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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 Feature Article

Unchained Voices: Journey Towards Acceptance and Freedom

Unchained Voices: Journey Towards Acceptance and Freedom
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Silence was a constant companion to numerous unspoken truths in the society in which we were raised. Anything unfamiliar or unconventional was swiftly labelled as an abomination. I have a vivid recollection of the day my sister delivered an infant with a head deformity. Immediately, my mother and a group of elderly women concluded that the infant was an incarnate spirit and demanded that it be returned to the gods. Despite the heart-wrenching cries of my sister, our mother, who was deeply rooted in traditional beliefs, accompanied the infant into the deep woods. They returned with the solemn assertion that the infant had been "escorted to the gods." The child's life had been mercilessly terminated and buried in the forest. They never contemplated the possibility of treating this deformity, which was unfamiliar to them, and it was never examined by a doctor. Surrounded by women who were steeped in traditions that taught them to embrace the inexplicable as a divine decree, my sister mourned inconsolably for a week.

Our very existence was influenced by these beliefs, which engulfed us in fear as the sole means of obedience. We never questioned our curiosity; rather, we remained in the dark, anticipating the light that might challenge our ingrained fears. For centuries, the fear of the unknown commanded our thoughts and actions. Imagine a situation where two individuals are found to be in a romantic relationship in a society that strongly adheres to traditional values. Declaring it an abomination would be the initial response. In the absence of an investigation into the true cause, any misfortune would be attributed to the gods' wrath. These individuals would be subjected to cleansing rituals or exile, because of societal pressure and traditional edicts.

Many individuals lived in silence to evade these oppressive belief systems, as they were perceived as transgressors against divine boundaries by society. Societal norms and values impeded the exercise of common freedoms. Despite our outward acceptance of individuals known as "Kojo Basia," we never delved into their sexual orientation, leading many of them to remain celibate and experience ongoing emotional distress. Even though these individuals may have been women in male bodies or vice versa, they were not provided with any support or understanding. They were compelled to conceal their true selves, enduring silent agony throughout their lives.

These cultural shadows continue to hover over us, despite societal advancements. We have discovered methods to maintain these norms, thereby continuing to restrict the freedoms of individuals. Like any other individual, gay and lesbian individuals have their thoughts and emotions. From the silence, they are emerging, unable to endure the burden any longer—a burden that is more lethal than any infectious disease. They are not in violation of divine boundaries, nor do they necessitate purification. Genuine impurity is found in heterosexual individuals who violate norms while feigning indifference.

What is the impetus for an individual to perpetrate violence or hatred toward a homosexual individual who is expressing his or her authentic self? Society has become a prison for numerous innocent souls, ensnaring them in dread and disregarding their suffering. The moment has come to speak the truth: we are unable to maintain standards that enslave rather than free. It is not unusual or wrong for a gay person to express their feelings to someone who feels the same way. It is as natural as any straight person’s expression of love. Gay people need no boundaries to live freely; they are a society unto themselves, deserving of their norms and values. Diversity is not a criminal offence, and it is time to thoroughly embrace it.

Which team do you think has the higher chance of winning the 2024 elections?

Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024

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