The impression created in the minds of most of my fellow Africans, is that homosexual Africans are all created in the mould of the gay men and women they know, the ones who trumpet their sexual orientation from the rooftops, demanding recognition and equality. Of course homosexual people are in the minority and naturally there must be those among them whose desire it is to advocate on behalf of the millions of others who are not so courageous. But there are some truths that we must consider.
1. The aggressive advocacy and activism that seems to be the touchstone of African gay activists appears to be the only image that is portrayed of gay people in most of Africa. There are hardly any Africans who are known to be gay, unless they are activists. In the mind of the simple-minded therefore, most if not all homosexuals are aggressive. "We will not tolerate such conduct, as it seems that homosexuals want to impose their lifestyle on us". This is the reaction that we have seen to this aggressive activism. It is precisely for this reason that we have seen more stringent legislation promulgated recently.
2. In my view, although aggressive activism has had the effect of rousing the awareness of the African public to the existence in their midst of fellow citizens whose sexual orientation is different, given the image that is created by the activists, the reaction of the public has been to oppose homosexuality. Aggressive activism to me, seems to be self-defeating.
3. Apart from in South Africa where rights are guaranteed constitutionally, the evidence is that most other English speaking countries on the continent have hardened their attitude towards homosexuality in recent years. And this is not because of a sudden increase in the population of homosexual men and women. Rather, this appears to me to be a direct reaction to the actions of the activists.
4. In my opinion what is required is for ordinary, everyday men and women who are gay, to put their hands up and say "Look at me, this is what a gay person looks like". Not only will the awareness be created, but the truth will be told as to who homosexual Africans really are, the brothers, sisters, relatives and friends of those who think of homosexuality only in terms of the unfavourable and unflattering information that they have been fed, a negative attitude that is worsened further by aggressive activism.
I do not believe that the activists are succeeding in achieving their objective. What I see instead is a deepening of the lack of understanding of homosexuality by Joe African Public. It is the responsibility of all gay Africans to stand up and show our brothers and sisters who we really are. Leaving it to aggressive activists is not getting us very far.