Like many other people who may be deemed sympathetic to homosexuals, I am numbed by the decision taken by Malawian court to jail a couple on the grounds of their sexual orientation. I know numb may seem mild but I hope it explains to our friends outside the continent why we were not the first to respond to the sentencing.
With corruption, poverty and other challenges facing us, it may appear that we are complicit to the violation of gay rights. We are not and believe it or not, we are familiar with expressions such as: “all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing!”
So why does it seem we are doing nothing? Well, in my opinion, I think the hypocrisy of taking issue with other people’s bedroom activities overwhelms us to a state of numbness – particularly because our plates are already full with unresolved issues that hinder the growth our continent. We exist in a society where we judge the qualities of our leaders by everything else but what they do behind closed doors of their bedrooms. We have priests that have vowed celibacy and have families outside the church compound; but come Sunday, we are willing to listen to them because we understand that it is not what they do that matters but what they say! (I know some may take issue with this particular example but I bring it up only because religion is often used as justification for homophobicness. While on this, let me make it perfectly clear that I am no authority on religious matters. However, I do believe that it is not for us to pass judgement. I believe our duty is to live in peace with one another and wait for our Maker to pass judgement unto us.)
But, when the numbness goes, is there anything that we can do? I wish I could answer this question but I must say I can’t! And this scares me beyond believe because I think part of the silence and inaction is generated by the lack of hope that things will change. But without taking action, we will have gay people marrying “right” only later to cheat with partners of the same sex. Then we will whisper among ourselves about how the poor cheated partners could have not known when the writing was on the wall! What is worse is that as we whisper, we will ignore to ask the question that would explain why individuals are willing to live a lie when it is a known fact that the truth shall eventually come out. Therefore, coming out itself is an act driven by the truth. The truth that some people are homosexuals, others are heterosexual, bisexual or omnisexual!
Thus, whatever the truth may be, I believe irrespective of our sexual preferences or orientation, we should be measured by the good that we do in our communities not what happens behind closed doors of our bedrooms. I also believe that if at all we choose to use bedroom activities as a measure of worthiness, then we should be consistent and apply that to our leaders and everyone else.