Dispelling Myths About Sexuality

“No one would ever understand how, if they shared the same childhood and background, one could be gay. But that was just it. In that lay the answer to all their questions. They could all share the same background, home or memories, they could even be twins or triplets and one of them could still turn out gay, because that’s the way it just was. He was simply who he was and always had been from the moment he was aware of himself” (193).

Jude Dibia’s novel Walking with Shadows explores concepts of homosexuality within Nigeria prior to the passing of laws that prohibit homosexuality. Though this novel is viewed as controversial for illustrating what it means to be gay in a very homophobic setting, it ultimately aims to provide readers with a humanized depiction of homosexuality. Within Nigeria homosexuality is portrayed as demonic as well as highly criticized. However, Dibia’s novel allows readers to understand that homosexuality is not something to be considered deviate but simply apart of a person’s identity. After being attacked by a Pastor that his brother hired, Adrian contemplates how sexuality is not something that develops based upon a bad up bring, but that it is strictly something one is born with. This revelation that occurs when Adrian’s other brother helps him recover from the beating seems to be what the novel aims exemplify. Adrian is positioned as a character who leads a life that fits the constraints of a stereotypical Nigerian male which allows his sexual orientation to exist regardless. As the majority of the characters begin to understand that Adrian’s sexuality is not a detriment, there is an overwhelming consensus that homosexuality is not something that is inherently bad. Dibia’s explores the concept of nurture being related to whether or not someone is gay. He ultimately dispels the belief that homosexuality is a product of one’s upbringing through this moment of sibling understanding. Dibia’s novel and specifically this scene serve as not only a call for a discussion of gay rights within Nigeria, but he also brings forth the understanding that homosexuality is not a choice but apart of one’s innate being.

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About Maya Fernandez

My name is Maya Fernandez. I am a senior at American University studying Literature and Sociology. My pronouns are her, hers, and she.

Posted on November 13, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Talking about choice and identity, these two things can be intertwined with each other, and I am reminded of Things Fall Apart. Ada and Nwoye kind of shared a parallel in terms of how individual beliefs are contrasting with those of the society’s. Ada’s upbringing in a family that upholds traditional Nigerian values shapes her view of homosexuality as a sin. However, the girlfriends she hang out with share a contrasting belief that homosexuality is acceptable. In the end, Ada still accepts Adrian for who he is although they have to end the marriage. This also happens with Nwoye when he decides to follow the missionaries, become a Christian, and pursue a teacher training puts his relationship with his father and other seniors in the Igbo society in jeopardy. I believe that avery choice and identity is influenced by so many factors, such as cultural, political, or even religious values. But the way we see these influences in a more positive perspective is really important as the contrasting beliefs may cause bubbles of misconceptions, and thus, generate more stereotypes and sentiments towards issues that are deemed as controversial.

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