Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The BBC again indulges in gross homophobia

So the BBC decided to screw up again and ask another question about homosexuality on their “Have Your Say” website

In this case “is homosexuality un-African?”

Ok, deep breath. You'd think the BBC would have learned their lesson after the last stinking homophobic question they asked. Or the multiple homophobic incidents since then - really BBC, you're getting a reputation as the most homophobic channel and I really loathe that my license fee is paying for you to demean and dehumanise me.

On to the question

There are GBLT people everywhere there are people. Are there humans there? Yes? Then there are GBLT people there. In every nation, on every continent, of every race, of every religion of all peoples under the sun and moon – we are there.

There is no part of the world's population that is completely absent our presence. There is no place and no people to whom homosexuality is the other – we are not “un” anything. We are everyone, everywhere and everything – everything straight humanity is then so too are we.

This question again presents us as other. As a stranger, an alien influence, a damaging invader. This question again legitimises those who would claim that GBLT people are not African – including those born and living in the myriad African nations. Including those whose ancestors to the beginning of time have lived in Africa.

They are suddenly not of Africa, not of their nations, not of their homes not of their people because they are gay?

In this, it not only legitimises the idea of gay being the endless other – the alien even when it arises among us, but also legitimises the idea of rejecting and abandoning family, loved ones, community members because they are gay. Because it legitimises the idea that just being gay instantly makes you an outsider, a deviant, a threat – no matter how close your ties are. You are the deviant, you are the “un-” you are not right, other, not welcome here.

And to add insult to the injury of this question, it is asked in a time when there is a strong reputation for homophobia in many African nations. We've all heard of the Ugandan gay-genocide law. Homosexuality is illegal in 39 African nations – sometimes punishable by long prison sentences or the death penalty. These laws are already genocidal against gay people. And that is just the legal score, to say nothing of the discrimination and other abuses that only increase when illegality prevents gay people from seeking any redress or protection for fear of further persecution.

This question legitimises that. It encourages that. It presents this state of affairs as good and proper and authentic and natural and understandable.

This is not a question. It's not a subject for debate. The answer is so painfully obvious that even asking the question is as reasonable and sensible as debating whether water is wet, the sky is blue or koalas are cute. And worse, it is harmful – because it perpetuates the negative that very literally costs lives

Again BBC, I am sorely tired of gay people having to justify our rights to live to you.