By Bernard Dayo
I’m not the biggest fan of The Big Bang Theory because I hardly watch comedies, even though I like to laugh. But I have to admit that I slapdashed the show at a time, putting Jim Parsons’ face as one of the show’s strongest comic characters. Over the weekend, in an intimate ceremony at the Rainbow Room in New York, Jim Parsons tied the knot with his long-term boyfriend Todd Spiewak.
This news makes me want to go back to my hard drive to binge-watch all the seasons of The Big Bang Theory and then start them all over again. It makes me want to look at Jim Parsons’ character on the show as he makes jokes and mischievously pretend that I’m clairvoyant and can suddenly see the future about his romantic life. Perhaps I should admit that same-sex marriages, regardless of where they take place in the world or the status of the couple involved, fills me with a hope so sweet and pure.
Sure, Jim Parsons’ unconventional marriage doesn’t automatically come along with an immunity that stops him from experiencing the everyday discrimination and biases that LGBTQ Americans face. But, at least, he is married. He is living his truth. In Nigeria, LGTBQ Nigerians are experiencing the kind of hyper-invisibility that is necessary for their survival. Regarded as second-class citizens by a Constitution that erases their existence by enabling gay-targeted violence, most LGBTQ Nigerians are deprioritising marriage and are seeking, instead, to be seen as whole, complex human beings first. Some may not know Jim Parsons, and I can already imagine the horrid, vile, anti-gay comments festering in mushroom Nigerian entertainment blogs, comments that are densely ignorant and situated in violently oppressive frameworks.
That said, same-sex marriage doesn’t threaten traditional marriage, nor does it dismantle the conventional idea of family or undermine it. Above all, it’s no one’s business. But society-wide homophobia, and the weaponisation of African culture to propagate violent bigoted logics, are the major reasons Nigeria is homosexuality-averse. But things can’t stay the same forever. And if there’s anything to draw out of Jim Parsons’ freshly minted marriage, it is the fact that LGBTQ people, irrespective of skin colour and class, are progressing. Even more, it brings a message of hope.