A Point of Interest

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7226346.stm

So.  I wanted to post the link, because it’s kind of a big scandal around here.  Also, it made the international news which doesn’t happen every day.  Then I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to say alongside the article, and decided to post the link alone until I thought of something better.

The problem is that I still haven’t thought of anything better.  Part of the problem is that I don’t know too much about the issue in the first place.  It is an extremely marginalized corner of the culture.  You just don’t talk about it.  The rough extent of what I know?

-The word for homosexual is “goor jigéen”, translating literally as “boy girl” or “man woman”.

-Sénégal is a Muslim country.  Open homosexuality is not accepted, or even acknowledged.  Ask the general population and they’ll tell you that it does not exist; “it’s unnatural”.

-Political art is one area where there is public “acceptance” (for lack of a better term) of homosexuality, e.g. a popular singer who titles himself Goor Jigéen.

-Most gays are married with families, living “normal, socially acceptable lives”.

-Not all Sénégalese are prejudiced against them; they just don’t talk about it.

See?? That’s all I really.  It’s interesting, because Western culture resists too.  It has been the work of decades to change things to where they currently stand.

So what makes the difference?  Values.  It’s the effect of a uniformly religious society.  In a way, it’s the same old fight.  It’s not Islam that oppresses women (or in this case gay people), but the practice of interpreting the guidelines and values of Islam in ways that serve men (or hetereosexuals).  It’s taking rules intended to protect the prophet’s wives, and turning them around to control women in general. Placing men, like some half-deity, between women and god rather than using the structure of Islam to create equality.

It’s the failure of religions in general to change with the times.  A refusal to adapt and modify in order to accurately reflect how the world has changed; how a culture has changed.

I’m not saying that Sénégalese culture is “behind” in some way because it does not accept homosexuality while we are moving toward it.  Simply that is different from my own. It can be difficult to escape from thinking to myself that Sénégal has not had a gay revolution “yet”.  Perhaps someday there will be a social movement that changes these views, and perhaps not.  If so I, for one, can’t say what form that would take or what that would look like.

2 Responses to “A Point of Interest”

  1. lizard Says:

    so… this is completely off topic but I had a samosa today and I thought of you!

  2. sneak Says:

    come back to the states already!

Leave a Reply