Identity v. Sexuality
After listening to Dibia talk about the Homosexual experience in Nigeria, I was struck with the opening of the passage we were assigned for Tuesday. After a car accident, Adrian describes the experience as if he’s in a war, with soldiers looking at the accident as if a bomb went off, and he feels anxious to get to safety. What’s so ironic is that he isn’t anxious for safety from rounds, but the safety of the relief he will feel when he tells his wife about his past. Clearly, he’s too late, and his worse nightmare comes true. Reflecting on another passage that Dibia read at his presentation, he describes a flashback from Adrian’s childhood in which he is to be baptized. Describing the people who were confronted and pushed down in the water by the Bible the pastors wield in their hands, Adrian recalls the drowning feeling he has when he dips into the water. This
feeling of “letting go” is echoed in the opening passage about the car accident. Besides this feeling, what do these two scenes have in common?
For me, both scenes have an eerie current of violent that seems to to have undertones of banality. The car accident is certainly not an out-of-the-ordinary experience, but the way the author describes it gives off a combative feel. Even the way the author describes the way in which the pastors use the Bible in the Baptism ceremony gives off a muted violence. While baptism is not uncommon, it seems as though this particular ceremony meant something different to Adrian: a chance for a new identity.
Relating this to Dibia’s explanation of the homosexual experience in Nigeria, he drew a clear distinction between identity and sexuality. And so in looking at these two scenes, the subtle undertones of violence suggest that this is a banality that has become part of the homosexual experience; one that tries to make sexuality and identity one in the same. The accident represents the violence gay people face, while the baptism represents the identity Nigerian society attaches to the gay community.