We were given diversity projects by our lecturer right here in the USA, where I am currently attending a youth seminar. The project was aimed at making everybody become aware of each other’s diverse cultures. When I was called out to speak, I started my PowerPoint slide showing the different cultures and traditions that exists in my traditional Igbo culture, including the ceremonial wine-carrying by the bride to her groom and how she has to kneel to present him the drink.
This is when the presentation took a huge jaw dropping twist.
A girl raised her hand and asked, “Does the same apply to gay couples?” She, like a significant part of the class, was in her early teens, probably 17 years or so; and when she asked what she did, I was shocked at the directness of the question. I was also bowled over by the fact that everybody else looked expectantly at me, seemingly expecting an answer.
I curtly replied that “gay people are actually imprisoned for 14 years or worse killed.”
This set off some shocked responses from the class. Someone actually let out a “What the fuck! For real?” And I said yes.
This was when things got interesting.
Another girl of probably the same age remarked, “That is really stupid! I am a lesbian, so if I visit Nigeria with my girlfriend, I will be killed?”
I replied, “That is if you go kissing your girlfriend on the streets, then yes, you will be killed.” That put the class in another commotion of arguments and disbelief, with a majority finding it hard to understand why a country would kill or imprison anyone for being gay. I consoled them by saying, “Well, the younger generation thinks otherwise, but we are still ruled by largely conservative people.” That seemed to hush them a little till the end of my presentation.
My surprise mainly stems from the fact that a majority of the people surprised at the stupidity of our government’s decision to criminalize being gay were young teenagers who openly could say in a meeting that they were either gay or had friends or relations that were gay. Another, a guy, said, “So my cousin who is an amazing football player would be killed or jailed if he was in Nigeria?” This shows that we are really far behind. If young teenagers can openly talk about their sexuality and address it, and our old pot-bellied, retarded leaders cannot, then we are definitely still very, very far away.
Today, the scale over my eyes about gay people in the US fell off and I saw a new, totally different light to it. We are still very far, and in case you hear a story of an American teenage girl being arrested for PDA with a girl in Nigeria, just know I told you first, because the young lady, who said she is a lesbian, said she would take a trip to Nigeria with her girlfriend and kiss her on the streets, just to see what happens. To her I said, “Good luck with that.”
Written by Ace