Thursday, 25 July 2013

Facebook: Nigeria’s self-described homosexuals and self-inflicted legal mess

By Emeka Ugwuonye

When I look at people’s Basic Information on their profiles on Facebook, I always rush to see how they answered the question: (Interested in:). When I see they answered it as “Men and Women”, I laugh so hard and I get worried, especially if they are Nigerians. None of them realizes that under the new law in the making, they have confessed to being guilty of homosexuality.

What people often do not know is that Facebook came into existence at a time that the market for dating sites was booming. Websites such as had already been developed to match-make lovers. These dating sites enable people to meet new dates or love partners and it has been a booming great business. So, Facebook was wise to tap into that market by having people indicate their dating preference or interest, i.e., the gender of the person they would like to date.

Because in America and other European countries, mostly, the law had since allowed same-sex or homosexual relationships, it is possible for people to date or have romantic relationship with people of the two genders. So, a woman who is bisexual would date “men and women”. And a bisexual male would date both “men and women”. But the important thing is that the question or the information required of you is to indicate: (a) whether you are interested in finding a date on Facebook and (b) what is the gender of the dating partner you would prefer.

So if you are not looking for a date on Facebook, do not fill out the information requested under “Interested In”. Also, those people who indicate that they are married and yet go further to fill that information are actually indicating that they are married, but are still interested in dating someone other than their spouses. And those people who answer that question with “men and women” are actually indicating that they are partly homosexual and partly heterosexual (i.e. bisexual). So, please, if you are a woman and you fill out that question with “men and women” do not be surprised if another woman expresses dating interest in you. And if you are a man and you fill out that question with “men and women”, do not be surprised if a gay man expresses interesting in dating you. And if you are a Nigerian, do not be surprised if you get arrested eventually for the “crime” of homosexuality.

But also, this matter reflects a fundamental cognitive or linguistic gap in the way people of different cultures attribute meanings to words and terms. Many Africans, particularly Nigerians who face such question as “interested in”, interpret the words “interested in” to mean general liking. They think that they are being asked whether they like people or hate people. But that is nonsense. That is not what the question is about. So forget that your Bible mentality of liking everybody. The operative word here is “interested”, not “liking”. The essence of that question is to ascertain your sexual orientation – whether you are homosexual or not. Indeed, many Nigerians from the information they provide on Facebook have defined themselves as homosexuals or heterosexuals without realizing it. Do you then wonder why the West would be pressuring the Nigerian government not to criminalize homosexuals given that most Nigerians on Facebook have described themselves as homosexuals?

So, please, go back right now to the Basic Information you provided on your Facebook profile and state the truth about your sexual orientation.

(a) If you are a married person and you are not trying to cheat on your wife or husband, skip that question “Interested In”.

(b) If you are a man and you are interested in dating only women, then answer that question with “women”.

(c) If you are a woman and you are interested in dating only men, then answer that question with “men”.

(d) If you are in a relationship and you are not interesting in a date anymore, then skip that question.

(e) If you are homosexual man and you are interested in dating men, then answer the question with “men”.

(f) If you are a homosexual woman or a lesbian and you are interested in dating women, then answer that question with “women”.

(g) And finally, if you are a bisexual person and you want to attract and date people of both sexes, then answer it with “men and women”.

And whatever answer you give, remember that the new law against same-sex sex or dating is going to come into effect soon, and you don’t want to be arrested and sent to jail for 14 years.

The point to bear in mind is that these things may have profound legal implications, which some people don’t seem to realize. If your husband or wife accuses you of infidelity, he or she can prove his or her case by pointing at your Facebook profile to show you are looking for dates and that your are either a homosexual or a bisexual. Also, it is not harassment for men or women to be chasing you after you have indicated that you are interested in “men and women”. For those women who get upset that even though they indicated they are married, men are chasing them on Facebook, have themselves to blame if they filled out that question, “interested in”.

So please take advantage of this free legal advice and define your sexual status accurately.

•Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire, whose photo appears alongside this piece, is an international lawyer practicing in the US and Nigeria. He is the Group Founder/Principal Administrator of Due Process Advocates (DPA).

Source News Express

1 comment:

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