Who Is A Queer Individual?
‘Queer’ we’ve probably heard this term used in relation to sexuality; but do we know what it means by definition?
This is what the English Dictionary defines the word as:
(broadly) Pertaining to sexual behaviour or identity which does not conform to conventional heterosexual norms, assumptions etc. [from 20th c.] ▼ show
What does it mean to be queer?
Now, most of us are born only to be attracted to the opposite sex, this is called Heterosexuality, and has been a ‘norm’ for a very long time.
But, some of us just felt very different growing up, why? Because as a boy you probably don’t understand what makes Musicians like Nicki Minaj so sexually attractive to your peers. Perhaps we even find other male musicians sexually appealing ‘but this isn’t normal’ some would say.
But then again, according to Morticia of Addams:
What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”
Now, it is especially challenging growing up and not fitting in the little heterosexual box that our society built for us; even more so in the Nigerian community and Africa as a whole.
Is It Natural?
‘Is being queer natural?’ This is a question you’ll most likely ever hear in regards to queerness. But what is your definition of natural? And why does it matter?
Why does ‘natural’ have to be good? And ‘unnatural’ bad? Why does there have to be duality in every aspect of life?
I mean, most of us defecate in toilets? On a water cistern, is this natural? But, I bet taking a shit on a public road would be frowned upon. Natural isn’t always good or bad, it’s better to see the grey area in topics like this one.
It is well documented that homosexuality was classified as a mental illness in the DSM until 1973, when it was replaced with the diagnosis of “sexual orientation disturbance”.
Now, many years later; homosexuality is widely seen in psychology as ‘natural’. And although it has and still is taking a long time to be generally accepted; significant progress has been made on the matter.
How Queers Are Disriminated In Nigeria.
Now, it is no news that the Nigerian society is very religious; be it Christianity, Islam, or traditional worshipping. And Queerness is most often than not; not accepted in religion.
You get to see tons of videos on the internet of ‘men’ who dressed like ‘women’ being humiliated, sometimes even beaten. Why all this anger? Why does being different have to be so hard?
These people fail to see and understand that sexuality isn’t a matter of choice and their ignorance drive them to violent acts against these individuals.
In 2014; former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill that criminalised same-sex relationships, defying western pressure over gay rights and provoking US criticism.
The bill, which contained penalties of up to 14 years in prison and bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups, was passed by the national assembly prior to, but Jonathan had delayed signing it into law.
Now you can imagine that even the ‘justice’ system that promises equal rights to every citizen of the country strongly discriminates against the queer society in Nigeria.
Why Is It This Way?
It is widely known that the African society is not very ‘developed’ and it has been like this for so long. We Africans still fight fiercely for religious superiority, ironically in religions that frown upon violence.
There is nothing a typical African holds more dearly than his religion. And since most African religions frown on queer sexuality, discrimination against queer individuals, becomes inevitable.
Now, don’t get me wrong; religion isn’t solely responsible for this discrimination. We have communal construct; our parents and their parents made sure to drill these ideas(harmful or not into us) called it ethics and we are forced to conform, even when it is not best for anyone.
We are forced to be like everyone else, dress the same, eat the same, walk the same. And it takes great courage to step out of this boxes and challenge the construct; and be different, unique and free.
It is utterly shameful; the situation of queer individuals in Nigeria. But, we can not stand idly by and let this disgusting injustice continue. I will always fight for the equal rights of the queer society. And you should too; because we are all human beings regardless of our beliefs.