by Nathan Kipkosgey, Nairobi

by Nathan Kipkosgey, Nairobi

Misunderstood

04 Jan, 2019

by Nathan Kipkosgey, Nairobi

In spite of homosexuality being as old as humanity, it remains one of the most misunderstood lots in the world. Every time this topic is brought up dagger is drawn at each other's camp for pro and against. Emotion and passion do run high and reasoning is thrown overboard the ship. In Africa, there is little or no data collected on homosexuals. This is because being gay in an African community set up is seriously being frowned upon. During data collection and research gay people are more likely to lie about their sexual orientation for fear of being victimized. They even go ahead to marrying the traditional way to blind the community while they maintain other sexual partners outside marriage hence exposing their married partners to the risk of contracting HIV AIDS.
In most African countries' constitution marriage is defined as a consensual union between an adult man and an adult woman. This means a researcher on same-sex marriage cannot be issued with permits to research on illegality. Most headmen of the African villages will misconstrue this research which is mostly Western as a scheme to promote homosexuality hence they won't cooperate leading to skewed results.
In the face of challenges regarding data collection on same-sex relationships, researchers need to come up with creative data collection methods. Since most African governments are not willing to fund this research for political reasons there are limited resources. Utilization of technology will go a long way in providing cheap and effective means of data collection. With the penetration of smartphones and internet research can be carried out directly to persons of interest without having to go through chiefs at the same time guaranteeing them anonymity.
Identifying people who are of the same sex relationship has proven to be a hard nut to crack. This is because of stigmatization that came with being gay. Nonprobability research method, volunteer samples and self-identification as either gay or lesbian are mostly depended on. These are the most effective method of identification since most respondents are open about their sexual orientation and are comfortable with it. Research that relies on probability sample such national census may result in misidentification since these data do not have crucial pieces of information such as one's sexual orientation and identity. Most gay people will rather maintain their relationship under the raps rather than came out openly and risk losing their social standing. For a valid result, the researchers need to compare results across studies which would be great in making sound public policies such as healthcare access policies.
Government across Africa should dedicate resources to carry out research on minority groups such as the LGBTQ community. Ignoring and suppressing the rights of these groups will not go along way in ensuring a solid society. This research will enable the authorities to identify their needs which will help in shaping government policies. These include health policies such as access to contraceptives to curb the spread of HIV and AIDS among the community. A better understanding of these community will go a long way in reducing homophobia and help business people to provide tailored products for them which will ensure more profit for them which is good for the economy. Long gone are the days we would discriminate persons based on their sexuality. Let love win over hate.