RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 46)

RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 46)

There’s a question I have to ask, one that has been bothering me for a while now and one that has had me in conflict with a few friends. What is homophobia? Is there one definition for homophobia? Are there different shades of homophobia? Is homophobia always a bad thing? These questions have troubled me for a few weeks now, and before I go into trying to dissect them, I’d like to tell you the story of how it started playing like a loop in my head.

My friend and I were having lunch in one of the food courts at Port Harcourt mall; nothing fancy, just plain old fried rice and chicken. I honestly have some really amazing friends in my life, but things can get so crazy in our lives that we don’t catch up as often as we should and as often as we would like to. Let’s face it, BBM doesn’t exactly take the place of bouts of wine-fuelled laughter with the boys. Anyway in between bites of chicken, a woman we both know walked by and stopped to greet us. The three of us work out at the same gym and we have a whatsapp group where we track progress and sort of motivate each other. This woman had expressed some homophobic opinions in that group a few times and defended her opinions as being in line with her Christian faith. I have zero respect or tolerance for homophobes, no matter how awesome they are, so my relationship with her had quickly become strained. She stopped by to say hello and chatted animatedly with my friend while I went on to completely ignore her and focus on my chicken (which was really good, I must say lol).

When they were done with their gabbing, my friend refocused on me, and told me to cut the woman some slack, adding that she isn’t that bad. I called his attention to the fact that she is a homophobe, and for me, as far as homophobes are involved, I determine to have very minimal interaction with them. He defended her, saying she isn’t exactly a homophobe, that she doesn’t approve of homosexuality of course, but that she doesn’t hate gay people, and that after all, she is better than those who drag people out of their houses to kill them. He went on to say that she is a good person in general and so he would overlook that slight “bump on the road”. We argued a bit, but then it was time to see our movie (yes, Deola, PP and Colossus, I go to the cinema sometimes), so we went into the cinema and forgot the issue.

A couple of days later, the issue cropped up again when PP and I had a bit of an argument about a female friend of his whom I’m not particularly fond of, majorly because she’d expressed some homophobia online, and PP used the same line of argument to defend her; and I was shocked, to say the least. But I didn’t want to fight that day, so I let it slide.

Now, I think we have been on the outside for so long that we look for validation anywhere we see it or anyhow it looks. We want to be accepted by friends and family. We want to be treated like the other guys are treated. We want to be respected and loved and our sexuality accepted and validated around us, so much that we are ready to accepted cookie crumbs from the table since we may not be allowed to sit at the dinner table. I have come out to a few friends and most of them treat me no differently and I like it that way. But I have had a few who treated me like I should be grateful they still allowed me to remain their friends, and that category of friends, I made away with instantly.

The other day, we were arguing about the antigay bill the brilliant lawyer amongst us clarified that the bill doesn’t criminalize homosexuality itself but homosexual activity only (my dear, that gave me a headache too), and Absalom pointed out that you cannot for instance criminalize singing without putting musicians and people with music talent at risk. And I agree. So pray tell me, how do you hate homosexuality (because of your faith) but still love the homosexual person? Isn’t that how Christians patronize the people they call sinners (yes we love them but hate the acts), but on their moral scale of equality, those people are beneath them? I like how religious people cherry-pick the bible, conveniently ignoring the parts that they want to ignore and upholding the parts that they want to uphold.

I always say that to put homophobia in perspective, let us equate it with racism and you’ll begin to see how stupid it really is. Imagine a white person saying to a black person: “I don’t approve of your blackness, but I still love you anyway…if only you were not black.” Does that make any sense? Try that and a Black American will leave you needing a few stitches on the face.

At the end of the day, homophobia thrives because deep down in their hearts and with all the information available in our world today, people still think that you can chose your sexual orientation and are hoping you do the right thing and choose to become straight so that the love they have for you can become full. Tsk, tsk.

