Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie & Nigerian Anti-Gay Law
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a writer from Nigeria. She has been called “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors that is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”.

Chimamanda Adichie recently spoke out against the Nigerian Anti-Gay Laws which has gained applaud at home, despite it’s condemnation by the international community. Read her thoughts and position:

I will call him Sochukwuma. A thin, smiling boy who liked to play with us girls at the university primary school in Nsukka. We were young. We knew he was different, we said, ‘he’s not like the other boys.’ But his was a benign and unquestioned difference; it was simply what it was. We did not have a name for him. We did not know the word ‘gay.’ He was Sochukwuma and he was friendly and he played oga so well that his side always won.

In secondary school, some boys in his class tried to throw Sochukwuma off a second floor balcony. They were strapping teenagers who had learned to notice, and fear, difference. They had a name for him. Homo. They mocked him because his hips swayed when he walked and his hands fluttered when he spoke. He brushed away their taunts, silently, sometimes grinning an uncomfortable grin. He must have wished that he could be what they wanted him to be. I imagine now how helplessly lonely he must have felt. The boys often asked, “Why can’t he just be like everyone else?”

Possible answers to that question include ‘because he is abnormal,’ ‘because he is a sinner, ‘because he chose the lifestyle.’ But the truest answer is ‘We don’t know.’ There is humility and humanity in accepting that there are things we simply don’t know. At the age of 8, Sochukwuma was obviously different. It was not about sex, because it could not possibly have been – his hormones were of course not yet fully formed – but it was an awareness of himself, and other children’s awareness of him, as different. He could not have ‘chosen the lifestyle’ because he was too young to do so. And why would he – or anybody – choose to be homosexual in a world that makes life so difficult for homosexuals?

The new law that criminalizes homosexuality is popular among Nigerians. But it shows a failure of our democracy, because the mark of a true democracy is not in the rule of its majority but in the protection of its minority – otherwise mob justice would be considered democratic. The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems. Above all else, however, it is unjust. Even if this was not a country of abysmal electricity supply where university graduates are barely literate and people die of easily-treatable causes and Boko Haram commits casual mass murders, this law would still be unjust. We cannot be a just society unless we are able to accommodate benign difference, accept benign difference, live and let live. We may not understand homosexuality, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it.

A crime is a crime for a reason. A crime has victims. A crime harms society. On what basis is homosexuality a crime? Adults do no harm to society in how they love and whom they love. This is a law that will not prevent crime, but will, instead, lead to crimes of violence: there are already, in different parts of Nigeria, attacks on people ‘suspected’ of being gay. Ours is a society where men are openly affectionate with one another. Men hold hands. Men hug each other. Shall we now arrest friends who share a hotel room, or who walk side by side? How do we determine the clunky expressions in the law – ‘mutually beneficial,’ ‘directly or indirectly?’

Many Nigerians support the law because they believe the Bible condemns homosexuality. The Bible can be a basis for how we choose to live our personal lives, but it cannot be a basis for the laws we pass, not only because the holy books of different religions do not have equal significance for all Nigerians but also because the holy books are read differently by different people. The Bible, for example, also condemns fornication and adultery and divorce, but they are not crimes.

For supporters of the law, there seems to be something about homosexuality that sets it apart. A sense that it is not ‘normal.’ If we are part of a majority group, we tend to think others in minority groups are abnormal, not because they have done anything wrong, but because we have defined normal to be what we are and since they are not like us, then they are abnormal. Supporters of the law want a certain semblance of human homogeneity. But we cannot legislate into existence a world that does not exist: the truth of our human condition is that we are a diverse, multi-faceted species. The measure of our humanity lies, in part, in how we think of those different from us. We cannot – should not – have empathy only for people who are like us.

As should be expected, Chimamanda Adichie herself has also become a serious issue for discussion back home in Nigeria, hence this open letter written by Chukwudi Ezea.

In this letter the author reasons about anti-gay law and Chimamanda’s judgments. Read the full text below:

Before I start I would like to ask you to ignore my grammatical errors. I’m not a writer so I have no reputation to protect in terms of grammatical errors. I write principally in response to your article on anti-gay law. I would really plead for your patience to calmly read my own view.

