THE LANGUAGE OF PREJUDICE. Or: AM I A HEARTLESS (CRAZY) (GAY) PERSON?

THE LANGUAGE OF PREJUDICE. Or: AM I A HEARTLESS (CRAZY) (GAY) PERSON?

As we saw in this Facebook post from a couple of days ago, a certain Darren shared the story of the sexual abuse he suffered as a child in the hands of a man who was his soccer coach.

First off, let me say how sad I feel about what he went through; an adult should never take advantage of an innocent child that way.

That said – and not to distract attention from his pain – the wording of Darren’s post raises some concerns about the language of justice, privilege and prejudice. I’ll start from his post then move on to a few others.

Now Darren, from what I have gathered scrolling through his wall, is a humanist and atheist; and has nothing but kind words for LGBT people. However, with the posts about his abuse, I am finding his pro-gay stance a little creaky at the hinges. How he made such an anti-gay-leaning error, I do not know. What I know is: he made the error anyway.

Error #1ab 1

Darren begins the post with identifying his molester by his sexual orientation – which is like making sure to always specify in conversation that your neighbour who is a sex-worker is an Owerri girl.

*

Error #2 (When he made the post)

The next time he uses the H-word, it is an adjective, qualifying the noun predator.

ab 2

The thing with human identity labels is to know when to use them and when not to. When used correctly, they are descriptors; when used wrongly, they can be an underhanded way of saying: This is what I think about everybody who shares so and so identity.

Is the story about Darren being abused by a man (or a crocodile for that matter); or is it about Darren being abused by a homosexual? Both sentences don’t mean the same thing.

*

Error #3

The third time he mentions the H-word, one gets the niggling feeling that homosexuality and paedophilia are somehow interchangeable.

ab 3

Did he just suggest that some soccer-field slang was euphemism for paedophilia AND homosexuality?ab 4

Now this is where he gets things right:ab 5

His initial hate of homosexuals is valid psychologically: hating all gay people because you were raped by a gay person; stigmatizing all persons living with HIV because you were infected by one person; despising all Christians because your pastor was a psycho who locked kids up in the church basement… Yes, irrational sentiments arising from abuse/trauma are understandable; and there is therapy for it.

Although, if – as he says – he is past hating homosexuals, why the relentless emphasis on his abuser’s homosexuality in his PAEDOPHILIC abuse, knowing full well how easily people conflate both concepts and look for negativity to pin on difference so they can rationalise their bias?

One more thing about human identity labels is to know which one matters in which conversation. When narrating a story of rape, for example, the point is, I was raped by a man or woman or crocodile. Other identity features like the person’s ethnic group, race, or sexual orientation or what fetishes they are into are secondary.

In Darren’s story, it could have been a woman fondling him at night. Would the story then have been about a “heterosexual predator” who abused him?

***

While I was arguing this issue with a friend, he accused me of side-lining Darren’s pain in order to focus on mine: “It’s not his [Darren’s] job to protect the LGBT,” this friend said.

I agree. It’s not Darren’s job to protect us: after all, he is straight. But it is not his job either to bait people with our necks. I want to believe this was unintended. However, I suspect that were he someone known to be antigay, the comments under his story would have been homophobic. So… #DarrenForPresident

***

And this brings me to this meme/post from another Facebook friend, Bura-Bari Nwilo. Apparently, the meme under the long post had been flying around for a while, and generating some controversy, all of which I missed.ab 6ab 7

Anyway, after this Nwilo made his post, Amatesiro Ede pointed out that the post was a gay bashing post.

Of course, Nwilo took umbrage with being accused of homophobia; and he got one or two people backing him up.

Now, let’s ignore the condescension dripping off the first paragraph of the post, and ask this: Since when did speculating about the sexuality of a person amount to “ridiculing” them?

Please entertain yourself by going through the comments that post elicited: reams of homophobic nonsense which the OP, conveniently, did not correct or challenge. And why would he? Make a post alerting Nigerians that the Gay Tsunami is fast conquering their sacred Bible; set us up for an afternoon of verbal bashing and the shuddering of God’s holy people; then pretend you don’t know what you have done. Very subtle.

***

Sometimes I think non-LGBT persons need to try being gay for a day, so they can actually get it.

Speaking of which, there was this incident which made me giggle a little (I hope I’m not an evil person.). A straight guy I know from around Facebook, Caesar…We don’t talk to each other directly, but we enjoy the company of mutual friends. Some woman, out of spite, announced this guy is gay all over social media. She even Photoshopped images of the guy’s inbox chats to prove it. Gurrrrl! Throughout that day, till the next day, my harried fellow did everything he could to exonerate himself from the woman’s claims. I saw our mutual friends use phrases like “tarnish your image” in a bid to save this guy’s ass from being stained after this horrible-horrible “accusation” of homosexuality.

