PUBLISHED ON GUARDIAN AS Liberty vs Morality : Reflection On A 3-million People 'Pride Parade' In Sao Paolo.
Growing up in a conservative country like Nigeria, I have always wanted more freedom to explore certain things no one ever took time to explain to me. I have always wanted to keep the police off wherever I let my mind thought take me to. With my curious mind as a teenager, I read about great philosophers, scientist and artistes as well as made my own research of religions and beliefs, and I came across certain issues that were very much underground, such as the issue of the followers of "Guru Maharaj ji" or even homosexuals.
I recall that at the age of 12 or13, I happened to be a victim of molestation by a young man who had attempted to rape me. My understanding at that time, could not fully grab his predicament, but I felt like a clot of rubbish, until years later when I came across the word homosexuals. Members of this sect are frequently subjected to prejudice and discrimination in our society, which further adds to their marginalisation and vulnerability; it doesn't mean they do not exist in our hypocritical society.
Similar to that are the Transmen and Transwomen – those who were males or females at birth, but feel that is no accurate or complete description of themselves. So they desire transition towards a gender role as a woman or a man to varying degrees. I have always wondered, instead of keeping silent about these pacing phenomena: is it not better we voice it out, rather than living in pretence ? Because they are definetely a part of us.
In the last ten years now, I have traveled even more than I desire. I have met with people I only read about in books or watched on TV. I have found liberty at its peak and I have understood its limits. I have realised that i am a free man from the moment i have the right to act according to my will without being held up by the power of others, with the capacity to determine my own choices.
Nonetheless, liberty in the absence of subordination and constraint, like every other thing in life can be addictive. When you get so addicted to your liberty, you definitely become a slave to something else.
Now, I think of the degree of our madness on earth. I thought there used to be a time girls dress-to-kill in order to show off their clothes, but now we kill-to-dress to show off our bodies. It is my thought that soon, people will begin to share bodies to go out in, the way girls share clothes now; we'll say to one another, "Who'll wear the brown body tonight?", "Hey honey, go put on the muscular body."
For sure, immorality is where we are heading in the name of human right, and sooner there will be no such thing as 'Wrong'.
On my arrival at Sao Paolo, Brazil, few days ago, I immediately identified myself with the city. I knew something was insane just the way I liked it. But why Sao Paolo to start with? The mission to Brazil will last for a month – June 1 - 14 in Sao Paolo and June 15 – 28 in Belo Horizonte, but it will be multi-tasked.
This year 2009 is the year of France in Brazil, and I happen to be part of the French delegation. I shall as well be networking with a host of cultural operators as regards ewaBAMIJO, my coming festival in Lagos during the last week of October. I shall be screening my film "Do We Need Cola Cola to Dance?" and making more alternative space performances in collaboration with my Brazilian producers.
In the midst of my busy program, the adventurer in me was able to yet dig into the heart of this wonderful city. All through my travel experiences I have come across just two cities of similar insanity; New York and Johannesburg. Every night, there were at least four plans to choose from. But one significant event I wouldn't miss for anything was the 'Gay Pride Parade', which held exactly on my last day in Sao Paolo. I was told there will be three million gays in a carnival!
On many occasions, I have deliberately avoided having to state my opinion publicly on this controversial phenomenon. I am one of those few Nigerians who are not gay but really don't feel any different from those who are. Even if my definition of an 'ideal world' doesn't subscribe to such, yet able to state my opinion clearly without bias or offense. My existence as a dancer who works with his body and emotion, has at many times expanded my discovery and deepened my realisation of some sensual parts of me and also the sensuality of my dance partners, be it male or female.
This same construct has taught me not to find bodies attractive nor repellent; only the people in them.
So today, when I look at a homosexual, what do I see? Do I see a dead fag just waiting for a penis to bring him alive? Do I see a punk who has become what he is due to his addiction to liberty, with a bottle of beer in hand and singing "NO FUTURE?” or do I see a fellow human being capable of engaging in a meaningful conversation that could make the world a better place and being able to talk freely (without the influence of his proclaimed "identity") about the entrenchment of difference in a one world?
