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Uganda and gay rights issues in Africa

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Uganda and gay rights issues in Africa

NEWISSUES, Abuja

By GEORGE ONMONYA DANIEL

Is homosexuality normal? Despite the media frenzy in the West that it is a normal behaviour, most Africans and African countries are refusing to buy into the idea that it is normal. Whether it is normal or not is not the issue here, the issue is that Africa that has copied everything from the West is not bulging on this one. People have simply refused to swallow that idea of same sex marriage. This is not to say homosexuals don’t exist in Africa or are not tolerated. They are everywhere. They have always been tolerated in some circle and some culture but they are still strange in most African culture. Until recent time even in liberal Western countries people still frown at homosexuals. Today Russia have refused to accept that homosexuality is normal behaviour. Many states in the United States have still not passed laws legalising same sex marriage. In countries like France there was large turn out of people demonstrating when government was debating passing laws favouring same sex marriage. It is not only Africa but a lot of people around the world still don’t understand why people of the same sex will tie the knot in marriage. It is still not making sense to many.

 

However, Africa has the tendency to go extreme in handling certain issues. I don’t understand Uganda’s life imprisonment sentence for gays legislation. I don’t understand Nigeria’s fifteen years in prison for gays and all that. As a Nigerian I understand why it is easy to do that and majority applauded the decision of the law makers. The influence of religion in both Africa and Uganda plays a part in it. Christianlty and Islam plays a huge role in influencing the voting partain of legislatures. However it doesn’t stop anything in Nigeria. Over the years lesbianism has almost become part and parcel of our urban culture and they have gotten bolder and don’t even care about whether a law exist or not. Gay men and bi sexuals have always done their thing secretively with no one bothering them.

 

The media campaign and the way the West is going about gay rights itself is problematic. A lot of countries see the whole thing as the West trying to force their ways on them. A lot of Africa countries see Western culture as degeneration and bad influence on Africa and this is not about religion now. Africa may tolerate gays but not gay marriages. As the media frenzy over this whole gay marriage in the West thing intensified in the West and even gays adopting children, it increases homophobia in Africa.

 

When I don’t agree with criminalising homosexuality, I don’t agree with same sex marriage either in Nigeria especially, as overwhelming majority of Nigerians are against it. It is strange to me in a way. We in Nigeria, perhaps Africa, are still not sophisticated to that level of reasoning but I don’t agree with the people agitating for jail terms for homosexuals. The Ugandan legislation is extreme, it is something the Taliban government in Afghanistan would do. Extremism in any form is bad for a people. Why the West is saying homosexuality should not be criminalised is because a lot of people will take the laws into their hands by attacking and killing people because of their sexuality and government may not be able to protect them or even those who are not even guilty of it.

 

In countries like Nigeria the law criminalising homosexuality may have been passed but it doesn’t stop the act flourishing in the black market. It is everywhere. When gay men may not tolerated as such, lesbians are prevalent nowadays and women talk about it easily nowadays and indulge in the act. People hardly even notice or care.

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