Anti-Gay Law: Chimamanda Adichie Writes, ‘Why can’t he just be like everyone else?’

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I will call him Sochukwuma. A thin, smiling boy who liked to play with us girls at the university primary school in Nsukka. We were young. We knew he was different, we said, ‘he’s not like the other boys.’ But his was a benign and unquestioned difference; it was simply what it was. We did not have a name for him. We did not know the word ‘gay.’ He was Sochukwuma and he was friendly and he played oga so well that his side always won.

In secondary school, some boys in his class tried to throw Sochukwuma off a second floor balcony. They were strapping teenagers who had learned to notice, and fear, difference. They had a name for him. Homo. They mocked him because his hips swayed when he walked and his hands fluttered when he spoke. He brushed away their taunts, silently, sometimes grinning an uncomfortable grin. He must have wished that he could be what they wanted him to be. I imagine now how helplessly lonely he must have felt. The boys often asked, “Why can’t he just be like everyone else?”

Possible answers to that question include ‘because he is abnormal,’ ‘because he is a sinner, ‘because he chose the lifestyle.’ But the truest answer is ‘We don’t know.’ There is humility and humanity in accepting that there are things we simply don’t know. At the age of 8, Sochukwuma was obviously different. It was not about sex, because it could not possibly have been – his hormones were of course not yet fully formed – but it was an awareness of himself, and other children’s awareness of him, as different. He could not have ‘chosen the lifestyle’ because he was too young to do so. And why would he – or anybody – choose to be homosexual in a world that makes life so difficult for homosexuals?

The new law that criminalizes homosexuality is popular among Nigerians. But it shows a failure of our democracy, because the mark of a true democracy is not in the rule of its majority but in the protection of its minority – otherwise mob justice would be considered democratic. The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems. Above all else, however, it is unjust. Even if this was not a country of abysmal electricity supply where university graduates are barely literate and people die of easily-treatable causes and Boko Haram commits casual mass murders, this law would still be unjust. We cannot be a just society unless we are able to accommodate benign difference, accept benign difference, live and let live. We may not understand homosexuality, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it.

A crime is a crime for a reason. A crime has victims. A crime harms society. On what basis is homosexuality a crime? Adults do no harm to society in how they love and whom they love. This is a law that will not prevent crime, but will, instead, lead to crimes of violence: there are already, in different parts of Nigeria, attacks on people ‘suspected’ of being gay. Ours is a society where men are openly affectionate with one another. Men hold hands. Men hug each other. Shall we now arrest friends who share a hotel room, or who walk side by side? How do we determine the clunky expressions in the law – ‘mutually beneficial,’ ‘directly or indirectly?’

Many Nigerians support the law because they believe the Bible condemns homosexuality. The Bible can be a basis for how we choose to live our personal lives, but it cannot be a basis for the laws we pass, not only because the holy books of different religions do not have equal significance for all Nigerians but also because the holy books are read differently by different people. The Bible, for example, also condemns fornication and adultery and divorce, but they are not crimes.

For supporters of the law, there seems to be something about homosexuality that sets it apart. A sense that it is not ‘normal.’ If we are part of a majority group, we tend to think others in minority groups are abnormal, not because they have done anything wrong, but because we have defined normal to be what we are and since they are not like us, then they are abnormal. Supporters of the law want a certain semblance of human homogeneity. But we cannot legislate into existence a world that does not exist: the truth of our human condition is that we are a diverse, multi-faceted species. The measure of our humanity lies, in part, in how we think of those different from us. We cannot – should not – have empathy only for people who are like us.

Some supporters of the law have asked – what is next, a marriage between a man and a dog?’ Or ‘have you seen animals being gay?’ (Actually, studies show that there is homosexual behavior in many species of animals.) But, quite simply, people are not dogs, and to accept the premise – that a homosexual is comparable to an animal – is inhumane. We cannot reduce the humanity of our fellow men and women because of how and who they love. Some animals eat their own kind, others desert their young. Shall we follow those examples, too?

Other supporters suggest that gay men sexually abuse little boys. But pedophilia and homosexuality are two very different things. There are men who abuse little girls, and women who abuse little boys, and we do not presume that they do it because they are heterosexuals. Child molestation is an ugly crime that is committed by both straight and gay adults (this is why it is a crime: children, by virtue of being non-adults, require protection and are unable to give sexual consent).

There has also been some nationalist posturing among supporters of the law. Homosexuality is ‘unafrican,’ they say, and we will not become like the west. The west is not exactly a homosexual haven; acts of discrimination against homosexuals are not uncommon in the US and Europe. But it is the idea of ‘unafricanness’ that is truly insidious. Sochukwuma was born of Igbo parents and had Igbo grandparents and Igbo great-grandparents. He was born a person who would romantically love other men. Many Nigerians know somebody like him. The boy who behaved like a girl. The girl who behaved like a boy. The effeminate man. The unusual woman. These were people we knew, people like us, born and raised on African soil. How then are they ‘unafrican?’

If anything, it is the passage of the law itself that is ‘unafrican.’ It goes against the values of tolerance and ‘live and let live’ that are part of many African cultures. (In 1970s Igboland, Area Scatter was a popular musician, a man who dressed like a woman, wore makeup, plaited his hair. We don’t know if he was gay – I think he was – but if he performed today, he could conceivably be sentenced to fourteen years in prison. For being who he is.) And it is informed not by a home-grown debate but by a cynically borrowed one: we turned on CNN and heard western countries debating ‘same sex marriage’ and we decided that we, too, would pass a law banning same sex marriage. Where, in Nigeria, whose constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, has any homosexual asked for same-sex marriage?

This is an unjust law. It should be repealed. Throughout history, many inhumane laws have been passed, and have subsequently been repealed. Barack Obama, for example, would not be here today had his parents obeyed American laws that criminalized marriage between blacks and whites.

An acquaintance recently asked me, ‘if you support gays, how would you have been born?’ Of course, there were gay Nigerians when I was conceived. Gay people have existed as long as humans have existed. They have always been a small percentage of the human population. We don’t know why. What matters is this: Sochukwuma is a Nigerian and his existence is not a crime.

142 Comments

  1. Aiyana Reply

    Great article. It’s on point, edgy, and true to the point.

    1. Gbege Reply

      Just look at yourself..,.

    2. Teghen Reply

      Hello AIYANA,

      I don’t know your stance as far as your creator is concerned. However, I most pray that you seek Him and Love Him and Serve Him. As for Chimamanda, she grew up in Nigeria, and knows how all important it is to be at peace with your maker. I guess (only a guess) she is married … to a man and enjoys that relationship blissfully. Please Chimamanda, it is a very grievous error to carry the banner as the person leads others against God. My prayer is that you let God speak to you, and use you better, and not use your present platform of a renown literary figure to mislead God’s people to doom. I would pray that you see His light and accept His Love, so that you can gain His Life.. the new LIFE. Please see how many counts, (and much more) that you have willfully opposed Jehovah’s constituted law:

      1Co 6:9
      9 ¶ Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts,

      10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

      11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
      Leviticus 20:13 ESV
      If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
      1 Timothy 1:10 ESV
      The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
      1 Corinthians 7:2 ESV
      But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
      Mark 10:6-9 ESV
      But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
      1Timothy 1:8-11 (RSV)
      8 Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully,
      9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
      10 immoral persons, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
      11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

      Hebrews 13:1-25 ESV
      Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
      Jude 1:7 ESV
      7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

      8 ¶ Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones.

      9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

      10 But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed.

      11 Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion.

      12 These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;

      13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever.

      14 It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads,

      15 ¶ to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

      16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage.

      Romans 1:27 ESV
      And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
      Revelation 21:8 ESV
      But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
      Romans 1:19 RSV
      19 ¶ For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

      20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;

      21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

      22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

      23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

      24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,

      25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

      26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural,

      27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

      28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.

      29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips,

      30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

      31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

      32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

    3. Tunde Reply

      It is a great ethical dilemma for me.

      I am absolutely convinced that something is not right about homosexuality. Something has certainly gone wrong somewhere- a functional aberration.

      Be that as it may, I also have this strong conviction that this is one issue in the world where no human is qualified as judge. This phenomenon is simply beyond us and as such we should just let the gay people be without us assuming any arrogant jurisdiction over a state of existence we least understand.

    4. Ona Reply

      Why do folks start frothing at the mouth whenever they hear about gay marriage? They become master quoters of scripture. Deuteronomy, Corinthians, Romans etc. Why can they not argue logically without recourse to citing Palestinian bronze age texts? Abeg, leave gay people alone. They are our brothers, our sisters, our friends, and our colleagues. My people, what happened to our sense of compassion and human decency?

      I salute my gay Nigerian friends who have come out of the closet. I salute your bravery, your decency and your humanity. You are not alone in the fight. Leave those bible-thumping Neanderthals who dey do like say na their papa write bible. They have taken leave of their senses.

  2. Aisha Reply

    Yes, it is true that we all know someone like that! You couldn’t have said it better.

  3. uche Reply

    In my opinion, i think that passing a law against homesexuality may lead to many problems as some people may be wrongly accused as well. However i think that Nigerians and Africans are afraid that if nothing is done that very soon Gays may as well want to get marriage rights. Considering this, i think Nigerians and other Africans can still maintain in their respective constitutions that marriage is only for man and woman. In this case Africans have right to choose what to institute as LAWS. I dont think that west should expect africans to adopt whatever they adopted. for example, in some rural African cultures, clothing were still unpopular nobody forces anybody to put on a cloth if they choose not to do so. Here in Europe, somebody walking naked on the street will be stoped by the police and will be forced to be clothed.

    I think that some people (some minority) may want to go without a cloth, so why are they not allowed to do so.

    Finally gays should be left alone. it should neither be crime nor a right. NO law should be passed against or in their favour simple.I mean thoes that want to be gays can be gays nobody should hunt them, but should not make a pubic show of it

    1. Anne Reply

      Exactly. That has always been and still is my position: don’t ask, don’t tell. While the debate continues on whether gays are made that way by nature, in which case it will be wrong to tell them to be otherwise, I think we should let them be by not criminalizing it . I also think they should let the majority be by not insisting that we sanction something our beliefs do not , at least at this time, allow us to accept .

      1. Mark Reply

        I hate to tell you, Anne, but your views are irrelevant. Your beliefs are irrelevant. The ‘debate’ you mention is irrelevant. Some people are gay and will be gay whether you like it or not. They should no more have to hide than you should have to hide your race or gender, in case others on the street may not like who or what you are, or believe that you should have to hide it from them.

        This beautiful, elegant piece neatly destroys every single argument thrown up by those who are simply scared or disgusted by difference, by something they don’t understand.

        The arguments you use were once used in many civilised countries to justify racism, apartheid, slavery. Think of that next time you wave your Bible around to justify your views on homosexuality, which have no place in my world, nor any civilised world.

