Following the US Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriages, coupled by the fact that Obama will soon visit Kenya, there are fears and concerns among Kenyans that the US may want the rest of the world to follow its example. The Kenyan deputy president, William Ruto has therefore issued a stern warning to President Obama not to talk about gay rights during his trip to Kenya. He has further declared that there is no place for gay people in Kenya. This homophobic sentiments have been lauded by many Kenyans, who have taken upon themselves to spew homophobic messages largely through social media, and in many social conversations.
These events have seen me engage in conversations about gay rights over the last few weeks, mostly with people that are completely opposed to the idea of people with non-conforming sexualities having the same rights as any human being. On several occasions, I have found myself being asked what I would do, or how I would respond if my child turned out to be gay.
I don’t know what people expect as the answer to that question, or even the purpose of asking the question. I suppose those who ask the question imagine that the thought of my own flesh and blood turning out gay, will hit me back to my senses, because to them, this would be a parent’s worst nightmare.
My first question to the people that ask this question is whether the parents of children known to be heterosexual (straight) go about life thinking about their children’s sexuality. If that is not the case, then why would any parent go about life thinking about their child’s non-conforming sexuality? I don’t understand why people imagine that the sexual identity or gender of a child with a non-conforming sexuality or gender identity should be the primary focus of their being.
No one is any one single thing, and to imagine that I would reduce my child to a sexual or gender identity is strange thinking. Human beings are often many things in one, and sexual identity is one thing, but not everything about a person.
If my child was gay, lesbian, heterosexual, asexual, intersex, transgender, queer, it wouldn’t matter. They would be my child, biologically. I would give them the best life I could. Bring them up to be the best human beings they could be. I would want them to dream and realize their dreams. I would want them to live their lives true to themselves, and without fear that their sexuality would pose a hindrance to them realizing their dreams. I would raise them to know that they are more than their sexuality; that they are humans with lives to live.
As a person who is socially and politically active, I would want my children to see life beyond themselves. I would want them to speak out and act against corruption, rigged elections, restriction of civic and media freedoms, police brutality and extra-judicial killings, the inadequacy and neglect of public services, among other human rights violations, or whatever other social vices will exist in their society during their time. I would not want my children to be apathetic, only gaining voice on matters concerning morality and sexuality.
My greatest fear would be to raise children that consume and spew hatred towards people that do not look, think or behave like them. I would be greatly concerned if my children would rather hate tax-paying, law-abiding citizens, whose sexualities they may not understand, while there are so many injustices to confront and challenge in society.
I would be concerned if my children would choose to make an issue of people with non-conforming sexualities and gender identities, rather than demand better from politicians living lavishly off their taxes, yet continue to steal from them in the broad day light, abusing, raping and kill them. I would be disturbed if my children got distracted from the real issues.