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02.04.2007 Feature Article

Some Straight Talk About Ghanaian Gays----

It's the act, but not the tendency which is causing the uneasiness among Ghanaians… We're not homophobias!

I'M A gung-ho proponent of freedom of choice and all other human rights. And, I have tried not to get entangled in the controversial, homosexual debate, because there are many, many important issues to tackle in Ghana. But, I have been dragged into it the same way some people get into social movements : for being concerned and sometimes the feelings of anger and hopelessness .I felt the need to get involved in the debate, so as to prevent the gay advocates from hijacking the nation's attention from real issues .

Those of us who had the opportunity to attend mixed or co-ed secondary schools, we witnessed the so-called “SUPI” life-style— a nice euphemism for girls satisfying their sexual impulses in their dormitories.. This was a relationship between the senior and junior female students. It was not something practiced in the main stream culture. It was more or less limited to the boarding schools. This was practiced mainly by female students, who were trying to satisfy their sexual impulses, and at the same time preventing unwanted pregnancies—so as to enable them to complete their educational goals. But, those who practiced that 'SUPI' had a cause to keep it secret: the Ghanaian culture and its religious population couldn't deal with such a lifestyle—no matter how casual it was perceived.

So from that perspective, it's safe to assume that some form of homosexuality has been associated with the Ghanaian culture since Moses was a child, so to deny that it's not a modern social ill is absurd. But, that is not to say that homosexuality was practiced with impunity on schools' campuses. Far from that. Whilst those girls in our secondary schools did engage in some form of gay lifestyle just to satisfy their sexual tendencies, they went back to their respective boy friends, and lived normal lives when they were at home or completed their education. They knew that what they practiced in the boarding schools was nothing more than 'an activity' to satisfy their needs (if you will), and to prevent pregnancy, but not homosexuality. And, those who for some reasons , continued to practiced that don't see it as something they acquired through birth.

On that basis, one thing is clear to me: The students' life-style was a choice, (not a genetic one) acquired to meet their needs, while they were trapped in the boarding house. Not only that. They engaged in that behavior as a way to prevent them from engaging in sexual intercourse and prevent pregnancies .Homosexuality wasn't even part of the total picture or their vocabulary .So they didn't flaunt that lifestyle on school campuses like a Swiss Bank Account. They were not either looking for any special right, as a way to launch their lifestyle in the mainstream domain.

Homosexuality is not born, but made. I believe the brainwashing process begins in schools and colleges, where many people develop the desire to experiment the act of having sex with the same sex. In the case of the Ghanaian homosexuals, it's an acquired lifestyle which is mainly derived from boarding schools and the importation of the sexual trade by our open-door hospitality. There are also many other pressures that force our young men and women today, to be gays: They're bombarded from both sides by arguments that he/she must tailor him/her self to be free, literally and figuratively, in order to fit the current foreign image—which means that one has to experiment freedom of having sex with the same sex. Unfortunately, those arguments come from those who want company to share the misery of their frustrations and failures. Any deviation from this mediocre norm, he/she is branded not 'sophisticated' or not 'free'. The Influence of money is also playing a major role in attracting the Ghanaian youths to this newly –found life-style.

It's becoming increasingly very fashionable for our young population to pay less heed to the established social norms, which have been holding us together for centuries. I consider it as one of our major tragedies of our civilization that people have come to regard it virtually mandatory to imitate in order to win the social acceptance of their fellows. The end result of this can only be to reduce even the most brilliant individuals to cipher.
Today, countless young Ghanaian men and women have lowered themselves and standards to ape and echo the ideas, views and actions of those they seek to impress, just to further their own narrow ambitions in life. But, I'm unable to see that the achievement of any degree of social status is worth the price of a man's life or the destruction of his family's health and well-being. There's something wrong basically, when human beings are willing to sell their lives and health so cheaply.

But, in America and the western world a sizable segment of the Gay population is very wealthy and economically successful. How do we explain this phenomenon? I'm no Psychiatrist, but the only explanation one can give is that they're victims of their own success and wealth. Nothing is left to scramble for when they achieved their level of ' success'. The goals they sought and achieved were”meaningless” .And, that when they realized that, they also realized what they had achieved was not success, but pathetic failure. So their quest to find another successful avenue, sometimes lead them to 'social –experimentation'. And, ultimately, homosexuality becomes one of the social experimentations.