        1. Aotea Reply

          Agreed!

  4. F Young Reply

    Bravo, Chimamanda Adichie! Well and courageously spoken!

    You dispelled the myths so calmly and logically.

    Tragically. most Nigerians have their minds already made up, and don’t want to be confused by reason and truth.

    And the only Nigerians who are qualified to speak about homosexuality, other than the few sexologists who have studied it, are now forbidden to speak the truth. Nobody would believe what they would say anyway; only heterosexuals who are utterly unqualified to speak on the issue are given any credibility.

  5. Artful_Aid_Worker Reply

    This article does not really resolve itself, but meanders across many points. The point about “unafrican: laws and African values is particularly trite. And why is there a big photo of the writer leading the story? Sometimes I wonder if fiction writers focused on fiction and actors focused on acting, the space for intelligent debate might be a bit opened up!

  6. [Article] Nigeria's Anti-Gay Law is a Crime Against Reason Reply

    […] don’t know why. What matters is this: Sochukwuma is a Nigerian and his existence is not a crime. Source 0 Quote | […]

  7. Price Lionel Reply

    why is it that many celebrities are gay ? where all born like that? or its now fashion -human right ? is there any coloration? I think humans have been given alot of freedom and they have abused it and abused their bodies too, that its a human right- What Justifies a Human right by the way? I know many men who were born with less hormones but they married opposite sex and have normal kids, If something went wrong some where that doesn’t justify you to say you are gay. why don’t we then have clinics that gay people transform to be straight, why only pills and injections on market to make the transition to one side only? I like reading this woman fictions but I think she should not mix her writings with these topics. This is more of a fiction than reality.
    The fact is that the gay debate is just moral debate

    1. sophlames Reply

      Because there are clinics for that in the uk and they do not work, this has been proven scientifically.

    2. Joanna Reply

      “why is it that many celebrities are gay ? where all born like that? or its now fashion -human right ? is there any coloration? I think humans have been given alot of freedom and they have abused it and abused their bodies too, that its a human right- What Justifies a Human right by the way?”

      Read more http://newswirengr.com/2014/02/19/anti-gay-law-chimamanda-adichie-writes-why-cant-he-just-be-like-everyone-else/
      Learn to read and research before speaking. It isn’t only celebrities who are gay. Even Sodom andd Gomorrah had gay people–You can re-read Genesis to discover that. You cannot keep questioning things you know are beyond human comprehension. If your closee relative came out as gay, would you hate them less? Disown them and report them? If God hasn’t cursed his breath to wipe these ‘gay people’ out, then this arguement is idle hair-splitting.

      1. Vanjiro Reply

        “Even Sodom andd Gomorrah had gay people” .. Joanna that is why among many places mentioned in that bible, Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed without trace. Today, scientists have been able to dig up evidence of other places but not Sodom. In fact it is the only place that ‘God’ himself seemed to have destroyed ‘in person’ for the sins were too much for ‘Him’ to bear. Again, it was the only place that ‘God’ was ready to destroy the ‘Good and the Bad’ in equal measure, without caring for the ‘innocents’ who would become collateral damage!!

        1. Teghen Reply

          Thank you Vanjiro,

          It is but clear that the “god of this world” (money, fame, purported knowledge and intelligence, lust, disobedience, etc) has blinded the eyes and minds of billions. See 2 Cor 4v1-6. I do not amaze at the dispute, for if they knew actually what God’s Love is all about, they would behave better.

          For you Chimamanda and the billions that follow after OUTRIGHT DISOBEDIENCE to God, i’ll say this:

          1) He Loves you so much He gave His best – His only SOn – Jesus to die in your place and carry the penalty for your sins. Now you can have remittance for those sins and accept Him thus regain a new Life in Christ… A new life void of Sin.

          2) His laws and statutes will NEVER CHANGE… as He himself Will NEVER CHANGE. (See Malachi 3:6)
          No matter what society says and tries to justify as legal or illegal. The word of God stands still. Disobedience to God’s law is inviting God’s wrath and punishment. Even though He he is Loving Father, He is also a consuming fire to those who disobey Him.

          3) All SEX OUT of Marriage between a MAN AND A WOMAN is SIN!! and will Receive God’s punishment… even if the weak, ungodly and defiled governments of the world vote some or all of them as FAULTLESS.

          4) Who would you obey? God who created you and has better plans for you or a GOVERNMENT that is headed by some people who have their own issues at their heart? and who from time to time, trick you for their own ends?

          3)

    3. chefbrucewest Reply

      Just because you do not understand human nature does not mean that you can say anything as if it is fact. I actually do understand that homosexuality is genetic. You know this to be true as homosexuality has existed since homo sapiens walked planet Earth. No government can successfully legislate away human nature. I am always shocked by how little people know about human nature. Nigeria can do better.

  8. Stanley Reply

    You’re on point my sister, people should have the right to live and love whoever they chose to. But I don’t support the marriage of it. Marriage is made for a man and a woman just as the bible said. Marriage is biblical, so if we wanna follow it, let’s do it accordingly. I don’t support gay parade either, its so, I don’t know out there I guess. Apart from that, we should be free to love whoever we chose to love because nobody can change how you feel or who you choose to love. That’s my point of view.

    1. Krunch Reply

      Agreed, in fact as my blessed father says – why should ANYONE have to get married?

  9. Danimighan Reply

    When Morality, law and religion clashes, on which side should issues be resolved?

  10. Eseoghene Ohwojeheri: [rejoinder] Chimamanda, are our differences not enough already? | NewsWireNGR Reply

    […] read Chimamanda Adichie’s article, titled “Why Can’t He just be like Everyone Else?”, where in she made a case for homosexuality and condemned the law prohibiting it on the basis that […]

  11. jakeb arturio braden Reply

    thank you for this it’s important that my LGB&T brothers and sisters in Nigeria have str8 allies in Nigeria speaking up for them.

  12. Hrh Elizabeth Reply

    The Truth is that the bible in the new dispensation does NOT condemn homosexuality and lesbianism.
    We know that it did under the law of Moses ( old testament) , Jesus came to abolish the law of Moses and establish Grace Hebrews 10:9 tells us this as does Galatians 3:13 where He became payment for our sins.

    Many Nigerian Christians are under the law of Moses where there is no salvation we must pray for them . True.

    here is my Christian lesbian short film http://youtu.be/xhq-rKVdWFc

    1. Pastor Maureen Reply

      God bless you Elizabeth but the New Testament does indeed condemn homosexuality. Please read Romans 1: 20-27 in this regard.
      Morever, the law of Moses is not completely thrown way, Do not kill and do not steal sill apply today. The blood of Christ washes away sins but does not give the license to continue in it.. Read also Romans 6:1-3. God loves the sinner but HE surely hates the sin.

      1. Bishop Reply

        …and clearly states…even homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God…

      2. Pastor Maureen Reply

        This is for Ms. Adichie,

        Dear Ms. Adichie. I respectfully want to indicate that you probably forgot to indicate whether Sochukwuma eventually became a gay or not. The fact that a man behaves like a woman or vice versa does not necessarily mean that he/she is certain to be homosexual. There are many men today like Sochukwuma who are not homosexuals, even though they hang around women or tend to behave like them; they may even be doing that because they like women, not because they want to become women. I admire the fact that you tend to portray African values and culture in your writing and even in your looks. Homosexuality is also one of the things that do NOT go with the African values and culture. God bless you richly.

        1. SHADYBRIAN Reply

          Maureen u just said my mind…CHIMAMANDA TAKE NOTE

      3. Ona Reply

        Ehe, so which part of the Old Testament still applies? Who decides which part applies? How about the injunction against eating shellfish and pork? Do those still apply? Christians for Nigeria no dey chop pork? Are you being selective in your interpretation. Na ma shobiri!

    2. Teghen Reply

      Point of Correction, If you stand on that point of the “NEW DISPENSATION” of the Bible not condemning homosexuality, then please you are SO SO IGNORANT of the Bible. There is no place and will never appear a place where God, stood for, encouraged or advocated for homosexuality; neither has He asked any of His servants (prophets, kings, ministers, judges, etc) to take that kind of position. Its a shame, that so many people steer right away from God…. only to a Hopeless end.

      Take it or LEAVE IT… the Force behind homosexuality IS NOT LOVE….. NEVER WILL BE!!

  13. Thembani Reply

    Great article sista Chimamanda, outlining realities in simple terms.

  14. Mariam Tanko Usman Reply

    The truth is we have gays in Nigeria but we definitely cannot put up with that acts cos it’s against our culture & beliefs. Those who want to practice it in their country should do it but we most definitely cannot pass it into law. Not now not ever.

    1. Krunch Reply

      Hello, the issue at stake here is the OPPOSITE – the passing of a law AGAINST homosexuality, so why are you even commenting?

  15. May Reply

    so much fuse about gay-ism.There are many minority unprotected groups,why does every one protect gays?Well there are zoophiliacs and others with weird sexual orientation.Since this this about democracy and being politically correct i think those other groups like zoophiliacs too should be given a voice,its a crazy world everyone seems to be crazy after all.good to know,Chimamanda is pro-gay.She probably wont have a hard time accepting a gay son,i hope she has one.Sorry,if am harsh

    1. Krunch Reply

      The only thing “harsh” about your comment is the first section – sorry to put it to you bluntly, but that whole rant about minorities being unprotected, political correctness and zoophiliacs shows you up as being seriously ignorant.

    2. Bishop Reply

      …or it turns out all her sons are gays…from generation to generation…but hey! Who’ll be reproducing them? Maybe surrogate mothers…or may be the female-men will acquire wombs…hehehehehe…oh my..it is not crazy but foolishness.

  16. Bbosa Tonny Reply

    I am one person who do not support homosexuality but i dont think its the biggest problem that African republics and populace should take on top of their agenda. come to think about it;
    we still have mothers who die in labor
    we have the highest mortality rates
    high unemployment
    …..

  17. Etito Obere Reply

    Wow! this is very well constructed and definitely deserve all plaudits, however I can’t help but feel that the real problem is ignorance and illiteracy, which needs to be addressed before the majority and minority alike would most likely come to a common understanding and eventual acceptance.

