A friend and I were having a conversation the other day, and we naturally got to the issue of gay men getting married to women. He said something that I had previously never considered and which frankly made a lot of sense to me given the circumstances. He said that some gay men need the safety of marriage to be able to find their voice and speak up about LGBT issues. He said that the message will be better received in these parts if it’s coming from a married man (assumed to be straight) than from a single man who will be assumed to be gay (especially when he is over a certain age). He went further to explain that if a married man expresses public support for gay rights, Nigerians will most likely try to understand why he’s endorsing gay rights, rather than condemn him. But if say a single man of forty years speaks up about the same issue, he’d be dismissed as defending his kind.
I was going to argue with him, but then I remembered when the anti gay bill was signed into law, and my friend Ayo Sogunro wrote a lengthy thesis-worthy article on why that law made no sense at all. Now after he wrote that, another friend of mine sent me a link to the article, not knowing I’d read it, and he began to make a case, agreeing with everything Ayo said. Now these points were points that I had previously argued in favour of with this guy before, and he did not buy into them because he believed I was not objective, being a gay man and all. However, following Ayo’s elucidation of the points, he was able to read with an open mind and made sense of it, because it was preached by a straight man who he interpreted as having nothing at stake and was therefore being objective. Continue reading