A QUOTATION from Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “Cosmopolitanism” (2006:16) certainly provides me a sound footing to commence this article.
And it states: “A dog asked a donkey to eat with him and gave him meat, the donkey asked the dog and gave him hay: They both went hungry.”
Meaning: The dog’s appreciation of good food is meat (which is poison for the donkey) and that of the donkey is hay. Logic: Not all persons or groups would by their nature or nurture desire or exhibit the same attitude.
The emerging debate over whether the rights of gays should be respected or not still rages on.
“Abomination,” our elders would say, “it can’t happen here,” they add fervently. Ask me, and I would say they are right. How can you accept a practice which is cruel and inhuman?
But you see, just as you can’t understand why a full grown man in his right senses would allow alcohol to capture his sanity and reduce him to a foul afflicted by Coccidiosis, you cannot prevent that man from befriending the bottle.
As things stand now, whether gay practice is legal or not in Ghana’s legal statutes, it is a matter for more introspection.
Be that as it may, gays are among us and they are doing their own thing. So whether the law comes out unequivocally to back their practice or criminalise it, they would continue to practice it.
What we must realise is that our society is fast becoming a cosmopolitan one and gay practice is one of the features of a cosmopolitan area. It is no more shared values, but one of individual preferences guided by the law of criminality.
So, if the action of your neighbour does not infringe on your rights, then he or she has committed no crime.
You see, I would have ended here by saying that if the activities of gays do not affect the welfare of others, then fair enough. Let them be; live and let’s live. The fact that I do not smoke does not mean I should prevent my neighbour from smoking in his or her own home, isn’t it?
The rights advocates are, however, forgetting one thing: the issue of homosexuality goes beyond rights: It is about the health and well-being of individuals, who are supposed to be valuable members of society.
Meanwhile, those opposed to the rights debate have equally been making the same mistake over the years by limiting their judgement of gay practice to one of normative.
The truth is that the issue of whether gay practice is right or wrong has been reduced to a moral judgement determined mainly by our religious and cultural inclinations, as well as our personal desires and up-bringing.
It is the same way we treat matters relating to abortion and prostitution. Our prejudices always cloud our judgements.
We can agree that we don’t subscribe to homosexuality because it irritates our senses and it is repulsive, unthinkable and irrational. But come to think of it, that is some people’s way of life. Our evil is their good and vice versa.
Now, back to the health issue. Allowing man-to-man relationship would not have been an issue if not for the eventual practice of anal sex to satisfy the sexual desires of both partners.
According to scientists, the anus is the natural opening of the rectum, made for the passage of faecal matter, which is the by-product of digestion.
So the anus is not an opening that allows objects, like the male reproductive organ, to penetrate through it unlike the vagina, which opens to accommodate these objects. This is why anal sex is made possible through the use of a lubricant.
Indeed, the location of the anus, according to medical experts, may cause some sexual gratification to the receptor during anal sex, due to its nearness to some sexual organs in the body.
But the reality is that, it is not meant for sex and would only be exposed to severe damage and infections if forced to accommodate this act.
The logic therefore is that anyone who attempts to force things through the anus would only be destroying this organ and in fact, threatening the physical and psychological make-up of the receptors.
In view of this, it is clear that even though gays do not harm other people, they are a threat to themselves and must be protected from harming their bodies.
Some have often sought to argue that if gays act the way they do as a result of their genes, then they cannot be treated as criminals, but as persons who are afflicted by some acute sexual disorder and need treatment.
Do we conclude therefore that those who do things (considered irrational) not by choice, but by their biological make-up, are freed from society’s punishment?
So kleptomaniacs cannot be punished, but need to be treated with kid’s gloves? Well, I hope that is not the argument.
Methinks that whether biological or adopted, same-sex relationship is criminal, because it gives licence to an individual to cause harm to him/herself and another person, just like attempting to commit suicide or having sexual relationship with one’s siblings or parents.
How then do we tackle it so as to protect society and, at the same time, be seen to be helping the perpetrators to cure this strange disease? Three things are crucial.
The first being legislation. However harsh it may seem, Ghana needs an explicit law that makes anal sex — whether by married couple or gay men — a criminal act. It also means that same sex marriage must also be outlawed, since all these are interrelated.
We must enact such a law, so that it is clear to anyone coming to Ghana that in Ghana, people are prevented from harming themselves.
Interestingly, most of those who advocate gay rights would scream if one calls for the legalisation of incest or suicide.
Second, we need to protect and promote what has been scientifically proven to be the right way of sexual intercourse, which is linked, directly, to our family value systems.
The point I am trying to make here is that instead of over-indulging in the gay debate, we need to refocus much of our energies on showcasing what we believe is good practice and exposing the hazards of gay practice.
Who knows, our actions could even convince some gays to change their ways.
Since the institutionalisation of a legal framework against gay practice is not enough guarantee that gays would cease to operate, it is better we focus on our children.
It is always better to teach your child why it is not good to abuse hard drugs than to keep him away from the drug abusers. Why, because you cannot continue to control the movement of your child.
So if your child understands that some people abuse harmful drugs by choice and that they face health hazards, your child won’t be shocked or tempted into doing same when he or she comes into contact with drug abusers.
We need to teach our children what constitutes ‘right’ sex, at which time, with whom and how.
In actual fact, the way we are fighting gays might only ignite the curiosity of our children and many others who never knew or did not understand what gays do.
Last, we must continue to explore ways of helping gays to abandon this strange trait and live what is scientifically proven as normal lives.
So even though there is the need to use legislation to protect gays from harming themselves, it is equally important to understand their psychology make-up and see possible ways of bringing them back to sanity.
I was excited to read in the Daily Graphic of Monday, June 21, that homosexuality could be treated. This was attributed to a medical practitioner at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, Dr Kofi Nutakor, who mentioned that the most effective techniques that could be used include Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis and group therapy. I hope these really work well.
Indeed, my interaction with some gays have revealed that some gays adopted this practice as a result of past experience: rape, abuse, disappointment and, in some cases, fixation with same sex relationship usually developed at same sex schools and among security personnel.
In short, gays would continue to be there even with legislation and so campaign for healthy sexual relationship and the rehabilitation for gays would be very crucial to our efforts to eradicate this practice.
Source: Salifu Nurudeen/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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