  18. Kunle Reply

    I love the writing style. Make reading pleasurable and interesting

  19. Amanda Atwood Reply

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  20. Tobi Reply

    I think a lot of comments here are just hinged on the writer, like, ”Oh, it’s Chimamanda and she can’t be wrong”. Someone even praised the writing style. The only point I agree with 100% is the fact that Nigeria has more pressing issues than sexuality et al and we probably only passed that law out of folofolo.
    You being girly and hip-rolling is not a sign of being gay and in those days some1 once accused me of cat-walking and stuff and even while I did those stuff I never felt/thought sex towards another male person. Also, of all people, Chimamanda is expected to know that adultery,fornication are crimes based on the Nigerian constitution and carry weighty punishments.It’s a matter of being caught and charged. I think it’s too general to say homosexuality is as old as humanity because by Bible/Qur’an accounts, homosexuality started about 2500-4000 years after creation and scientifically, there are no proofs of early homosexuality before homo erectus and that’s millions of years. I respect peoples opinions but I doubt Chimamanda wrote this not because I expected something better from her (that’s a fact) or because I expected her to be anti-gay (that’s a lie, I didn’t expect her to be, Binyanvanga is gay) but because people use writers’ names to get blog traffic these days. Am I pro-gay or anti-gay? It matters little, I just know we are all responsible for our choices but there is no proof that anybody is programmed physiologically to be homosexual at birth, not even human hermaphrodites.

    1. Tenny Reply

      Tobi you spoke well, first I doubt Chimamanda understands what she is going on about, actually she confessed to not fully understanding the psychology behind homosexuality so I wonder why the usual praise wagon is resounding. I believe she has made a sound argument and the truth is, as a writer she has many platforms to opine about matters of social interest, but just because it is Chimamanda’s opinion on the matter does not make the matter more or less trivial. All these references to purported studies indicating evidence of genetic predisposition towards one becoming homosexual is all a load of hogwash, most of these studies are inconclusive at best and can be easily refuted with opposing research findings. I am 100% against the passage of this law ‘only’ because it is a law that criminalizes an individual based on christian/religious morality where as countless other religiously defined immoral acts are permitted and are being committed by the same pundits of this law. It draws us back to the hypocrisy called ‘Nigerian Law Makers’ where the usual mode of operation is to segment a select few to scape goat within a larger and obviously rancid situation in the strides to make themselves ( the Lawmakers) look like effective representatives for the interests of the State and its people ( see the Sanusi saga). Whether Chimamanda and all supporters of Homosexuality want to accept it or not, the fact remains that Homosexuality is abnormal, and wholly un-natural. By un-natural I mean we do not need any scientific research to inform us that the very precepts of homosexuality stand in absolute conflict with natural instincts, the anato-physiological nature of humans and the natural law. I have homosexual friends, just like I have friends who have sado-masochist inclinations, I love these people but I frown on the act. On the tenets of the homosexual argument, is it then safe for all sexual deviants to fight for their rights as their desires are innate, inexplicable and some mad scientist can find parallel behaviors in animals thereby pointing their research to some biological predisposition of one to such behaviour? Does that mean that we can all have orgies and have multi person marriages ( i.e a scenario of 15 men married to and having sexual claims to 25 women in no specific numbers amongst themselves? and vice versa? ) Sorry folks but I have to break this news to you, if you deem homosexuality as normal, then be prepared to open the flood gates for all kinds of socially curious behavior that individuals can argue for based on the same premise of Madam Chimamanda’s argumemt to ‘live and let live’ especially since we ‘don’t fully understand’ …

  21. Chenemi A. Reply

    Miss.Adichie you have clearly shown how getting so familiar with the western ideology has becloud you and have you drifting away from the culture you thought to protect. Bless his heart Achebe would have frowned @this. YES I know that boy or girl who acted strange. I was and even is that strange girl but I can assure you am not a Lesbian. But I sure might have been if I was in a society where I’m told that Its ok. And also, find out where sochukwu is now and confirm what his fate was.,else that’s pure fiction.

    1. SHADYBRIAN Reply

      thank u! chimamanda take note

    2. Iye Reply

      Chenemi you are indeed Igala…am proud of your response. I agree that we have some brothers and sisters who act and behave like Soochukwu but are not gay in anyway! I knew one Danladi , a former neighbour when I was 8 or 9; we relocated when I was 10 and I’m about 2 years older than him- don’t know where he is today but am sure he is not gay….then years later I met one in the university ( I graduated in 2005) but today he is married with kids and not gay. Chimamanda has been negatively influenced by Western ideologies

  22. rudesky Reply

    It is now clear that Nigerians (especially in the diaspora) who want cheap acceptance from America and Europe have been brainwashed to cry more than the believed whenever Nigeria is mentioned publicly. Simple reason: They want to impress. Unfortunately, several of them are so blinded by their desire to become whiter than the whites that they forget their roots when it comes to morality. Stupidly enough, these same cowards can never dare criticise America or Europe for their double standards. Take for instance, cannabis is legalised in Colorado but is not in some other states but they won’t criticise those states who prohibit it’s use. They are silly cowards and Chimamanda has only reduced herself to this class of grovelling servants of the West.

    1. Chuku Reply

      Tobi i am appalled at the level of ignorance expressed in your comment above.Chimamanda has given an intellectual account of an endemic rule that must be condemned. its disappointing that the law makers in Nigeria did not display this level of intellect and consideration for humanity before passing this law. People are arrested and lynched in Nigeria just because they walk and behave like women. Come on people would you condone this in a rather civilized world.

    2. Life Reply

      Your argument, rudesky, is very lazy. You’re obviously not bright enough to have checked out Chimamanda’s record on calling out the West in her talks and essays, and you’re equally not bright enough to decipher the reason why a Nigerian who lives in Nigeria, and often deals with the themes of gender and marriage, is not talking about Cannabis in California or wherever isn’t Nigeria. All these ‘if’s’ and ‘buts’ are just useless derailments and conjecture thrown into these conversations by people (like you) who have no solid argument and no solid evidence to back their claims. These people (such as yourself) resort to comparisons between same-gender loving, bestiality, pedophilia, polygamy, and other completely unrelated subjects just to form a funda-MENTAL-ly baseless argument. You’re a coward for blending into the comfortable mass of faceless idiots that promote this sheepish behaviour. You’re comments about conforming to Europe are incredibly cheesy, ‘cringe-worthy’ and trite.

  23. Chimamanda Adichie on Anti-Gay Nigerian Laws | Reply

    […] The new law that criminalizes homosexuality is popular among Nigerians. But it shows a failure of our democracy, because the mark of a true democracy is not in the rule of its majority but in the protection of its minority – otherwise mob justice would be considered democratic. The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems.  (READ MORE) […]

  24. jed Reply

    One may argue that homosexuality is not a matter of criminality but we can’t argue that it not a matter of morality. We may knock the Christian faith now, conveniently forget that the boundaries of morality it defined in the past helped successful nations build strong ethical communities, define ‘wrong’ and ‘right’. Based on this Adichie’s premise paedophiles will soon advocate their rights. In the same way gays have gained acceptance, paedophiles will also desensitize us, convince us to accept them because they cannot help being different. Serial killers cannot help different either. Should we then ‘accept’ every group that is different?

    The only thing I do not like about the law is that it does not have a clause to protect the homosexual by stating punishment for anyone who takes the law into their own hands to molest the homosexual or harm them in anyway.

    The line of morality has to be drawn somewhere and if its done by Africans, so be it. The west should not always dictate to us what is good or right because they can be confused themselves or why in the world should America be considering giving rights to own guns to their blind just because it does not want to be seen as infringing on their human rights?

    1. Henry Reply

      I believe the gay rights movement is one of the last remaining puzzles in the civil rights movement. I have long supported the right to self determination and privacy. Perhaps because of my liberal leanings, i have supported the rights of gays long before this debate ever sprang up. I debated within the four walls of my hostel in the University of Nigeria, in the lecture halls, in my place of work, on my Facebook wall and even with my siblings. I have encountered mild and violent opposition to my stance. I have been commended by some and brandished by others as an agent of the devil. Through my short 23 years on earth, i have always hoped to live up to my larger ideals and values. The ideals of justice, fairness and equity; that democracy isn’t just what the majority insists upon, central to its structure is a protection of the minority from the majority and a guard against the passions of the times. I am more concerned about being right than being on the ‘right side’. Although I have encountered some measure of loss as a result of my stance, I am all the more proud of my beliefs and values, I am proud to say I am a christian and I look forward to falling into the loving embrace of my Savior, Jesus, when my curtains are drawn.
      I was shocked by your comments Jed, you compare homosexuality to pedophilia and serial killers without regard for the nature of these criminal acts. As Chimamda rightly said, a crime has victims but you have failed to show vividly the victims of homosexuality ( a private affair between two consenting ‘audlts’ as defined by age and our constitution) in terms of the actors. You talk about the line of morality being drawn by ‘africans’, an ambiguous term i suppose. I ask you, who is/are ‘ africans’? You or I. Whose morality should we draw the line with? Yours or mine? Clearly such a line would stretch the moral arc of the universe. I believe the arguments people like you make and the analogies you connote to bolster your case shows a low regard for man as an individual and a fear of intellectual honesty. We talk of gays as people who are abstract, people who come from the moon but we fail to realize that these are people who are no more different than us. They are brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, lawyers, bankers, teachers, community organizers, social workers, care givers. The very people who bind us all together, who make our society cohere, who remind us of our place in the world. The very people who we call ‘friends and family’. Maybe the next time you speak of gays, think about the people you love and care about and let the voice of humanity whisper to you.
      I am neither arrogant nor under an illusion that a brief remark would revolutionize your thinking. Rather, i maintain a modest hope that it will get you to re-examine your long held beliefs. Hopefully it would spark a meaningful conversation with yourself. Like all great soul conversations go, it defines a lifetime. It happened to me and I hope you get that experience too. I leave you with the words of Ghandi..’In matters of conscience, the laws of majority has no place’

  25. Man from a far Reply

    For very long time I had nothing but passion to hear you talk, make arguments and express the voice of many, but this article has awakened a side of you that I don’t seem to comprehend.

    On one side you argue about equality on the other side you argue about morarility but the end result is this is a sensitive topic which should be addressed with care.

    I don’t advocate for violence on difference among people whatever it maybe but I ask – what purpose will nature,humanity will homesexuals serve? No procreation no faida.

  26. Ziggy Reply

    It is true that some males can be born naturally effeminate and some females born with male-like tendencies. It is also true that people can be born with incessant bed-wetting tendencies. In both cases it is not the person’s fault that he/she was born that way. However, it becomes irresponsibility on the side of the person to celebrate these tendencies and ask to be allowed exploit the negative sides of the condition instead of seeking to get medical or psychological support to regain a normal sexual identity.
    I would not support violence against gays neither will I support that they be celebrated. I would support that they be made to acknowledge that they are not normal and that they can be restored to normal people if they seek help. The bottom line is that the Nigerian government should make plans on how to help gay people become normal people through medical, psychological and spiritual intervention. Homosexual acts should however be severely discouraged.

  27. Peter-Nicholas Reply

    All I can say is that most Nigerians have forgotten their native cultures of “live and let live” in favor of the pathetic white man’s hypocritical religions and their backward intolerant ways.

