It seems no debate on human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals is complete without the inevitable snide remark, “If human rights of homosexuals are recognized, rapists, pedophiles and people who sleep with animals will start claiming human rights violations too”.
Why do homophobes always feel the need to mention sex with animals when commenting on LGBT rights issues? How is homosexuality and sex with animals, rape or pedophilia the same thing? Isn’t it time people moved away from unjustified, illogical sentiments and address real issues?
Rape is the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse. It is a type of sexual assault usually involving forceful sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another without consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of giving valid consent. The term is most often defined in criminal law. A person who commits an act of rape is known as a Rapist.
Sexual Orientation i.e. Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Pansexuality or Heterosexuality has nothing to do with sexual harassment. If anyone grabs your ass in public or even in private without your consent, it does not matter whether the person is heterosexual or homosexual; it is sexual harassment and assault.
Gender or sexual orientation is not the factor that determines if you had been sexually harassed or molested; lack of consent is the decisive factor. It is a criminal offense to sexually assault, harass or abuse anyone. So, what connection does a loving relationship between consenting adults have with rape? None at all!
Pedophilia as a medical diagnosis is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary). In popular usage, pedophilia means any sexual interest in children or the act of child sexual abuse, often termed “pedophilic behavior.” For example, The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary states: “Pedophilia is the act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child or children.
What connection (if at all) do consenting same-sex adults who want to live their lives together have with a pedophile? None whatsoever!
Masters (1962) uses the term “bestialist” specifically in his discussion of zoosadism, which refers to deriving sexual pleasure from cruelty to animals. Stephanie LaFarge, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the New Jersey Medical School, and Director of Counseling at the ASPCA, writes that two groups can be distinguished: bestialists, who rape or abuse animals, and zoophiles, who form an emotional and sexual attachment to animals. Zoophilia is the practice of sex between humans and non-human animals (bestiality), or a preference or fixation on such practice. People who practice zoophilia are known as zoophiles.
There is a very big difference between same-sex consensual relationship and bestiality. One is about emotional and/or sexual relationship between consensual human beings, while the other is about sex with animals. Animals are not legal entities, they cannot give consent.
Wake up homophobes, there really is a difference between consensual relationship with another adult and a sexual encounter with an animal. Why do you think it is possible to be charged to court for rape but not possible to be charged to court for raping an animal? This is simply because the significant factor in a rape case is consent; a human being can give or withhold consent, an animal cannot legally give consent. Therefore having sex with an animal is known as animal abuse or bestiality.
Simply no comparison!
SEXUAL ORIENTATION describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to the opposite sex, the same-sex, both, or neither, and the genders that accompany them. By the convention of organized researchers, these attractions are subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality.
- RAPE is the act of forcing someone into having sex without consent; it is a sexual assault, in most cases a violent act.
- PEDOPHILIA is the act of having sexual intercourse with a child, an underage.
- BESTIALITY is the practice of sex between humans and non-human animals.
- SAME-SEX relationships are emotional, sexual relationships between consenting adults of the same-sex.
Why is it so difficult for homophobes to accept that what consenting adults do in the privacy of their rooms is not the business of the law or any other individuals aside from the parties in the relationship? There is no justifiable reason to compare a violent, non consensual act that inflicts harm on its victim to consensual same-sex adult relationships.
With the stigmatization, victimization and discrimination of sexual minorities in the society, is it any surprise that many gays and lesbians are not eager to come out of the closet and announce their sexual orientation from on top the mountains? During the public hearing on the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) bill, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the few allies who attended the hearing were bullied by religious groups while the senators gleefully watched.
Also, history and experience have shown that marginalized persons would hide their identity if caught in an environment that would victimize them for their self-identity. For example, in a religious, race or ethnic war, likely victims would hide for safety, not because they are ashamed or think they are morally wrong but simply to ensure they survive the ordeal. Nigerian gays, lesbians and bisexuals are not in hiding because they are ashamed; they are in the closet because their life is in danger, threatened by homophobes who unfortunately are also family members, colleagues, employers and state officials.
