Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Accepting yourself..

"It is difficult to understand homosexuality..", Zambia's President Rupiah Banda is reported to have said, during a meeting with Champions of an HIV-free Generation in Africa in Lusaka last week. Read the full story as reported by the Lusaka Times here.

I joined a discussion sparked by the remarks of the Zambian president on an online forum for LGBTI Nigerians. This was the first comment on the president's words:

C: "Yes, it is difficult for me to understand homosexuality. I have accepted it. Truth be told, it is difficult to understand heterosexuality. Its acceptance, on the other hand, has been taken for granted (by the majority). There, lies the difference!"

Responding to this comment someone else stated:

N: "Well, in all honesty, I think it is more difficult to understand homosexuality than it is to understand heterosexuality. Even many of us who have feelings of same-sex attraction, have some difficulty in understanding our own sexual feelings.

Our confusion and perturbation are compounded by the unfavourable impression of homosexuality that most people around us have, most of those people being heterosexual and therefore having no need to make the effort to seek to understand why some other individuals might be sexually attracted to members of their own gender. Being in the minority and surrounded by all this negativity, it is unsurprising that many gay men think of their sexuality as an unwelcome burden. When one considers the arguments often advanced by homophobes, such as "homosexuality is against the order of nature", "God made Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve" and about procreation, etc., one sees that heterosexuality can easily be thought to be normal, whereas homosexuality is [thought to be] abnormal and difficult to understand.

I think it is rather arrogant for we humans to think that it is we who should dictate to Mother Nature what is normal and what is not. But herein lies the crux of the matter. Most people are not affected by homosexuality and therefore have no need (or desire) to learn of it, read about it and expand their knowledge concerning it. Hence we find that homosexuality is not understood, and even so to a greater degree in the less well-informed societies of the world as in Zambia where this president was speaking."

Then this comment followed:

EB: "The difference is not at all difficult to understand when one has grown in his thinking and manhood to be a lover of his kind. It is not as though, this man chose his destiny. Much easier life would be, if he could unknowingly follow the dreadful path of hate and intolerance that informs most of his society, from the highest courts of corrupt America to the simplest civilizations of our remaining primitive origins. But some men, after awful agony, accept themselves as different beings altogether from the rest and open themselves to love of all life."

I agree with the second comment. Homosexuality is not readily explainable. He who has no real cause to seek an explanation for it (and thus a better understanding of it) eg., the heterosexual person, will have little or no understanding. And even more so when his mind has been corrupted by homophobic doctrine that propounds the false notions that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender identities are sick and sinful. It should not surprise us when President Banda tells us that he cannot understand homosexuality.

When you think about it, even the gay men and women in society are born and raised in the same circumstances as the heterosexual majority. They too have been exposed to the same influences that have caused many among the heterosexual majority to hold strong anti-gay views. Hence we find that among gay people, self-loathing is common. The recent spate of gay-teen suicides in the US is a case in point.

What then is the way forward for the gay person? Well, EB in the third comment above puts it neatly. Agony is unavoidable; pain caused to self and to others is inescapable. But in the end one must truly accept oneself as being different. I cannot imagine living a life of denial and pretence, a life of lies and constantly looking over the shoulder. There are even those who dislike themselves so intensely that they vent their frustration and anger on other gay people, the ones who have attained the maturity of mind to boldly accept themselves for who they are. It is trite that many of the loudest anti-gay voices are the voices of unfulfilled, unhappy gay men. EB in his comment stated it aptly: "..But some men, after awful agony, accept themselves as different beings altogether from the rest, and open themselves to love of all life."

10 comments:

negritude said...

Great post, again. Peace.

Anengiyefa said...

Negritude, thanks so much. Your comment is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anengiyefa
I was just looking around for people interested in Human Rights and I came across your blog. I have to say that I found your views most interesting and it is a real pleasure to read work that has been written with passion.
The problem today is that people dont have anything that they are willing to stand up for and your blog was totally refreshing. Thank you so much. If possible I would like to become a follower of your blog. Thanks Julie

Anengiyefa said...

Hello Julie,

Thank you so very much for your comment, which I must admit, came across as being quite heartfelt and honest too.

Oh, of course you're welcome to become a follower of the blog, its not a problem at all. Looking forward to seeing more of you then and thanks again.

Waffarian said...

