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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Nigeria's Anti-Gay Laws, Proving Again She's The Best

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by Sophie Smith
February 19, 2014 10:09 AM
33 Comments
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Poet and novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a beautiful response to the passing of Nigeria's anti-gay law. The law, passed on January 7th, has already led to dozens of arrests. A similar bill looks likely to pass soon in Uganda, where President Yoweri Museveni  announced last week that - after getting hopes up otherwise - he does intend to sign the bill into law. The legislation itself provides for life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, makes it a crime not to report gay people to the authorities and prohibits any discussion of homosexuality that is not condemnatory. 

In her piece Adichie systematically takes on the familiar knee-jerk responses of her homophobic interlocutors: being gay is un-African, being gay leads to bestiality, gay men are pedophiles, being gay isn't "normal", being gay is "un-Christian". To each she provides a calm but incisive smack-down. Seriously, Beyoncé, all we need now is for you to put this to music immediately. 

Read the article here

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33 Comments

  • Ade | April 19, 2014 12:13 PMReply

    Being gay is not a crime...Nigerians are hypocrites and hide under religion which is the worst thing that has happpened to our people....

  • femi | March 18, 2014 6:28 AMReply

    Chimamanda has written an intelligent piece as usual. I should not expect anything less. But the brilliant piece has only betrayed the disconnect of the writer from her religious and cultural roots. I am not surprised because she lives in a very strong culture that has successfully obliterated other cultures around the world. Perhaps she is being squeezed into the mold. What choice has she? I will always respect her anyway but i know that being brilliant is one thing, perspective and practices on moral issues is a different ball game.

  • JOJO | February 28, 2014 3:15 AMReply

    pls,i need a link to read Chimamanda's response to the anti-gay bill...anyone can do with some help

  • Lezlie | February 28, 2014 11:33 AM

    The link is at the end of the article. It says "read the article here". Click on "here".

  • Arinze | February 26, 2014 10:41 AMReply

    Chimamanda has lost me completely. I dont know why proponents of democratic values cannot respect the decision of a people arising from their culture. I need no scientific proof to give you that sodomy is unAfrican, UnNIGERIAN. My parents were not gay and its a hateful conduct and a disgusting character in IGBO land where that girl Chimamanda hails from. I wonder how much the Pro Gay group paid her to advocate for them. You choose what you want and i choose mine. Nigeria has its flag and ANTHEM. We are not a vassal of decaying west. This are the same people that called blacks monkeys when they came with their bible and forced us to accept your preaching.Now here they come again teaching us that the bible prescriptions are meaningless. Not so fast. Tomorrow it will be fashionable to marry trees and cars, houses and we will be forced to accept your silly standards? Our values as African must be respected. You can come to Nigeria or go to Uganda and issue visas to all GAYS HERE SO THEY CAN ACCOMPANY YOU TO US AND UK. I will commence a campaign against chimamanda propagation of gay right, so that Nigerians will stop buying her books.

  • TOBI | March 7, 2014 12:40 PM

    Arinze, i like your response. if you start the campaign. let me know. let drive this puppet out of our consciousness. she makes me sick.

  • nelo | February 26, 2014 6:50 AMReply

    She is talking bullshit. Homosexuality is a sin.

  • SILO | February 26, 2014 7:32 AM

    According to whom, wise ass? The Old Law of the Old Testament, where working on the Sabbath is punishable by death? Where a child who curses at their parents are also fatally condemned? The only bullshit on this page is the comment section, where people confidently decry homosexuality as "unnatural", as a "sin" as "abnormal" and have neither the evidence nor the authority to do so. What hateful crap.

  • Garry | February 24, 2014 5:53 PMReply

    Undesired Occupants - The velvet solution

    With the stroke of a pen, the Ugandan president has
    found a solution to getting rid of that country’s
    gays and lesbians – give them righteous refugee
    status in France, England, Canada and the
    United States.

  • Life | February 22, 2014 1:20 PMReply

    Everyone in the comments is an idiot.

