I try not to get too emotional when I accidentally get pulled into conversations about the LGBTQ community. I say ‘pulled in’ because I think it’s important to protect my space and energy. And sometimes, being part of intolerant discussions where people don't listen to each other with an open mind, can be an act of self-harm.
But, I also live in Nairobi and that makes it nearly impossible to be engaged in any LGBTQ discussions without someone chiming in with unrelated pointless statements like, 'So you also want us to allow paedophilia now?'
Sexually assaulting children is NOT the same as two consenting adults choosing to love each other or have sex with one another.
Honestly, I’m getting a headache just thinking about all the myths and misconceptions right now.
A few weeks ago, I was browsing my WhatsApp groups, minding my own business, when a conversation in my school group caught my eye. This is one of the few groups that you can mostly count on adults with differing opinions to talk through topics with a fairly level-headed and respectable manner. Mostly.
'I just don’t see why we are expected to waste your time thinking about gays. We have more important things to focus our resources and policies on. You are too westernized!'
I went through the conversation and found most of my classmates saying really horrible things.
Mind your own business
I tried to stop my fingers – but there they were, clicking away.
'So guys, here’s a revolutionary idea. How about, whatever your moral standing, you just mind your own business. Like, you don’t have to approve, or fight for or against, but we just let people love and have sex with whichever adults they want to?'
'But we can’t focus on their rights when we still have no drainage in our city and starving families', someone chimed.
'I hear you, but we’re using more resources trying to monitor and control their lives. Minding our own business costs nothing and allows us to focus on our "floods". Maybe it’s time we all learnt to do that.'
The conversation went quiet.
Just be reasonable
Look, I understand that the basis of people’s discomfort in our society is grounded in their religious beliefs, amongst others.
I, of course, totally disagree but that is a separate discussion. That’s why I don’t expect everyone and their mom to immediately drop their morals and support everything the LGBTQ community stands for. I mean, they should, but, let’s be reasonable: it’s unlikely. I just believe in love and acceptance.
I think that speaking out when people are saying unreasonable and hateful claims about our gay, lesbian, queer, trans or bi-communities is extremely important.
The least we can do is shed light on the hurtfulness of the conversation or reduce its intensity. It would be even better if we query and get people to think about certain points they may not be aware of. The main one being an infringement on basic human rights.
Sometimes, being conscious means you constantly have a throbbing headache. And sometimes, it means ending a pointless conversation that can only propagate hate. Just remember, even the little actions can mean a lot in the bigger picture.
Are you ready to stop the hate and embrace the love? If you have questions on how to do that, or questions about the LGBTQ community, remember that you can ask our discussion board moderators anything.