My guy brought his frustrations to a group I belong to. In the safety and secrecy of that group, I wanted to say something to him: Ooooooh, the words were on the tip of my tongue! I wanted to ask him and his support group when homosexuality became a “tar” on a person’s “reputation”. Most of all, I wanted to tell him to snap out of it. He had only one job to do – one job: be gay for a day, have his sexuality on probation for just 24 hours, and he was already falling apart!

Now think of me who has to be gay every day and forever and, pending when I come out, have to anticipate landmine questions, dribble my family, and weirdly refer to myself in the third person plural when talking about gay issues… Did he have any idea how emotionally exhausted I felt most days, or how disgraced I felt by his gay panic? Yet I’m still sane! I still wake up every morning with hope, trusting that one day everything will be fine.

Like Denrele once said, being gay is hard work but someone has got to do it. Apparently when we contract the job out to non-gays, all they do is fuck it up. Mtscheeeeew! *jejely collects my gay back*

***

Back to Nwilo’s ‘David & Jonathan’ meme-post, did I mention that one of his backers told Amatesiro he needed to “learn calm”? That he was “too emotionally invested” in this [gay matter]?

Did I also mention the argument I had with Nwilo last year when he branded lesbians “confused” because a Nigerian woman left her husband for her girlfriend? I mean, God forbid that this woman might have been one of millions of LGBT persons who chose a heterosexual lifestyle in order to fit in – until she got tired of living that lie. She, and every other Nigerian lesbian, just had to be…confused.

You see life? People will finish oppressing you, and then when you complain small, they will say your aggro is too much, you are too extreme, you should calm down. Wawu. Unu mean-iri ihe nkea? Were you people calm when you were bludgeoning #Akin to death? Some jokes are not even funny.

***

All I’m saying: Not all homophobia will announce itself as “Kill the Gays”. A lot of it will be subtle– Hmmmm, gay couple wed in Missouri. What do you wish the couple?

What else will Nigerians wish the couple, if not death? – and if you ain’t woke, you might miss it.

Just as some gay people miss the fact that Linda Ikeji is a homophobe.

***

People also forget that homophobia is actually very common, like geckos in most homes. It is so firmly in rooted in our culture and speech we don’t notice it anymore; and when we do, we make excuses for it. Look, these people don’t need our excuses: they need our reprimands. Their lives are already perfect and privileged. They can marry who they like, we– we can’t even hold our bae’s hand in public; and we are here pitying them.

***

Anyway, speaking of “calming down”, I shall end this article with screenshots of one of the best pro-gay statements I ever read, which made me tear up (considering how I was feeling at the time). It was made the day after #Akin was murdered. There was this debate about whether or not the tragedy was partly enabled by people’s anti-gay rhetoric, particularly opinions drawn from religious beliefs; and it was disgusting how, in the argument, people hurriedly expressed sympathy over #Akin’s murder so they could move on to clarify that their personal anti-gay sentiments invalidated homosexuality.

So this lovely woman Rose Kahendi weighed in:ab 8ab 9

See what I did there with the red marker? Hehe. Toodles!

Written by Absalom

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42 Comments

  1. Mandy
    August 01, 05:49 Reply

    You’re such a no-nonsense gay man, Absalom. ? This piece was ruthlessly on point.

  2. bruno
    August 01, 06:47 Reply

    good post. can’t help but feel a lot of it is akin to preaching to the choir though… most parts of the post belong on your facebook page not kd.

    • Francis
      August 01, 06:53 Reply

      Have some faith for once na ????

      • bruno
        August 01, 09:30 Reply

        *sigh* francis my comment wasn’t negative. i agree with every word of the post.

        • Absalom
          August 01, 09:47 Reply

          Lol, Bruno: I didn’t take this to my Facebook because I’m not out. I’m guessing you know how that feels.

          Besides the article is also published on a mainstream blog.

          Also, the reason I brought it to a KD audience is because in my experience a lot of gay people are reluctant to call out prejudice or don’t see it at all. I’ve seen gay folk tout as “pro-gay” posts that are patronising and subliminally insulting to us. I thought Darren’s post opened up an opportunity for us in-house to talk about that. If we don’t know when we are being insulted, how can we complain about it?

        • Francis
          August 01, 10:07 Reply

          At first read, I thought you were shading Kdians that would just gloss over this post.