  • Emenwa ka emeibe | February 22, 2014 12:47 PMReply

    Well I agree that gay predates Christianity & it's un-African to discriminate against someones choice of life. Human right as enshrined in UN charter is the freedom to be or live the way you want to live without fear of molestation. However, what I found interesting is the double standard of western world & mis guarded Africans. The question is, can gay/ lesbian be the only human right that should be advocated for? Gay/lesbianism is in all corners of the world that's true but why do we choose to advocate for gay and not freedom of beastie or polygamy? This also are innate, or should we glamorize homosexuality because it is prevalent in America & other western world, and neglect what is prevalent in Africa because it's from the dark continent? When will Africans learn to stand for what they believe in? Make no mistake here, I'm a believer in one man one wife, but common sense demands that questions be asked when things are fallen apart & the center could not hold anymore. I know most of you will crucify me for my position but I care-less as long as truth is told. Western world preach what they don't do; perhaps now discriminating against gay community is discrimination against freedom of right, how about discrimination against color? Georg Zimmerman versus Trayvon an example, how many African celebrity or Nigerian celebrity spoke against it? Maybe, we are trying to currie Western favor. To the whites black is black do all the plastic surgery of this world like Micheal Jackson. If speaking against gay/lesbians is like fight against someone with curl hair then discrimination against polygamy is like fighting someone with bald hair. Western nations should go back to time & apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
    Cited: Chinua Achebe, Michael & trayvons

  • W.B | February 21, 2014 10:22 AMReply

    I really can not understand those in here that support homosexuality..how can you open your mouth and say " a man sleeping with a man is actually normal".. How are we then different from the curropted leaders in nigeria who do not know what normal is by sleeping with young unriped girls..May God have mercy on us all...is this how we are going to set the foundation of the next generation of young innocent children...instead of promoting homosexuality, why dont we look for ways to help avoid this mentallity and unatural way of living...why is it so difficult to see that homosexuality is not a normal thing to occur...it might be innate, if thats an excuse, well, I guess being sex addict, sleeping with animals, hot tempered,ect shud also be considered normal..pls lets know right from wrong rather wanting to satisfy our sexual, mind and body urges..dont let our urges control our mind.

  • Chris | February 21, 2014 8:49 AMReply

    Like i said, the gay issue is a mental problem, that need correction. Nobody is above mistake, but leaving in mistake is the problem. It is not a human-right thing, It is okay to get mad sometimes, but staying mad is when the doctor is invited for some brain fixing or prayer by love ones. God don't hate sinners, he hates sin and those attached to it will be weighed, God is merciful but the scary part is that He is just.

  • Sidibongo | February 21, 2014 7:33 AMReply

    Ke - if you want to persuade someone of the justice of your case against homosexuality then you need to find some reasonable arguments, and some evidence in support of them. Just shouting 'it's unnatural' and 'it's immoral' does not make something so. There is historical and literary evidence that homosexuals have existed in all societies throughout human history, even those where it has been violently repressed. There is also a growing body of good quality scientific evidence that people's sexual preferences are shaped in the womb (by hormonal influences during their mother's pregnancy). In other words - homosexuality is usually innate. It's futile to rant against homosexuality - as Chimamanda says - people are who they are. Ranting about homosexuality is like ranting against people having curly hair, or big feet. What's the point? You want stop them being born - because nature will continue to make them.

  • Lacey | February 21, 2014 7:38 AM

    This is a wonderful comment. I agree.

  • Kaycee | February 21, 2014 6:22 AMReply

    I agree with you 1001% about your perception on gay/homosexuality,i think the same because it is un-African, being gay leads to bestiality, gay men are pedophiles, being gay isn't "normal", being gay is "un-Christian".

  • Maary | February 21, 2014 6:32 AM

    That is not what it says! Those are the homophobic, hateful positions that Chimamanda writes against. The author of this piece praises her for speaking out against them. You have misunderstood.

  • Ke | February 21, 2014 12:55 AMReply

    I don't know if throwing people in jail reverts homosexuality. The law was obviously provoked by the western homosexual agenda. Homosexuality is biologically unnatural, and spiritually immoral, but i'm of the opinion that this law presents itself as the wings of "revolution" as opposed to suppression. Either way, the worlds coming to an end. If you are a believer, pray often, and seek after your part in Gods great plan. Maranatha.

  • David Quilter | February 21, 2014 3:26 AM

    You appear to be making an assumption that god exists. Rather unintelligent. Where's the evidence? Homosexuality does exist and to punish people for what they are is also unintelligent and grossly unfair.

  • NinuNinu | February 21, 2014 12:31 AMReply

    Again with the religion isolation. Really? Homosexuality is anti-tradition, culture, and religions with an "S". What makes you any different from the people who isolate homosexuality like its the only sin in this world, if you, along with everyone else accuse Christianity as the root of all hate against homosexuality. Are you sure you haven't bought into the "one story" yourself "Chima"?

