share with my friends, regardless of your sexual orientation. For i know that it is written “do unto others as you wish be done unto you” similarly “if a man should lay with another man as he would a woman, then he should be killed”. If that which i have read is what i share with my friends, why then would you say that because what am saying is against “homosexuality”, i should “participate in critical reading”. Is it to find more scripture that tolerate the same things they condemn or for me to become a little less judgmental? Well i don’t know.
    5. Finally that truth of the matter shall be laid aground, we live in a society where people claim to be bisexual and homosexual. As a christian i am learning to love without a judgmental character for i am also a sinner. But it hurts me that we sugar coat that which we know is wrong and try to support it with arguments that we believe to be more rational than what we believe. Well it all as a matter of choice. You can choose to hold your values at par or choose to discard them in favor of something more rational. It all depends on you. It’s also interesting that most of the articles we use as evidence against homophobia are written by either westerners all in the name of enlightening us about our homosexual heritage. Great jobs fellow Africans.
    I could say more but it would take a lot of time that which i don’t have so have a blessed day.

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