There is no single story to any individual or situation. Yes we have all heard that countless times but some still choose to ignore it at times, especially when it doesn’t support their stance on an issue. Whoever and whatever we are is a totality of contributions from both nature and nurture. Sometimes our true nature is nurtured and sometimes how we are nurtured becomes our nature. Theories exist to explain every phenomenon and in some cases these theories are proven beyond doubt to become facts. In some other cases we just might never know for certain but individuals would choose to believe whatever anchors them through life. One of such phenomenon is Origin or Creation.
There are two prominent theories that seek to explain how we originated: Religion theory and the Evolution theory. None of these theories are foolproof but we choose which one rocks our boat. We may never know for sure until we are dead, and even then, we still may not know.
Another such phenomenon is Sexuality. It is widely believed, especially by LGBT folks, that we are born this way. Some have also said that something or the other (traumatic or otherwise) made us who we are. This is not an attempt to explain or rationalize who we are; there are a million possibilities, and the possibilities differ with individuals. Needless to say, everything originated from something and as our gay faces are different, so are our gay origins. In the Nigerian gay chat/hook-up scene, more often than not, one gets asked questions during the chat along the lines of: “How long have you been in the game?”; “When did you start?”; “How did you start?”…And usually, the responses given to these questions point to the person’s first homosexual experience/sex, penetrative or not.
This leads me to ask:
‘Do you think one becomes homosexual (or gay inclined) after that first experience, especially if there has been no sexual knowledge or experience prior to that time. Or do you think the first experience was only a revelation or trigger to an innate gay self, especially if the person goes on the to identify with being LGBT from then hence?”
Here’s what I think.
I believe, like I mentioned earlier, that we are all a product of a combination of nature and nurture, but how we are nurtured has a greater, longer lasting impact on who we end up becoming; the environmental influence to our personality is continuous as we grow. Essentially we are born a clean blank slate (tabula rasa), and nature’s contribution to who we are is the sex we are born into, the physical abilities or deformities, race. However we are nurtured in ways that builds up on our nature and we become the diverse beings in the society today: cisgender, transgender, gay, straight, bisexual, moral, self righteous, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.
The thing is we are more than just one of these things. We are a combination of these and more. It would be wrong to see someone as just ‘that Christian woman’ or ‘that African gay man’. A myriad of unique factors contribute to the influence our environment has on each of us, and as such, we become unique differing beings. The one thing we all have in common is that we are all human. So keeping this in mind (that we are all human), our environment influences us continuously as we grow. As such we should be open to learning, unlearning and relearning things and act on these things within the boundaries of humanity. (Humanity, in this context: humane traits or character; the quality of being benevolent; compassionate towards another)
I believe it is quite immaterial to be so hooked to how we are the way we are, but rather what we do with it. Regardless of how we become who we are, we are who we are. In this case, we are attracted to persons of the same sex or both sexes. It is only after this can the concept of CHOICE come to play. We all are members of the LGBT+ community and we can choose to live the lives we find ourselves in because it’s the only life we have, or we can choose to tread a different path. Whatever we choose, we have to live healthy, content and happy. In finding happiness, self acceptance is necessary, even compulsory. And as we differ in so many ways, so does our means of self acceptance and finding happiness; some people take longer than others on their journey to self acceptance. Finding happiness is also a personal journey: some can only be happy in the arms of their one true same-sex partner; some do not conform to monogamy for happiness, some would be happy conforming to societal standards depending on their peculiar situations, some prefer to stay away from any form of committed relationships. We are all wired in different ways, and as such would find contentment and happiness differently. There is no rule in the pursuit of happiness.
Summarily, there are moments in our lives when we become self aware, conscious of who we are, how we live and the choices we make. These moments of introspection occur more than once in an individual’s life. We make choices that are healthy for us, first, and those around us within the boundaries of humanity. As a gay man, I could make the choice to: accept myself or live in perpetual self hate; to defy society or get married to the opposite sex for unique reasons; to stick to my faith and reconcile it with my sexuality, to see my faith as a reason to hate my sexuality or abandon my faith altogether; to distance myself from family for fear that they won’t accept me or to reveal myself to them in my own time and let them make their choice to stay in my life or not. I could also decide to make my own choices and rally against others for the choices they make or understand their choices and try to support them whether we support their choices or not. I could choose to live and let live, or not.
Find yourself, accept yourself and make choices that are humane and aid in your constant pursuit of happiness.
To each his own and may the odds be ever in your favour.
Written by Chandler B.