  • Uchenna | February 20, 2014 10:22 PMReply

    I have long suspected Chimamanda’s pro gay, pro abortion and pro feminist tendencies in almost all her novels and is not surprised about her ever growing obsession with the defense of these controversial issues. Sad to say she has chosen to use the lofty advantage which her talents and literary achievements accords her to proffer credence to values that are contradictory to that of the kind of society that produced values that enabled her to achieve such heights. Since the issue here is about Homosexuality, I chose not to delve into the other controversial values to which she has chosen to dedicate most of the muscles of her celebrity status. But I must state here that Chimamander need to know that it is not hers to lecture Nigeria and Africa about which Values are African or not, I am not sure that is her area of expertise. Secondly, To know that the anti homosexual sentiments of most Africans predate Christianity itself because Respect for life and the propagation of it is a core African value which did not come from Christianity or the western culture. As Africans, we cherish the God who gives life and the power of procreation, “chi na enye omumu” that is why bareness in marriage is seen almost as a curse, not to talk of the God of life intending for anyone to be in any relationship that is open ended in itself. Yes In the traditional Igbo society for instance, there have been people who played the role of hermaphrodites, dressing like women when they are men or vice verse, but you find that in some cases of such exceptions they were were seen as possessed by gods and as such seen as a parody of a kind of life that should not be lived. Moreover, these people are seen as people having tendencies or features of the opposite sex and were not necessarily seen as being in any sexual activity. Such people were treated different and even never wanted anyone to be like them. Such rare exceptions cannot warrant an invocation of the requirement of human rights to challenge a legislation that embodies the belief, hope and value of a people. I do not say that homosexuals should be killed or harmed or attacked, however, what Africans are saying is that they don’t’ want the kind of gay propaganda going on in the west, where the powers that be give the impression that they have more interest in this issue than meets the ordinary eyes in the way they excessively give attention and resources to it sometimes to the negligence of other issues of human rights. Africans do not want to see two grown up men kissing along their streets. The same with women. If people who do these things keep it to their bedrooms, we would then say it is between them and their God, but the outrage of decent people who oppose this rising homosexual movement is the audacious nature it seeks to promote itself and sell this lifestyle to society as if it is what everyone should embrace. Those who think that legislation is necessary to stop this menace do so because they fear that the homo movement is advertising their wares even more than people in normal marriage, otherwise who ever thought of gay law when the Nigerian society never felt the barrage of the gay culture. This place does not give me enough time and space to even begin to say what I want to say on this, but I will advice our sister Chimamanda to not pull her career into these muddy areas, she may loose many followers in the process.

  • pad-pad | February 22, 2014 1:46 AM

    I know many homosexuals who actually have children, instill good values, have careers and give back to society. I don't know any who beat their spouse, but I do know many women who are abused and beaten by their heterosexual husbands. I don't any gays who are pedophiles, but many men married to beautiful wives still go after young children and rape young girls. WE read about this all the time in our African newspapers, yet police and courts and authorities seem to look the other way at violence against men and women in African. That is not an African culture I would subscribe to. And I know of many men and some women who abandon their children, but I don't know of any gay families who have abandoned them. Just go to an orphanage and see all the children abandoned by heterosexuals throughout Africa. It is disgraceful.
    I am tired of hearing that Africa is being corrupted by Western values. If you don't like Western values then put down your computers and your iPads and stop watching their TV shows and listening to their music and wearing their fashions. I don't even know what you are talking about when you talk about African culture versus Western culture. Both cultures are diverse.
    Respecting human rights of all people including minorities is not about culture. It is about understanding the universal rights of all people., no matter what their religion, race, skin color or even sexual preferences. Persecution and jailing of gays is evil. Start cleaning up your home of heterosexual murderers, rapists, wife beaters, and pedophiles. Gay people are gay because they were born that way. They have no choice.
    I am not gay, and happily married with children. But I know many gays; and if I don't understand them, as long as they aren't hurting anyone, then I will accept them into society. How can anyone in this world today go around and spout such hate and evil against other people, just because they don't understand them. If you are afraid, your fears are unjustified. The government of Nigeria and Uganda are using gays as scapegoats, so they don't have to deal with the real problems of society in their countries -- poverty, disease, crime, poaching, corruption, lack of infrastructure etc.
    Shame on you all for persecuting innocent people.

  • Anagba | February 21, 2014 3:41 PM

    Uchenna you are right. Please go to friendsonline on facebook and read what I wrote on the issue.

  • Mucuro | February 21, 2014 9:42 AM

    If Chimamanda had remained focused, she would have remained a role model she had been for African youths but she had betrayed herself and sold out against her own people. Selling out on christian values and negating the Sacred Scriptures as a moral point of reference is indicative of the extent to which she had allowed herself to be influenced by the hypocrisy and the prevailing anti religious values of the west. Africa is now ashmed of her.

