Revisiting Homosexuality

As one of the defining issues of the retreating year 2013, it is auspicious to put our poor politics aside and recall that the banning of homosexuality in Nigeria through the legislation of the Senate, under Senate President David Mark, not too long ago, drew reactions from Nigerians.

It still remains puzzling that in Africa, the epicentre of culture and tradition, there are people who have issues with the legislation even though they are not original. Their lack of originality stems from the absence of new sense in their analyses other than a rehash of the tepid submissions of some misguided foreign ideologues.

Speaking at a programme organised in honour of the then newly elevated Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the Senate President stated the rationale behind the proscription of homosexuality. According to him, “the need to nurture and preserve sanity, morality and humanity in our nation informed the decision of the Senate to legislate against same-sex marriage and homosexuality.” This couldn’t have been better said as Nigeria is in dire need of preserving her sanity, morality and humanity, three key issues that we are dragging to the back seat.

Besides, at a dinner in far-away Prague in Czech Republic on June 13, 2013, Mr. Mark also made his mark in memorable words when he said that Nigeria would not be blackmailed into accepting nonsense and that the decision to ban same sex- marriage by the National Assembly is irreversible.

“The law against same-sex marriage is an approval of the wishes of the generality of Nigerians who are desirous of living within our cultural bounds. The law is not designed to infringe on the human rights of Nigerians in any way. Also, wherever you go in our country today, our people are completely in support of the National Assembly because the practice of same-sex, as you all know, is alien to us,” he said.

Our leaders, who are often criticized for lack of forthrightness, deserve commendation on this account for resisting the pressure and blackmail to sabotage our cultural and religious values in order to please some foreigners and their local copy-cats. What is evil is evil and homosexuality is evil as it violates all natural laws that need no proof to the reasonable.

One of the attributes of the current age is our tendency to invent beautiful terms to characterise the most odious and despicable of behaviour.  In this category, adultery is just an “affair” and while a person engaging in illicit sex is having fun. A crook or fraudster is considered “smart” while a prostitute is a “free girl”, as if a decent girl is not free. A homosexual or Sodomite is gay or lesbian though not too long ago, we all know that to be gay exclusively meant to be happy.

As far as many of us Africans are concerned, homosexuality remains what it was considered forty years ago by the Americans and no gay lobby can change it. The American Psychiatric Association till 1973 considered homosexuality as a mental disorder with the victim-patient classified as a “psychopathic personality with pathologic sexuality.”

According to a recent poll survey of NOI Polls Limited, “92 per cent of Nigerians support the Anti Same Sex Marriage Bill”. They are thus  on the same wavelength with the Senate that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies or organizations directly or indirectly, makes a public show of a same-sex amorous relationship commits an offence and shall be liable to a term of 10 years imprisonment”.

But in these days of global disorder, everything bad is good and anything good is bad in a way reminiscent of the Orwellian dystopian novel, 1984: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Nigerians must remain vigilant and resist, now and later, any campaign in any guise that will add more to our heavy load of social malaise.

Those who say homosexuality is not new in the human society and therefore seek to legitimize foreign countries or promote it in movies are being economical with the truth. They fail to tell us that though its practice dates back to some 4,000 years ago in a blighted city called Sodom and its consequence was catastrophic. Sodom is now a forgotten city perished under the Dead Sea, a desolate place where little or no life exists.

That this account is authentic can be verified through the attribution of the evil practice to the same source (Sodom) in many languages. Sodomy is “sodomie” and “sodomiser” (the doer) in French; the act and the actor are “sodomie” and “sodomizar” respectively in Spanish. In German, it is also “sodomie” while in Polish and Norwegian, it is “sodomia” and “sodomi” respectively. Everything points towards the perished city.

As some Western societies seem to be in a race to legitimize sodomy, one point that is strident in Mr. David Mark’s principled opposition, on behalf of us all, is that it is not everything emanating the West that is in our best interest. No postulation can justify the unnatural cohabitation of male and male that is even an anathema in the animal kingdom.

There are many sexual perversions in the world and homosexuality is only one of them. When one perversion is mainstreamed, there is every tendency that others will follow. Incest is a perversion that many families and communities are quietly dealing with, including its implications for the society.  From the way things are, if care is not taken, some people will wake up from their bad dreams one day and pronounce incest as legitimate, after all, it is medically okay.

Other sexual perversions or paraphilias that are not good for our society, but which are threatening it, include exhibitionism (exposure of the genitals and erotic parts of the body), fetishism (use of non-living objects as sexual toys), frotteurism (touching or rubbing one’s genitals against a non-consenting person), pedophilia (interest in prepubescent children), sexual masochism (receiving humiliation and suffering from a partner), sexual sadism (inflicting humiliation or suffering on a partner), transvestic fetishism (sexual arousal from dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex or cross dressing), voyeurism (watching others engage in undressing or sexual activity).A sexual pervert who engages in one or all these is liable to guilt, depression, shame, isolation and impairment in the capacity for normal or social relationships.

As the year is approaching its end, we have to re-align ourselves with the values that define us as a people. We must orientate and educate our children properly and protect them from the many negative aspects of the age of cable television and internet. We must “nurture and preserve sanity, morality and humanity”, and guard against all forces of evil that are accountable for corruption, desperation, insecurity and impunity that characterise our national life.

We may ultimately realise that sometimes, to move forward is to look backwards first, like the proverbial elder that stumbles, and get our bearing right.