  28. Atsu Reply

    I think Africans should be very careful here with this issue. we are not Europeans ,americans but Africans.this issue had being with us for years but for us gay is a taboo. brothers and sisters who are westernize think western democracy works in African must be joking.

  29. balorhino Reply

    You have spoken well or should i say written well. Obviously such anti gay laws passed in African countries especially Nigeria are just to score cheap political points as a matter of fact what percentage of Nigerians are gay that it has become so necessary to enact a law to punish such what matters if a man or woman is gay how does it affect our society adversely trillions of our resources has been and is still been stolen no one sees any reason to make law to curb that but gay people most be jailed how laughable some say its not our culture what do they know about our cultures to begin with after all Christianity and Islam are not part of our culture and they actually anti our culture if we are to forbid homosexuality because we are Christians and Muslims punishable by law then fornication adultery bigamy should be too also how easy is it to apprehend offenders how do you get to know what goes on in another mans bedroom without trespassing which is a crime on its own how easy is it to prove in a non bias court even before passing this stupid law there has been lynchings and barbaric murders of people suspected to be gay with this law many more would follow unfortunately to you fools who support such acts of violence on your fellow men i leave you with the words of Jesus Christ that he who has no sins let him cast the first stone

  30. Zeph Reply

    I don’t agree with you. Until a few years ago, sexual orientation used to be called sexual preference. That suggest to me that people chose to be gay by will. Well, inasmuch as we may have a few people who naturally, anatomically have female or male features, it doesn’t mean that those features will drive them towards people of their same sex. Sexual desires are ignited in the brain and the body response to the stimuli through body mechanics such as hormone. In a nutshell, the brain is the integrating center in the response loop. Men for example are driven by what they see in women; once the stimulus are sent to the brain through touch and eyes in this case, the brain will respond to the stimulus by activating the release of sexual related hormones. To suggest that hormones influences our sexual preference I think would be misleading. In case of the law, it would be prudent to quit politicizing human lust by making it appear as a human right concern.

  31. OZ Reply

    The law should be a way we preserve and encourage what we accept as a norm. we do not want to accept HOMOSEXUALITY for the same reason we should not accept fornication and adultery. These are not wrong because God said he does not accept them but because God knows it will not favour our greater good.
    Accepting it as a nation or in your words “giving the minority some protection” is like protecting a group who out of lack of care were brought up in the wild and have learnt to either bleat or bark. allowing this, like your say, will lead to an evolution of human race into something we are not built for.
    If the followers of other religious beliefs do not see this as wrong then i think it is our responsibility to show them how wrong it is to create a situation were a man lives with and pleasures another man. God forbid that my unborn children will grow up accepting that such is acceptable.
    Chimamanda, in as much as i love you for what you represent I will beg to disagree with the principles of this article though i love the literally prowess you used to express them.

  32. Micheal Duke Reply

    I quite agree with most of u all that nt been said I hate to hear some nigerians suportin gay whether in usa or europe nigeria etc gay n lesibian funication aldultery is all abomination in the eyes of man not to talk of the most high God. I cud suggest instead of killing we nigerians could find a better law to enforce on anyone caught on dis act instead of killing coz we all sin most peple commit murder all dis are against d commandments of God. I just wonder why dis issue shud be discussed bcoz its just an ignarant fool cud sit n see his fellow man n think of sex or see her fellow woman n feel like sexin her it is just uhhhhhhh. We shud be watchfull dis are end time………

  33. Onyekachi Uzoamaka Reply

    Ngozi has spoken out shame. Adichie family will bear this shame for sometime. Jesus did not say that they should not stone the adulteress. Our prayer is that gays should receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Evil should not be allowed to walk and talk bold, that’s one human protection for the society. Ngo & co — I na anu?

  34. Abani Reply

    Well, I hope anyone that thinks otherwise reads this. Chimamanda, I respect you and believe you are entitled to your opinions but as a biologist, I can almost not help but correct you. The Human species are also considered animals (whether we want to admit it or not). We might be a tad more intelligent but we are what and who we are. You said,

    “Some supporters of the law have asked – what is next, a marriage between a man and a dog?’ Or ‘have you seen animals being gay?’ (Actually, studies show that there is homosexual behavior in many species of animals.) But, quite simply, people are not dogs, and to accept the premise – that a homosexual is comparable to an animal – is inhumane. We cannot reduce the humanity of our fellow men and women because of how and who they love. Some animals eat their own kind, others desert their young. Shall we follow those examples, too?”

    Actually we already do (whether you want to admit it or not).
    I also think you are being stereotypic (for current lack of a better term) when you imply over and over again in your message that people behave like their opposite sex are who you consider to be gay or homosexual. You are either misinformed or a little ignorant about the fact that that is not the case.
    That lovely child you spoke of, are certain he turned out gay? He might have been different, girlish even but that doesn’t mean he was to be homosexual when he grew up.

    I’d leave it at this and hope I made my point.

  35. Babytohcute Reply

    @ Hrh Elizabeth. In my opinion, when you make an inference to this present situation with that bible illustration, it is misleading. Yes there is grace but the law is to keep us in check. After all, the same bible ask if one should continue to live in sin since grace abound.
    The important thing is to love and find out the reason behind the “abnormality”. Some where abused. Anyone and everyone can write about this, but what have you and I done with genuine love to the next gay person??

  36. gbubemi Reply

    One can obviously weigh how much of the bible, and how in touch we are spiritually with God by reading the comments to this article. I’m appaled at how quickly people tend to agree with EVIL and make excuses for it while it steals our very soul.
    Grace isn’t made available to us so that we can do as we like. And mind you, grace is bound to last forever.
    Evil cannot be excused as natural because God made us in HIS IMAGE and after HIS LIKENESS! Chimamanda, please are you implying that God is gay because people are “excused” to be born as such? Heaven forbid!
    Please darling, go back and spend some quality time with your bible and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. Remember the word of God wasn’t written by human inspiration hence shouldn’t be interpreted using the carnal and biased human mind.

    Stay blessed

  37. gbubemi Reply

    One only needs to read this article and the comments to see how shallow our touch with God and contact with scriptures have become.
    I’m appaled at how quickly people tend to agree with EVIL and make excuses for it while it steals our very soul.
    Grace isn’t made available to us so that we can do as we like. And mind you, grace is bound to last forever.
    Evil cannot be excused as natural because God made us in HIS IMAGE and after HIS LIKENESS! Chimamanda, please are you implying that God is gay because people are “excused” to be born as such? Heaven forbid!
    Please darling, go back and spend some quality time with your bible and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. Remember the word of God wasn’t written by human inspiration hence shouldn’t be interpreted using the carnal and biased human mind.

    Stay blessed

  38. SHOCKING Reply

    Quite painful and disheartening to read such a biased and prejudiced article from a respected writer like Chimamanda. sorry to say that she forgot to tell us that her father also was/is a gay, so that could justify her stand. How come she forgot that not only people who are different like her so called sochukwuma practices homosexuality? What is wrong with this little brat and those clamoring for re-appeal of anti-gay law ? you gays should rot in hell….

  39. Linus Reply

    Why do we humans rush too quickly to condemn one another. Chimamanda displays the courage of her conviction to put up a brilliant piece on the Nigerian Anti-Gay Law. Unfortunately, there is abysmal ignorance on this subject. What we owe gay people is understanding, not condemnation. How can we claim to be civilized, if we seem to be eager to condemn human behaviors we really do not fully understand? There are two parts to every human being – the physical and the spiritual. Can anyone tell us what actually goes on in the making of a human being? What controls our behavior is not the outer physical body, but our spiritual selves. Now, it is rather basic knowledge that our spiritual selves come in both sexes – male and female. What happens then if, through biological malfunction, hormone imbalance, or other factors, a female spirit gets into a male physical body, how will the resulting human be sexually oriented? Common sense will tell us that the female spirit will naturally go for a male, despite the physical appendages that proclaim the human male. So, let us go for research and education on this subject, and stop all these criticisms that are purely based on crass ignorance!

    1. gbubemi Reply

      Linus, I’m glad you used the word “spirit”. It shows that you understand that this phenomenon has a spiritual backing then. My dear, kets not deceive ourselves and call a spade a spade, lesbianism and homosexuality are demonic spirits from the depth of hell’s pit and shouldn’t be “modernized” to look like choices because they are not! Those who practice it are possessed by demons and as harsh or as “crass” as it may sound, it is the biblical truth! Its not hormonal imbalance and should never be excused as such.

      1. Linus Reply

        Gbubemi, the context in which I used the word “spirit”, is not the same context in which you understand it. Please read my comment again. The God that created you, is the same God that created gays, whether you agree or not. For that reason alone, you should show respect for those who have done no harm to anyone, irrespective of the lifestyle they choose.

  40. Tito Reply

    I believe in the concept of “live and let live”. However, I also believe that each society has the right to state its position and understanding of moral issues and to express that understanding in its laws. Adichie states, “Adults do no harm to society in how they love and whom they love”, which may be true however, polygamy is illegal in most if not all Western nations and polygamists serve jail time when caught. Is polygamy not usually a contract between two consenting adults? Is that acceptable in Western societies? Does Adichie DARE muster the courage to write a piece where she states, “We may not understand polygamy, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it” and still hope to remain the toast of the Western literary world? Which is why I know that she wouldn’t DARE to write such a article.

    Like polygamy, taking child brides and female circumcision are things I oppose. I also believe that it is right for the government of Nigeria to make such practices illegal in other words to criminalize such practices. H0wever, I know people who practice both traditions. I have family and friends who practice both traditions. Does that make me “intolerant” of those who practice these things? Would Adichie also write a piece in support of them where she would state that, “We may not understand child brides and female circumcision, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it”? Something tells me that she doesn’t DARE state that and still hope to win anymore awards, guest speaker bonuses, etc.

    Another example is drug abuse. Most people who abuse drugs don’t harm anyone but, themselves. Alcohol, which is legal in most countries of the world, is responsible for more deaths and accidents than Indian Hemp or Marijuana ever can or ever will. Yet, Adichie wouldn’t state that the criminalization of the use of hard drugs is wrong or would she? Smoking and the use of tobacco has killed more people and represents a greater health cost to society than the use of Marijuana. Yet, we cannot expect Adichie to advocate the legalization of it (well, not just yet, maybe in a few years when it is safe to do so without the fear of backlash).

    Adichie asserts that, “The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems.” May I ask her to kindly furnish references to the Nigerian constitution that confirms this?

    As we speak France, Canada and many other European nations are currently criminalizing the wearing of the hijab. Does the hijab hurt anyone? Does it infringe on anybody’s rights? Is it forced upon anyone living in the Western world? Yet, France, Canada, etc have criminalized the use of the hijab because, “it is inconsistent with their values”. I believe that Nigeria has every right to pass laws that reflect the overall will of the Nigerian people. Do I agree with every law in Nigeria? Most certainly not. But, does Nigeria and the Nigerian legislature have the constitutional right to pass such laws? Absolutely!

