Monday, May 28, 2012

Facebook Status by Ademola Adesina


This piece might be construed as homophobic by some, hypocritical by others – trust me it's neither, keep an open mind. It may not go down well with those that are willing to be politically correct in an age where rear-covering and being PC are the general way to go. I may also be willingly and unknowingly providing my future political opponents with ammo (if I ever get to the point of contesting for public office), but so be it. This has got to be put out there from a new perspective.
A Facebook Post and my rights as a (potential) parent.

I have always seen myself as a potential trouble maker, and that self-perspective was put to the test recently. I put up an innocuous status update on my Facebook profile which read: 'God in heaven knows, my children can't be two things, spoilt brats or gay!!! Old school parenting (confirmed ass whooping) will sort them straight!!!

True to form, my Facebook friends start liking and commenting, some (jokingly) wishing me gay offspring etc. But then a particular comment catches my eye, a link to a picture from a friend (Alan) asking me why I am against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual) rights with some of the captions reading "My friends parents sent her away", "I found death threats in my locker", "My school won't let me bring my date to the prom", and my personal favorite "My dad tried to beat it out of me" – which I suspect was directly aimed at me in response to my status update. Now, I'm going to be pissing a lot of people off by saying I've been harassed by people of a different sexual orientation for a very long time, and I haven't gone creating pity parties like the picture in question. And it's not because I'm ashamed of it – on the contrary, I am kind of proud of it cause I know that my sex appeal cuts across both sexes.

I'm hoping I'm going to be a parent, and I'm hoping I'm going to be responsible for the decisions my children will make to a certain stage of their lives, so excuse me for saying I'm hoping to play an active part in the formation of the personalities (as well as the sexual orientation) of my children because we've come to the point of media acceptance (TV shows, newspaper columns, movements etc.) of LGBT rights in the US and some countries. And my question is this, if it were so generally accepted, why is it still an issue with the larger society in most countries? It almost feels as if the general population is being told to accept an uncomfortable phenomenon because it is one growing in popularity. But then, we should be able to choose where we stand shouldn't we? And not be herded into a no-contest acceptance by induction of guilt or for being on the winning/losing side of an uncomfortable argument.

I know a few gay people and I know this – none of them were born gay. A lot of the time, quite a few of their friends act defensively (albeit in very irrational and unnecessary ways) about their sexual orientation – I'm not saying don't be a rebel, at least be one with a cause that you can validate on an intellectual (not emotional) level. Comments like "you are on the wrong team", "you know where you belong", "give it a try, it feels good", have been peddled my way, and I'm like "I'm not trying to convince you of being heterosexual, why are you trying to get me to be LGBT?" I have been approached (more than the average guy, mind you) by someone (usually male) whose sexual orientation isn't the same as mine. Right from the tender age of 10 (yes age 10, and please don't ask for the details), all the way to my adult life (yes, for some reason I'm still a target), and I still wonder, why do we all bother to try and validate
our personalities for the larger society's approval? Answer – to gain acceptance! It's easier to function in a society you are accepted in.
From my perspective, status update and Alan's comment, here's the major issue at hand – the role of parenting and mass media in the formation of human personality and sexuality. I grew up in the TV/internet age, and there is nothing that I have not seen and come to accept, except the concept of letting my children be raised by the society (mass media, church, peer groups, corporate) more than me. It is that simple!!!! For me, allowing political debates, after school specials, TV shows, friends with the latest fads and Lady Gaga songs determine what I think is right, ergo how I raise my child means that I'm neglecting my roles as a parent.

LGBT people have rights, same as heterosexuals – agreed. As a potential parent, I have rights too – now the extent of those rights is debatable according to the LGBT rights debate – especially around the grey area of parental influence on sexuality. I believe it's just bad parenting to allow my child's sexuality or personality be determined by social learning, peer pressure and a Lady Gaga video than by good old observational learning, reinforcement and punishment (by my kids listening to their McDaddy please their mom's booty till they blush at the dinner table!!!!). And I have to say, a good hiding is a necessary part of parenting – hello world it's called negative reinforcement, or more bluntly – PUNISHMENT, and it works wonders for the both the body of the parent (it's a serious cardio workout), as well as the mind of the parent and the child – at least in the society I was raised in.

So, this is to all my LGBT friends, you can have your sexual orientation reinforced by as many Huffington Post, NY Time columns, presidential debates and rallies as you want, I'll read, watch and accept them, without breaking a sweat. Fair enough. But pending the time my child is no longer under my jurisdiction (read as the reaching the legal age of consent – which is a very grey area in parenting in most African societies) or till my society fully (no caveats) fully accepts LGBT as a part of its culture, I intend to play an active role (not substituted by mass, traditional or new media) in raising my child. I will as such not be apologetic for beating some traditional African values (inclusive of being heterosexual and hardworking) into my child. But if my child does decide to be LGBT (after the age of consent), so be it, but I will not be told how to raise my child by people that were raised by the mass media and on politically correct or incorrect
discussions. And most importantly, I will not be apologetic for being heterosexual, having core values and giving a damn about my sexuality, the social acceptance and functioning of my future child(ren), especially where my culture and society is considered. I will not be apologetic for raising a child that I hope will function properly and achieve acceptance in his primary society (mine, and not one across the atlantic).

Call me a hypocrite, I don't care. I know and respect gay people and their rights (as impossible as that might seem). I can live with that. But while I am a progressive (even though you may doubt it, while you are judging me), I maintain my right to raise and prep my child for his/her society first, then the global one second. Who knows, if the Nigerian society evolves to accepting LGBT rights in 20 years or less, then maybe my position will change (never on the hardworking one though – no one gets a trust fund or free ride from daddy. Hear that kids, I'm giving it all to charity!!!) on raising my child with less influence on sexual orientation determination. Until then, the Facebook status remains the status quo.


  1. TUNDE,



    1. No problem with that. Just add a Link referring back here.