A friend and I were having a conversation the other day, and we naturally got to the issue of gay men getting married to women. He said something that I had previously never considered and which frankly made a lot of sense to me given the circumstances. He said that some gay men need the safety of marriage to be able to find their voice and speak up about LGBT issues. He said that the message will be better received in these parts if it’s coming from a married man (assumed to be straight) than from a single man who will be assumed to be gay (especially when he is over a certain age). He went further to explain that if a married man expresses public support for gay rights, Nigerians will most likely try to understand why he’s endorsing gay rights, rather than condemn him. But if say a single man of forty years speaks up about the same issue, he’d be dismissed as defending his kind.
I was going to argue with him, but then I remembered when the anti gay bill was signed into law, and my friend Ayo Sogunro wrote a lengthy thesis-worthy article on why that law made no sense at all. Now after he wrote that, another friend of mine sent me a link to the article, not knowing I’d read it, and he began to make a case, agreeing with everything Ayo said. Now these points were points that I had previously argued in favour of with this guy before, and he did not buy into them because he believed I was not objective, being a gay man and all. However, following Ayo’s elucidation of the points, he was able to read with an open mind and made sense of it, because it was preached by a straight man who he interpreted as having nothing at stake and was therefore being objective.
Premised upon this, I agreed with my friend that some men will have to get married to find their voice, because this country will not buy the message of equality if it is being sold by a man perceived to be gay. For the first time in this debate, I had nothing more to say. I’ll just stick to finding my own voice with money . . . lots of it. *pours a glass of vodka*
I think that a gay man outing another gay man, or throwing a homophobic slur at another gay man in public is the worst thing to do ever. And gay men who do this are worse than pond scum.
I was out with someone the other day, a gay someone I considered a close friend (let’s call him Jim), and we were chatting about politics, the just-concluded elections, and the economy, when moments into our talk, another dear friend (Isaac) joined us. Our conversation quickly spiraled into an argument, especially when ethnic sentiments came into play. I was trying to calm nerves and not let the situation escalate, when out came the word.
Jim, with a sneer on his face, glared at Isaac, and in a voice that carried, he called Isaac a faggot. Both Isaac and I were taken aback at first. But Isaac was quick to recover and proceeded to eviscerate this guy who’d just called him a faggot, albeit in a hissed tone of voice. Jim didn’t act remorseful; instead he fired back several more homophobic slurs at Isaac, his voice raised, his demeanor one of a ‘straight guy who doesn’t know why this homo is harassing him.’ I was infuriated, and chipped in a few words, to let Jim know that I was outraged at him. Eventually, when the craziness came to a head, Jim stalked out of the hangout, and I was left apologizing to Isaac. (Until that day, the two of them hadn’t known each other. I was their mutual friend) I used to think of myself as a good judge of character, but never did I think that someone I considered a friend would disparage another gay man with no restraint and in public.
I can’t stand such disrespect.
And I certainly can’t stand such people.
It’s one thing when a straight man spews homophobic hate, but when it comes from another gay man? That is a mortal sin in my rule book. And when I eventually got on BBM to Jim, I did not mince my words with him. I was quite ready to be finished with him. He started to explain and I gave him the BBM rapture. I was terribly disappointed as I have known him from university and I could have sworn he would never do something like that, but internalized homophobia (yes, those two words again) is a black hole that I fought so hard to crawl out of, and – By God! – I will never allow anybody suck me back into it. Everyone is entitled to whatever mess that goes on in their heads. I just don’t have to be part of it.
I understand that I missed a bloodbath on KD over the weekend, and quite honestly, I am thrilled I wasn’t on here that day, especially seeing as I hate to fight and ugliness. I tried to check up on the said post, but there was just too much blood and tissue in the comments section. So I closed it.
I have been part of Kito Diaries from inception, and when PP and I were still developing this idea, I never thought it would become this thing that we do in the comments section. I wanted a place where gay people can be open and honest, and have real conversations with one another, a place where we can crowd source solutions to problems and inspire each other.
I agree that we cannot all be friends, but we can certainly be civil with each other. I mean, there are people I don’t like here too, but I will never denigrate them. Yes, we should use freedom of speech to express opinions and all, but there is also such a thing called tact and discretion, and we can learn to use both of them. We cannot continue like this.
I was inspired recently by a young chap that my friend brought over to my house the other day… The things this young guy said about sexual identity and seeking validation surprised me for a 19-year-old. And when I asked him how he learned all this stuff, he answered, “Have you heard of the blog called Kito Diaries?” And my head instantly swelled with pride. I pretended that I did not know what KD was, and he went on and on about how it was this blog he and his friends discovered, and that they have learnt a whole lot of stuff from it. He even mentioned many commenters and said the things he liked about them (I almost gave myself away when he talked about Dennis Macaulay). This adorable chap went ahead to extract a promise that I would visit KD.
Later on, I thought to myself that this is the reason why I wanted us to do this blog: to inspire people like this, to make them grow into their own and change the narrative about gay being invisible. So dear brothers and sisters (we still have lesbians here, yes?), please let us not ruin this thing we started with hate and vitriol.
Meanwhile, PP, I heard you and the rest of the Lipstick Gang hosted an ‘after KD Tea Party’, and you don’t invite me, okwaya? My God is watching you.
On a final note, it is always a delight to run into KD readers and meet the people behind some of these monikers. I recently met and spent time with two KDians, and it was a great experience, particularly because I did not previously like one of them. However after I got the chance to prick…sorry, pick his mind, I actually think he is one great guy. I actually like him; both of them turned out to be very amazing people, and I am so glad we met.
The two people in question know themselves, so I will not mention names before CIA people will storm my Facebook account, looking for clues. lol.