I, coming from a rural Georgia town populated by more cows than people, have been newly introduced to the complexities that surround LGBT rights around the world. It astounds me that granting everyone equal rights is such a complex thing. What was more astounding was finding out in Rao’s article “Queer in the Time of Terror” that the nations we refer to as “third world” generally did not have a problem with homosexual acts until they were introduced to Western powers during the colonial period. It was only after the westerners showed disdain for homosexual acts or tendencies that they became taboo there as well. And now, the West is scorning the “third world” for not being sympathetic to LGBT rights. Seems a little hypocritical, huh?
Rao also warns of labelling same sex acts as “homosexual,” “gay,” or “LGBT” because those are inherently Western identities. He sights cases like the hijra in India or the kathoeys in Thailand where indigenous peoples have created sexual minorities outside of the Western “gay” identity and even argues that homosexual tendencies are not inherently connected to a personal identity. He argues that one must acknowledge the Iranian, or the Indian, or the Nigerian as being more fundamental to one’s identity than sexual preference.
That being said, I think it is incredibly important that films like Emotional Crack, which address homosexuality, are being made by Nigerians. It is not an outsider forcing a social opinion on a people, but a dialogue within the population about an issue. This, in my opinion, is the only way to bring about social change that has durability or “staying power.”