Sodomising Them Young!

Fifteen — that was the age of Lexis at the time of his first homosexual encounter and I interviewed him three years ago. Incredibly, this was the exact same age at which anonymous Aziz was first sexually assaulted by Dr Ali Gabass in a recent scandal that has left many Ghanaians in shock. But the patterns are all too familiar and the similarities striking. In a way, they affirm my sense of dread back then that this homosexual matter was not only more prevalent than we cared to admit, but that there seemed to be an effective underground recruitment network that most of us were blind to. At its most vicious, it targeted people as young as Lexis and Aziz. Both boys had been recruited by older men they either trusted or admired, men that exerted some authority over their lives in an undenied exploitative relationship. While Lexis had been recruited by his teacher, Facebook had served as an effective conduit for Aziz’s recruitment by Dr Gabass. “I was introduced to this kind of thing by my class teacher. In form one, sometime during the second term when I got into the school, he became very close to me. I thought he was being nice. I used to go to his house. A time came when he spoke to me about it. I didn’t think much of it then. And then I needed help at a time so I went to him and he said if I did it, he would help me. So that is how I got into it.” Lexis revealed to me. There emerges the picture of a practice that has engulfed young and old, married men and single, high and low alike, including some that are constantly on the prowl for somewhat unsuspecting minors that they can lure astray. Recruitment into homosexuality Our children in secondary schools and everywhere are clearly massively exposed. This, thus, calls for a similar deliberate massive response that clearly goes beyond occasional screaming statements condemning homosexual practices. Parents, youth workers, counsellors, etc., all need to penetrate through deliberate strategising, what I think of as an underworld of child recruitment into homosexuality. Perhaps, as my missus advises, there is the need for parents to establish a strong emotional connection with their children so that whatever happens, children will feel comfortable enough to bring new experiences to our immediate notice before reaching the point of no return. Some also wonder what business Aziz had cavorting with a grown man who had exhibited sexual interest in him on Facebook. This kind of query ties in rather closely with how some homosexual partners identify each other as per my interview. In openly gay societies, many people are accepting the spectacle and concept of a couple. I am ignorant of how these concepts of stable and faithful couples play out in Ghana. What became clear, however, was the great extent to which some homosexuals relied on the snowballing effect to find willing partners. Word simply spread by mouth in addition to night clubs known to those inclined as gay clubs. So typically, Lexis spoke about being introduced to this or that person, including a man travelling in from South Africa, who gave him a handsome payoff after a week of romantic alliance. He was hooked and simply having lots of fun with some good money on the side. The most striking feature of my interaction was that Lexis, with multiple homosexual partners, people to whom he gave sex in exchange for money, never considered himself a male prostitute! So no, that the boy and the doctor had more or less got into some pattern of looking people up on Facebook, starting some sort of relationship and moving rapidly to consummate it was not particularly surprising. As shocking as it may be, for both the 15-year-old and the older doctor, this may not be their first such foray. Molestation of minors I have no doubt that the Ghanaian culture is very abhorrent of homosexual practices, which are also outlawed under unnatural carnal knowledge. The recruitment and molestation of minors is even more reprehensible. Stories such as the one put out by journalist Manasseh, where the boy’s anal regions have become totally sexually traumatised requiring surgery and his positive test for HIV, are all very shocking and sad. One thinks not just of this boy, but the wife and children of this doctor and what anguish they must be enduring through absolutely no fault of theirs. Changing tones It is good to observe the changing tones of the responses from hospital authorities. It was disturbing to see a somewhat detached position on what is clearly a very serious allegation against a senior hospital employee. Initially, one hospital manager positioned the alleged sodomy as a purely private matter perpetrated by a doctor outside of working hours. In recent times, the hospital has offered counselling and more or less barred the senior medical officer from work until the matter has been concluded by the police. Clearly, in instances like this, rather than taking a somewhat nonchalant stance, the least the hospital can do without supposedly prejudging the doctor is to give a clear indication that they do not condone sodomy; two, that they will offer full cooperation to the police investigations as necessary and three, that the hospital itself intends to look into the matter to determine the extent to which systems need to be put in place to avert future embarrassment to its staff and facility. Kudos to the Medical and Dental Council for sending out these signals very unambiguously. Western world and homosexuality Do the western societies love their perceived tag as enjoying epidemic proportions of homosexuality? Well, not quite, given my experiences in the Netherlands four years ago. I found myself in a multicultural and international class doing a mind- mapping exercise. I was the only African in my group. When the Africa region came, people started mentioning HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, poverty, hunger, war, violence, and malnutrition. I sat down quietly and soaked all this rubbish. This is an academic environment. There is the need for openness and tolerance for opposing views, I rationalised. When it came to the turn of Europe, I raised my hands and said, “homosexuality …” etc. which immediately brought a red colour to the face of a German girl who responded robustly that homosexuality is not synonymous with the West and that there are homosexuals in Africa too. Of course, I quickly countered that similarly HIV/AIDS, etc., are all not synonymous with Africa and that I was quite sure there were poor and hungry people in Europe too. Some people were not very happy with me that day. I guess homosexuality unnerves Africans and Europeans alike, although the West will seek to punish some African countries for taking positions against the practice.