There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives. ~Audre Lord
Homophobia: This is more than the irrational fear of people within the lgbtq community. It is contempt, hatred, aversion and prejudice against the people who lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and identify as a member of the LGBTQ often guided by religious beliefs and other forms of institutionalized homophobic behaviour.
The hate and acts of violence directed towards the lgbtq community is fuelled by religious beliefs. The articles I’ve read about homophobia, the videos and the people who are anti-gay that I’ve spoken to, all seem to have religion and it’s beliefs as the standard to measure the lives of the people. Religions like Christianity and Islam put together has over 2 billion people practicing it so you can imagine the number of people who have a disdain for those in the lgbtq community, using their religious beliefs as the standard and guide for morality in the lives of these people. There’s still a lot of Christians referring Leviticus 18:22 to those who are in homosexual relationships and if there’s one thing I know as a former Christian is that the greatest law in the bible is the law of love. You have got to love your neighbour as you love yourself and the bible is not in support of hypocrisy and disrespect, the book of 1 Peter 2:17 says;
Honor men of all sorts, have love for the whole association of brothers, be in fear of God, honor the king.
“Honour men of ALL sorts, have LOVE for the whole association of BROTHERS”. If you call yourself a Christian and you find yourself justifying the hatred you have for members of the lgbtq community, you should remember this passage as well as the book of Hebrews 8:13; “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away“. Now, this isn’t a victorious win for the people in the lgbtq community and God becoming accepting towards homosexuality but these passages have talked about love, respect and change. Matthew 7:1-5 speaks on judging others and how you should focus on yourself, your shortcomings and your sins, not the sins of another person.
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. ~Matthew 7:4-5
For if you are without sin, be the first person to throw your stone. I am aware of the bible passages that talks about the desires of the flesh and lust so if you think you can go around killing people and inciting hatred into the hearts of the masses then you’re in no place to speak about what sin is because you’re not practicing the law of love and respect. I am no bible expert and I definitely acknowledge it’s inconsistency but these passages are very direct and straightforward.
Hate is taught.
Pastor Steve Anderson is a white straight American man who owns a small church in Arizona where he uses his right to free speech as a means to express his hatred for the lgbtq community. He’s invited to give speeches at conferences to express himself however he wants, no filter. He compares homosexuality, paedophilia and bestiality together and people (young and old) attend his service to listen to him speak. Let me make this clear, two adults or two children deciding to be in a relationship because of the feelings they share isn’t the same thing as older men and women being involuntarily attracted to children as well as human beings deciding to have sexual intercourse with animals! Pastor Steve says “the lgbtq stands for Let God Burn Them Quickly” and encourages his church members to put a bullet into the heads of homosexuals. This man is dedicated to practicing and spreading hate, he was challenged by a Christian protester on how the bible preaches love but he is defying the bible and encouraging murder, this man had nothing to say so he walked out and kept repeating “I’m done listening to man bun”. He is dedicated to hatred and spreading hate to the minds of people and encouraging violence against the lgbtq. He does receive threats about his children being raped and his church being burnt to the ground and he said; “I’m willing to lose everything, I’m willing to give up everything. I will never stop and I don’t care what the cost is, I will never stop preaching the bible“. Imagine having a stranger identify your children including their names but you says “you’re never going to stop”. Hate has no boundary.
You are not always right. It’s not about being right. The best thing you can offer others is understanding. Being an active listener is about more than just listening, it is about reciprocating and being receptive to somebody else. ~Mohadesa Najumi
About two weeks ago or less, I had a discussion with someone about using the word “f*gg*t” and it became an argument I truly wasn’t interested in having. The words f*gg*t and f*g are quite dangerous and harmful compared to saying MenAreTrash, in his defense I always refer to men as stupid and so he deserved a pass in using the f word, disgraceful. When the f word comes up, it is used to stigmatize gay men, it is a way of mocking gay men and referring to them as disgusting, the f word incites hatred and violence whereas calling men stupid and trash based on their behaviour isn’t going to kill them. I tried correcting this guy and explaining to him why he couldn’t use he word especially around me and he tried to act as though he was the victim in all of this and continued talking about how I should give men the credit they deserve. WTF.