I have never read your article before now. I have heard of your reputation in writing and I had already rated you even when I had never read your articles. Unfortunately your sense of judgment is being questioned when I gave you the chance to create an impression because I’m not a type that takes a second chance to make a good impression.

I want you to understand that the Story of Sochukwuma is what you created just to spice up your writing and you didn’t tell us that Sochukwuma wanted to be gay. Nevertheless, I would like to share a similar story. When I was younger, there was a man called Amechi. He had the same nature with Sochukwuma but he has five children now. A friend of mine called Dera has the same nature and he is called ladies man because he has girlfriends and he intends to settle down soon. Obinna has two girlfriends and he’s also currently dating one of the Nollywood actresses.

You are an enlightened woman and you should not use your education to spread ignorance, you don’t really have to deceive people into accepting evil in the name of human right. As a woman, I expect you to write what you can defend before God.

You spoke like you are a puppet in the hands of western people, because they support gay, you have to do so but that doesn’t make it right. What is really democracy? Is it really all about protecting the minority as you said even when minority are hell bent in turning Nigeria into Sodom and Gomorah. Is that really democracy? Human right is a Greek gift from satan. What is human right when it is against the Creator? We abuse nature in the name of human right and even legalizing gay is abuse of human right. Should everybody do what they wish to do because human right backs them up? Is there any religion that support it or do your culture support it? Even nature abhors it.

Do you believe in morality? Should human right violate morality? You talked of gay people being different, normal and you still support what is not normal to be legalised. You write to fight against nature and God’s plan for creation.

When you said that passing anti-gay law was an indication of a failed democracy in Nigeria, I laughed because was it not a failed democracy when the western world threatened to withdraw their financial aid to any African country that signs anti-gay law. Does that mean Africa must accept what they impose on us, does that mean we don’t have the right to choose the way we wish to live. You should have supported the African minority rather than Western majority. I think you should show balance in your judgment.

It was laughable when you said homosexual is not a crime because it has no victim. You equally did not answer why prostitution, gambling, illicit use of drugs, suicide are crimes when they have no victim. You equally failed to answer why abortion is legalized even when it has a victim. Amanda, are you a virtuous woman? Would you want your daughter to marry another woman and your son to marry another man? Did you really write with conscience?

If gay is legalised then bestiality should also because there is no crime, because there is no victim. It will be also be undemocratic if bestiality don’t have their own right and if bestiality have their right, what do you want this world to turn into? And I don’t think you would wish your children to marry dogs.

This is anti-humanity. You said there were gay people in Nigeria before you were born, that’s because your existence was possible because your parents were not and same sex marriage was not legal. Just imagine a sharp rise in population of same sex marriage if it is legalised. Supporting same sex marriage is denying unborn ones the right to exist or don’t they deserve the privileged like you?

It could have been awesome if you had suggested how to heal them and make them normal rather than legalizing it as you claim they were not normal. If you really have good conscience you should have suggested how we can make them normal not encouraging them to remain abnormal.

If I ask your opinion on murder, you will say it is evil but which evil is more than murdering the souls of men. I would like to ask you, are you working for the devil? Are you bringing souls to God or to the devil? Are you working for a devilish innovation of the new world order?

Many ignorant people are giving you great ovation after reading your article but God will ask you the blood of the souls that will end up in hell because of what you sent to the public. You compare homosexual with fornication. Between two evils, one is better. Fornication is evil but it is not against nature because it involves two opposite sex, it can have good end product like marriage and child birth but what is the good end product in homosexuality? Anti-nature, anti-humanity, extinction of man kind? Is that your wish for the world? Why are we fighting for natural conservation if not for continuity?

You don’t have to write because you have the right and knowledge to do so but there should be sanctity in what you write. I know you know how to write but your pride should not make you think you know better than your Creator, Leviticus 18:22. If really your opinion about same sex marriage is from your honest heart then the similarity between you and human being is just coincidental. Someone needs morality, see the person in the mirror.


News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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