As a final-year student of History, my project fieldwork was set in my village. So I had to travel down there to get the work done.

I got home after dark, and went to put my things away in my room. There wasn’t any power, so I had to use the torchlight to find my way about the room.

Then I saw it! Upon first gaze, it looked like that spider that Hogwarts’ Professor Moody engorged to practice the three Unforgivable Curses on in the Harry Potter movie, Goblet of Fire. Then I looked closer, as close as I could get away with from the distance I’d involuntarily put between us, and I took note of its weird pincer-like features and the gradual movement of its multitudinous limbs on the wall. There was something suddenly unnerving about the spider.

I watched it move from the side of my bed toward my open wardrobe. Its locomotion was a slow scramble. I waited till it was halfway into the wardrobe and then slammed the door shut, effectively crushing it against the door jamb.

Good riddance, I thought, satisfied with elimination of the enemy.

The next morning, Mother came to my room. We were conversing, when I told her about the spider. I went to open my wardrobe, to show her what I hoped was going to be the creature’s cadaver. It was however not to be so, for the spider was surprisingly still alive. It wriggled a bit right there on the floor, a defiant statement to me of its aliveness. That intrigued me. For one short moment, the fact that it was still alive made me want to pick it up and put it away outside, hoping Nature help with its survival.

But that short moment passed when Mother promptly instructed me to get it into a bag and squash the life out of it. She picked up a small nylon bag from among my things on the bed and waved it at me to get the job over and done with. I mean, we couldn’t just have these pests alive and well in our house, could we? So I did her bidding, and moments later, the spider was well and truly dead.

It was on my way to the trash, that an epiphany dawned on me. I’d killed a spider. The reasons for this dawned on me like a light bulb snapping on in my head. I’d killed a spider for two reasons. There was FEAR. I’d been afraid of how dangerous it would be to let such a potentially poisonous insect wander about in my room. I was afraid of what would happen if I let the spider be. I was afraid because I didn’t know enough about spiders to simply let this one be. And then, there was PRESSURE. I’d wanted to let it live, but Mother had urged me to kill it properly. And in spite of myself, I did.

This incident gave me an understanding I didn’t have before.

I killed a spider. And at last, I understood the Homophobe. I killed that spider, and finally understood Homophobia. The prevailing human sentiment in the face of the unknown or that which is different is not curiosity. It is fear – stark and naked. Our survival instincts kick in once we are faced with the unknown, driven by a fear for its perceived unpredictability. And we react in tandem with our primordial instincts – either run from it or kill it. Most of the time, to assuage that fear, we tend toward the latter as a way of proving our strength and superiority over that which we don’t know. This is the real reason behind homophobia.

The LGBT community constitutes a very minimal percentage of the average society. And in it is a varied mix of sexual orientations, all of which come together to make up a community that time and stern bylaws have created no real understanding for. Time and these bylaws are the factors that govern the average society, that moulds and conditions it and its citizenry. And then, into the light comes this as-yet insignificant community perceived as an anomaly by the general population. In the face of the perceived invasion, the primordial instinct kicks in. Either run from it or kill it. But then, why run, when it is just a small part of the population? Why run when we are superior to them? Why run when we have the backing of our traditions and cultures and beliefs? Why run when we have everything and they have nothing?

So the homophobe kills instead. He knows fear in the face of the threat and he kills.

But sometimes, the fear is not enough. Sometimes, there’s the pressure to do what he must. Even when one has no leaning toward being adversarial, there is oftentimes a push to be so from his environment. Curiosity and a propensity for understanding get erased in the face of capitulation to the demand of the prevailing community. In their place comes the desire to do that which has been mandated. And the man who may have harboured love for his neighbour or the woman who may have listened to the plight of her colleague get turned into zombies, kowtowing to the will of the society.

And so the homophobe kills. He feels pressure from his environment in the face of the threat and he kills.

I believe homophobia won’t know any end, until mankind learns to give up its adversarial disposition toward that which it neither knows nor understands, toward that which is different. Hate is not inborn. Hate is something we learn as we grow to be the appropriate reaction to the unknown, and as such, is something we have to unlearn. Perhaps, the answer to the prayer in this write-up lies in making people see that difference is not to be feared but understood, not to be killed but encouraged, not to be stifled but allowed to thrive. After all, variety, they say, is the spice of life. Variations exist in nature and the LGBT community is one of such magnificent variations. Maybe teaching people this will help. I don’t know for sure. I can only hope.

I’m learning too. I began learning when I killed a spider.

Written by Mitch

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  1. ken
    December 23, 06:50 Reply


    *laughs in igbo #kwakwakwakwa

    I am too horny this morning to say anytin meaningful. Lemme jst wait for others to show…..

  2. Colossus
    December 23, 07:14 Reply

    All these from killing a spider? What if you had killed a cockroach, a centipede, a lion maybe? Oh well, let me go kill off a spider.

  3. Mandy
    December 23, 07:22 Reply

    It’s the little things that teach the big lessons. Nice writeup, Mitch.

  4. Jaden
    December 23, 07:49 Reply

    Perfect and visionary.

    It’s a pity some people find this beautiful piece funny.

  5. Maximus
    December 23, 08:08 Reply

    Motivation for introspection can come in many ways… Of course, phobia is irrational fear.