    Let me state that I honestly believe that the criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria is wrong. To each his own and whatever makes you happy do. So long as you aren’t hurting, harming or infringing on the rights of others and on social order. However, Nigeria as a society cannot be expected to adopt any and every “value” that the West attempts to foist on us. That is a legacy of the colonial mindset. And it is no longer acceptable in the today’s world. In fact, it is as absurd as Nigerians cannot expect to go to any Western nation and attempt to foist polygamy, female circumcision, facial scarifications, child brides, etc on them. Maybe someday, Nigerians will feel comfortable enough to repeal this law. However, at this point in Nigerian history, Nigerian society is not ready for that and should not be forced to adopt it.

  41. Ben bill Reply

    Chimamanda I’m one of your greatest fan, I enjoyed your books, write ups and you have made the me a proud African. Your article on the recent anti gay law passed in Nigeria is a spot on and being gay should not be regarded as a crime. Where I differ with you is the fact that being gay is by choice and not by birth. I don’t think there are people that are born gay and if there is then there should be a gene responsible for that which to the best of my knowledge there isn’t. I strongly believe western propaganda is a force behind gay rights. According to the west being gay is okay but being a polygamist is a crime; so don’t you think the west cherry picks what they think its right and then force it on the rest of the world.

  42. Uchenna Iwuoha Reply

    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.

    1. mucuro Reply

      The fact is that she has lost me as a fan together with all the youths to whom I have introduced her as a role model. she is the classical example of how terible it is to have an African child grow up in the west. Such a child cannot be protected from such terrible influences.

  43. Priscilla N Reply

    Look, at the end of the day I am a supporter of how the bible classifies homosexual acts. It goes against the “natural use” of the body. In the beginning it was not so. God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. Let us not fall into This trap of the enemy. GOD is still a righteous judge and we will still have consequences for the choices we make. We are not all perfect but what we need to do is work on our imperfect sides instead of making excuses for it. I am glad Nigeria passed into law it’s intolerance for homosexual acts I believe it is proactive step to contend with the notion of same sex marriages that may some day arise for consideration in the future. It is a moral law.. of course it is a moral law what law isn’t based on morality and or the need to ensure orderliness. The devil Is a liar. Sin is progressive one leads to another and even tho no sin is greater than the other advancing in sin makes our hearts harden and more insensitive to God. That is what is taking place when it comes to homosexuality. There is the sin of fornication and adultery which is wrong but homosexuality is an advanced level because it goes against the body’s natural use. Let us be careful and not make ourselves enemies of the cross by actively or passively promoting what it condemned. The fact that it is encouraged in the west and they are rich and powerful doesn’t mean we must accept it here. every civilization is still not as great as the kingdom of heaven and it can still fall just as Babylon and Rome of old did! We will ALL give account for our actions at the end of our lives here on earth. Let us be sober He who has ears to hear let him hear!

    1. gbubemi Reply

      God bless your heart dear

    2. mucuro Reply

      Chimamanda does not believe on the biblical principles regarding sex and sexuality and supports the western dominating culture of death who believes that being gay is the same as being a black man. Let her come home and get an Anambra husband lets see or tell her mother she is lesbian so that her aunties and cousins will clap for her.

      1. Truth Nezia Reply

        Chimamanda is married?

  44. Dan Reply

    WOW! critical, independent and rational mind! I just wish everyone else would take time and think about it from a rational point of view instead of rushing into accusing people who are gays! I like it when u say crime has victims and it harms someone! its so unfair to issue a death sentence to someone because he or she loved somebody who you think he shouldn’t. we need to shun discriminative attitudes and accommodate each other.

    1. gbubemi Reply

      Rational point of view?! Wow! Its amazing to see the extent to which one could let one’s self get brain-twisted to accept the abnormal as normal.

      Look racism, slavery, bribery, stealing etc are sins, lesbianism and homosexuality is no exception. I don’t know how much you read your bibles but it is stated categorically clear.

      The freedom of this world has been made possible through grace but like Apostle Paul said ” Shall we continue in sin that grace might abound? God forbid! …”

      The western world has separated the church from the state hence the liberal nonsense we seen all about. That doesn’t apply on this side of the planet and thus those who support this kind of ideology are free to migrate to the areas where they can be free to soothe their itching ears and hearts. But please, for the sake of the generations unborn, do not introduce such perverted ideology into our society in order to do us all and not expect those who stand for the preservation of mankind through faith in Christ to stand back and watch because we will not!
      For we know that these kind of abomination will not go unpunished.

      For our God, though merciful and kind, is a jealous God visiting the sins of the fathers even to the 4th generation. He is a God of judgement. Sodom and Gomorrah stirred His wrath and we know the outcome. We rather face the indignation of nations and people than God’s.

  45. Ivan Reply

    Yes we get your point. another article to sustain your visa. I saw it coming a long time ago. We are Africans and we love our values. America has told you that it is OK to be gay, so also, kindly allow us to be free to believe our own society that says it is not ok to be gay for we are all products of a social system and that too is a common enslavement and you too our co-inmate.

  46. Where is freedom? Reply

    So, they shouldn’t be stoned to death….or beaten…..or shamed…..or harassed…..or put in jail for their choices that harm no one.

    Buuuuuut, I hate being called homophobic because I don’t celebrate their lifestyle with them.
    Must I celebrate a smokers choice to smoke? Must I invite a smoker to my home? Same with homosexuals, there is a place for everyone in society, but I mustn’t invite everyone’s choices into my home or celebrate it.

    Freedom of choice must truly be freedom of choice.

  47. Friday Top Five – Feb. 21st | Project Africa @ The New School Reply

    […] Chimamanda Adichie has responded: […]

  48. auston Reply

    the stupidest thing ever written by adichie. in fact i would no more recommend her works to my students.

  49. Kimani Reply

    I’m from Kenya, where we’re also dealing with the same thorny issue of homosexuality.

    Now, homosexuals want to be considered a class of people by depicting themselves as victims who, like the historical case of African-Americans in the US, have been denied civil rights. That way, articles like this will make the public think that those who oppose homosexuality are discriminating against them as humans, rather than discriminating against their behavior. According to them, conservatives are all bigots on par with racists— they are opposed to fairness itself.

    Homosexuality is not an identity or class; it’s a behavior. Homosexuals are not a class of people any more than heterosexuals are a class of people. We are males and females, not gays and straights. In other words, we are males and females by anatomy, but gays and straights by behavior.

    Why not classify people by their desires as homosexual activists demand? Because if we start to classify people by what they desire to do sexually, then why not give people with all sexual desires special marriage rights? On what grounds should we say that same-sex marriage is fine but not marriage involving polygamy, incest, or bestiality? Why is it legitimate to carve out a special case for homosexuality but not for those other behaviors? Once we allow same-sex marriage, then on what legal or moral basis will you stop me if I want to marry my biological sister, and we are both consenting adults?

    There are people like poor Sochukwuma who don’t choose to be born homosexual. So what to do with them – treat them as mental-disorder cases? Allow them to simply be who they are? Take them thru psych-evaluation and help them either accept or change who they are? I simply dont know, I dont have a quick answer to that. But I do know is that it’s very wrong to criminalize, victimize and discriminate against them on a basis of a condition they are born with- its no better than racism or tribalism. BUT, I also believe that such people are a tiny minority in society. For the vast majority of homosexuals, it’s an orientation or lifestyle they have deliberately CHOSEN. And accepting this as a societal norm is wrong.

    The author tries to make the argument that homosexuals are “just a group of people, like you and me, that we should not discriminate against”. Very clever, but very wrong. Being homosexual is a behaviour (except for a few cases like Sochukwuma). ‘Homosexual’ is not a group of humans, an identity, a class, that a person is simply born into, like being black or being a Jew or being a Nigerian or a Kenyan.

    Acceptaing homosexuality is dangerous to society. I say this not because I’m a closed-minded, progress-hating ultra-conservative who simply can’t understand why a man chooses to love and have sex with another man. No, I say it’s dangerous because of what the wholesale acceptance of homosexuality REPRESENTS – a slow erosion of our responsibility towards the group and more towards individual hedonism. A slow shift of the boundaries of what’s acceptable or not in society because “I should be allowed to do whatever I want, and who cares what the rest of you think”. A gradual thinning and weakening of the glue that binds us together, forgetting that that glue, that responsibility we have towards each other, is actually what we call a society.

    You see, in a society you agree to give up some individual freedoms in return for the privilege of being part of a group. Heck, don’t you think I’d prefer to walk around naked, and simply take someone’s Range Rover for myself, without paying for it? But I know I can’t, because my individual wants are not greater than the collective good. And when that sense of collectiveness breaks down, when you start allowing me to do whatever the hell I feel like, with little regard to how it affects my neighbour, my classmate, my family, my friends, then we no longer have a society. We’re just a bunch of people living next to each other. Want to know what that feels like? Remember the first few weeks you moved far from home to a new house or school or college where you knew no one, nobody cared about you, nobody helped you move in and get comfortable, nobody told you which were the dangerous parts of town where you shouldn’t visit after dark, nobody was your friend? When the only people who assisted you did it because it was their job, not because they cared about you – the plumber, the moving people, the apartment caretaker, the school matron? Why do you think that was, why did you feel so alone, so overwhelmed those first days? Because you weren’t yet part of THAT society. Because there was nobody looking out for you. Because you were simply an individual, alone in a group.

    Now, it almost definitely won’t happen in the next few decades in Africa. Maybe not even in our lifetimes. But it starts today. It starts when we tacitly say that the individual is more important than the society. You will not go through it. But do you want your kids, or your kids’ kids, growing up in such a place, where no one looks out for his fellow man because we are all simply individuals, in a society without society? Where you feel like every day is your first day in a new country or a new town or a new school? No, you wouldn’t want that? Then that’s why we should never prioritize the individual’s wants over the society’s needs. That’s why we should not slowly allow and accept habits like homosexuality

    1. Tenny Reply

      Kimani Wow!!! Excellent response!!!

  50. Blake Onyango Reply

    In a misguided sense of sympathy or in a pathetic attempt to support the legitimization of homosexuality in society, one of the most frequently asked questions goes like this: How does homosexuality affect society? Or how does same-sex marriage affect your marriage or family as a heterosexual?