  3. MagDiva
    August 01, 06:48 Reply

    I am actually quite offended by the first half of this write up and had to scroll down to quickly see who wrote it in a bid to calm myself down.

    So out of EVERYTHING Darren wrote that is all you took away. Not his abuse, not that the paedophile was still out there probably still molesting others. He called him a homosexual (a person who is sexually attracted to people of their own sex) and a paedophile ( a person who is sexually attracted to kids) because that’s what he fucking is!!!

    If you read anymore into it, then, I’m afraid that’s your Interpretation. This is the equivalent of me being described to someone as the small black woman. Should I take offence because the person wasn’t politically correct enough for my liking and didn’t say “female of colour”?? Or “brown lady”

    Sometimes our anger and quibbles over semantics makes us seem petty and detracts from the real problem.

    “Sometimes I think non-LGBT persons need to try being gay for a day, so they can actually get it” –

    Sometimes I think men need to try being women for a day so that they can actually understand how real PMT is.

    Sometimes I think white people need to be black for a day so they actually get it.

    even if all of the above happened we would never actually get it. Why? Because everyone’s experience is different. Even collectively! Because no two people are the same

    Because all we can hope for is a better understanding and to learn to walk beside someone else, and attempt to see things, a small glimmer from their perspective.

    Because not being you for a day, doesn’t mean I’m not able to empathize or capable of identifying and understanding your feelings, without experiencing it myself.

    • Francis
      August 01, 07:01 Reply

      Because not being you for a day, doesn’t mean I’m not able to empathize or capable of identifying and understanding your feelings, without experiencing it myself

      In my experience, there’s a big difference between empathy for other people’s struggles and empathy for other people’s struggles which you’ve actually experienced first hand.

      Having experienced it before makes that empathy stick around for life or much more longer without suddenly shifting into “get over it already *RME*” mode.

      • ambivalentone
        August 01, 08:19 Reply

        and he points out that even if the experiences are the same, perceptions would still be different. I do know of self-made people from poor backgrounds who HATE poor people and self-made people who wud do anything to help poor ppl.

    • Dimkpa
      August 01, 08:37 Reply

      I think you judged the first part of the post wrongly. He acknowledged the suffering that Darren went through at the very beginning.

      As someone who has argued with learned people about homosexuality, I can relate with the situation that most people equate homosexuality with paedophilia and this despite the fact that heterosexual men molest far more girls than homosexual men molest boys.

      Darren’s concluding part is quite telling; he was molested by a paedophile but hated all “homosexuals” afterwards. He didn’t mention hating all child molesters or paedophiles which points to a belief that homosexuality and paedophilia are one and the same.

      This I believe should be pointed out, and does not to necessarily detract from the trauma he went through.

  4. Francis
    August 01, 06:52 Reply

    When a “writer” decides to come down to my level to break it down. ??????

    Thanks for pointing out the many shades of homophobia abi homophobic prejudice.

  5. ambivalentone
    August 01, 08:36 Reply

    While Magdiva IS right on the fact that the uncle was molested as a child and child molestation is another sin I cannot condone, I have come to realise that anyone who starts statements with “I’m not LGBT but I have a lot of LGBT friends” is either going to spew homophobic trash or reinfornce his LGBT membership status.

    This tho “Apparently when we contract the job out to non-gays , all they do is fuck it up. Mtscheeeeew!!'” Add pseudo gays too to this list abeg *jejely collects my gay back*

  6. Jamie
    August 01, 10:55 Reply

    Darren was a friend of mine on Facebook. …It’s cos I’m equally an atheist humanist…but he sure knows of my gay sexuality and stance, though doesn’t know me in person. Prior to this outing process of his, he unfriended me. When I noticed the post here and went back to solicit with him, I saw ”Add friend” before ”Message”. I didn’t say a word to him anymore, even though I could have commented on his post!! I believe he hates me; or should I say, hates me too?

  7. Truth
    August 01, 11:33 Reply

    I’m always on Darren’s post, marking attendance, but that particular post about a gay predator felt a bit off. And you’ve just highlighted my exact sentiments about the post. I don’t have much to add to what you’ve written, you’ve said it all.
    Let’s stop making excuses for privileged homophobes; some of us are so used to witnessing homophobia that we don’t even notice it anymore.

    and this– “Just as some gay people miss the fact that Linda Ikeji is a homophobe”

    So TRUE

      • posh6666
        August 01, 13:51 Reply

        My God I actually know two of this guys…Linda is a bitch for casting this boys out like this.They are nigerian boys who just happen to be schooling abroad and obviously have plans of coming back home sooner or later jeez!

