Digital Participation: Adichie on Homophobia

In February of this year, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichia wrote a response to the rampant homophobia in her native Nigeria. I found the piece comforting in its unabashed, systematic dismantling of homophobic arguments. I noted many parallels between our discussion of Ireland’s article and Dibia’s novella, and her response. Of particular interest to me was her complication of homosexuality as western import. She writes: “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. […] people like us, born and raised on African soil. How then are they ‘unafrican?’”

Her relation to the issue is particularly touching when illustrated through her witness of a gay schoolmate’s experience of persecution. Though the piece does not sing with the same aesthetic beauty as her short stories (though why would it, as a completely differently oriented text and medium?), I enjoyed the connection it might bring to bear on “the Shivering.”

Posted on December 5, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Digital Participation: Adichie on Homophobia.

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