IBK’s JOURNAL (Entry 24)

IBK’s JOURNAL (Entry 24)

August 19

Hey guys! It’s been a while. How y’all deewing?

It’s been a fantastic week (end) for me. After exams, I headed right on over to Pookie’s and although he’s had to work late nights whenever he is back home, it’s been awesome (though right now, he is giving me the cold shoulder for some reason).

It hasn’t been fantastic though for some 42 gay men that were arraigned at a hotel. I am in a few gay groups and the information naturally trickled into the groups and one question that has always been asked is “How could they? How could they know the law exists and still go to party?”

I understand the inclination to think like this. To be on the other side with plenty hindsight and act like you knew for sure that you were going to get arrested for getting together with your fellow queers. You probe further and many believe there are certain things you can do to protect yourself from such situations happening, like not going to parties (“Do you have to party?”). Some even believe people bring such situations on themselves by being effeminate or dressing up as the opposite gender and stuff like that.

I recently left a group because a video was shared of a man being harassed for dressing up as a woman and going to meet another man and the responses to the video were mentally draining.

What I took away from many of these conversations is the fact that many people believed it was the fault of the victims. They shouldn’t have gone to a party/gathering; they should have learnt to tone down their femininity (I kid you not about this one); they should be less flamboyant, etc.

Apart from the fact that this sounds too close to victim-shaming rape victims, I feel like it’s looking at the picture with one eye closed. In the end, the problem isn’t really with the people who gathered or whatever but with the existence of factors that allow the abuse of human rights to exist.

I remember when there was a gathering by the Lipstick Gang (R.I.P.). It was at a mall and I kept expecting the police to walk in and take us all in. We were all gay and loud AF in our booth at Chicken Republic, and I think someone even twerked. If the police did come, they could very well arrest us because it was an “unlawful” gathering.

In all our carefulness and potential avoidance of queer gatherings, we could still be stopped by a police man on the street and our phones forcibly searched. I am sure many of us don’t clear our chats or browser history or galleries before leaving our homes. Even the passwords we put in each app is just faux security. After a few slaps and a gun pointed at you, you might be willing to even tell them what your mum looks like naked.

So basically this idea we have in our heads that if we do this, this and this, we will be safe is basically an ostrich putting its head in the ground when it’s surrounded by lions. The problem isn’t what they (or anyone) could have done to prevent this but the existence of factors that allow such things to happen.

I am not saying throw caution to the wind. I am saying caution isn’t the solution. It is cellotape on a leaky bucket and I am tired of hearing people say, “They should have been more careful.”

Another thing I am tired of hearing people go on about is how we have to be model gay men to the society. Bitch, you’re fucking gay! You already suck in the eyes of the homophobe, and no matter how respectable you make yourself look, he will still consider you scum.

Someone cited Denola Gray as a gay man (alleged… Putting that for posterity’s sake) who society respects. Well, let him come out now and see whether society will still be as respectful as you think.

The very idea that we have to bend ourselves or pretend to be whom we are not just to be accepted is taking one step forward and one step back. Basically, no progress, because we are still forced to behave a certain way to be acceptable or even tolerated.

And more often than not, people that think like that just have prejudices against people who gay differently from them. You think one way of being gay is better than the other. That’s wrong. There’s no one way to be gay just like there’s no one way to be straight or black or white or male or female or whatever. It’s all societal constructs and you shouldn’t hate on another person who’s living their life as they see fit. How is a man wearing an overly long gown and cape and strutting in stilettos affecting you? That isn’t YOU. It’s him. If other people (heterosexuals) think there’s something wrong with him, it is your duty (since you care so much about image) to educate them that there is no one way to be gay.

So yes, let us try not to lose sight of the bigger picture. Protect yourselves by all means. Be yourself as much as you can. But remember that us being ourselves is not the problem. Homophobia is.

***

I haven’t been home for months. Am I avoiding home? Not actively. Honestly there are just so many other places to be that are preferable to the small town I come from. I however started to miss home severely, so one evening, I simply packed a few things and took a trip there.

I kind of regret it now that I’m back home alone in my room. Not because of any hassles from Mother surprisingly but because home felt like a bubble. I’m no longer in that bubble. And I want to do is go back. But I can’t because of final year project. Then I have this massive guilt somewhere in my brain because I haven’t been home and the few nights I spent there, I could tell how much more things felt complete. I feel like I’ve been preventing that.

When I got home that night, I found myself subconsciously and subtly slipping into that frame of mind where I wanted to portray myself as straight and even bible loving.

Mother and I had caught up. She had healing wounds on her arm where she had fallen because of the slippery road. She made an offhand comment about how I’d just spent a night and noticed the bruise but my dad hadn’t seen it or if he had seen it, hadn’t commented on it. I told her that she should have told him about it if she wanted him to notice. She said she hasn’t been one to always speak up. That when she was younger and her parents gave her things she didn’t like, she would go to a corner and cry – unlike her sisters who would ask for more or insist on what they want. So her parents learnt to read her. She then came to expect people to be able to read her. I suspect my dad can do it. She is an open book usually. But he chooses to pretend like he can’t.

The next day, while I was doing the dishes, she started talking about a friend of my father’s who she doesn’t like and who, quite frankly, I don’t like either but for different reasons from hers. He comes around and expects to be given a feast and waited upon. Like bye Felicia, I’m in my room with the doors locked. She doesn’t like him because she believes he is a bad influence on my dad.

I told her that in the end, my dad’s actions are his alone. He’s a grown man. She agrees but in that way she does when she bears in mind that she’s still right.

I finished doing the dishes and then she managed to connect the discussion about my dad to my being gay. I was utterly confused and exasperated by this and that drove me to say softly, “Why must you always bring this up?”

She replied that she has too, something about convincing me to have the will to change. I can’t quite remember. I wanted to stalk out of the kitchen. The mood had been great so far; there was no need to ruin it with “that” discussion. She told me to stay put. So I did and tuned out.

It was while I was in a cab back to school that I remembered the convo and realized I didn’t just freeze as usual and let guilt wash over me when she brought it up. At least with that short rebuttal of mine, she probably knows I’m getting tired of it. I think it made her moody but I just hope she gets over it. Little victories, I guess.

Written by IBK

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6 Comments

  1. Delle
    August 20, 09:36 Reply

    I love this.
    The first part, I want people to pay serious attention to the salient points you raised. I could even copy that and put up on facebook if you don’t mind, IBK?

  2. Ojukwu Jeff
    August 20, 14:23 Reply

    Someone cited Denola grey as a gay man? Hoe My! I bet he wouldn’t be pained a bit cause he did pronounced himself earlier before now,like he always do, even a blind Bartimeus* can perceive him from afar….

  3. CHUCK
    August 22, 03:20 Reply

    Denola Grey is wealthy, or at least takes care to package himself as wealthy. Even when he comes out he will not be harassed as much as an effeminate man hustling in Ikorodu.

    Only the wealthy/ moneyed have dignity in Nigeria. Remember that when comparing yourself to a gay man of means. The difference between Bobrisky and the persons being lynched is bae’s cash

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