MORE RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 4)

MORE RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 4)

I have been called “heterophobic” more times that I can remember, mostly from straight people whom I have the misfortune of working closely together with. These “allies”, most of whom are problematic, do not agree that they are part of the problem and when you call out their bullshit or talk about how you do not like and trust straight people, they call you a “heterophobe”.

Now, what really is “heterophobia”?

If we go by the definition of homophobia, “heterophobia” will ordinarily mean a hatred of straight people? Going by the English language, that has to be a real thing, right? A hatred of straight people. Only that it is not. “Heterophobia” is not a real thing and it belongs with misandry, reverse racism and other things made up by oppressors to show how they can be victims too (of the system they created by the way…the hilarity).

I think we first have to establish a distinction between prejudice and bigotry because they are often interpreted to mean the same thing, but they are not. For me, prejudice is hatred, yes. However bigotry requires a balance of power, which is why it carries weight and is dangerous. If I say I hate straight people, it simply means I am prejudiced against straight people. However, until there is enough of people like me with access to power and systemic privilege wherein we begin to make decisions that affect straight people’s lives, it’s all just rhetoric which amounts to nothing. Compare this with homophobia; there are laws in place that prevent LGBT people from having the same rights as other people have, and these laws are put in place by a heterosexual system. We know that heterosexuality is considered the default and mainstream, so you have policymakers who are majorly heterosexuals making decisions for everyone. These people are not just prejudiced, but they have access to power and privilege which they in turn use to oppress sexual minorities. So until we have LGBT people with the same access to power, privilege and institutionalized systems, please shut up about “heterophobia”.

I once sat on a panel where we were discussing feminism and some men from the audience said that the most extreme versions of feminism are scary because they often come across as man-hating aka misandry. I agreed with him somewhat but I told him that it is very foolhardy to oppress people as you wish, take away rights from them and then be shocked that they hate you. Misandry is a rational response to misogyny and “heterophobia” (whatever that is) is a rational response to homophobia. See, I am not here to be nice or care about the feelings of people who do not wish me well. I am not built that way. Not all straight people are homophobic, you may say – Yes, but I shall explain why they are often complicit. It is extremely insulting to tell oppressed people how to go about their grievances. People often tell me, “You are not going to change their minds by hating them back”, and I always respond with a big fuck you.  They are quick to cite Martin Luther King Jr. on how to go about nonviolent change and I agree. But the same Martin Luther King said:

“First, I must confess that over the last few years, I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace, which is the absence of tension, to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’”

Racism and homophobia are two sides of the same coin rally, so I completely agree with MLK. Our biggest threat is not the in-your-face homophobe; we know those ones and we can avoid them. Our biggest threat is the moderates who may not really be homophobic but are willing to look the other way when we are being attacked. They advocate for religious freedoms and want to look at “all sides” of the issue. These are the real snakes because their bigotry is easy to miss.

This brings me to the topic of “allies”; a wise woman said that “ally” is a verb, a doing word. You do not only have to hold these beliefs, you must be seen doing the work. It’s not enough to say that you are not homophobic – but do you check your family when they say homophobic things at the dinner table? What do you say to your friends who repost vile stuff from trash blogs (read: Instablog9ja) bashing gay people? Some of you are thinking: Well, they aren’t really here on Kito Diaries, so why are you addressing them here?

Well, they may or may not be. However I am letting you people know who an ally is and what they do and why we should not hand that badge to just anyone.

So my dear friends, whenever anyone says to you that you are heterophobic, do not back down! Do not be guilted by the implication that you are being negative. Own it with your chest and tell them not to lecture you on how to react to oppression.

XOXO

DM

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1 Comment

  1. Bee
    July 05, 06:37 Reply

    *heaves euphoric sigh* 🙂
    Heterophobia. People can be daft, sha. Moreso, that smells like a ploy to keep the LGBT oppressed “because they are ‘heterophobic’ too.”
    I suddenly feel like slapping somebody, honestly

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