Most homophobes I know are men. They frown at lesbianism and absolutely loath male homosexuality. My theory is that men frown at lesbianism because it threatens what they perceive as their universal access to women’s sexuality. But that is not a very big fear, they can see there are enough women to go around. So they just frown at that. However, male homosexuality is another story altogether. All the homophobic men I know are far more opposed to men having sex with men than women having sex with women. For example, the Red Pepper has often featured women kissing women or even doing more. That didn’t raise much steam but God Almighty, have you seen what the Chris Mubiru pictures stormed up?
My own theory is that men are mostly opposed to gay men because their homosexuality mainstreams sexual vulnerabilities. The possibility of rape, molestation and defilement is often seen by men as a women’s problem. When it comes to enacting (and making enforceable) laws to curb such vices, men are at best lax. At worst they banter about the issue joking that women sometimes bring it upon themselves. Then, they see an image that slaps that bunter across their faces. The cows have come home and the cavemen in them strike out blindly and violently.
I empathize with the terror and anger men feel about these images. Heterosexual pornography which almost exclusively features women as dominated and usable gives me the very same creeps. What I don’t have any kind words for are the lame arguments they put forward instead of admitting their fears. Dear homophobes, the following were never very good covers for your fear and now they are tired. Find new ones.
1. Homosexuals recruit others and that is how come they exist at all
The propaganda goes that gay people are recruiting young boys into the practice through secondary schools, basketball clubs etc. They say that gay people give these young boys money, promise their trips abroad etc. Well, well … First, this recruitment talk is like school ghost stories. Everyone knows someone who saw the ghost but no one can say they personally saw the ghost. In gay recruitment testimonies, people say that a certain boy in their school was receiving money and literature from a certain organization in a certain western country and he tried to have sex with certain other boys in this certain school. So many certains that do not bring with them any certainty!
Nonetheless, let us look at the evidence people cite for this recruitment. That is; there is literature about gay sex. There are young men who being in possession of such literature try to entice others into performing the acts they see in the literature. There are gay people who proposition others with the promise of money and the good life. All these are also true of heterosexuality. Indeed it is exactly how our heterosexual culture is structured.
From Mills and Boons novels through back issues of the Cosmopolitan magazine to shockingly explicit Luganda pamphlets written by one notorious Hajji, my teenage was littered with literature on heterosexuality and how to have sex with a member of the opposite sex. Oh there was also the culturally sanctioned Senga who gave me a live demo on how to move my body and make appropriate noises. Teenage boys in my neighbourhood were exposed to similar literature and they indeed tried to get lucky with me even at the age of 12. Later on, older men tried too and they didn’t just promise me the good life. They delivered it in terms of gifts and outings. Eventually, someone got lucky. I was a reluctant participant the first few times but now I am a well competent and eager heterosexual. So, was I recruited into heterosexuality? I don’t think so but if we were to logically follow the homosexual recruitment rhetoric, we would conclude I was. We would then conclude that without these recruitment tactics, heterosexuality would not exist at all.
2. Homosexuals have no children and therefore threaten the continued existence of the human race
Does the fact that 8% of us are unlikely to have children threaten the continued existence of the human race? Hardly. What threatens our existence is in fact the capacity and tendency of the other 92% to have children. As we agree elsewhere, there is need for population control because the current population growth rates threaten to deplete the earth’s resources. As we deplete the resources but continue to grow in numbers, we will start fighting for the little left. Some would say we already doing that. It is in these resource wars that we are most likely to annihilate our race with weapons of mass destruction. That is the extreme outcome of course. Even if it doesn’t get to that, a lot of suffering is going to happen as we continue to grow while the resources shrink. So if the fact that homosexuals don’t have children such a bad thing? Not for the human race at least. Indeed the human race needs more people to have sex that is as unreproductive as theirs. Heterosexuals; grab a condom, pill or IUD and emulate homosexuals in non-reproductive copulation. The continued existence of the human race depends on that and only a few slip-ups per person.
Someone just this morning asked me. “Where are the children from homosexual unions? Where do they get their legitimacy from if they don’t bring forth their own?” Answer to first question, the number of children from homosexual unions is increasing actually. I am ambivalent about that. I am all for less reproduction as already stated. But does choosing or being unable to have children take away a person’s legitimacy? Of course not. Barren people are pretty legit. All of us having sex but using contraception to prevent pregnancy are pretty legit too. No one tries to take away the right to have sex from either group. Do we want homosexuals to give birth to fellow homosexuals before they become legitimate? I am guessing this is the same mentality that made men feel less of men when they didn’t father sons. Homosexuals are legitimate because they exist in nature. Unless we can find a way to undo that inconvenient fact, we are kinda stuck with their legitimacy. Stop thinking of homosexuals as some other type of specie. They are our children and friends.
