The post you’re yet to read is very contextual. Without revealing much, especially considering the group’s terms of security, there exists on Facebook a group for Nigerian men. In this group thrives both straight and queer men, and as you’d expect, there is a constant battle for balance, with the homophobes often demanding for the ousting for the gay men and the gay men pushing fiercely back. The admin’s belief in fairness goes a long way to ensure that the homophobes never get what they want.
But this past weekend, it became obvious that the gay men of this group didn’t just have the homophobes to contend with. On Sunday, pro-LGBT writer, Chibuihe Obi, posted a censorious update that called out the gay men’s propensity for updating sexual posts in the group.
In addition to the homophobic endorsement of some commenters, there also came a swift backlash from outraged commenters who couldn’t believe Obi would take such public stance that does more harm and no good for the gay community. The backlash was fierce enough to make Obi delete the post. It wasn’t only startling and outrageous that he, a self-proclaimed supporter of gay rights, dared to police the sexual expressions of gay men in a group where men are expected to express themselves without any hindrance, but that he would dare drag the gay community out in a manner that suggests an intent to shame – this from someone who himself has recently suffered the wrath of homophobia.
The post below was updated by Godswill Vesta as an objection to that intent to shame when it comes from the pro-gay activist. Read and sound off in the comments section.
“I will fight for you. But in return, you must never be free enough to express yourself, lest you offend me.
“I am not like you. And while I believe freedom of speech is your prerogative, you must not be able to talk about your lifestyle with the ease and comfort that I talk about mine.
“I will fight for you. But in return you must continue to remain in the closet.”
Hey. Not even ardent heterosexual activists who advocate for and support the rights of homosexuals to freedom of expression are immune to Freudian slips—slips that betray the residual homophobia that years of practiced activism had strived to bury.
I have realized that in a country still struggling to accept the realities of homosexuality—still struggling, against the resilient waves of liberalism, to understand and accept the normalcy of a different sexual orientation—it is too much to ask that homosexuals be held to the same standards as heterosexuals—as the rest of us.
Post a mature picture displaying different hetero sex positions with the caption “Which is your favorite position?” in a group meant for supposed adults to unwind and you’d get lively, even hilarious, yet honest responses. Yet post a picture displaying different sleeping positions, only in it, there are two men lying on a bed with the caption “What is your favorite sleeping position?” and suddenly everyone loses their minds. Comments ranging from “These disgusting gays have come again” to “Homosexuals are always talking about sex” would fill the comment section. For many, it is not your expression—the meme, the innocent and harmless video, the opinion piece, editorial or news article—that offends them. It is you. For daring to express yourself. “How dare a homosexual even consider breathing around me?”
For avowed homophobes, those ones who declare their disgust daily, this is okay, I guess. I mean one can neither expect much from them nor hold them to any high standard of thought or behavior. But for the ones who have, at one point in the past, donned the cloak of advocacy and the tag “activist” for gay rights, it is both sad and befuddling to see the occasional slips and the virtue signaling.
Homosexuals have to be of their best behavior—pious, humble, quiet. Talking about everything else but their sexuality—otherwise they’re the reason for the homophobia thrown at them. If a homosexual makes a post with even a little sexual content, then that post is part of the reasons why homosexuals are hated in the country. If a gay man solicits for sex from a straight man, that very act of soliciting is enough to brand the whole gay community as perverts and idiots.
Well, bullocks! It might not be the most preposterous of the opinions and social proclivities of straight people—this idea that gays must continue to hide their sexuality—but it ranks right up there.
It is not too much to ask that, if you’re an activist especially a straight one, you understand that homosexuals just want to be free to express themselves as much as you do. That you understand that the very purpose of your advocacy is to make homophobia obsolete, not to hold homosexuals to higher standards of morality than you would straight people.
Written by Godswill Vesta