My views on homosexuality have changed a lot in my 32 years. My first conscious memory of the issue is watching a mini-series on KTN. I don’t remember the name of the series, but it had something to do with a wall or a fence, and I think it starred Oprah Winfrey. In the series, a lesbian woman experiences ‘corrective rape’ from some neighbourhood boys. When asked why they did it, they said they wanted her to know what she was missing. They claimed she was only gay was because she had never had sex … with them.
I wasn’t old enough to know what lesbianism was, but I was old enough to recognise rape. I wondered why they would do that, how they could do that, what on earth made them think that was right. So I asked my mum about lesbianism, and she explained it to me. I didn’t think it was particularly strange. I figured that’s just how some people were.
Later, I read Bible verses that seemed to condemn homosexuality. Something about men lying with men the way they lie with women. Or rather, men NOT lying with men the way they lay with women. The verse left me conflicted, because in my mind, some people were simply born gay. So why would God create you with certain desires and then tell you they were wrong? Although … in all fairness … many men use the same question to support cheating and polygamy, so … *shrug*
Over the years, I’ve argued – mostly with myself – about whether homosexuality is nature or nurture. Are you born gay, or do you learn to be attracted to members of your own gender? Is it about genes, dysfunctional families, or an inseparable mix of both? Did I – at some point in my life – make a conscious decision to be straight? And if not, what makes me think someone can deliberately decide to be gay? Or conversely, if we are all just ‘born straight’ what happened to particular people to make them gay?
One side of the argument says hey, everyone is born with one head and two hands, so if you come out of the womb with multiple heads and just one hand, then something must be wrong. With you. And this is the logic they use to persecute people who are gay. Plus, if the internet is to be believed, gay and straight are just two sides of a multi-dimensional coin that spans up to 50 sexual identities.
I don’t know the genesis of sexual orientation, pun intended. I do know that as long as you’re consenting adults and you’re not hurting anyone, then who you choose to love is your business. I also know that everyone deserves to be in love, and to express that love in healthy, sensual ways that are mutually pleasurable. Of course this brings into play the question of homosexual teens, but I’m a mother with a tweenage child, so I’d prefer ALL children to abstain until they’re at least 18, regardless of their and sexual identity.
Why is this coming up now? Because last week, a group of Kenyan film-makers took a huge risk by releasing a film about homosexuals in Kenya. The actors in that film took a possibly bigger risk by portraying gay characters in a country where people can be arrested simply because the person they love has the same sexual organs that they do. Also, some of my favourite people are gay, and I think they have as much right to love and sexual intimacy.
In this interview with CBC in Toronto, Jim Chuchu, Njoki Ngumi, and George Gachara seem apprehensive. They’ve produced the movie and they’re proud of it, but they don’t know what happens next. They don’t know how Kenya will respond when they come back home, or if it’s even safe to come back home. The actors in the film are probably equally shaken. I think what happens to these people is entirely up to us. If we decide that they will be safe, then no-one will raise a hand to hurt them. If we decide to burn them at the stake, they’d probably be better off at Toronto Airport.
Speaking for myself, as long as both lovers are consenting, no one should be injured because of who they love. Your family may not agree. Society may not agree. The church may not agree. But in my opinion, whether your lover is black, white, orange, grey, straight, or gay, it’s nobody’s business but your own. And once we admit that, the world will be a safer, happier place for everyone to live and love.
♫ ‘Til you ♫ Alanis Morissette ♫