By Nnanna Ikpo
You would think that my pen got dry because I seemed distracted for a while. It did not. I was simply at some distance handling quite a few things that some how drew me away from my routine, books and regular considerations. I have been living a little. I can not say I’m totally back now. Things promise to get a whole lot busier as 2016 advances.
However, I am writing to you today to discuss the widespread international goals of sustainable development, especially as it concerns the LGBTIA community. How so?
Look, Africa, everyone now is talking about equality, preservation of rights and openness – me included. Even last year, 2015, the Human Rights Day was themed Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Always. And it particularly was considering the human freedom of speech, religion, from want and fear. In the face of all these, we still have the razmataz of politics, corruption, religion and all other facets of our lives splashing up on our shores and there is so much to consider. But this particular one bothers me today. So here goes…
Everyone generally deems sustainable development to mean progress that does not exhaust the future before it happens. One that regards everyone and everything, and above all the natural balance of continuity, and the guard against spending the world so much that it becomes uninhabitable. I believe that this balance, in all its beauty, should carry everyone along.
Have you seen the TV show Empire? A few hours ago, I was in a heated argument concerning Empire’s Hakeem character and the propriety of his dating an older woman in Empire Season 1, and then how much better Jamal’s character has become in Season 2 because he seems to be in a romantic relationship with a girl. Of course, such arguments on Nigerian land would only go in a certain line: ‘Hakeem, if he were my son would probably receive the biggest face slamming of his life on my hearing of it…and as for Jamal, the powerful girl has finally cast the evil gay spirit out of him.’ Then when someone begins to say that Africa should move beyond ineffective and unrealistic traditions, everyone begins to stare as though I am bathing in okro soup. Now you can imagine the next question…’So that means you support the gay rubbish abi?’
For Christ sake, if we continue to have the mindset that it is up to us to pin everyone else down unjustly to secure the long destroyed balance, we will end up not accomplishing anything at all.
Nobody wants to admit that there is a limit to what a people can take. Nobody wants to admit homophobia only destroys and disinherits us of our children, our friends, our future and the development that should return, grow, and continue. When we continue endorsing structures that mentally, physically and spiritually murders the creativity, education, freedom and equality of the members of the LGBTIA community and everyone else in the society, we set our own roofs on fire without knowing- or perhaps smelling the flames but presuming that it is the roasting ‘isi-ewu’ outside.
To move from here, we need everyone on board. This why God has made all of this a reality. We need to preserve our own. This is of course knowing and implementing that more effort and attention need be paid to the LGBTIA community, making up for the gross inhumanity and destructions of the past.
There really is no development without the members of the LGBTIA community, because, if nature were to instantly retrieve them, the whole world would fall like a house of playing cards, completely. Think about this.
Africa, look around, listen closely. There is a Rainbow Talk going on everywhere. Inclusion, protection, freedom and progress of the LGBTIA community will happen whether or not you validate it. Your children are reading, thinking, learning. Your neighbours are reading, listening and learning too. Above all, God is here, and his love and validation is bigger and brighter than yours is or will ever be.
I love you. I hope you read. I hope you learn.
Nnanna Ikpo is a Nigerian lawyer, blogger and storyteller currently completing the 2016 LLM/MPhil programme at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa. He writes for his own blog, and is also a blogger for Queer Alliance Nigeria.