3. Homosexuality is an offence to our African values
Now which ones? The ones about God creating Adam for Eve and so on? That ones we borrow from Christianity and other imported religions? I would be hard pressed to think of a value system less African than these imported religions. Where Africans are accommodating and welcoming to all as evidenced by our accommodation of all the peoples that have come to Africa over the centuries, these religions are exclusive clubs and all those who don’t belong to them are condemned. Where African beliefs embrace many gods at many different levels, these religions worship one jealous deity. Now, this is not to attack those that embrace imported religion over the African belief and value system. I am sure you have your well thought out reasons and everyone reserves all rights to their spirituality. But, for the love of mother earth, please don’t call your religious compulsions African values. They are not. At the very least, we don’t know what African values say about homosexuality. Some say, our ancestors, knew of it, and just let it be. I don’t know how true that is but I know of cliff off which pregnant unmarried girls were thrown to their deaths and none off which homosexuals were thrown.
4. Homosexuality was brought to Africa by the West
My mother, a professional linguistic, has a linguistic test for determining whether or not a thing existed in a particular culture or place before it started importing from other cultures. She says, such a thing must have an indigenous non derivative name. For example; Ebisiyaga. Related to Okusiyaga. Also related to: Omusiyazi. To the best of my knowledge, the words relating to homosexuality in my language are not derived from any other language. If it is derived from another language, test out the pronunciation and spelling of the above words and tell me the probability that they were derived from a non-African language.
Talk of the importation of homosexuality reminds me of a conversation on the subject I had with my grandmother once. I went to her with the intention of shocking her about this new phenomenon – homosexuality. She listened to my school tales about allegations of it with disappointing calmness and then knocked me over when she returned my storytelling favour by telling me a tale about a prominent chief in Ankore who lived during her childhood. Apparently that chief, (who later donated land to a now very prominent Mbarara school that is also named after him), used to get it on with his male porters. This chief was of course older than my grandmother who was born around 1916. If the he learnt homosexuality from a person of the west, he surely learnt it one of the founding missionaries. I am going to gloss right over the irony that would be in that because I don’t believe for a moment that anyone taught him anything.
We all know the story about Kabaka Mwanga who was homosexual and also unfortunately a pedophile and rapist. But then again, is there a King before Mwanga who would not escape that label today. How might the venerable Muteesa 1 have reacted if a 14 year old girl had rejected his advances? Would this Mutesa 1 have said, “Kiri Okay.”?
5. Homosexuality is in the same league as bestiality
If a man having sex with another man is equal to a man having sex with a beast, are both sexes finally agreeing with the rant by women that men are beasts? But this comparison which too is most often given by men is personally offensive to me as a heterosexual woman. Come on guys, we have been sleeping with you for centuries. Are you accusing us of bad taste because we find the repulsive sex (yourselves) attractive? What is attractive to me can catch the eye of another person, male or female. Get off your sexist horse!
6. The gay rights issue is being pushed by the West
Well, so is the advancement of democracy… But this argument is simply escapist - a tactic that is unfortunately all too common in this country. You are in a discussion where all the pro-gay rights submissions are by the Mukasas, Namubirus and Onens of this country. The complete season DVD of Chris Mubiru’s sex life that has you so incensed has an all Ugandan cast. What has the West got to do with any of that?
When I was in secondary school, my classmates found out that one of us was a lesbian. They went on to persecute her. People would throw cups and plates at her when she walked through the dorm corridors. The savageness of this is what turned me into her friend and raised my attention to the indignities suffered by those against whom the majority choose to be prejudiced. You want to blame the west for me? Well, of course you can. After all, they made the plates and cups that I saw thrown at that girl. We always can blame the West, can’t we?
7. Anal sex repulses me
Don’t have it then. Duh! You know what repulses me? Uncondomised sex. I think it is gross, messy and full of disease. I try to avoid it except for when the need to reproduce forces me otherwise. That doesn’t mean I am going to take away your right to CNN Live (as one prostitute advertising her business called it).
8. We are defending family values
I agree with you. If it is going to survive at all, the heterosexual family needs some serious help. We have way too many single mothers and some of them even chose it! Tut! Tut! We have way too many errant men sowing their seed without ever returning to even provide one diaper. But what has this got to do with homosexuals? Want to fix the heterosexual family, then fix it not the homosexuals. Make heterosexual men more interested in caring for their young ones. Give the young women who are tired of chasing their children’s fathers down a compelling reason to chase again and this time keep them under lock and key. Homosexuals have nothing to do with any of this. In any case, sometimes, they are part of the solution when they adopt and give homes to children the heterosexuals spawned and just dumped at children’s homes. No, you don’t need to thank them for that little part. You can just continue sitting up there on your little high stool.
9. We have to defend God’s will
You all claim to serve a mighty God. So how about you let him fight his own battles? He’s tried by the way. He reportedly burnt down two whole cities in this same war. I do understand wanting to help him seeing as that effort didn’t exactly wipe out homosexuality but let’s have faith people. I am sure the almighty has another trick up his sleeves. He never fails. He just bides his time, right?
My point is, while your fear of homosexuality is understandable, it is also curable. Every woman in the world is acutely aware of how sexually vulnerable she is as long as sexually active men roam the world. And yet, we are not calling for the mass castration of heterosexual men just so we can feel safe. Instead, we are asking and working on proper laws and systems that prevent and punish sexual violence. Join us. As you now see, it is your problem too.