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AFRICA: Why do I have to carry and hold my heart in my hands while I open my eyes widest due to fear?

by Marissa

Dear African Homophobes,

I have written to you, my blood brothers and sisters that you will remember our African history,
use the science you have studied and the faith that you have confessed to groom African
lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders like your very own heterosexual children.

Historically, in most African societies, patriarchy used outlaws, taboos and secrecy as tools to
create and uphold sexuality. Whereas, it was a socio-cultural norm to do virginity testing
(among the Banyankole), female genital mutilation (among the Sebei) and visiting the bush
(among the Baganda), taboos against polyandry existed though it was practiced among the Lele
people of Congo; who would have a ‘common wife ‘or ‘wife of the village’. Polyandry also
existed among the Masai of Kenya and northern Tanzania. Sex outlaws for example;
homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders were prohibited and equally laws against adultery,
abortion, erotica and prostitution existed. Such outlaw activities were highly discouraged and
people engaged in those activities were silenced. Homosexual practices were neither fully
condoned nor totally suppressed (Feminist Review, 1987). The investigators Stephen O. Murray
and Will Roscoe, in their already consecrated Boy Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of
African Homosexualities; exhibited a valuable compilation of the homosexual practices that
were happening (existing) in the pre-colonial epoch of the different African countries. Murray
and Roscoe report the examples of marriages (married couples) between women in the Bantu,
the Nandi and the Kikuyu. In these cases, a woman was paying the dowry to acquire the same
rights as a man on another woman.

Among the Langi of northern Uganda, the mudoko dako “males” were treated as women and
could marry men (Driberg, 1923). Homosexuality was also acknowledged among the Iteso
(Laurance, 1957), the Bahima (Mushanga, 1973), the Banyoro (Needham, 1973) and the
Baganda (Southwold, 1973). In the Buganda monarchy; it was an open secret, that Kabaka
(king) Mwanga was gay (Faupel, 1962). The Homophobes who feel that homosexuality is
“un – African” are not African enough since they are strangers to their own culture.
There is therefore no western influence in having African homosexuals neither does
recruitment of children into homosexuality exist! It is homophobia that is imported from the
west into Africa. The African culture tolerates its entire people and is non discriminative.
Therefore, homosexuality is traditional and indigenous within the continent. There is no
evidence that it was introduced then by the West in Africa, [as adopted from Tamale, 2003].

Sexuality, gender orientation and identity define one’s gender but not the organ one
possesses. Some members of society are born with a male genitalia and therefore are assigned
the male sex; they grow into masculine men and behave like men. However, when they are
sexually and emotionally attracted to fellow men; these guys are called the gay men! There are
those who appear as males but tend to behave more like females though they are comfortable
being regarded to as men. Such individuals are good partners to the gay men. A pair of men can
therefore comfortably live together as a couple. Likewise there are females who are sexually
and emotionally attracted to their fellow females. A pair of females can equally make a couple;
a lesbian couple. Transgenders are people who posses sexual organs of a particular sex but
behave and appear as the opposite sex, for example a man with his penis feels and behaves like
a woman; a transwoman. A transman is a woman with a vagina but behaves and feels like a
man. Intersexuals are those born with both the male and female reproductive organs. Bisexuals
on the other hand, have sexual attraction to both males and females.

How these members of our society have sexual intercourse is not any of our problems. After all
it is African to keep sex issues a secret! Just like many heterosexual couples have different ways
of getting to orgasm, so are the homosexuals! What matters, they enjoy and consent to what
they do. Therefore, pedophiles and rapists, regardless of being homo or heterosexuals, are evil
and deserve to be punished. They deserve heavier punishments when they infect the victims
with HIV. Notwithstanding, homosexuals exist among us, though they are among the minority
social groups because of their numbers.

Do they deserve any SPECIAL rights then? No, they don’t deserve any special rights since they
don’t have any special features that render them different, less or more human than other
people but they DESERVE a right to live peacefully, happily and comfortably. After all they are a
sexual minority group, whose existence has little or no impact on the continuity of mankind.
The priests and nuns get committed to celibacy; how come society does not worry about the
continuity of mankind? It is simply because; a small; actually negligible percentage of the
population can get the calling to celibacy and so are the homosexuals. There are few children
who are born homosexuals; therefore homosexuals remain a social sexual minority group. Do
you then still worry about family killing? Homosexuality is as old as mankind and population
growth has been marked year after year despite its existence.

A mad man is dirty only if he is your distant relative. I used to think, I would kill a baby born
with mental disability until one of my sisters was born mental incapacitation. Homosexuals are
evil only if they are not your children or family members! Before you preach hate to
homosexuals, worry about your children, one of them could be part of the minority. It is African
to be tolerant, so accept members of our brotherhood into our homes. They don’t need any
special form of attention or care all they need is love. Just like HIV positive members of society,
all that homosexuals need is acceptance! Whereas my efforts in achieving an HIV free
generation are elephant made, I too spared some calories for preaching for a hate free
generation for homosexuals! Yes they deserve it, it starts with you and I.

