Socio-Cultural Conception of Albinism and Sexuality Challenges among Persons with Albinism (PWA) in South-West, Nigeria
The conception of albinism and the plight facing persons with albinism (PWA) in south-western Nigeria have long been viewed and overemphasised from a biomedical perspective. However, there is a lack of information on the socio-historical conception of albinism and the corollary effect on albinos’ sexuality challenges. This study examines the socio-cultural barriers affecting PWA in the formation of identity and sexual negotiations and relationships. The study was purely qualitative in nature, revealing the Yoruba myths, folktales and legends about albinos as both disabled and divine beings. This was highlighted as having a significant impact on their sexuality, associations, and relationships with persons with/out pigmentation defects. Men with albinism (MWA) were discovered to be more likely to get involved in relationships and possibly getting married especially if they are from a wealthy home. Similarly a better chance and strong familial support exist for a first-born son and for an only male child, than the females with albinism (FWA). This buttresses the patriarchal nature of the African society which emphasises much preference for the male born. From birth therefore, gender was narrated as a discriminatory factor. However, identity formation, association and getting involved in sexual relationships were major challenges affecting all PWA. For the female PWA the risk of being used for money making rituals; not knowing a sincere partner; their more fragile nature and perceived fear of societal objection and hatred in seeing a non-albino with an albino getting involved were highly traumatising. The study concluded that the sociocultural conception of albinism and albinos as disabled and spirit beings should be deconstructed to pave the way for effective expression of sexual relationships.
Key words: Spirit beings, myth, relationships, gender, patriarchy