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Air crashes in Nigeria

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The Big Read

Sunday, November 3, 2013

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‘It is possible for a man to feel that he’s a woman’ Dr. Adeyemi Suraj of Psychiatric Hospital, Oshodi Annex, Lagos, in this interview with Tai Anyanwu, reacts to why a man or a woman would crave after coital union with someone of same sex. Excerpts: What would make a man or a woman to become a homosexual or lesbian? There are different reasons and we can look at it from biological, psychological and social causes. The biological cause: a person who has a brain damage; it can have a tendency towards becoming mentally retarded and subsequently engage in homosexuality. Not because he wants to; but because he is mentally ill as at that time. Tendency towards the abnormal sexual affection could also be psychological. The way a person sees himself, for instance, it is possible for a man to feel that he is a female. Such people just have that kind of sexual abnormality because they have this feeling that they are neither male nor female. Such a person can engage in homosexual act. Then people who have this low self esteem can also develop such attitude. The psychological framework of a person generally is also involved. Then social causes; if it is socially accepted in an environment, like in the United States of America for example, some people will engage in homosexuality like a normal thing. Like if it is signed into law that homosexuality is normal in Nigeria; and a person that grows up in a society where homosexuality is practised openly, it will increase the tendency of the person to be a homosexual. That can also count for it. But these are medical terms; people have spiritual leanings and belief. But it is considered in some societies like Europe, America and the United Kingdom. But presently in Nigeria, it is illegal; so we consider it as a problem although to most psychiatrists, homosexuality has been removed as a psychiatric problem worldwide. It is not considered as a psychiatric problem anymore. So those are the things that could lead a person to becoming a homosexual. How does a homosexual see himself in the society? Well; it depends on the society. The first one is if they find themselves in a society where homosexuality is legal, they see themselves as normal. They don’t have any problem with you; they don’t have any problem with themselves. They see themselves as normal human beings, and they are treated as normal in a society where it is accepted. In fact, it is illegal for anybody to treat them as an outcast. In such environment, they

Suraj

are normal human beings. But in a society where homosexuality is considered illegal, like in Nigeria, there is a mixed feeling. Some of them are angry. That is why you will see some people come up in the media and annoyingly tell you that why should homosexual not be allowed to practise what they believe in? So, they see themselves as inferior and they get angry. There is this anger that grows within them; and sometimes, because they do it in secret, there could be some fear attached to it, anxiety attached to it. In such society, there is fear

attached to it, anxiety attached to it; they do it in the secret and there is a lot of lies that even when people catch them, they will lie about it because they don’t want the law to catch up with them. It brings anxiety, brings condemnation; and some of them, because the society does not accept it, they begin to see themselves as being abnormal and this even leads to depression for some of them. In fact, some of them can end up committing suicide in a society where homosexuality is illegal. But in a society where it is legal, they grew up in the society; they see everybody doing it as a normal thing. So they don’t feel bad. Such people will not get anxious to do it. Even in a legal society, religious beliefs can also cause anxiety, mixed feelings and condemnation for homosexuals when they know that their religion does not accept it. How can homosexuals be helped? In a society where homosexuality is legal, they are normal; there is nothing wrong with them. So you don’t help a normal person. In a society where it is considered illegal, like I earlier said, homosexuality is no more a psychiatric problem. It becomes an offence. So, there is no psychiatrist that will diagnose homosexuality as a problem. But in our society, culture does not permit, the law does not permit and religion also does not permit. So, help will need to be initiated by the person if the person realises that what he is doing is not comfortable with people. In Nigeria now, nobody can come out categorically and say he has homosexual problems and you cannot help a person that does not want to be helped. The only people that can be helped are people that will come out on their own to say ‘look, I have this homosexual tendency and I don’t like it. Those are people you can help; people who enjoy what they are doing and who have held it secretly; they are on their own, even when they are caught, there is nothing you can do about it; because they are not ready to change their attitude or their way of life. If anybody comes and says ‘look, I need help, I want to be a heterosexual’, they can be helped psychologically. One of the ways the person can be helped is psychologically. If the person undergoes a thorough investigation, and there are no brain damage, and psychological influence and social influence had been identified as the causes of the homosexual tendency, then those things will be corrected as appropriate. But majorly, the person will have to undergo psychotherapy. Most times, it is a psychological thing, they must change the way they think.

I’m proud to be a black gay pastor, says Macaulay CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 by the Anglican bishops who met in Nairobi, Kenya, where they roundly condemned homosexual acts. They warned that such practice was capable of breaking up the Church. How far the African bishops can go in the latest campaigns against homosexual practice and endorsement of same-sex marriage remains to be seen, as some parishes of the Communion in Europe and the Americas have gone far afield. For instance, three dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada, namely, New Westminster, Niagara, and Montréal, have extended the blessing of civil marriages to same-sex couples. This same scenario applies to the Episcopal Church of the USA which in 2009 adopted a resolution allowing individual bishops to choose whether or not to allow the blessing of same-sex unions within their bishoprics. That decision was widely seen as a form of compromise, following which gay marriages went viral in some US churches. In the same vein, the homosexual bug is not peculiar to the Anglicans, as the Catholic Diocese of the Old Catholics in Germany had recently approved of homosexual civil unions. Also, a retired Anglican, American Bishop of the Diocese of the New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, a professed

gay, said that he had led a retreat a few years before for gay Catholic priests. He opposed the Roman Catholic ban on homosexual seminarians, stating, “I find it so vile that they think they are going to end the child abuse scandal by throwing out homosexuals from seminaries.” Robinson who divorced his female wife in 1986, subsequently went to marry a fellow man, Andrew, in 1988. But the Archbishop of Canterbury, the symbolic leader of the world Anglican Communion, Justin Welby, seems to have beamed tacit smiles on homosexuals in the Church. In August this year, he warned Christians to repent over wicked attitude to the homosexuals. Welby who once voted against same-sex marriage in the House of Lords and opposed allowing gay couples to adopt, may have thus vascillated as he said that opposing gays and lesbians would be seen by a majority of under-35s as tantamount to “racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice.” But in Nigeria, the Senate last year foreclosed granting legality to the rights of the homosexuals as it passed the same-sex marriage bill, slamming a 14-year jail term on any two men or two women caught in the act. But for the Anglicans and other churches in their fight against homosexuality, advocacy remains the only weapon, so far.

Macaulay

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