In disguising to be heterosexuals due to homophobia, some homosexuals “marry” just to mimic
their presence in society but keep going back, following their feelings (Men who have sex with
men and women who have sex with women even when they are in heterosexual marriages).
This has increased the spread of HIV. The cost of pleasing society with a heterosexual marriage
is the spread of HIV. Pastor Sempa, one of Uganda’s greatest homophobe once asked” how do
you want society, to regard you, male or female?” my simple answer is; how do we regard left
handed people? Children born left handed would most times go through trouble of being
taught how to use their right hands. Just like lesbians are raped so as to be cured. But does
using a left hand make one less of human? Does being a homosexual make one less of a
human? Acceptance is allowing the extremes to occur in a normal distribution curve, as long as
they constitute the minority.

Does the acceptance need a lot of effort? Well the answer lies here; does someone remember
the times when women were meant for the kitchen before the emancipation era? How about
when children with disability were killed or left out? How about when girls who would get
pregnant while in school were mistreated and never returned to school? How about when HIV
positive people were stigmatized? Homophobia can be made history just like these scenarios.
It all starts with change of mindset and understanding of the concept homosexuality.
I am proudly catholic and I definitely find it evil to do blasphemy! But it’s polite we bring
homosexuality in the context of God.

A fundamental tenet of Christianity is that we are all born sinners! We all share a relationship
with sin much as we are born to a Holly father, we all live in unending sinful situations and what
consoles us is forgiveness. There is no absolute standard of morality but we are compelled to
these three virtues; justice, mercy and faithfulness. These three virtues apply to all mankind
irrespective of their religious affiliations, notwithstanding we have friends who are atheists
(those who were once committed people of God but for some reasons gave up). We must
however understand too that the Bible is not a rulebook for being Christian and it is sheer
foolery for one to take a small section of the Bible out of its large context and still believe and
hope to gain a clear understanding of that section. Therefore, “let anyone who is without sin be
the first to throw a stone at her” John 8:7. If it is true homosexuality is a sin, then who are you
to sentence homosexuals to death? “Bear with each other and forgive one another”, those
killing, discriminating against, harassing and oppressing the homosexuals under the disguise of
the Bible are committing sheer foolery! and to crown it all” love your neighbor as you love
yourself” Romans 13:8-10.

No one of us is perfect, however much we feel that being heterosexuals is a baseline for being
perfectionists, saints and angels, we are wrong not to realize that hetero and homosexuality are
just differences in sexuality; people keep the fundamentals of humanity even when they are
homosexuals! Even if the wicked men of Sodom had attempted a heterosexual rape of the two
messengers of God, the city would still be burnt! I doubt God considers heterosexual rape as
sinless. Sexual immorality is condemned whether hetero or homosexual; it involves; excessive
sex, exploitative sex, sex outside marriage. Therefore by not engaging homosexuals in marriage,
the church is committing the homosexuals to sin. Therefore gay marriages should be endorsed
by the church! There is no way the Bible could have writings about the smart phones, internet
and the rest yet they didn’t exist at that time! Gay marriages were not written about because
they didn’t exist then. The Bible only talks about homosexual sex. During the time when the
New Testament was written, Roman conquerors of the region frequently and openly engaged
in homosexual acts between themselves and boys. Commonly between Roman men and the
male slaves; they were non consensual and socially acceptable.

Non consensual relationships cannot lead to marriage but now that we have consensual gay
relationships, then gay marriages should be welcomed and allowed!

The Oxford Classical Dictionary which is universally acknowledged as the authoritative
reference on matters of antiquity defines homosexuality as practiced in the time of Paul the
apostle as” sexual penetration of male prostitutes or slaves by conventionally masculine elite
men who might purchase slaves expensively for that purpose and it was not considered
problematic”. St. Paul was therefore right to consider homosexuality sinful regarding the way it
was done; exploitatively and as non consensual much as the society considered it non
problematic. St. Paul must not have known that homosexuals are born and they can have
consensual relationships. Had he known that, homosexuality would not have been considered
evil Biblically. The homosexuals have gifts to offer to the church; not children but many other
virtues which are required to keep the church stronger. They should therefore be welcomed!
We lastly can involve science in this! Ideally a male has XY chromosomes while the female has
XX chromosomes. However humans as well as other organisms can have chromosomal
arrangements that are contrary phenotypic sex that is XX males and XY females! Males with XX
chromosomes have one X containing genetic material from the Y chromosome, making them
phenotypically male but genetically female and appear as males. This occurs due to unequal
crossing over between X and Y chromosomes during meiosis in the father which results in the X
chromosome containing the normally male SRY gene, which when combined with the X from
the mother during fertilization results into XX an male. It occurs in 4 or 5 in 100,000 individuals.
Individuals with this condition have feminine characteristics.

Let me come back!