What homosexuality isn’t
Now, there is a terrible and ridiculous rumour making the rounds stating that homosexuality is contagious or a form of brainwashing. I would like to ease people’s minds by saying that this absolutely false. I can attest to this and tell you unequivocally that I did not “contract” my bisexuality from some “unwholesome homosexual fiend” as I was neither exposed to nor did I fraternise with any (this not taking into account those on the down low as there are many) other homosexuals until my late teens. In fact, in our household, homosexuality was something that hardly ever came up, save for the rare occasions when my very educated and mostly open minded grandfather would express his disgust at the idea of male coupling, and yet I was fantasising about kissing other girls from a very young age. Actually, I discovered my sexuality and sensuality to thoughts of girls and not boys despite having attended co-ed schools throughout my primary school years.
Some pontificate that homosexuality is unnatural… it is as unnatural to heterosexual or even asexual people, as heterosexuality is unnatural to queer people. Others still claim that homosexuality is synonymous with sexual predators and yet if we are to be honest with ourselves, heterosexual sexual predators are more rife than homosexual ones. I am 29 years old and I have been in a lot of queer social and professional spaces and I have never been raped or sexually assaulted or harassed by any queers. I have however been sexually harassed dozens of times and have been sexually assaulted by straight men. I also can count on one hand people I know or have encountered that have been violated by a queer perpetrator but I know scores of people; friends, family, colleagues and clients (both in the gender and child protection sectors I work in) who have been sexually violated by heterosexual people, mostly men. Does this then suggest that all heterosexual cis-males are automatically sexual predators precisely because of the sexual identity and orientation?
There is especially a fear by a lot of heterosexual males in Zimbabwe that they will be “raped” by homosexual men. Perhaps this fear in these men comes from a place, be it conscious or subconscious, where it is to be expected and perhaps even acceptable for women to be violated by men but it is an unfathomable abomination for a man to direct that sort of violence towards another man. I don’t know. All I know is a lot of these men I have heard express this fear are often quiet or nowhere near as vocal when it comes to sexual violence committed against women and children. The thing people do not take into account is that sexual violence is no more a heterosexual thing than it is a homosexual thing. It is a pervert, criminal and socio-path thing and you get those across the spectrum. It is, to put it simply, a very stupid argument.
Homosexuality or transgenderism do not contribute to the moral degradation of society. Society itself does. The majority of television and radio programming, music, main stream literature, religious doctrine, legislation and policies and educational structures are very heteronormative and cisnormative and humanity and her societies have been well on their way to “moral degradation” (whatever that means) long before Senzo and Jason’s controversial kiss on Generations a couple of years ago or homosexual couples in New York started signing marriage certificates the same as straight people. The differences between heterosexual members of society and queer members of society only go as far as the sex and gender of our chosen partners otherwise the same rules apply to us. Murder is still murder, the sky is still blue, we love the same way and for some God is the same God you worship and for others like me, our ancestors are the messengers of Umdali*. Heck! We even have sex in more or less the same ways. I am bisexual remember, I know what I am talking about *wink*. However, a lot of people don’t see or appreciate this. They will still scream the Armageddon of human morals at the hands of “homos”. It is heart breaking that we live in societies where it is more acceptable for a husband to beat his wife, a man to rape his neighbour in order to “cure” her of being lesbian, a pastor to sexually assault female members of his congregation in the name of God than it is for a law abiding, compassionate and hardworking woman/man to be queer and yet the former is more unnatural than the latter is. To most people, the former does not represent a threat to the moral fibre of society and yet the latter does. If you think the state sanctioned murder of your gay nephew or lesbian neighbour or trans colleague who has not hurt or violated anyone else is right and just then it is your own moral fibre that should be questioned, not ours.
What Homophobia Is
First and foremost, homophobia is a message of hatred, deprivation and exclusion, plain and simple. You can try and defend it and explain it whichever what way you please but at the end of the day it is just plain hateful. Homophobia is also unnatural. It is taught and learnt and seeing as we are trying to do away with all things unnatural, I suggest we start with that and leave the natural be i.e. being queer.
Homophobia is also a remnant of a time long gone by when it is was vital to encourage population growth be it in a family, a village or kingdom due to systems such as agriculturalisation, pastoralism, expansion and occupation. We are presently living in a world where it is again no longer necessary to churn out as many babies as possible. Instead we live in a world where we are faced with overpopulation, hunger, famine, global climatic change and economic meltdowns. So no, homosexuality will not bring about the extinction of the human race. Heterosexuals (and modern science) will make sure that human production continues with no interruptions.
People ask us “why all the noise?” Why we don’t just go about our “gayness” quietly and stop making a song and dance of it. The answer is simple: until I can legally fall in love in my Motherland, until I can legally give my girlfriend a kiss in public, until men stop raping us in order to “correct” us or until they stop beating us and killing us for being queer and until communities and governments stop baying for our blood as though we have actually harmed anyone just by being gay we will continue to make a big deal about it. We will shout and march until we realise as Afrikans that homosexuality really doesn’t seek to eliminate or replace heterosexuality and that it is in fact heterosexuality that seeks to eliminate homosexuality. We really need to check ourselves and the things we stand for and against based on falsehoods and ignorance.
Being queer is neither unnatural nor unAfrican, the sooner we realise this the better it will be for all of us.
*Sangoma – Traditional healer & spirit medium
*Gogo – Grandmother/ elder
*Sekuru – Grandfather/ elder
*Umdali – Creator
Doreen Victoria Gaura
Reworked from a piece originally posted by the contributor on her blog