Same-sex couples should get married if they so wish and people should be treated equally before the law. So says a certain Barack Obama, the world’s most powerful man.
“When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode,” Obama said at a joint press conference with Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi. In fact, Obama has previously equated legalized discrimination of gays to legalized racism in America.
In a much applauded response to Obama’s remarks on human rights violation in Africa, Uhuru Kenyatta, said that, “the fact of the matter is Kenya and the U.S. share so many values: common love for democracy, entrepreneurship, value for families — these are some things that we share. But there are some things that we must admit we don’t share. Our culture, our societies don’t accept.” Uhuru went on to claim that it is very difficult for the government to impose on its people values that they themselves do not accept. Kenyatta continued to say that it is for this reason that he has repeatedly said that gay rights issue is generally a non-issue and that Kenya wants to focus on other areas.
In Uganda, MP David Bahati and Pastor Martin Ssempa and ex-Minister Nsaba Buturo and activist Stephen Langa must be shaking their heads wondering what the world is coming to. They still do not want to let same-sex adults enter consensual romantic relationships. They are instead hell-bent on twisting things, likening homosexuality to pedophilia.
The other stupid idea is that money, which those bad people from Obamaland are pouring into places like Uganda to advance “the gay agenda”, makes people want to sleep with members of the same sex. Money can buy lots of stuff, including sex. But it is very unlikely that it can turn a heterosexual person into someone who loves fellow women or fellow men to the extent of wanting to marry them. We all love money but claiming that money can turn a heterosexual into a homosexual would be giving money too much credit. You have to be gay to be gay, money or no money. Otherwise there would be no gay people across sections of society, rich and poor.
President Museveni, to his credit, has fashioned a view that is sensible as it is nuanced. In a CNN interview a while back, he mentioned that black Africans have had gay and lesbian people amongst them. That right there flies in the face of claims that homosexuality is a “disease” imported from the West or, worse, one that is being imposed on Africans. This is given that you believe Museveni.
He adds, however, that gay people never publicly proclaimed their sexual orientation, and their families and communities let them be. They are much like heterosexuals in that respect – apparently. And according to the President, Africans don’t get lovey-dovey in public and I quite agree with him on this. To illustrate his point, the President says he has been married for the better part of 30 years but has never kissed his wife in public. If you have seen your parents kiss, then you are either born after pampas (the so caller the hush tag generation) or are just lucky. Most African parents are quite conservative in their sexual expression but certainly not all.
But, we all know who the President’s wife is because the two are heterosexual. Gay people cannot show who their partners are – a privilege that President Museveni enjoys with the majority of those that condemn homosexuality. And who says just because gay people kept things quiet back in the day that should remain the case until eternity? Maybe President Museveni’s views on these matters are still evolving and will reach resolution, like President Obama’s, in a few years. We also know that Uhuru Kenyatta is lucky that for him this is a non-issue, which is, a privilege not extended to other members of the Kenyan society.
Let us examine the culture argument
In many places missionaries and colonial governments destroyed the way indigenous African culture dealt with homosexuality, along with African beliefs, cultural and social practices, including other sexual customs.
To oppose homosexuality in Africa is to deny the rich cultural history of Africa; indeed, it is to say Europeans may be free to realize themselves, but Africans may not. And why is it that “African” taboo on homosexuality is suddenly being reclaimed as a keystone of African culture, when so many other customs are not?
It is also paternalistic, for it asserts that the most intimate relations of black people must be regulated, their self-actualization must be controlled by laws because obviously two consenting black adults do not know what is good for them even in the privacy of their home. On the other hand, if they are white, no problem, that’s their culture; they can enjoy their freedom.
We can be quite certain that there were African cultures, perhaps even the majority, but certainly not all, where homosexual behavior was frowned upon or even taboo. But that is very far from criminalizing and passing legislation to unleash the police and all the coercive forces of the modern nation state against innocent people, pronounced guilty of nothing but a victimless ‘crime’.
Arguments that homosexuality is destroying our culture are as ridiculous as they are risible.
Hate is un-African, not love.