Opinion

Manasseh Azure Awuni: The LGBTQ+ of Saudi Arabia and Ghana

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I have a simple approach to and position on the vexed issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) and the ever-expanding list of sex and gender identity. I like to personalise it.

If my son came to tell me that he is converting his anus into a sex organ, or he intends to cut his penis and undergo procedures to become a woman, what would be my reaction?

Would I congratulate him and say he’s an adult so whatever he does does not affect me? Or would I hate, denounce him as a son or abuse him because I dislike the act?

Whatever he does, he is still my son. I will still love him and have compassion towards him. I won’t discriminate against him.

However, I would not pretend to be happy with his choice and justify it with all manner of theories. I would try to encourage him to abandon the idea and seek psychological support to convince him to change his mind.

If it all fails, I will endure it painfully and keep praying for him and loving him. I won’t say it’s normal.

It is not true that whatever adults decide to do in a sexual relationship does not affect others. If a grown-up man and his grown-up daughter decide to have sex, the law will not allow them. How does that affect others?

My wife and I agreed to marry. Nobody compelled us. We are adults. But if we agree to divorce each other today, the law will require us to prove that the marriage is irredeemably broken. How does our separation affect another person’s marriage or income?

In most of the countries that are pushing others to accept LGBT as normal, if adults agree and decide to marry more than one wife or husband, the law will not leave them alone.

So it’s not true that whatever two adults decide to do should be left to them because it does not affect others. I can imagine the trauma I’d bring on my wife and family if I decided that I’m going to be a woman.

All the same, I think the physical and verbal attacks directed at LGBT etc is wrong. Treat them the way you would if they were your children, siblings or parents. They need help.

I also think it is wrong for one country to foist its beliefs on another country, especially when those beliefs are not part of the globally accepted human rights and when the powerful countries forcing others to accept their beliefs do so discriminately.

Why is the West or the EU not putting pressure on Saudi Arabia to recognise LGBT as normal? Are there no gays and lesbians in Saudi Arabia? Or they don’t have rights?

If you’re liberal enough to think that LGBT is right, you should be liberal enough to tolerate those who think it’s wrong. That’s when we can begin to work together to reach a common ground. The countries that think it’s right today once saw it as wrong.

Growing up, no Science book taught me that the anus was a sex organ. The one who tries to teach me that now should be tolerant enough to understand the confusion in my head.

The unbridled expansion of the frontiers of liberalism is sound in theory, but in practice, it has consequences.

Last year, I listened to a BBC documentary in which people who had changed their gender were now struggling to return to their original gender. The happiness they thought they would find in their new genders did not exist after all.

Some people actually get depressed after changing their gender.

If they had been helped to appreciate their original gender, they would have been saved all the years they spent transitioning.

Such persons needed help to overcome an anomaly. Their society did not offer them the help they needed but told them it was normal to think that they were men trapped in women’s bodies or vice versa.

In this renewed debate, however, one thing has got me thinking: why are Ghanaians generally more tolerant of the theft of their public funds than two gays or lesbians having sex?

Why would the Catholic Bishops Conference be silent on the numerous corruption scandals and human rights abuses but issue a strongly-worded statement to the president when it has to do with the issue of gays and lesbians?

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The writer, Manasseh Azure Awuni, can be reached through azureachebe2@yahoo.com.

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