Anyway, a facebook friend, who felt an argument he had with me over the debate was the source of the article, felt it right to respond. I liked what he has to say -- No, he wasn't the"friend" in question -- and felt I had to post it here for posterity. Something for the Gay Rights people to be happy about.
Comment fromAkpomuvi Dafi
I found your essay on same-sex marriages an intellectual tonic. You said things that you needed to say without cant. I was also somewhat proud that you wrote the essay, in an influential newspaper like the Daily Times, largely with the conversation we both had in mind. I was struck, however, that you misrepresented some of my arguments in our facebook exchanges.
First, I never said that the gay rights issue is the 'most important' advocacy issue in the world. I only pointed out that it is a fast rising issue that deserves careful, thoughtful and honest consideration. Needless to say, I don't consider the gay rights issue to be more important than any other sensible advocacy matter-like the fight for improving workplace conditions, or the fight against hunger. It is not my job to begin to compare different advocacy issues on the basis of their comparative importance.
"That friend.....made sure to tell me that, for not joining the vociferous advocates of same sex love and marriage, I would be sidetracked by history."
I have to say that I never sought to enlist you into some sort of organized gay rights campaign. I have never been a part of one myself. I only opined that given the growing trend of people wanting to fight for the rights to pursue their measure of happiness by loving, and living with who they want, and the desire of many in the world to respect that right, those who still stand in opposition to that basic human desire would be confined to the wrong side of history.
Like I pointed out in our exchanges on your facebook wall, the light of science has been shed on the gay issue. Fearless African intellectuals-like Wole Soyinka and many others earlier in the year signed a statement condemning the unnecessary bashing of gay people. The widely-respected South African arch-bishop, Desmond Tutu in a thought-provoking interview on the BBC reaffirmed his belief that it is unfair to treat homosexuality as a sin or disorder, or a choice that people make. These are 'straight' Africans, aren't they? Does it mean they want to be gays themselves? I wonder why some people think that defending the rights of gay people means being in love with the gay lifestyle.
One doesn't need to be a gay rights activist. But when he takes it upon himself to pontificate about the rightness or wrongness of sexual acts, while gloating about his heterosexuality and seeking to rein in on others simply on the basis of their difference, and because they are in the minority, there is a part of me that feels he is getting the issue of morality quite wrong.
And, do you think, Fred that you were being sincere when you said I claim to be an ‘activist of all kinds of rights? I hate to say a friend is lying.
I respect your position on the gay rights debate. Part of me even admires your stoic stance when you said "give us the chance of getting over our inhibitions”, as it shows that, unlike other glib gay bashers, you admit of the possibility of changing your mind over the gay rights matter.
I feel that as human beings, there are definitely things beyond our understanding. I, like you, find it awkward to look at the behaviour of some people. I find it awkward to see two women cuddling each other or having sex. I find it awkward to look at a man that has overt feminine attributes. But I don't feel the need to view them as sinners or 'mad people', like a friend of yours said on facebook,-a statement on which you clicked the 'like' button-,or engage in the playground bullying tactics that has echoes of fundamentalism and ignorant cock sureness .
I should perhaps be quick to add that being gay could be devoid of stereotypes-like a man with painted lips, or soft feminine voice. There are many gay people you would swear are not if they don't tell you.
You also referred to me as one of those thousands (of friends) that the friendship button on facebook allows you have. As a Linguistics graduate, I can immediately understand the subtext of that sentence. I can only add that my definition of friendship does not include 'one who agrees with me on all issues.'
To paraphrase the philosopher, Cecil O' Poole: I can think of many points of view I am in disagreement with, but that does not mean my neighbour cannot live beside me, nor that we may not exist side by side. Even though he holds beliefs with which I disagree, we can both be a part of society, and we will both contribute to that society by being considerate and tolerant of each other's point of view.ThanKS