    I’m delighted to share a series of posts tackling these questions comprehensively and putting to rest all doubts regarding the grave dangers posed to our society by the ongoing covert attempts to legalise homosexual relations globally and especially in Africa. Read more here…http://kenyansagainstgays.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/how-homosexuality-destroys-society-and-families-part-1/

  51. Uchenna Iwuoha Reply

    Our great writers like Chinua Achebe, Tai Solarin, Wole Shoyinka, etc achieved greatness because though they traded on the controversial at times, and forced society to reflect on issues of Justice and fair play, they also affirmed those values for which Africans proudly acclaimed them as “Our writers”. Chimamanda is free to choose to make herself an apologist for western society values, or values of eccentric behavior or whatever. It is her choice

  52. Legge Anti-Gay: Chimamanda Adichie: ‘Perché lui non può solo essere come tutti gli altri?’ | AFRICAN VOICES Reply

    […] originale di Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Traduzione a cura di African […]

  53. Nnaemeka Ohia Chukwusonmewu Reply

    Dis is arrant nonsense… U had beta surrender ur life to Christ…b4 it is late

  54. A reporter Reply
  55. Gbege Reply

    Wonders shall never end…

  56. Gbege Reply

    Chimamanda Adichie, or whatever she calls herself should just go and hide her ugly face in hell. Her attitude is what western style of living have caused and we the Nigerian people have rejected this ugly and evil practice in our society. Kill them GAYS and LESBIANS off our society. We cannot add to what we have been suffering for many years with slack and lazy support to evil acts.

    1. gregory Reply

      It is you that is being ugly, stupic and proberly In the closet. To say that someone should be killed for who they love makes me believe that you are animals and live in a jungle. Human’s have compassion

  57. Rshan Shasha Reply

    Great article but i am deeply disappointed by the comments. are you guys that stupid to understand that, people’s lives is none of your business? I don’t care who grown men and women choose to fuck and how they fuck them.It’s their choice. coming here and saying, it’s unafrica, it’s inhuman, how will they have kids? who the fuck told you, you are born to give birth? I surely i am not. neither is my aunt and so many people i know. Stop being to closed minded and thinking that your life is better than everyone else’s. it’s someone’s kid, uncle, dad, mother, sister. they are doctors, musicians, politicians, teachers, police men… that u r choosing to harm. don’t you feel bad for your evil cold hearted ways? lastly, stop thinking of it as being all about sex, it’s about love, not sex. Well let me stop explaining myself because most idiots here clearly can’t read and understand english. asking dumb questions while the writer already answered them all.

  58. amazing Reply

    i burn the library that keeps her book, you’re trying to please the foreign land you reside and you betray your country

  59. sembene Reply

    You’re so wrong, you really missed it. Don’t try to use the Bible to justify your statement. If sodomy or Homosexuality is correct, then why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, or better yet, it Adam and eve decided that they wanted to be homosexuals, i doubt if this world would exist. I like you and your books, but i am so disappointed.

  60. amakatchi Reply

    Lovely write up. Couldn’t agree more! I wish I could write like this girl. I’m so envious and resentful.

  61. Frank Reply

    Thanks so much for this wonderful article. Some of these saints here will be shocked when they get to Heaven. Thank God for whom He is and will never be Man. We keep praying that people ‘s mind will be more healthier to know that sinning is not just all about sex. The Nigerian Society should think deeply about their wickedness to themselves and try to improve their society rather than pursuing shadows. For all the saints here, Who made you people judge over your fellow human beings. God is God and he is no man. And will never have such wicked mind like yours. Chimamanda you are and will remain a Gift to Our Generation. Am proud of you. Ezigbo Nwafo Igbo.

  62. Gerald Reply

    Anti-gay law article: Reply to Chimamanda Adichie. Culled from Vanguard Newspaper

    on February 22, 2014 / in Citizen Open Letters 9:26 am / Comments

    By Ezea Chukwudi

    Before I start I would like to ask you to ignore my grammatical errors. I’m not a writer so I have no reputation to protect in terms of grammatical errors. I write principally in response to your article on anti-gay law. I would really plead for your patience to calmly read my own view.

    I have never read your article before now. I have heard of your reputation in writing and I had already rated you even when I had never read your articles. Unfortunately your sense of judgment is being questioned when I gave you the chance to create an impression because I’m not a type that takes a second chance to make a good impression.

    I want you to understand that the Story of Sochukwuma is what you created just to spice up your writing and you didn’t tell us that Sochukwuma wanted to be gay. Nevertheless, I would like to share a similar story. When I was younger, there was a man called Amechi. He had the same nature with Sochukwuma but he has five children now. A friend of mine called Dera has the same nature and he is called ladies man because he has girlfriends and he intends to settle down soon. Obinna has two girlfriends and he’s also currently dating one of the Nollywood actresses.

    gay-cartoon

    You are an enlightened woman and you should not use your education to spread ignorance, you don’t really have to deceive people into accepting evil in the name of human right. As a woman, I expect you to write what you can defend before God.

    You spoke like you are a puppet in the hands of western people, because they support gay, you have to do so but that doesn’t make it right. What is really democracy? Is it really all about protecting the minority as you said even when minority are hell bent in turning Nigeria into Sodom and Gomorah. Is that really democracy? Human right is a Greek gift from satan. What is human right when it is against the Creator? We abuse nature in the name of human right and even legalizing gay is abuse of human right. Should everybody do what they wish to do because human right backs them up? Is there any religion that support it or do your culture support it? Even nature abhors it.

    Do you believe in morality? Should human right violate morality? You talked of gay people being different, normal and you still support what is not normal to be legalised. You write to fight against nature and God’s plan for creation.

    When you said that passing anti-gay law was an indication of a failed democracy in Nigeria, I laughed because was it not a failed democracy when the western world threatened to withdraw their financial aid to any African country that signs anti-gay law. Does that mean Africa must accept what they impose on us, does that mean we don’t have the right to choose the way we wish to live. You should have supported the African minority rather than Western majority. I think you should show balance in your judgment.

    It was laughable when you said homosexual is not a crime because it has no victim. You equally did not answer why prostitution, gambling, illicit use of drugs, suicide are crimes when they have no victim. You equally failed to answer why abortion is legalized even when it has a victim. Amanda, are you a virtuous woman? Would you want your daughter to marry another woman and your son to marry another man? Did you really write with conscience?

    If gay is legalised then bestiality should also because there is no crime, because there is no victim. It will be also be undemocratic if bestiality don’t have their own right and if bestiality have their right, what do you want this world to turn into? And I don’t think you would wish your children to marry dogs.

    This is anti-humanity. You said there were gay people in Nigeria before you were born, that’s because your existence was possible because your parents were not and same sex marriage was not legal. Just imagine a sharp rise in population of same sex marriage if it is legalised. Supporting same sex marriage is denying unborn ones the right to exist or don’t they deserve the privileged like you?

    It could have been awesome if you had suggested how to heal them and make them normal rather than legalizing it as you claim they were not normal. If you really have good conscience you should have suggested how we can make them normal not encouraging them to remain abnormal.

    If I ask your opinion on murder, you will say it is evil but which evil is more than murdering the souls of men. I would like to ask you, are you working for the devil? Are you bringing souls to God or to the devil? Are you working for a devilish innovation of the new world order?

    Many ignorant people are giving you great ovation after reading your article but God will ask you the blood of the souls that will end up in hell because of what you sent to the public. You compare homosexual with fornication. Between two evils, one is better. Fornication is evil but it is not against nature because it involves two opposite sex, it can have good end product like marriage and child birth but what is the good end product in homosexuality? Anti-nature, anti-humanity, extinction of man kind? Is that your wish for the world? Why are we fighting for natural conservation if not for continuity?

    You don’t have to write because you have the right and knowledge to do so but there should be sanctity in what you write. I know you know how to write but your pride should not make you think you know better than your Creator, Leviticus 18:22. If really your opinion about same sex marriage is from your honest heart then the similarity between you and human being is just coincidental. Someone needs morality, see the person in the mirror.
    - See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/02/anti-gay-law-article-reply-chimamanda-adichie/#sthash.mex1ynby.dpuf

  63. Chuks Reply

    Miss, permit me appreciate ur decision to express your views via the medium you chose to.
    Notwithstanding, without mincing words i’m absolutely disappointed in you and saddened that you had this staked up as ur views as regards homosexuality.
    May i remind you that the BIBLE superceeds any law whatsoever.
    Perhaps i’m wont be surprised if you have forgotten where your bible is. Dont forget the story of Sodom in the bible, would you?
    May i inform you that as many young minds who look up to you perhaps as a result of your writting and oratory prowels among whom may be led astray as a result of ur views, you stand to be questioned as u laid a stumbling block that directly or otherwise necessitated their fall.

    I remember watching a few of your works on you-tube. You spoke so well, less ambigious, nice blend of african culture and the western idea. I began to pick interest in literary work and most expecially your works.

    To say i’m sad would be an understatement. But i’m consoled by the fact that morality and GODLINESS would matter when these world comes to an end not what the west sees as right.

    Am really disappointed. Moreso, that you chose to support an idea that is against God’s wish. The bible knew this would happen and it was appropriately recoreded
    Let me leave you with this frm the bible .. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.’ Romans 1:27.
    ‘And even as they didnot like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient’ Romans 1:28.

  64. chefbrucewest Reply

    I am a US citizen of 53 years. I want to set the record straight about how the US feels about Nigerians. We all respect your country, your great history, various cultures and traditions. Not one person in the US who I ever met or spoke to wants to change or influence Nigeria in any way. I assure you. However, this law against gays was unnecessary for the growth of your country in my opinion. Further scientific study is required when considering such a punitive law against your own brothers and sisters. I’m not convinced that gay issues are moral or religious matters. Why rush to judgment and fill expensive prison cells? Please remember that we in the US do not get pleasure from influencing the culture of Nigeria. It’s your future and your business. I just ask that you slow down and think about how you want to deal with your sons and daughters and friends and neighbors. The future of Nigeria and Africa will be special and I enjoy reading about Africa every day. Let us all consider how to go forward together, in a fair and productive way.

  65. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Nigeria’s Anti-Gay Law Reply

    […] I just read this Amazing essay that speaks many truths. This is how you put thought into action. Here are some of my favorite parts: […]

  66. Victor Ogugua Reply

    I ask if a man wants to penetrate a anus…oh i just remembered a woman has one too…this goes to clearly show its the man they want not the anus. Alot of them end up wearing pampers under their underwear and heavy perfume to conceal the putrid smell of shit. Plus kissing a man for a man should be stomach churning or woman to woman as well this is basic. But no the so called gay people are so demon infested that their pleasure is disobeying God and his laws… no matter how much we try to understand or paint over nicely being gay. Wont change the fact that a gay person cannot inherit the kingdom of God..neither can they ever truily serve him.. now you should ask yourself why in the occult it is required of even straight people to have homo-sexual intercourse. You all need further educations on demonology to get the trajectory of my write up…. if gay people no matter the scientific tweeking can never naturally give birth to offspring…then dont you agree that if lets say an asteriod hits the earth and the only survivors are four gay people. Two male, two female. Would you agree with me that the continuity of the human race will be at a crossroads if they carried on as usual. Yes i have met so fairly good ir normal gay people and we have a good rapport but that does not even start making being gay good or correct coz if being gay was normal i guess there would not be any need for rallies and LGBT societies… Accept your wrong and try to make better of your lifes.