      • ambivalentone
        August 01, 14:29 Reply

        Just read that. I know some people will say homophobes are a stupid bunch of people, but THIS Linda….there would not be the word ‘idiot’ if she hadn’t been born

      • Truth
        August 01, 14:30 Reply

        Oh lawd ???. I know those boys. I went to the same school with one.

        • posh666
          August 01, 14:34 Reply

          Same here…Linda is a ruthless bitch who will stoop to the lowest to generate traffic.Its all about the coins for her.Several times I said it here that she only uses Onyx n Denrele to spice up her blog and they actually believe she cares about them haba!

            • posh666
              August 01, 14:59 Reply

              Yes na she does post his pics from time to time when she’s thirsty for some major traffic cos she knows Denrele’s persona tends to generate a rave…She will first make a short hypocritical epistle of how he’s her bestie and all way back from unilag and then post some of his pics..

              In my mind I will be like bitch u are doing it for the traffic cos you know how much Nigerians hate him..No one will handle her bestie the way she handles him and make a whole post about him when you know how much he’s hated…

              You can search through Google about Denrele on Linda i’m sure links will pop out…Watever really!

              • Pink Panther
                August 01, 15:08 Reply

                You missed the point of why I mentioned his name. The way you mentioned his name with Onyx, you made it seem like Denrele has the same kind of dependent relationship with Linda that Onyx has with her, when you said this:

                ‘Several times I said it here that she only uses Onyx n Denrele to spice up her blog and they actually believe she cares about them haba!’

                Denrele is celebrity; I don’t think he cares what Linda does with his pictures or news about him, the way Onyx does.

          • Francis
            August 01, 14:46 Reply

            Denerele no dey send when he’s dropping her gist like it’s hot. ….like he did for one interview with DaddyFreeze and Chigul. Unfortunately the matter no catch better fire. Lol

            • DI-NAVY
              August 01, 14:55 Reply

              oh wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is creepy….. How did she get the picture??? Did anybody leak it…. kai!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is unfair. smh

              • Pink Panther
                August 01, 14:56 Reply

                Something that’s already on instagram. Perhaps the guys don’t even care.

                • DI-NAVY
                  August 01, 15:02 Reply

                  The truth of the matter is, I have been to Linda’s house. whined and dined with her. Most of the people who work for her are gays. I mean those ‘gay and proud’ kind of guys. She feels so comfy with them. i used to think she posts onyx’s story and Denrele’s just for traffic. But now this????? WOW!!! JUST WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  Or had it been the guys in question asked her to post the pic. who knows???

                  • posh666
                    August 01, 15:12 Reply

                    That’s one thing that baffles me too I have seen some guys she hangs with who are really close to her who are definitely gays and some are even flambouyant in character…

                    But then what baffles me is if you are gay friendly and you know how Nigerians react to such news with so much hatred why do you feel it’s ok for your so called “Friends” to wake up in the morning to hateful news and comments about their lifestlye and you claim you love them?you don’t think of the effects such things have on them???

                    • Pink Panther
                      August 01, 15:18

                      With this post, I don’t care what friendships she keeps, it’s just clear Absalom is right. She IS a homophobe. Ptueh!

                  • Francis
                    August 01, 15:18 Reply

                    I would never understand the kind of relationship she has with these gay men. I don’t even want to call it friendship sef. Both parties are probably in it for what they can get from one another. #SAD

                    • DI-NAVY
                      August 01, 15:26

                      God forbid I and my partner get outted in Linda Ikeji. It will be so disastrous. I rather get outted on cosmopolitan or Essence magazine. Or somewhere tush. linda??? Honey I cant deal. the caption alone is so irksome. Reeks of hate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    • Francis
                      August 01, 15:29

                      ???????

                      Razz outings dey get hazardous backlash.

                    • DI-NAVY
                      August 01, 15:45

                      Blood of Mary ,Magdalene save me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                      I just looked well. i know that guy at the extreme left. wtf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unforgiveable permanent damage!!!!!!!!!!!*sobs*

  8. DI-NAVY
    August 01, 15:48 Reply

    They both look happy together. the grooms men are so dope. Linda this is cruel….

  9. Jo
    August 01, 17:41 Reply

    Linda’s case sef…
    lmao…Stella na better thief joor.

  10. Lorde
    August 01, 18:48 Reply

    Finally, we are the strongest people I know, most of us are still doing excellently well, getting the best jobs(maybe cos of our attitude toward details), topping our classes, and still slaying with no stress. I don’t think a straight person has the mental ability to keep a brave face and excel if the world was “pointing a gun” @ them (figuratively ofcourse)

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