So under what category is the existence of this 'Gay Pride Parade'? Of what significance is it? A political movement or a folie de grandeur? These are questions that caress my conscious self as we colorise the city en mass.
-Immorality Is Our Destination-
On getting to the Metro SE, it was as if I forgot that three million was no joke. Sure, on paper it looks a minute population, but for real, imagine the sight of a mass of human beings counting from one to three million. Seeing them all from afar in their ecstatic frenzies, I thought it was interesting as I was anticipating it ever since I heard of the event.
The image I had in my head began to wash away as I got closer to them. I felt a massive energy filled with life in the punk way. The first reaction that touched my animal instinct was "run back". My legs failed me for at least two seconds. "Courage man" I told myself and so I joined the mob of apparently young boys and girls in their early twenties - newly hatched gays, free of parental guidance - all in pairs. You could feel the pulse of liberty in their faces.
I was still trying to get used to the hundreds in the throng until I got to the platform of the blue line, where I intended to change for the green line that will take me to CONSOLACAO, my meeting point with the rest of my friends, most of whom were girls and who would be my shield for the next six hours.
There were at least a thousand people waiting at the platform for the coming Metro. I was astonished. I had never seen a Metro filled with such a crowd. This is the kind of carnival you wish to be at its forefront, archiving all the experiences it could bring you in your mind. And trying to figure out a sense of this interesting madness before your very eyes, something tells you that you are also part of the three million, yet you are in love with the vibrations. As I took pictures, some would come closer to me in an attempt to hug or kiss me. I can still tolerate a hug but get easily and swiftly repelled when something other than that gets close.
In this gathering, everything is allowed. It was complete madness! We watched in suspense and suspicion, for we all knew that something was absolutely missing in everyone's head. And that one thing was morality. Nothing seemed abnormal no more; each time I asked my friends in curiosity "Is that girl a guy?” “Are those breasts real?” “Is he a girl?" Seeing a guy and a girl kissing was the most abnormal thing in such gathering. No one was sure of what was wrong and what was not to be done. Everything was in a defiant mood of “YES WE CAN!
We quickly took our exit after the last carnival van that passed us, for we were warned that the moment you see the sun going down, you had better leave with the sunset, because just like vampires, it could get really nasty after sunset.
MORALS are created and defined by society, philosophy, religion, or individual conscience and intuition, which differs between the liberals and the conservatives. Morality is seen as a collection of beliefs as to what constitutes a good life. Throughout much of human history, religions have provided both visions and regulations for an ideal life. In a secular community like in Euro-American setting, lifestyle choices, which represent an individual's conception of good and bad, are often discussed in terms of "morality." The individual makes an appropriate lifestyle choice first, before being compelled within his civil rights, to accept the codes of conduct within their chosen community as what is fundamentally moral, even when such codes deviate from larger social principles.
HOMOSEXUALITY: A sexual orientation, social construct or identity politics?
The term homosexual is often used in European and American context to encompass a person’s entire social identity, which includes the self and personality. In other cultures such in Africa where the principles of right and wrong behavior is still a communal responsibility, homosexual and heterosexual labels don’t emphasize an entire social identity or indicate community affiliation based on sexual orientation.
Homosexuality is a modern western social construct, which has today become a group of some interconnected powerful men or women, doing everything possible to buy more young and agile men or ladies into their 'ideal' world, leading to a 'choice' and eventually metamorphosing into a circular religion.
I recognise that just as heterosexuals, we don't 'choose' our sexuality, some people don't get sexually connected to the opposite sex, if it is about the sudden discovery of one's attraction to same sex, which will of course respect the heterosexuality of the other, I have nothing against that. However such cannot be used as a basis of identifying a human being.
My resentment has really not much to do with sexual identity, but to the uproar that follows any ideology that the liberal West wishes to sell to humanity as a whole. They make so much uproar about it until it becomes the new world order; and going against it becomes the new sin. And since they are the ones in the front line of human history, they will always look for one truth or the other to cover their lies.
Finally, I have always believed that to continually participate in this world with curiosity and pleasure, to see any sense in this illogical existence of ours, one definitely have to pretend to be young and uninformed, pretend to be free of traditions and religion, and like that one learns to tolerate others in their identified weakness and insanity.