He was strolling to the library one evening, when he encountered an interracial lesbian couple, a black and an Asian. As if in response to his glare, they stopped and started kissing each other, not just the simple less affectionate type, but the lippy, mouthful type with the tongue and all.
While in Nigeria, he’d known a few people suspected to be gay but he hadn’t seen a self confessed one, talk more an open display of affection by gay lovers like he’d just witnessed, except on TV. Once he realized that the “show” was meant for him, he kept a straight face to hide his repulsion, knowing fully well that it was politically incorrect especially in that clime to express disgust in any way or form, at gay people, and moved on like nothing happened. The case for acceptance by gay people continues to be made at every opportunity and he felt it wasn’t in his place to blame them. In his home country Nigeria, a fourteen year jail term is punishment for gay marriage, though he couldn’t remember if that includes sexual activity, between unmarried but consenting homosexual adults. Extrajudicially, the punishment goes even as far as lynching.
In the west, especially in Europe, gay people have achieved far more than elsewhere in the world in terms of acceptance. Even in the church, to the extent that the African arm of the Anglican Communion had to severe itself from the main body headquartered in the UK. The fact that the parent body made no serious attempt to reconcile with the rebels over their refusal to accept same sex relationships in their church is testament either to how influential the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, LGBT community have become in the church, or the church’s interpretation of a Christian God and Christ before whom there’s no discrimination between Jew and Gentile, Freeborn or Slave, Straight or Gay people now holds a far reaching and all encompassing meaning. Most people believe in a higher power, regardless of the countervailing winds of atheism, agnosticism, New Ageism and the likes that subsists in the west, and that doesn’t exclude gay people, and most times they like to believe in it as part of a larger group or body. They would also like to belong to that larger body that is also accepting of their lifestyle, hence it is no surprise that the clamour to belong is pronounced in such establishments as the Anglican Church, and the Catholic Church (as far as Christianity is concerned), enough for Pope Francis to be seeking more accommodation for gay adherents. Even religions, such as Islam that in some cases, may be violently disposed towards gay people have within them (despite the denial of former Iranian Prime Minister Ahmadinejad), faithfuls who not only are gay, but who are assiduously working, howbeit covertly, towards acceptance for their group within the religion.
Nothing highlights the saying, “if your God likes the same things you like, you may have made a God in your own image”, more than the situation with gay people who have elected to create a Christian God for instance, not only in their image, but that’s accommodative of their lifestyle, in contrast to the old testament figure who visited Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone for practicing as it were homosexuality, and went on in the new testament to invoke the fire of hell on homosexuals. Bringing a truism to another saying that assumes that “you’ve created your God when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do”, in favour of those intolerant of LGBT people, and indeed those who find people of other religions, ways and cultures abhorrent, the foundation on which wars, nay religious wars and jihads have been waged, and are still being waged.
At the library, he found that he couldn’t read, and he wasn’t surprised, seeing that he never even had that culture in his university days back in Nigeria, as he could easily lay on his back in his room to read. Before leaving however, he decided to go use the restroom, where he couldn’t stop marveling at the fact that public utilities such as the one he was now using in the library is always kept very clean, so clean that he could sit and chat on his phone like he were comfy on his settee at home. He could never understand how and why in Nigeria, public toilets cannot be kept clean, even privately owned ones can’t be totally vouched for, except for new malls now springing up in some Nigerian cities trying to make a difference. This is in contrast to London where he’d never come across a dirty and unkempt toilet, at school, fast food joint, pubs, parks and the likes, besides that, the conveniences are conveniently located, with cleaners employed
everywhere, who know that their jobs does not include just “pouring water”, like their Nigerian counterparts.
He’d planned to burn time at the library to wait till thirty minutes to the casting of Shakespeare’s “HAMLET” at the theater of the Stratford Circus Arts Centre, in London to which he had a ticket.Though it was a tragedy, he was intrigued by the amount of work that must have been devoted to the masterpiece in all ramifications (lighting, sound, movements, gestures and all) that was the outcome on display. It was difficult for him to detect a flaw, even though he was sure the actors and actresses couldn’t have been perfect, as he couldn’t rule out the possibility that they were perfect in covering and masking the few flaws.
He’d seen a few plays in Nigeria and apart from a few outstanding ones, most of them have been quite mediocre, as play-acting is fast becoming a smoldering flame in Nigeria, the embers of which only a few practitioners from what used to be a rich past that included Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, amongst a notable others, have continued to fan.
Many have tended to blame the many years of military rule in Nigeria for the sad turn of events in that aspect of the Nigerian arts and literary environment, as many of the pioneers and great minds had at one time or the other fled the country and persecution for been critically outspoken or for featuring political messages in their plays, the many disruptions thereby created in the once busy calendar because of the hunting of playwrights, directors, and other key figures meant that private theater groups other than the National Troupe (which due to lack of funding, also collapsed), couldn’t continue to perform unhindered and unrestrained till the return of civil rule in 1999, and even then what remained appeared to have lost steam, performing below par with scant budget, with most of the bright lights either dead or remaining in exile. Not even the return of the good Prof, helped revitalize stage plays in Nigeria like the days of yore, in fact just recently he had come upon a Facebook posts where a member of the new generation of stage play directors pointed accusing fingers at the pioneers for not laying good enough foundations for the newbies to follow. At the end of the play, when the “All Black” cast of
Hamlet took a bow before the audience, he couldn’t help but instantaneously join others to give them a standing ovation.