I have personally known some of these former 'SUPI' girls from my secondary school days, and I have also met some homosexuals through my work, and I have had no problem with them than any one else. They're all human beings, and they deserve respect as you or I. But my problem with homosexuality is when gays try to rub their sexuality in our faces as a badge of honor—like their demonstration in London when President Kuffour visited there recently. The issue is not being gay. Being gay is fine, but practicing homosexuality is what so many Ghanaians have problem with. In other words, there's nothing wrong with having the tendency to have sex with dogs, your sister, your daughter or your 99 yr old grandmother. But one crosses the gray line immediately one acts on those tendencies or impulses. The disdain for practicing homosexuals in Ghana crosses religious and cultural lines. Most Ghanaians see homosexuals as a group which has, in large part, lost its sense of perspective and purpose. The compassion for gays is in short supply among Ghanaians. Because Ghanaians think homosexuals belong to a group whose members are prone to substitute flimsy money for scale of lasting values, and who meekly surrender their individuality and even their integrity as human beings.

Amazingly, some people are using scientific prove to defend homosexuality as a genetic trait, instead of a choice. To those who want to believe the scientific findings, they should also believe the scientific finding of the Bell Curve. What is Bell Curve? Well, for those who have spent the last two decades trapped in an elevator, The Bell Curve is a controversial book by social scientists, Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein .These two geniuses asserted that black people are 15 percent below whites on IQ. I rest my case! So much for the scientific finding on social matters. Period!

Whether homosexuality is an acquired life-style or is an outcome of some sort of genetic defect is not my immediate concern, because I respect the right of individuals to engage in any life-style of their choice. And, as long as they don't turn sweet on me, what do I care whom they sleep with? But, I have problem when people try to twist it to look like some special features acquired from birth—which should be given a special latitude and freedom to shove them down the moral- throat of the mainstream society. What do we make out a guy who likes to have sex with under-aged kids, young boys or his own sister? Are we to give him the latitude to practice his “Biological sexual defect”? If no, then why not? After all, he can argue that he was born with that. I think most of the homosexuals feel that it's easier to stick with I- was-born -with- it excuses than finding a way to stop the practice abruptly .In the same vain, it can be argued that some criminals or liars are so good at their trade that they deserved to claim the biological deficiency syndrome excuse. Shouldn't they deserve our sympathy?

There is tragically, enough evidence to indicate that probably most gays are very unhappy individuals .There is nothing 'gay' about being unhappy—we all have our share of this disease, and happiness is very relative term, anyway. But, I think common sense dictates that no one wants to walk around thinking and feeling that he is “abnormal” or “biologically defective”. Considering how much even normal (straight) people feel shame to talk about sex, in front of other people, it must be very, very hard to go through life feeling like “an outsider” or “defective product”. I really feel for them. No pun intended!

Homosexuals are now regarded as the lowest of the low in Ghana because of the publicity they seek lately— which is bad and unfortunate. So I think the best way to handle it is by calling less attention to homosexuality as much as possible. After all, most people don't devote their lives time talking about sex or have conventions to advertise their sexuality, anyway. So why gays should be allowed to do that? If I were gay, I'd do what I want in my own bed room, mind my business and not rub it on people faces. I believe most straight people can handle that as long as you don't come to them with your sexual proposals—no bi so? Na you alone sabi sex? I think the real issue is how “homosexuality has been politicized and hijacked by a “rabid few”. The foreign homosexual extremists are trying to make it into one of the mainstream issues, in Ghana .And that it is going to cause a lot of uneasiness among Ghanaians. That is not helping the very people it's designed to help. They're crying for “gay right” .Right for what? I don't need a right from anybody to sleep with anyone. I think they're looking for rights to do other stuff. And, that is the issue.

I'm not a Christian because I don't belong to any church. So you can't accuse me of being a religious fruitcake or nut. But, I have the feelings that very soon Ghanaians will be asked to swallow their religious and moral pride and accept same sex marriages that is proliferating in USA. It's coming. You watch! And, that is where the problem is going to have another different dimension. I can bet with my last cedi that all the brides would be foreigners—who are anxiously waiting for the floodgate to open.

My point is, I don't think Ghanaians hate gays .They are not ready to accept that with open arms, like they do in the western world, due to so many religious, morals and cultural factors. To deny that is an attempt to throw the entire society out of emotional balance. And, Ghana is not equipped to deal with such temptation at this point in time, especially, considering its huge social and economic problems. So Ghanaians are not “homophobias”. We're not afraid. We just want our nation to be sane as possible, so as to buy time to deal with the real issues at stake. This that too much to ask from those who are wantonly retailing and importing foreign 'Diet' , for home consumption?

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi, © 2007

This author has authored 191 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwakuAduGyamfi

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