  67. IKE Reply

    Chimamanda Adichie should allow another woman to marry her

  68. felixon Zee Reply

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie , The Abba community in Anambra State in Nigeria should come out openly and disown you until you come back to your senses, your ? husband Dr Ivara Esege in Baltimore Maryland should speak out, you would not even change your name to reflect your ? marriage in ?2011 Are there no elders around you? have shame grown wings and flew away from you? Has your traditional sense of understanding of evil become detached from reality. We all live abroad for years, you just came over yesterday and you are already something else. We are praying that God’s marchless mercies will reach you and family leading y’all to receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. Obi nagbawam ( I’m heart broken ) — Thank God that Jesus’s job is to heal broken heart. Looking forward to meeting you in Maryland USA for hot chat. Jikere —I’m your older relative.

  69. Chimandu Reply

    Surprising that instead of a married woman to talk about the virtues and dignities of womanhood and the pride of motherhood she is parroting gibberish about the illusive defense of an empty lifestyle.

  70. Gary Reply

    I live in Uganda where an anti-gay debate is raging following the passing of the anti-gay law including the deprivation of bail for those suspected of sodomy. The popular belief, one even held by my wife, is that there was no homosexuality in Uganda before the evil white man came and paid young boys for sex. Anyone who puts forward a more informed view is held as a non-Christian, a tool of Satan. I hope the author of this excellent piece is treated with respect by her fellow countrymen and women.

  71. MUSEVENI’S GALL TO CLEANSE UGANDA OF HOMOSEXUALS IS ADMIRABLE. | FREE MY TONGUE Reply

    […] and Museveni’s own hardheadedness, you can almost be certain that he will not budge. Gay sympathizers can demonstrate all they want, the US can withdraw all their funding and aid, Ugandan gays will […]

  72. Nuel Ola Reply

    I was in Switzerland few weeks ago and I was told by an American Diplomat in Geneva that what is good for Americans is also good for the citizens of other countries. In some cases, he may be right but I vehemently opposed him in the view he was trying to project because someone cannot import solution to solve a local problem. We have difficulty in maintaining a democratic society in most African countries today because the so called “democracy” is not fashioned after African settings, African norms, traditions and values. Ours in Africa is different from theirs. On the issue of homosexuality, if it is indeed a right, the countries where it is been accepted as such should as well sign into law the cocaine right so that their citizens that are addicted to Cocaine can exercise their human right by having free access to it. If they cannot do this, then they should try and put in place rehabilitation assistance for homosexuals. Sexual orientation is a matter of choice. It is not an inborn problem or a genetic distortion. I have heard stories similar to that of your Sochukwuma. One is that of a boy who chose to play with girls all because he was the only boy among is six siblings. I know about an Italian guy who chose to be homosexual because he had “too many turn downs” from girls. I once heard it from a Nigerian lady from Ado Ekiti saying she would prefer to be with a lady because guys are “heart breakers”. You can see it is a matter of choice. Perhaps you can answer a question- “when did you start thinking about having sex? At age one? Two? Three?. You were certainly not aware of it at those early stages but you will realize you eventually delved into it because of the feelings in your surroundings before you chose to be having girls or boys. It is a matter of choice and our African society says it is a wrong choice if a girl should choose a girl or a man should choose a boy. Those that make such choice should be helped to correct it. If you don’t agree with African values as regards this subject, I advise you to just keep quiet rather than making a big fool of yourself.
    @ Rshan Shasha, you are wrong to call people here –idiots because you know quite well that your father did not give birth to you by sleeping or “just loving” another man.

  73. Anna Reply

    I completely agree with this article except for one thing. When people say it’s unafrican, I don’t think they mean the act itself. I think it has existed in every culture from a very long time ago. I think what they are referring to is the way it’s sort of celebrated in the west. I agree, Africans have a live and let live attitude towards things. Okay, let me not generalize. Igbos have a live and let live attitude. People are okay with it as long as they don’t feel forced to accept it as a social norm or an alternative lifestyle, as being equal with heterosexuality. I think being gay in traditional society was a, “well, we’ll tolerate it if you must” kind of thing. I don’t think anyone wants to kill or imprison anyone. Just that nobody wants to be forced to accept it in the way the way the west has and does. Yes, the west may not be a utopia for gays yet, but it is sort of celebrated.

    I completely agree that this law should go. But it doesn’t help that everyone I know who seems to think that is someone who has been heavily influenced by the west or an “ajebutter.” Kinda undercuts credibility.

  74. Ejiro Reply

    Cut the bible bull crap not everyone is christain and that is no surprise because of how antagonistic you are proving yo be. You opinion on being gay is your opinion do not enforce it on people. So what if people are gay are they being gay with you has a gay person ever approached you or raped you. The fact is it is a private matter and it can not be justified by law. This is why this country is never going to improve, instead on focusing on issues like your country being the number 1 for Female Genital Mutilation and other worrying and disheartning issues like why people are shot, robbed and raped daily without recieving justice. Why a country with very fertile soil has to import food because of the social stigma inbibed by homophobes like you guys of farmers being poor. Why teens and citizens are embarassed to admit that they are from a country who’s narcissistic members believe that ‘white is wrong’ or don’t follow the western world are you better than them. Everyday millions of people are dying because of your primitive mindsetd and focusing on the wrong issues. All ye christains I thought the most important law was love your neighbour and wasn’t it in your bible that you were instructed not to judge and people wonder why I despise being Nigerian.

  75. Ejiro Reply

    Cut the bible bull crap not everyone is christain and that is no surprise because of how antagonistic you are proving to be. Your opinion on being gay is your opinion do not enforce it on people. So what if people are gay ? are they being gay with you? has a gay person ever approached you or raped you? The fact is, it is a private matter and it can not be justified by law. This is why this country is never going to improve, instead of focusing on issues like your country being the number 1 for Female Genital Mutilation and other worrying and disheartning issues like why people are shot, robbed and raped daily without recieving justice. Why a country with very fertile soil has to import food because of the social stigma inbibed by homophobes like you guys of farmers being poor. Why teens and citizens are embarassed to admit that they are from a country who’s narcissistic members believe that ‘white is wrong’ or don’t follow the western world, are you better than them. Everyday millions of people are dying because of your primitive mindsets and focusing on the wrong issues. All ye christains I thought the most important law was love your neighbour and wasn’t it in your bible that you were instructed not to judge and people wonder why I despise being Nigerian. How is promoting violence against people show the love of God. All of you sin like hell but you are also always the first to throw a stone and persecute people. Reading some of this comment and realising that illiteracy is a matter we need to address. If people choose to be gay then you choose to be idiots and dwell in poverty.

  76. FEjiro Reply

    Ejiro
    2014/02/26
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Cut the bible bull crap not everyone is christain and that is no surprise because of how antagonistic you are proving to be. Your opinion on being gay is your opinion do not enforce it on people. So what if people are gay ? are they being gay with you? has a gay person ever approached you or raped you? The fact is, it is a private matter and it can not be justified by law. This is why this country is never going to improve, instead of focusing on issues like your country being the number 1 for Female Genital Mutilation and other worrying and disheartning issues like why people are shot, robbed and raped daily without recieving justice. Why a country with very fertile soil has to import food because of the social stigma inbibed by homophobes like you guys of farmers being poor. Why teens and citizens are embarassed to admit that they are from a country who’s narcissistic members believe that ‘white is wrong’ or don’t follow the western world, are you better than them. Everyday millions of people are dying because of your primitive mindsets and focusing on the wrong issues. All ye christains I thought the most important law was love your neighbour and wasn’t it in your bible that you were instructed not to judge and people wonder why I despise being Nigerian. How is promoting violence against people show the love of God. All of you sin like hell but you are also always the first to throw a stone and persecute people. Reading some of this comment and realising that illiteracy is a matter we need to address. If people choose to be gay then you choose to be idiots and dwell in poverty.

  77. Sur Reply

    Many of the comments come from folks who take a Christian faith as their moral compass. It’s confusing to me why any African person would so strongly, and unquestioningly, embrace the religion of her/his colonial oppressors! The same reasons that are being given for homosexuality being anti- Christian, were used against Africans to subjugate them, and take away THEIR human rights by Europeans.
    It’s a sad irony that Nigerian Christians will use their faith as an excuse for extremely UN-Christlike behavior against gay people (as they do also against practitioners of pre-Christian African religions).
    Thank you, Ms. Adichie, for your eloquent, loving, and HUMAN words! I hope they convince a few people to change their way of looking at others.

  78. Bard Idoto Reply

    The voice of her master: what else to expect?

  79. Nigerian Authors Condemn Country’s New Anti-Gay Law – The Guardian | NewsWireNGR Reply

    […] fleeing for safety, to informers, to pitting one African citizen against another.” Adichie, writing in the Nigerian paper the Scoop and published by Newswirengr, called the recently passed law which criminalises homosexuality “un-African”, saying […]

  80. Let’s not make GAYISM an issue, Uganda | Blue Petal Reply

    […] note: Chimamanda’s rejoinder might enlighten you […]

  81. Victor Reply

    The problem I have with SOME people and SOME countries is Priority!! (disclaimer: I’m not taking any sides // and there are things we can’t say on this platform // so i’m inclined to hold back certain things)
    It is unfortunate that Nigeria and Nigerians don’t even know what to do with their valuable time any longer. (We are totally being subdued by government, we can’t even feel comfy in our own environs)
    For God sakes, if America decides to GAY trash or whatever it is! Its because of the way their society is… I study, work and live in the US so i see people and the way they act, no one cares about the other person.. If you wanna, you could kill yourself and would be looked over. It doesn’t change anything.

    But as Nigerians, we should focus on the major problems at hand, Major problems like infrastructure, industries, and growth, security and the likes…. we should be planning to make things better not involve in discussions that wouldn’t yield results. Our creativity, productivity, education, morality, sense of value and priority has declined drastically over the years and still is…

    The other person was throwing bible passages all over, Many Christians don’t even know where the passage is from and yet they claim to follow the bible and stuff.. Really, who are we deceiving??? (We against homosexuality but who is opposing adultery? fornication, lies —they are all the same in the sight of God, so don’t judge //Matthew) Both the gay laws, anti-gay laws, etc should be of little priority now, we should all look for how to make the country better and spend less time writing this trash. Or would gay laws and antagonizing it bring back the dead people from the north!!

