Wild. Repulsive. Barbaric. Absolutely abominable. These are some adjectives that many would readily adopt to describe the act of lesbianism anyday. But are Nigerian girls and ladies found in this
act? Shhh! Oh no! Wait! don’t jump into any conclusion yet, just take your time now, as you embark on this ride with YEMISI ADENIRAN in her recent trips to some homes, Nigerian universities and other higher institutions alike and see how much of our female fellow Nigerians are attracted to themselves these days, in spite of the many men around.
To most students who are knowing them for the first time, Joy and Joke come across, as not just mere friends, but like some blood-related associates. Wherever you find one, the other, if not yet visible, is simply lurking around. Apart from studying the same course, Languages and Linguistics, at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, they live in the same hostel, cook together, eat from the same plate. Just think of any activity, they basically go about it like a siamese twin.
At first, no one really cared about their intimacy until a recent incident that almost sent them packing from their hostel. “Before now, we never read any meaning into their actions until Deola, a curious girl on our block drew our attention to it,” recalled Tanny, an undergraduate of this same university who offered to help this reporter in her curious assignment. According to her, Deola was a sister of one of their room mates and had come to spend some few days with her sister as she was preparing for the last Joint Admission Matriculation Examination (JAME). Within the first three days of her stay, she had become greatly worried about the intimacy of Joy and Joke that she could not but ask questions. However, as much as the many responses she was offered by her sister and her co-room mates, Deola’s curiousity remained unabated. Soon, at her leisure time, she began trailing her suspects. “Why would they always bath together and be hostile to anyone who come around at that particular time,” asked a worried Deola.
From her findings, Deola discovered that the duo preferred to take their bath in the evenings together and always proved hostile to anyone who intruded into their closet at that particular time. This was how she discovered this: “Around 9 p.m. on a Friday, I noticed that these two girls were ready to have their bath, but 30 minutes after they had left their room, they were still roaming about the area for God-knows what. I was very disturbed within me and made up my mind to watch them very closely. I did not tell anyone but informed my elder sister about my plan as I noticed their readiness to go to the bathroom. My fear was soon confirmed when I got to the two entrances of the bathroom and met it closed. Most times, the doors were always left ajar for anyone to enter since we are all girls. I quickly went back to inform my sisters who followed me with one other room mate of hers. Although, they wouldn’t see any reason for this, but I guess, they got curious too. We tactically broke into the bathroom and was shocked when we saw them leaning against each other on the wall of the bathroom having their disgusting fun. It was Joke who first saw us as she was under, she screamed and the other girl, haven been alerted, immediately disengaged from her. They both tried to attack us but when we begun to shout and threaten to report them to the head, Potter and the school authorities, they soft pedaled and begged that we should not expose their shameless act.”
This was strange and at the same time amazing. For about two semesters now, these girls have been around and no one cared to seek for why they are that intimate until a younger girl came around to give a clue to this. Within the space of a month, the news had gone round so much that the girls, without any prompting from the school authority, resulted to living off the campus. In spite of this however, the damage had been done, they had become labeled as lesbians and clues have been laid bare for ways of getting others in such practice.
If you think lesbianism is only prominent amidst the adults or those in higher institutions, then, you might just be making a big mistake. A lot of these lesbians around now have been exposed to it right from their childhood and if you will be careful enough to monitor what goes on around you, you will soon submit to the adage that says “Charity begins at home.”
The word lesbian according to Mrs, Bola Babs, a Consultant psychologist with the Orphan and Vulnerable Children, Abuja, can refer to desire, an act of sexual intimacy involving two women. It is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. “The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterised by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an adjective, to describe characteristics of an object or activity related to female same-sex desire,”she said.
Tracing its documementation to the late 19th century when sexologists published their observations on same-sex desire and behaviour, she opined that lesbians in Western culture, are designated as a distinct entity. “As a result, women who became aware of their new medical status formed underground subcultures in Europe and North America. Further broadening of the term occurred in the 1970s with the influence of second wave feminism. Historians since, have re-examined relationships between women in history, and have questioned what qualifies a woman or a relationship as lesbian. The result of such discussion has introduced three components to identifying lesbians: sexual behaviour, sexual desire, or sexual identity,”she added.
Speaking on some of the reasons why we have many ladies indulge in the act especially these days, Babs said some are into it either for adventure, which is a social reason; some, as a result of a disorder, anti-social or mental disorder, while generally, she attributed the desire to an act based on lack of the fear of God.
“In spite of the level of our civilisation, lesbianism, no matter what is abnormal and a shameful thing. That is why most of them in the habit cannot come out in the open to declare their habit. It is categorised under Sodomy and should be discouraged by all,” she said.
Supporting the opinion of the early sexologists, Babs based her characterisation of lesbians on their beliefs that women who challenged their strictly prescribed gender roles were mentally ill. She however blamed this on carelessness on the part of many parents.
“Most of these lesbians from my experience so far, were lured into this act when they were young and pushed out to the boarding school system. I am not saying it is bad or wrong to send children to boarding schools, all I’m saying is that it should not be made so early. Some children in the craziness or the lust for this same exposure, on the part of their parents got “thrown out” of the country to live without their parents and ended up with a lot of bad habits that have become part of them.”
Apart from these, most parents, she noted, are very far from their children, all in the name of some career they are pursuing. She therefore advised that parents should become more intimate to their wards right from the cradle till they have become mature. They should be role models to them, share love and their thoughts with them as much as possible. And should they discover any of their children in such an act, they should seek the help of a counsellor or have them rehabilitated until the urge gets quenched. Lesbianism has sometimes been in vogue throughout history, which affects how lesbians are viewed by others as well as how they view themselves. Some women who engage in homosexual behaviour may reject the lesbian identity entirely, refusing to identify themselves as lesbian or bisexual.
Women who adopt the lesbian identity, however, share experiences that form an outlook similar to ethnic identity: as homosexuals, they are unified by the discrimination and potential rejection they face from their families, friends, and others. As women, they face concerns separate from men. Lesbians may again encounter distinct health concerns. Political conditions and social attitudes also continue to affect the formation of lesbian relationships and families.
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