FOREWORD: So, a few days ago, the interview we did with Bisi Alimi on his wedding and his LGBT views got picked up by a slew of mainstream media, both Nigerian and abroad. Following the blogging of the news item on Linda Ikeji’s blog, I got swamped by emails and messages from concerned KDians looking to be reassured by what they presumed is a looming invasion of our ‘privacy’. In fact, there have been a torrent of comments on the Bisi Alimi post from what I presume are Nigerians who happened our way from these mainstream media, most of them too offensive for me to approve.
Below is a piece penned by Vhar on the subject of this invasion, an exhortation on this Christmas Day. Read and let us know your thoughts.
Duress impacts relationships in one of two ways. It either tears people apart… Or strengthens their connection, binding them tightly in a common objective. If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is – infinite. But in reality, our perception is often clouded. By expectations. By experiences. As of late, I find my perception is blinded by only one thing – anger. When I heard that Kito Diaries, my creative outlet, had been brought to light on a mainstream blog, I was scared at first. Then I realised I’d done nothing wrong, so I shouldn’t be afraid. But I was scared still and it gradually gave way to anger.
It was then I realised we must speak truth to power and confront ignorance with facts, because the ignorant inhabitants of our country have these things in their bodies called “expectations”. They only make decisions based on what they know. You can have everyone in the country vote freely and democratically and still come up with the wrong answer – if the information they base their decisions on is wrong.
Truth is a battle of perceptions. People only see what they’re prepared to confront. It’s not what you look at that matters, but what you see. And when different perceptions battle against one another, the truth has a way of getting lost. And the monsters find a way of getting out. People don’t want the truth when it is complicated. They don’t want to spend years debating an issue. They want it homogenized, sanitized, and above all, simplified into terms they can understand. The Federal government is often criticised for moving slowly, but that deliberateness, it turns out, is their strength. They take time to think through complex problems before they act not. People, however, are different. People react first from ignorance and then from the head. They give that knee-jerk reflex real power to make its overwhelming will known as a societal/cultural/scriptural mandate instantly.
Combine these sins – simplification of information and instant, visceral handed down mandates – and they lose the ability to cool down. There is no longer deliberation time between events that may or may not be true and our reaction to them. Policy becomes instinct rather than thought.
Normally we divide the society into that which we consider to be good or valuable, bad or worthless, or neither. Most of the time, these discriminations are incorrect or have little meaning. Rather than holding so tightly to our discrimination towards each other’s differences, it would be much more beneficial if we learned to discriminate between valuable and worthless states of mind.
Sometimes, when I feel discriminated against, I don’t get angry anymore. I’m merely astonished. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me. It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept, and celebrate those differences.
The moment a little boy is concerned and taught which is a trumpet and which is a saxophone, the moment the decision to which instrument he’d prefer is made for him, he can no longer see them as musical instruments or hear them make beautiful different sounds. Unless of course, he un-learns what he’s learned and picks up other interests.
For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Homophobia is a real condition of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside us and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal, as the political, can begin to illuminate all our choices.
Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people. Many people have been programmed by what they read, and the volume of their irrational insecurity, which I find quite funny, has been turned up in all the wrong places. The hate people propagate is what happens when understanding cowers in the corner because it has a shotgun to its face.
People have ripped courage out from every part of their humanity and no longer tell themselves the truth when they realize they’re the only one still paying attention. Our sense of self has been behind locked doors for too long. We’ve been comfortable within ourselves for too long and that beast has given us the wind by putting us up for the world to see and I’ll – we’ll put up our sails and let it take us to our port. The storm only comes to teach you how to skillfully sail your ship and sail this platform. And we will!
To every KDian, home or away, reader and contributor, talent is useful, but we should always remember to keep your daggers sharp with the truth because only hypocrites get offended by the truth. And the only truth here is: We are gay men and women who love, have loved and will love people like us. A person should not misguide his conscience to say to the people that LOVING ONESELF is also BEING TRUE TO ONESELF, for there is a sea difference between these two terms. But we are these two things.
To you, the wolves reading this, who’ll spit words like: “You need Jesus”, I tell you that your religious beliefs are your business. They are not and should not be the basis for law. If you use them as justification to discriminate against others, don’t be upset when we decide to come for you.
Understand that if a country as big as Nigeria had strong-willed people in positions of power as party in opposition, then no person in the ruling party could ever misuse his own powerful position to cause pain to a community. The true challenge in understanding everything around us is: people don’t understand or they don’t want to understand that they ought to be understanding about everyone and everything surrounding them.
Understand that sexuality is as wide as the sea. Understand that your morality is not law. Understand that we are you. Understand that if we decide to have sex, whether safe or unprotected, it is our decision and you have no rights in our lovemaking. Just because I like to suck cock doesn’t make me any less Nigerian than the President himself.
And if you’ll whip out the bible to defend your staunch hypocrisy, understand that a Christian shop-owner should have the same right to refuse service to a gay man as a gay lifeguard has to refuse service to a drowning Christian. People may be aware of a multitude of facts and there may be vast amounts of information available but, if the matter is not properly understood, no knowledge will accrue, and ignorance will remain.
To the Old Maid who sweetens her tea with scandals, always enjoying the feast in a land full of sheep not caring whose mutton is devoured, I say well done. Your privilege doesn’t just insulate people from the consequences of their prejudice; it cuts them off from their humanity. You’re supposed to be a leader who should invest in building bridges not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies. You have successfully instilled into people irrational behaviours with your constant meddling to selfishly fatten your flesh at the detriment of the minority.
Adversity creates unexpected alliances, but treaties of nature seldom form with an equality of power. Loyalties forged in apprehension and mistrust are tenuous at best, easily broken when held up to the unforgiving light of the truth. But in the darkness of our most desperate hours, it’s often these loyalties that lend us the strength to do what we know must be done. There comes a moment in each of our lives when the control that keeps us sane slips through our fingers. Most of us aim to seize it back. The best way to fight chaos is with chaos.
In the words or Cersei Lannister: “Knowledge is Power. But Power is Power.”
I say, “Power, born out of nature, coveted by man. Wars rage on, and victors are crowned. But true power can never be lost or won. True power comes from within.”
Here, on this platform, with this platform, we have the power. Since nature can be cruel and predators are everywhere. Those who don’t need to be protected from outside forces often need to be protected from themselves. In society, homophobes are referred to as “the fairer sex, the victims that need protection…” But in the wild, we homosexuals can be far more ferocious than our straight counterparts. Defending the fold is both our oldest and strongest instinct. And sometimes, it can also be the most gratifying. If we choose to, we can continue living in a world of comforting illusion. We can allow ourselves to be deceived by false realities. Or we can use them to hide our true intentions. To successfully create illusion, the first thing you need is trust. But to perfect an illusion, the false reality must appear as authentic as the one it hides. Careful attention must be paid to every detail. The slightest of imperfections can, like a pin to a balloon, burst the illusion. And the truth behind the illusion becomes revealed.
And as you dwell on your truth, take the time to revel in the love of this felicitation: Merry Christmas, KDians. And may all thing good come to a head for you in this season.
Written by Vhar