The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I am Nuel, a bisexual man and an intending MGM – or should that be MBM? Anyway, Phew! Glad I got that out of the way.
I am a lifelong fan and reader of this blog. I must commend Pink Panther for the amazing work he has done so far. Some of the stories and the emotions I see in them make me sad at what our country is doing to certain members of the society, albeit unknowingly and in ignorance.
I have watched with dismay the often one-sided narrative issues regarding MGM and bisexuality tend to assume on these pages. The anti-MGM group seem more vocal and more in number, and always hell-bent to make assumptions for the MGM/MBM (I’ll be using them interchangeably, mbok). Double standards, anyone? And on the other hand, for reasons I do not know, the MGM do not seem ready to engage or do so half-heartedly. Hence, negative perceptions abound here on the lives of Married Gay Men.
Chinua Achebe once said, “If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.” And being a firm adherent of the religion of Achebeism, I have decided to put certain aspects of my life and bisexuality on paper. I do not intend to hold brief for anyone nor say my story is true for every MGM out there, but to challenge the mostly incorrect notions about being gay/bisexual and married in a deeply homophobic country like Nigeria.
Growing up, I had my difficulties grasping my unique ability to straddle both worlds. This series will make references to such times, but at the most, you will be getting accounts of somebody who has accepted himself and is unapologetic about it.
Before I start this series proper though, there are a few things I would like to say about my bisexuality.
“I can understand people being gay, but I just can’t wrap my head around people being bisexual. To me, that’s a sign of deep confusion. Not knowing who you are. Not being able to make up your mind. Maybe just wanting the attention.”
Those where the words of the first man I shared physical intimacy with, and this was after we’d made love. He was older, worldly-wiser and somebody I had looked up to. The remarks came after I told him that I had sex with Kainene, a fellow undergraduate and female that I’d always admired. He was someone whose words I took as gospel, and on the heels of his expression of this sentiment, I assumed something was wrong with me. Ever since I started becoming sexually aware, a lady with ample bosom would always command my attention; this was the same for a guy with a well-formed derriere. It wasn’t until we broke up and I had other liaisons that I realised that his sentiment was the default position of most people, even people who are progressive and liberal.
I have narrowed down these misconceptions to five, and will try to discuss them:
Bisexuals are no more or less promiscuous than anyone else. This ought to be an obvious fact, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t, at least not to a good portion of people I know. Even so, there’s nothing wrong with promiscuity, so long as you use protection. A few KDians have tried without success, it would seem, to champion this view here. Sexual drives differ amongst people, and trying to be the moral compass for another is a recipe for disaster.
If someone has a problem remaining committed in a monogamous relationship, then that’s a reflection of this someone as a person, not of everyone who happens to share some particular trait with him (well, unless that trait happens to be ‘commitment problems,’ then yes). This always seems to be the bone of contention amongst many people, even here on Kito Diaries. Being attracted to both sexes should not be equated with a lack of commitment. They are two different things.
ONE FOOT IN THE CLOSET:
I have this friend who is gay. According to him, I have one foot in the closet and the other outside. He always says I can fit into the heteronormativity that the society approves. While technically true, is it the full story? I’m still bisexual and many people will not look kindly on the fact that I am attracted to guys. Some people in my life, fiancée included, are aware of my bisexuality. Am I still in the closet then?
When a friend of mine told me I was just confused following a conversation about my bisexuality, I literally got confused. “Well, am I gay?” I asked myself then. But no, I had been attracted to girls before, and I couldn’t be straight since I’d found other dudes attractive too. What then in the world was I, if bisexual wasn’t an option, I wonder.
EASY WAY OUT:
Being bisexual is not ‘easy way out’. It is simply who I am. Calling bisexuality an ‘easy way out’ makes it seem like one can choose to be bisexual. Don’t we all say sexual orientation is never a conscious choice? Being LGBT in a homophobic country like Nigeria is hard on its own. I am not trying to belittle the hardship that exclusive gays and lesbians go through. I am merely focusing on bisexuality as it is who I am and the problems of a bisexual are what I’m most familiar with.
I’ll conclude with the immortal words of the amazing Bisi Alimi: “Imagine being told it’s illegal to be you…”
Even from people who should know better.
On a final note, this series will not be regular. Secondly, I will not apologise for liberally quoting Chimamanda and Chinua. (See, I’m on a first name basis with them.)
Now, we can begin…
Written by Nuel