In some countries, enforceable laws are in place to help victims of discrimination. However, in many countries especially African countries; we do not have Equal Rights Acts or equality laws that protect sexual minorities. Also the cost of a legal action to challenge discrimination is most often beyond the affordable means of those who need it. The court process can be very tedious; it could take many years to get a decision. All these factors make it difficult for victims of discrimination to seek redress in a court of law. The perpetrators of these injustices are therefore empowered to keep on oppressing the helpless.
Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) bill only serves to drive people further into the closets. Living in the closet is not always a choice, it is forced on many. Coming out in some societies including Nigeria is not just about losing friends and family members; it could also mean losing one’s life. LGBTs in Nigeria are in hiding not because they think their sexual orientation is morally wrong but because they could lose their life, if they lived openly as gays, bisexuals or Trans.
To make progress, we must be ready for the consequences. As LGBTs, we must positively influence policies, change laws and be visible enough not to be ignored or be told we do not exist. Discussions and debates on social networks help take the education into people’s homes. Let us break the silence.
However, we should continue to fight for an enabling environment that would allow everyone enjoys their human rights as far as it harms no other person.
Various researches have confirmed that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. On May 17, 1990, World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorder but it seems some people are yet to get the memo. It could also be that they got the memo but chose to disregard the fact. They feel justified to sit in judgment over sexual minorities, and debate how many years jail term should be handed to LGBTs. The fact that two consenting adults love themselves so much that they want to spend the rest of their lives together, legally married, is such an abhorrent thought for some people that they consider proponents of same-sex marriage to be ‘mentally challenged’.
Scientists including, doctors, psychologists, biologists and anthropologists usually conduct researches to understand human sexuality. It is the evidence of these researches that provides us a better understanding of human sexuality and that basically is how science works in almost all facets of life.
There is personal reality and there is social reality. My personal reality is not necessarily the reality of others. For example, my personal reality is that I am bisexual; I am sexually attracted to both and/or all genders. My social reality is that my bisexuality is criminalized in my community. Homosexuality is a crime; this is an unfortunate social reality. Atheism is considered madness, which is another social reality. Does it make social reality the correct and acceptable reality? No, it does not.
Reality only defines the state of things; it does not have anything to do with right or wrong. I cannot run away from social realities but I can fight to demand a change in my social reality. Slavery was once the accepted social reality of blacks and other coloured people, this social reality has changed. Homosexuality was also once criminalized in many western countries; this social reality has also changed in many of these western countries.
Change is a constant factor in life, and every species must learn to adapt to change for survival. Humans have a brain that has evolved for 4 billion years; we must use this brain to make positive and progressive changes in our collective social reality.
“Normal” implies the way things should be, since there are other types of sexual orientation like homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, and asexuality, we cannot define one as normal without implying that other types of sexual orientation are abnormal. Heterosexuality is only common not normal.
Also, what was once considered normal could later be considered abnormal, e.g. the killing of twins, slavery, belief in witchcraft, gods and female genital mutilation were all once considered normal, but with changing times, many of these are now considered abnormal and some are undergoing critical review.
Heterosexuality is common not because it is normal, but because it is widely practised. ‘Normal’ is fluid and could change with time. What is termed ‘normal’ today could easily be seen as abnormal tomorrow and vice versa.
When same-sex adults are in a relationship, they exhibit the same traits when they are in love as heterosexual couples do, it does not matter whether it is with same-sex gender or opposite sex. We only see an imaginary difference when our brain is socially programmed to believe that only opposite sex partners should be in a sexual relationship. Until we are able to break the shackle of limitation placed on our brain by society especially influenced by religion, we won’t be able to explore and reach our full potential as humans.
If you are in an opposite-sex relationship, spare a minute to ask yourself what your reaction would be if:
- You were told that you could not hold hands with your lover in public.
- You cannot marry the love of your life.
- You will lose your job or livelihood if you engaged in a heterosexual relationship.
- You cannot form an organization to support opposite sex relationships.
- You are banned from entering a club because of the gender of your partner.
- Your landlord could evict you if you were suspected of having a consensual sexual relationship with your adult opposite sex partner.
- You could be stoned to death if you have sex with your opposite sex adult partner.