    Please, people want to come home and not have their heads taken off by some crack heads– people run from home everyday (not even knowing what they are going out there to face but because they have this belief that its better out there), people wanna come home and not have PHCN issues, and corruption issues which as eaten so deeply into our leaders, their family, we ourselves, and even our children, (the average nigerian is thinking of going into politics and prolly having his/her own share of the cake…. really!! smh) people wanna come home and worship in peace, the last thing on our mind should be gay people….

    Like is said previously, i’m not taking sides, if people like they screw themselves on walkways. but priority please.. If America is focusing on gay laws, its because they have other things in place… Nigeria is light years behind..

  82. Chambers Reply

    I totally disagree with you chimamanda on this.Gay and homosexuality is morally disgusting,un african and condemnable.People like sochukwuma,though your fictional creation in this piece,become gay or homosexual by choices and not birth.The effeminate men or the unusual women ,are in my neighbourhood,but they marry,live normal life and bear children.”How man go do em fellow man” and you ask “On what basis is homosexuality a crime?Please lets not allow the western influence to trample our culture and moral values underfoot.Though there are more pressing and burning issues for our our legislators to deal with,but on this anti-gay law,they have my yes.

    1. Obi Ziteife O Reply

      I am totally disapointed with you Chimamnda. I think Chi should be taken out of your Name for your clear open show of disregard and lack of fear of God.
      Secondly, I believe this article should not be getting as much attention as it is, this articles undeserved popularity and attention is fueled by the mistake Nigerians keep making in their eagerness to tag a person a Nigerian ambassador. A representative of the Nation, when we sing their praises when they recieve awards from a dying world without testing their true character and knowing what they truly stand for. Thank you Chimamanda for letting us know where you stand. i think your next books should not be representing the African culture but the values and culture of whatever Country you have drawn such abominable conclusions and positions. You do not represent Africa neither do you represent Christianity.
      Also, About the gay rights matter, when we talk about abnormalities in society, everyone is born with an abnormality: it may be witchcraft, homosexuality, beastiality, murderous anger, an intense lying habit, stealing habit, lusting habit, idolatry etc. because men have these problems does not mean the law should justify them.
      This is why i have put forward and continue to put forward that there are tremendous problems with the nature of todays democratic society as put forward by the west. we are getting to that point where everything is legalized in the guise of humanrights and Natural instincts. they keep saying, “thats just how we are”. Beastiality now leaglizes in some american state for that is just how they are, only God knows what else would be legalized…
      Society is degrading everyday. The Nature and boundaries of democracy needs to be reviewed. But i doubt if they will be because we are told by our Lord that the time of his coming shall be as the days of Noah: that day like none before or after it, where the whole world was ‘free’ and ‘immoral’, God help Nigeria. Our Hope I must say, is in Christ alone.

  83. SNigeria Reply

    Bravo, Chimamanda, you have written a cogent piece and you stand on high moral ground.

  84. Hollis Reply

    I don’t think anyone is qualified to quote The Bible without it slapping you back. I don’t blame God or the religion it self. It is the people that make, interpret it and lash out. I am sure God did not encourage the making of The Bible to be as a weapon. I do not see why people can not just worry about their own lives and not live a life of hatred for others, because that is what these people are going to answer for in the end. They are just making it harder on their selves in the end. I am going to have to answer for the sins I mayed in my life and I won’t be able to answer God’s question by pointing figures at others. I don’t need anybodies sympothy or prayers in my life. Please don’t force things in my life that in the end, it does not accomplish anything but the satisfaction of the attention you get. Then again, who is really going to care about my post anyway. I am just exercising my right to speak my opinion. A right we still have if not losing others.

  85. CHUKWURAH Reply

    Please. Are you sure of what you are saying because I have lived in Nigeria all my life and such is not a regular occurrence as you suggest. But the fact remains that Nigerian’s will protect their cultural values and their is nothing the West can do about it. This HUMANRIGHT has gone beyond reality but tilting towards the Mundane. Chimamanda can write beautiful intellectual pieces to give her opinion on issues that is not a crime but she should have the moral courage to distinguish good from bad.

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  87. titi Reply

    Obviously all her detractors are now publicly advertising their ignorance across the internet with neither shame nor awareness!!!!

  88. titi Reply

    she is an undeserved gift to such a back-warded nation!!!!!!

  89. Terry Reply

    Adichie Chimmamanda, or whatever you call yourself, You may have been paid to write this but tell yourself and those who apparently paid you that you duo have failed and failure you will continue to be. the law is against African basic custom and tradition. who are you a small girl who knows nothing about our culture to spill your saliva on the laws of the federal govt of Nigeria.

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  91. One god Reply

    I would definitely have to disagree with this article. I am not African, but my ancestry comes from there. ACCIRDING TO THE BIBLE, all sin is wrong. The bible indirectly reacts to the public sins that are done in peoples faces compared to the private sins differently. This homobehavior is not good for our future generations because it lets the youth feel that they can act a certain way. That’s how it’s spread, to a child from it’s born. Nobody is born gay, there is no scientific proof or biblical proof of that. The bible does say that we are born into son, meaning that we are influence by the evil around us. Science does confirm that too. Also, please do not compare interracial marriage and homo as being the same bc still, just like in any relationship , people intermarry and it’s still one man and woman.they still couldn’t hide the color if their skin . In many countries,Adultery is a crime, even in the US MILITARY. One can be kicked out for it. Homosexuality will rise the spread of HIV and other std and sti once it’s committed more than any race. Just look at the American CDC REPORT ON THE SPREAD OF HIV. No wonder why we ban them from giving blood. I always say, respect the laws of the country and respect the laws of the social laws of the people. A society which doesn’t reproduce is a society that fails to progress. Progression is important to all races and we must deter any notion of people to stop progression or reproduction.

  92. Rime Reply

    really can’t believe d ignorance of Africans. is not choice. Why would any1 choose to b gay when they know they will be isolated, stigmatized, segregated and discriminated against? Besides Nigeria is not a Christian nation so I don’t see why ours laws should be based on people’s perception of what d Bible says. I couldn’t have written it better myself. Brilliant work Chimamanda

  93. UDOCHI Reply

    Well, I am not surprised, may be I’ll say am bewildered. When one is swallowed up in the river of greatness, he gets drowned and soon forgets his creator, forgetting that He is the very root of that greatness! And if Amanda truly supports gay marriage, may be she should make a trend by divorcing her husband and getting married to a les, that would at least make us believe her convincingly!

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  100. AdeOla Reply

    All praise to Adichie for logging her informed opinion in the public record. I just read that the law passed against homosexuality is more draconian than that implemented by Hitler in Nazi Germany. It is absolutely despicable and a shameful not only that it was passed but also that it is supported by the majority of our people. Here we sit scratching our heads over menaces like Boko Haram, and yet people are blind to the irrational fanaticism in their own heads. How can people say that homosexuality is ‘Western’ when at the time that Westerners came to our continent homosexuality was a gross crime in their own societies? At the beginning of the 20th century, less than 5% of the population of now-Nigeria was even Christian; in conversations about what is un-African, let us be honest. At the turn of the previous millennium, no one in now-Nigeria was a Muslim. Are the Quran and Bible so sacrosanct? Was it not people who wrote them? Did not God, did not Allah give each and every one of us a brain to analyze, critique and create our own opinions? Sometimes I throw my head back and scream, so disgusted am I with the nonsense that passes for religious zeal and public discourse in this country.

    And let us be frank. The very same sexual acts that men do with men, men do with women. What two individuals do in their bedroom is their business, not the business of the state and not the business of any body! And, homosexuality delineates an orientation. It does not necessary entail sex. What is the harm in a man loving another man, or a woman another woman? I have seen grown men essentially kiss their dogs. Is it that a crime? I cannot walk from my house to the local market without almost dislocating my knee, falling into a sewer or getting hit by okada – and yet people are up in arms over homosexuality? I barely have enough money to survive let alone invest in my future. And two men kissing is a crime? If I could but gain audience with those vultures in Abuja who passed and signed this bill, then they would know what crime is. People blame the West and, yet, in everything so many people would give their souls to emulate so many aspects of Western culture. So afraid are we of what other people might think, that we have lost our own sense of self in this country. A heavy cloud of fear, loss and frustration hangs over our heads. We breathe and we forget to cough.

    To all the movers and shakers in Lagos and Abuja; we are happy you are doing well. We are happy that you are middle class. We do not begrudge you your cars or your functioning airports or the small pockets of employment you have available. But the vast majority of us in this country, we suffer and we suffer greatly. It is the voices on the fringes of our society that will change it. We should not be criminalizing difference but attempting to understand and accept it. How can we advocate for fundamental changes in our society, political and otherwise, when we attempt to squash or demonize anything we don’t understand. Have some of you of the South stopped to consider how disparagingly you speak about your Muslim brethrens in the North? I’ve no more energy to say any more! Every day I see cesspool upon cesspool upon cesspool of intolerance and hate among some of what must be the most religious people in the world. What is that? If we suffer in this country, much more of it comes back to our blindness than we would comfortably admit. We are up in arms over Boko Haram kidnapping and bombing and yet we would whip or stone a man in the law court because he has kissed another man. Who then are we to preach to Boko Haram about human rights? In supporting a law that criminalized homosexuality, do you not realize that you tacitly support the beatings, lynching and killings of homosexuals, sexually active and not?

    Who knows the number of people like the boy Adichie speaks about are suffering, alone, abused or dead because of their God-given attributes? I witnessed from a distance 7 years ago a man attacked by a mob of young men, pushed into the bush on the side of the road, confined in a tower of old tires and then horrifically set alight all the while screaming with abandon. So charred were the remains that only bits of bone stuck out the blackened pile. I, a grown man, wept when I thought of the pain that young man must have experienced. They say being burned alive is the most painful way to die because every single nerve ending in the body is triggered. What kind of society is this? Come to later find out he was found having sex in the back of a car nearby. The other man escaped. The other paid with his life. Where is God or Allah in that? That event reminds me that we walk a fine a line between intolerance and inhumanity. I shiver when I hear people like Adichie speak publicly, so rare is it to hear lucidity and fair-mindedness expressed so openly. The reasonable people in this society need to speak up and stop hiding in the shadows.

    A poll stated that 98% of Nigerians did not support homosexuality. Surely more than 2% of our own citizens are homosexuals. So oppressed must they feel that surely some could not even be honest answering a poll? Everything we have from the clothes on our backs to the air we breathe come from God. Leave other people alone! And be thankful to God for every speck of pleasure or joy in your life, in the fact that you have a life at all. Do to others what you want done to you.

    1. Ona Reply

      My guy,
      I bow for my people abeg. You talk word. Wetin we dey carry this yeye religion like this for head? We wan kill gay men because some dimwitted bronze age texts condemn homosexuality. When will we grow up and start thinking for ourselves. Abeg, my people leave this gay matter.

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