  6. Hema
    December 23, 08:10 Reply

    Nice piece Mitch! Really insightful as well. Been a while I commented here, but your Harry Potter analogy wasn’t lost on me.
    Fear is really a terrible thing.
    Straight guys fear that they may develop taste for ‘man-flesh’ if they become good friends with gay people so they don’t even want to relate… Except the person becomes a family member.
    Then the pressure erupts!
    Nice one Mitch.

  7. Chizzie
    December 23, 08:11 Reply

    I don’t think we should mistake common sense for fear, you killed that spider because you had the common sense to kill potentially poisonous vermin in your room. Have you seen what a spider bite can do, especially all these village spiders? I saw what one did to my flatmate while serving, and it was gross to say the least. Its just like if you saw a snake or a cockroach in your room, you’d also kill it. Comparing God given instincts to something as foul as homophobia is degrading acceptable human behavior.

    Homophobia on the other hand is unacceptable and irrational, that’s why its called a phobia. Homophobic ppl are homophobic because of their own peculiar reasons. I think its mostly because they have suppressed gay tendencies. It could be a combination of anger or fear and other things. But I don’t think fear is the driving force to be homophobic.
    Homophobes aren’t afraid of gays, they hate them for what ever reason. For most people with phobias, its usually a reaction to some form of childhood trauma or event, and I think homophobes and aren’t exempt

    The more reason why I keep saying there’s a huge difference between being ignorant or unapproving of ones lifestyle or orientation and being a homophobe. Homophobia is a class on its own, its not something we should label to ppl at the slightest provocation or with levity. People who are homophobic are to an extent mentally ill acting out on mental scars. This is not a killing a spider issue, its deeper than that

    • Mitch
      December 23, 10:44 Reply

      Wow! The thick concentration of bile in your comment only tells me how much of an insecure bully you are, Chizzie. So you equate common sense with the killing of a hitherto unknown creature; one which you have no way of knowing the danger or lack thereof that it posed to you? #GoFigure. For your information, further studies I made showed me that this spider, the Amblypygi species, hold neither venom nor a means of harming man.

      Now, your rant is all I’m about right now. Equate this rant with what the homophobe thinks and see for yourself how uncannily similar your thought process and that of the homophobe are!

    • Pink Panther
      December 23, 11:22 Reply

      You think homophobes are homophobes because of a childhood trauma?

  8. Kenny
    December 23, 08:30 Reply

    What Chizzie said, I concur!

  9. bruno
    December 23, 08:40 Reply

    nice write up.

    sounds like an apology for homophobia though. I would argue homophobia stems from mostly ignorance, religious indoctrination and general lack of empathy not fear.

    curiosity is a more natural reaction to a non-threatening unknown(like homosexuality) than fear. that’s what has gotten humanity so far in the first place.

    like you said though, we’re all learning

  10. Delle
    December 23, 08:59 Reply

    Aww my sweetheart! That was so beautiful. Xoxo

    You love killing animals, why?!

  11. Teflondon
    December 23, 11:16 Reply

    Not a fan of Mitchs’ (who would have thought, you had this in you. I use to mix you up a lot with that other one called; is it Dundy or Mandy I don’t know these days. Atleast now am clear on whos the pinky and whos the brain) I must admit this was impactful, insightful to say the least.

    Phobia generally is the fear of something. So what you wrote is no news, we all know that but the way you expressed yourself with the turn of events is applaudable.

    • Mandy
      December 23, 11:28 Reply

      Look at this already KD-proclaimed buffoon shading me on intelligence. Like seriously, YOU! Teflondon. You who plagiarized an article just to steal unworthy praise. You who can’t even string together a full coherent comment. You who was schooled here one time on the actual meaning of the word ‘poignant’ that you kept throwing about like a favourite toy.
      You! Shading me on intelligence. Chai! I don suffer. I suppose I have myself to blame. When you mix with filth, of course you’d expect to get stained with filth.

      • Keredim
        December 23, 11:56 Reply

        Chei Mandy!!!! Nwere Nwayo!! It is 2 days to Xmas ?????

        • Mandy
          December 23, 13:11 Reply

          Keredim, hapum biko. See me that decided to wash my hands off this oaf after yesterday. And here he is calling me a dundy. Like seriously, isn’t that like the firewood pot calling the ceramic plate black?

    • Mitch
      December 23, 19:56 Reply

      Who woulda thunk it? TEF, please stop trying too hard to shade. Its not your forte and you should know that by now.

  12. Promise4all
    December 23, 11:51 Reply

    If Chizzie were a doctor, so many people will die from doctor-o-phobia.

    Mitch, you have related it very well. The str8 guy fears that our sistas in the ministry may deprived them of a port for connecting their devices to charge, and the str8 girl fears the possibility of our joystick going extinct to play soccer in their field. and so I.M.O, they are infected with the homophobic venom

    • Promise4all
      December 23, 13:29 Reply

      yes of coz, The un-endowed babe will be afraid of the trans-endowed guy-babe bcoss of her assets *winks*

  13. Stranger
    December 23, 15:50 Reply

    A bit over-dramatic.
    Reminds me of the Snake poem by D.H. Lawrence.

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