Would you just shrug and declare that there are more important things in life than the freedom to love and marry your consensual adult partner or would you declare a war on your dictatorial government? Tell me these are not fundamental violations of your rights, maybe I will consider keeping quiet about my Right to Life, Live and Love!
If after being provided with scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder, and is in fact as natural as skin colour, eye colour or left-handedness but for religious, personal or cultural beliefs, you still chose to ignore all the evidence provided, and still demand that lesbians, gays, bisexuals be victimized and criminalized for engaging in a consensual same-sex adult relationship that does not inflict harm on anyone, you are the one who has a phobia, it is known as Homophobia. Education, enlightenment, an open mind, tolerance and acceptance are known cures for homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
As an adult, I am sure you do not need anyone’s approval before you go on a date with your consensual adult partner or marry the love of your life. It is also the same way homosexuals do not need your approval or consent before they can date or marry the love of their life. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals are entitled to the same human rights every other adult human being have. Love should not be criminalized.
I might not like the person you are dating, I might not like the way you have sex, I might not even like the way you two kiss in public, but it is not my business! I cannot stop your love, you do not need my approval and you do not need me to poke my nose in your bedroom affairs, just the same way I do not need you to dictate to me who I can or cannot love or marry. Respect is reciprocal. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom is not and should not be the business of the law.
People have a right to disagree and are also entitled to their opinion but no one is entitled to their own set of facts. We need facts to arrive at logical conclusions. It is factual truths that should guide our beliefs and opinions, and the facts here are:
- Anti same-sex laws already exist in Nigeria and these laws are discriminatory, unjust and unfair.
- The new bill aims to further criminalize same-sex relationships.
- The existing sodomy law and the new bill violate human rights of Nigerian lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.
- Everyone, whether in the minority or in the majority, deserves protection and respect of their person without discrimination based on race, gender, birth or sexual orientation.
- This bill should be opposed by all human rights defenders because an injury to one is an injury to all.
- Oh please, do I still need to spell it out to you that armed robbery, rape, pedophilia and bestiality are violent, non consensual actions that are harmful to the society? NO, these are not the same as homosexuality!
Ignorance is not an excuse to deny others the same right you enjoy as human beings. The combination of ignorance and hate is indeed a deadly weapon of mass destruction. Hate kills and unfortunately, Nigeria breeds it in abundance.
Same-sex couples do not demand discretion from heterosexual couples; no one has the right to demand that gays, lesbians or bisexuals be discreet in their love life. I guess a Trans has no choice in this, by this theory, they should remain true to their birth sex, so as not to get anyone annoyed. If I chose to kiss my same sex partner in public just like heterosexual couples do, I should not be stoned for this act of love.
Do unto others what you expect them to do unto you. No one should be blamed for the ignorance and intolerance of others. Forcing lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals to be discreet in their love life is tantamount to blaming and punishing them for the ignorance of their oppressors. This is simply not acceptable. If people do not wish to know who others take to bed, they should stop peeping into other people’s bedrooms. Lawmakers should stop legislating on the sex life of consensual adult citizens.
Some Nigerians are Gay, Get Over It! Enjoy your life; just don’t try to tell others how to live theirs. Live and let’s live and stop judging. Stop quoting Sodom and Gomorrah to gays; if they believed in heaven and hell, it is their choice to make. Also not everyone believes in myths and fairytales, forcing your religious stories down others throat is inconsiderate and disrespectful. Stop telling us we are going to burn in hell for our homosexuality, statements like these makes you a bigot and a hateful person. Do not try to make your religion my law!
The fact is, every human being has the tendency to love or hate but it is wrong when we hate others simply because they come from a particular ethnic group, have a certain skin colour, hair texture or because of their sexual orientation. We should learn to move beyond hate, open our mind, be objective, see things from different perspectives and come to conclusions that help move humanity forward not backward.
We are a single human race, from one big African tree, with branches that have taken roots in different colours, shapes and sizes, spread across oceans and lands. Let us care about our planet, other earthlings, and every human, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself. Let us together shine the path to positive reasoning and hope our light of love and knowledge eventually overshadows this homophobic darkness.