Then there was him trying to compare his experience with women’s experience and damn, I was lost. I don’t see how the F word has anything to do with giving Nigerian men credit, I don’t want to sore your eyes so I can’t post the conversation here but this guy was intentionally trying to be ignorant and I just couldn’t have it. I know what it’s like continuously having to justify the existence of people and it’s shit. Don’t do it. There are a lot of people who are committed to being homophobic, they could have their religion modified, their books updated and they still would be committed to being homophobic. I believe that the people who have the resources to seek out information themselves and purposely ignore it are dedicated to being hateful. We have people who are genuinely unaware and they are interested in learning and unlearning, focus on correcting and teaching those people so they too can teach other people but never dedicate your time to a purposely ignorant person because people who are dedicated to being unaware and ignorant will always be ignorant, they should never be engaged.
Jussie Smollett was (is) a victim of a hate crime and while we have the black community speaking about racism and the lgbtq calling out homophobia, I think it is the best opportunity to speak about homophobia in the black community and how black gay men are more likely to be brutalized by men of their race and other races simply because they are black and gay. If a celebrity like Jussie Smollett can be a target for a hate crime, it is very easy for regular black gay men to be victims of such an attack without any repercussion whatsoever. The definition of masculinity for black gay men is more intricate and potentially disturbing, seeing as a man is attracted to another man the society will subtract from his masculinity and refer to him as a woman and would be treated as such because to be a woman is an insult. According to a number of men, the existence of homosexuality has made men become more violent as a way of “protecting” their masculinity and so they avoid being friends with gay men because in their mind, gay men have spent so much time associating with femininity that they became gay. I’m dead.
I see how transwomen are murdered and we have people on twitter begging the people to retweet just so they too can have a chance at justice. Jussie Smollett was attacked by two white men who doused him in bleach and tried killing him with a rope and from what he could remember, he was referred to as a “n*ggr f*ggt”, two very hateful comments that promote violence. The N word and the F word aren’t just words, these are words created to dehumanize the marginalized group, these are the words used by the oppressor to remind the oppressed group of just how much they are beneath them. Instead of focusing on the lgbtq community supposedly trying to erase the lineage of black people, why aren’t we focusing on trying to make the streets safe for the lives of our people. Does the black lives matter movement only exist for the black straight man or does it exist to represent every single black person who is woman, man, gay, trans, straight and differently abled? Let standing up for gay black men not stop at Jussie Smollett, let it continue with transwomen, queer women and every black person in the lgbtq community. Alice Walker said, it is with recognizing the most marginalized group within the black community that we can achieve freedom. When we begin to look at the world from the eye of the most disadvantaged person, then we can destroy those structures and live a life of peace and freedom.
In Angola, the decriminalization of same sex relationships was made known on the 24th of January and I am hoping that other African countries can learn from this and make the comfort,safety and happiness of the people, it’s priority. It shouldn’t stop at decriminalizing same sex relationships, it should continue with creating safe spaces for those people and educating the masses (formally and informally) about the existence of same sex relationships and creating laws that do not yield to prejudice against the members of the lgbtq.
A joke can provoke laughter but It doesn’t make it funny.
When you begin to allow jokes that mock and contribute to the oppression of a marginalized group of people, you are quietly telling them “it is okay”. You are enabling them and making them feel at ease with certain types of jokes. If you’re trying to stand with the members of the lgbtq community and call yourself an ally, you need to not be okay with letting homophobic jokes slide, if you’re going to support a group of people, you need to do it well and not hand out passes to everyone and anyone. I remember the (O Je Wa Keng) directed towards the lgbtq community and what it was like for them to be in hiding or to be out of it and the responses had me shaking and very worried. I’m not a member of the lgbtq community so I don’t share these experiences with the people who are living in it everyday, the only thing I can do is to speak when I see hate, violence and refer to the women and men who (fought) fight for gay rights. Reach out to people and ask them what it means to be attracted to the same sex in Africa, ask what it means to be a gay black man, a bisexual woman, a transwoman and listen to their responses. Don’t be a self proclaimed ally without putting in any work and always be comfortable with letting people who do not share these values with you go.
If you still aren’t sure on the little you can do to educate people on the lgbtq community and how you can let them know their existence is valid, feel free to use these links below and learn from them. As we choose to help the members of the lgbtq community, let us remember to not steal their voices and center the conversation around us and being a “straight saviour for the gays”, let us always remember to refer to those who face these struggles, those who own it, those who own those experiences and not make it about us.
I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance. ~Bell Hooks
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Image from: Revel & Riot