View RSS Feed


On Hating Gay People

Rate this Entry
It has been so long since I was here. This has been due to so many of them, work. As you all know, I work for the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya. Legal work in such an organization located at an extremely conservative country is extremely difficult. 17th May is marked internationally as the International Day Against Homophobia. In the spirit of this month, I reflect on the homophobe. I am going to ask questions the answers to which might lead to an understanding of who the homophobe is and what drives him.

“Thank goodness we solved that whole financial crisis unemployment recession thing and can now focus on important things like stopping love.” I read that quote on Twitter recently and I found it incredibly apt for this month. Why stop love? Why hate gay people? Why hate anyone at all? These are questions I have asked myself countless times and they are questions I am sure many have asked themselves (except of course those people who go around hating others for no apparent reason whatsoever), the answers to which are not usually forthcoming. This is why I set about thinking critically about the issue.

One of the common reasons why homophobes hate gay people is religion. Now religion has been attributed to some of the world’s worst atrocities. This, I should put out clearly, as much as that statement may appear as a vendetta against religion, it really isn’t. I am simply stating facts. The fact is that the homophobe will be quoted as saying something to the effect that God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. The homophobe will also be heard quoting Bible verses. The favorite of which can be found in the book of Ecclesiastes (something something) that talks about man lying with another man as with a woman (whatever that means).

So why is religion such a hater of gay people? Why does the homophobe use the one book that says “Love thy neighbor as thou lovest thyself” (pardon the loose use of the “King James” tongue) to hate another person just because of who they are? I am also pretty sure that there is a surat(?) in the Quran that says something about loving everyone. But why pick out the one verse that says something about lying with another man and use it to hate on other people? Why not also consider the fact that the same book in the Bible talks about shellfish and eating it and hate on people who eat the same? Is this not a case of double standards? I think this particular class of homophobe has mastered the art of picking out from religion the one thing that he considers easiest for him to do and has spun it out of proportion. So much so that he doesn’t even have the capacity to see what else he is missing out on.

Another argument that the homophobe uses to hate gay people is that homosexuality is against nature. This particular concept has even been encapsulated in legislation. The law talks about “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”. Now this is a question that was asked in my Jurisprudence class and is a question that has been debated on by many. Who defines “nature”? Who has the authority to tell what is “in the order of nature” and what is not? I for one think that two people loving each other and caring for one another is one of the most natural things in the world. It doesn’t matter what age they are, what the color of their skin is, it doesn’t even matter what sex they are. I think that it is extremely natural for a man to love a woman. In the same light, it is extremely natural for a man to love a man and a woman to love a woman. But the question remains, who defines what is “natural” and what is not? Is it what is considered by the majority as “natural” that should be so? As a minority (of whatever caliber) do you think that what the majority say should always apply to you and that you do not have a say about it just because you do not belong to the “class” that is the majority?

In the African context, the homophobe also talks about homosexuality being un-African. They say that it is a western import and that it did not exist in Africa before colonization. There have been countless studies whose details I shall not go into that show how rampant homosexuality was in Africa way before colonization. These studies with the proof they carry within them make this argument, to a very large extent, extremely moot. Calling homosexuality a western import and using religion to make your point is possibly the worst case of double standards one can think of. How one can use a western import to hate on another “western import” is beyond my understanding.

Which brings us to the Kenyan context. The Kenya National Commission for Human Rights recently released a report on Sexual and Reproductive Rights in which it recommended decriminalization of homosexuality so as to improve the sexual rights situation in the country. This report has been received by mixed reactions. It has stirred so much debate that the homophobe has woken up using the usual arguments to hate on homosexuals. The homophobe has even managed to steer the debate away from what it is exactly that the movement wants, which is equality and non-discrimination, to gay marriage. I personally applaud the National Commission for not only focusing on reproductive rights but also including sexual rights in its report. It was a bold move on its part considering the immensely homophobic environment we live in and it was a very necessary move.

Africans need to understand that among them, there are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people. These people are African by every sense of the word. The Kenyan constitution itself recognizes them as such when it states that every person should be treated equally before the law. Nowhere in the constitution does it say, “Every person except the gays”. It recognizes each and every Kenyan as a person. It is this lack of understanding that leads to Kenyans hating their fellow Kenyans. Much akin the ethnic differences that we have witnessed in the recent past. Until people are properly sensitized on the law and what it says about PEOPLE, until the homophobe learns that the arguments he uses to hate the gay person really are redundant in so many ways, until the gay person comes out and decides that he/she has had enough of the hate and is willing to speak up and speak out about himself/herself and against the hate, then we are going nowhere. Fast!


  1. BlueStar's Avatar
    great to see you back hear Tony and excellent post! I could write for hours to do this justice, but Im only here for a brief mo. I think it's all down to the human ego, and sad little people wanting to feel superior, 'better than' and have a stronger sense of identity - and this is often done by finding an enemy, or something to oppose or make wrong. Eckhart Tolle writes of it wonderfully in A New Earth. People tend to solidify their own beliefs and identity by finding someone or something to oppose and fight against. Cause of all wars, prejudice, persecution and virtually all the suffering man has inflicted on his fellow man. It's insane. The 'unnatural' theory doesn't hold up as homosexual behaviour has been noted in hundreds of different species. The excuse used by many religions, including the 'Jesus zombies' as James Swartz calls them, is highly suspect as the Christians cherry pick their 'sins' -- they conveniently ignore many of the other sins condemned in the bible because they simply wouldn't get away with waging war against people who eat shellfish, or wear more than one type of fabric, or indeed people who masturbate -- all conveniently forgotten. In fact, historians have actually discovered that the church wasn't always as intolerant, but actually used to condone and conduct same sex marriage ceremonies around the 12th and 13th centuries.

    So really the excuses hateful people are all pretty weak -- it all comes down to them feeling better about themselves by attacking, condemning and decrying others. So horribly sad. It has to end some day, and it surely will. Those that are vehemently opposed to gay rights are already being held up as being no different to those who opposed black civil rights in the 20th century. I'm sure their grandchildren will be so proud......
  2. Kiran's Avatar
    Well written Tony and I have to agree that religion has done much to encourage homophobia. People are who they are. I never got why people have an issue at all!!
    In this 21st Century there is now a movement to re-balancing the whole patriarchal society we live in and moving back to a more gender balanced place of being. I was also reading recently about people becoming more.....more than just a shell they were born into....pan-sexuality. Does the fact that I am in a female shell define me as so? Or I am so much more than a gender??
    I just wish people, ignorant people, would learn to get to know a person for who they are rather than attaching labels for we are so far beyond any labelling this Human Society gives us.
    Much love dearest and I love you (((hugs)))
  3. Rana's Avatar
    ..... always fight the powers xxx