By: Abatus Jallah – March 6, 2020

Defined as “a person’s sexual orientation or preference”, sexuality is objective. It has nothing to do with society and everything to do with a person’s psychological and physical makeup. Sexuality has been around since the beginning of time and is depicted in art and history. From the Romans, who didn’t care who a man slept with, to the Victorians, who celebrated close female “friendships”, sexuality in history was not a big deal because it was never utilized as a form of identification. But due to factors like the spread of religion and cultural inhibitors, hostility has been applied to such a carnal, human reaction.

A male prostitute being solicited for sex in exchange for a bag of coins.

Teachings from the Bible, like Romans 1:26-27 (which is also found in the Qur’an 26: 165-166), started to spread as nations took over other nations and started forcing those nations to convert to their religion. The ideas concerning sexuality shifted and people had to start hiding. No longer were people allowed to explore and enjoy their sexual preferences in the open, in fear of death, damnation, shame, etc. But this does not mean that sexual preferences where no longer a “thing”, they were just camouflaged as “Friendships” and “phases” in life. This went on for centuries until the 1920s when people in New York decided that they did not like hiding and wanted to openly love and be with whomever without fearing for their lives.

Gay liberation front marches on Time Square, New York.

Seeing this display of bravery and unity that the New Yorkers portrayed, other countries followed. First, it was Germany, then the rest of the western world followed, then it was China before South Africa joined the movement post-apartheid in the 1990s to the present day. Since the very beginning, homosexual males were at the forefront of the movement, but over time, they were joined with homosexual females and everyone else followed. That movement that was started in the 20s is now known as the LGBTQ+ movement and it is not stopping anytime. It maintains its message of unity and acceptance of people’s sexuality, but society is yet to get used to these ideas. People still have to disclose their sexual orientation to others if they do not identify as heterosexual and that is one of the things holding back progression at the moment.

“Coming out of the closet” is a term used to describe a nonheterosexual person letting others know their sexual preference. In our society, it is expected to be heterosexual, but if a person is anything but, they need to disclose their preference to the world. This is not okay because sexual orientation cannot and should not be something that is expected. Just like there are different neurons for different processes, there are different sexualities. As long as no one is being hurt or manipulated in the process, people should be allowed to live and love without having to disclose their sexual orientation. Not only that, people should not have to fear for their lives and well being when they do disclose their sexual orientation. As a people, we have to understand that sexuality is not a new concept, it has been around since the beginning of time. The difference with sexuality back in Roman times and now is that there is a label to describe it and there are people actively trying to keep people confined to those labels.