  • Kaycee | February 21, 2014 6:30 AM

    Does it really matter if she loses her followers just by saying the truth?;i don't see her so.

  • Kaushik | February 20, 2014 9:40 PMReply

    Proud to be living the the Era where we have young people who we can truly call democratic leaders. Why discriminate on the basis of gender and sexual preferences when there is more important things to worry about like corruption, injustice, violence, unemployment, transparency, accountability and the list goes on. Pity to see that people who claim to be leading the nation are infact blinded with the thought that homosexuality could be the reason for all this problems! Reality check needed here man. This is supper ignorance and my total support to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. You Rocked my world with your inspiring reality writes and articles. Salute to you dear friend.

  • Uchenna Iwuoha | February 21, 2014 8:43 AM

    What is the truth ? Does truth mean delving into the controversial ? or rather trading on the eccentric? They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we can say that of the definition of truth by some people.

  • homosexuality is unafrican. | February 20, 2014 8:33 PMReply

    I am proud of Nigeria and Uganda for standing up to western gay influence. All my life in Africa, I never saw a gay, lesbian or even read about them in the papers. When we discussed them, they had be some Catholic nuns or priests from Ireland or somewhere in the West. Is not every nonsense that comes from the West we should accept. First they told us it was sinful, now it is okay. Way to go Museveni and Jonathan.

  • Persecution of Gays is Unafrican…. | February 22, 2014 1:50 AM

    Stop blaming gays for your problems. And stop blaming the West for your inability to understand that ten percent of the world is gay in every country and in every race and in every religion. It is a scientific fact.
    I know many homosexuals who actually have children, instill good values, have careers and give back to society. I don't know any who beat their spouse, but I do know many women who are abused and beaten by their heterosexual husbands. I don't any gays who are pedophiles, but many men married to beautiful wives still go after young children and rape young girls. WE read about this all the time in our African newspapers, yet police and courts and authorities seem to look the other way at violence against men and women in African. That is not an African culture I would subscribe to. And I know of many men and some women who abandon their children, but I don't know of any gay families who have abandoned them. Just go to an orphanage and see all the children abandoned by heterosexuals throughout Africa. It is disgraceful.
    I am tired of hearing that Africa is being corrupted by Western values. If you don't like Western values then put down your computers and your iPads and stop watching their TV shows and listening to their music and wearing their fashions. I don't even know what you are talking about when you talk about African culture versus Western culture. Both cultures are diverse.
    Respecting human rights of all people including minorities is not about culture. It is about understanding the universal rights of all people., no matter what their religion, race, skin color or even sexual preferences. Persecution and jailing of gays is evil. Start cleaning up your home of heterosexual murderers, rapists, wife beaters, and pedophiles. Gay people are gay because they were born that way. They have no choice.
    I am not gay, and happily married with children. But I know many gays; and if I don't understand them, as long as they aren't hurting anyone, then I will accept them into society. How can anyone in this world today go around and spout such hate and evil against other people, just because they don't understand them. If you are afraid, your fears are unjustified. The government of Nigeria and Uganda are using gays as scapegoats, so they don't have to deal with the real problems of society in their countries -- poverty, disease, crime, poaching, corruption, lack of infrastructure etc.
    Shame on you all for persecuting innocent people.

  • ProudNigerian | February 20, 2014 11:00 PM

    Do u know why you never saw one ? it is because of people like you who are so against them that they keep hiding, they go and get married but can't leave with women or end up losing their minds because they have a secret they dare not share in public. Do you think people in USA like gays? Trust me I am half the time in US and gay haters are so many. But people who think have researched and found this people were born this way and they do not harm anybody, so they allowed them to be. But Nigerians & Africans will claim self righteous but we still have the highest amount of HIV in the world.

  • Charles | February 20, 2014 5:09 PMReply

    I so much respect this Lady. Being gay is un-African and un-Christian.
    It is abnormal then and can lead to other abnormal sexual behaviours. Beyonce pls make good music out of this.

  • George | February 20, 2014 5:24 PM

    Charles, you have not understood this article. She does not think that being gay is un-African. She does not think that it is un-Christian. She does not think it is abnormal. It is not abnormal to be gay. She thinks that we should tolerate people who are different to ourselves. The Christian message is one of love and toleration. Jesus himself does not ever teach that being gay is wrong.

  • nathanialonyx | February 20, 2014 1:09 PMReply

    hahaha lol.... Its one favour we really need from Beyoncé, at the time

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