@Anengiyefa: Yep. I totally agree with EB and that conclusion I reached many years ago. One does not have to be gay or heterosexual to understand that there are many ways in which one can be different and perhaps, misunderstood. I am different, and I have accepted it. This is who I am and there is really nothing I can do about it. If another remarks that I am different, yes, I agree. The same way I agree if somebody makes a remark about my colour, or nationality or whatever. Yes, I am not white. Yes, I am not this or that. I agree. I am different. I accept it, now what? There is really no point in trying to get others to accept who you are. The most important thing is that you accept who you are and you are at peace with it. I don't bother anymore...life is what it is. I believe I would have the same attitude if I were gay. I would accept that I will be seen as different from the majority and just live life that way. The most important thing is how I view the world and what is important to me. Sure, I can try to explain my opinions and views to others and listen to what they say, but at the end of the day, my opinions would always reign in my heart. This world is not about being fitting in, or being different. Its about living life with an open heart and doing the best we can to be better people than we were yesterday. I don't have time to convince people that I am just like them. I don't care. I am not like anybody. I am just me and I am happy being me.

olu said...

Well said... What more can I say!

Anengiyefa said...

@Waffy, you don't know how much I totally agree with everything you so brilliantly poured out in your comment.

In addition, I think folks should focus less on picking out differences that we as individuals have and instead, as you said, focus more on making themselves better people. We are all human! At least, whether we like it or not, we all have our humanity in common. And, none of us is going to be here on the surface of this planet forever, so why waste time poking your finger in another man's eye eh?

If they can't handle it, that's their problem, not mine.

laBiscuitnapper said...

As always, really insightful. Of course homosexuality isn't readily understandable; that's because it's a minority sexuality.

But - to make an analogy - it's the same as a Westerner trying to understand non-dominant cultures (both at home and abroad). Of course they're hard to understand; you don't understand it.

Still, I'd love to hear someone trying to 'understand' human hetrosexuality because let's be honest, even/especially when you look at the rest of the animal kingdom, that's some equally bizarre stuff right there!

Anonymous said...

HEY
WAS RESEARCHING THE IJAW DICTIONARY AND YOUR BLOG CAME UP. EROTIC MALE PHOTOS WAS ENOUGH TO DECIDE YOUR SEXUALITY.
IJAW GAY MEN ARE RARE, DUE TO THEIR HIGH APPRECIATION FOR WOMEN, AM A HETEROSEXUAL IJAW WOMAN.
I UNDERSTAND HOW THE HOMOSEXUAL FEELS. SEX SHOULD BE BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN THOUGH. NOBODY IS BORN HOMOSEXUAL...SOMETHING IN THEIR FORMATIVE YEARS TRIGGERED IT.
IT HAS BEEN PROVEN SCIENTIFICALLY.
I DO FEEL SORRY FOR HOMOSEXUALS AND HOPE YOU REALISE THAT YOUR ETERNITY IS WORTH MORE THAN AN ORGASM AND DONT SAY HOMOSEXUALITY IS AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION, ITS NOT.
BUT I LOVE YOU ANENGIYEFA AND WISH YOU GAVE THOSE STRONG ARMS, QUICK WIT AND PASSIONATE NIGHTS TO THE WOMAN OF YOUR DREAMS...
HOPE WE CAN DISCUSS ON OTHER ISSUES CAUSE THERE IS A LOT TO BE LEARNED FROM YOU XXXX

Anengiyefa said...

Well, thanks Miss/Mrs Anonymous. I am grateful that you took the time to leave such a thoughtful comment.

First of all, I have to disagree with you about "something in their formative years", since my feelings of same sex attraction go back to my earliest feelings of sexual awareness. There was nothing unusual about my childhood, and none of my siblings who had almost exactly the same circumstances and upbringing as me have turned out to be gay.

I'm not sure what people mean when they tell me that sexuality can be determined by a person's experiences. This would be correct if homosexuality was recognised as a mental illness, but even the experts now all agree that homosexuality is not an illness, but rather a natural state of being. It even occurs in the animal kingdom for heaven's sake..

And about orgasms, well, I think it is unfortunate that despite your well thought out comment, you have been able to appreciate homosexuality only in terms of a sexual act. My partner and I are lovers, in the same sense that two heterosexual people can love each other. You would agree would you not, that a serious relationship between a man and a woman goes far beyond the sex act. It is sad then to see that you think of homosexuality only in terms of an orgasm. Heck, I can even have an orgasm just by manipulating my genitals when lying alone in my bed..

But thanks anyway, and I do hope that you will return to the blog now and again ..