One of the straight people I came out to a while back said something that stuck with me since then. He said: “Denis, I honestly am still trying to learn about homosexuality, but I know that life is hard enough as it is, and I know that even in America, being gay is a tough life to live, let alone Nigeria where you can go to prison or even die for it. Nobody will willingly choose a tough life and I believe you didn’t choose this. It just is and for that, I will always be your person no matter what.

If I wasn’t so stone-hearted, I believe I would have cried that day. Essentially that is what friendship is about.

So let us call a spade a spade. HOMOPHOBIA IS HOMOPHOBIA, because there is no other reason why you have this ‘reservation’ that you have other than my sexual orientation. Yes, there may be subtle reservations and they may not be as dangerous as those who dragged out Akin and murdered him. But this one can equally be very destructive because you will spend your entire life seeking validation from this person(s) and you will never get it. Brothers and sisters, life is too short to spend it waiting for people to accept you. Just #LIVE.

*

Since I started writing this journal, I’ve gotten quite a ton of emails; people who tell me how much they love reading it, people who think I am a piece of shit who should shut up, people who want to set P. Sometimes I receive emails from people in trouble – young gay people in kito situations, those thrown out by their families and seeking help, those from very poor backgrounds and whom life has dealt bad cards.

I also get quite a lot of emails from young people confused about life and needing guidance, and I would like to say to those reading, please don’t suffer in silence as you are not alone. Very many of us have reached a place where we can offer guidance and counsel and I urge you to take advantage. I wish I had a blog like this when I was growing up to help mould and shape me, and have older people I could reach out to (well not all of them are wise o, reach out to the likes of Sensei and he will do the needful). Having an environment like this would have saved me from making quite a lot of mistakes that I made.

Most times I try to help the people who reach out to me within the limits of my means, and nearly all the time I go cap in hand to my friends, begging for assistance to help. And they always come through for me. This is a shout-out to the super heroes of this world who don’t necessarily wear capes, especially Pete, Sensei, Colossus, Tony Odekunle-Brown and Francis. May the universe always reward your labours of love and may you always find succor in your time of need. And please answer again when I call because I will most likely do.

Guys, there is so much good we can do in our community. Very many people genuinely need help and some of us are fortunate in this life that we can afford to lend a helping hand every now and then. Please I beg you, let us see how we can help especially the younger ones coming behind us. You can reach me or the Admin if this tugs at your heartstrings and we shall marshal out a course of action going forward.

XOXO

DM

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38 Comments

  1. XavierA
    April 06, 07:12 Reply

    Well composed and thoughtful of you DM. Like you said, I wish I had a blog or support system like this growing up too.

    It is always a good thing to spare a hand in assistance and I wouldn’t mind doing so to. As an avid reader of your column and a fan of this blog, I would be humbled to do so. Cheers.

  2. Jamie
    April 06, 07:31 Reply

    Homophobia is homophobia! A rotten mango can never be an orange, it remains a mango! Nice work you do!!

  3. Magdiva
    April 06, 07:41 Reply

    Great write up Dennis. I had reached out to admin once to offer my services but never got a reply.

    I volunteer and work vulnerable young adults, those living with HiV etc and have skills and experience and passionate about making a difference no matter how little.
    You can get my details off admin

    Thanks

  4. pete
    April 06, 07:43 Reply

    “If I wasn’t so stone-hearted, I believe I would have cried that day.”

    DM, stone-hearted in the same sentence. Lol *sips brewed coffee*

  5. Francis
    April 06, 07:46 Reply

    My dear, I feel you oh. The minute you make me feel less than human, I’m so withdrawing from whatever relationship we have and leaving it at casual “good mornings, how you dey? Bye”. Of course if you need help and I can render it, I’ll most definitely do that BUT no more sharing personal stuffs. #SayNoToDepression.

    As long as baba God continue to dey bless us, we go dey help out small small in any way we can though we can’t help everyone ☹️. To each and everyone of us helping out the community in our own way, we say a BIG THANK YOU and most importantly to those being helped PLEASE PLEASE it is very important you pay it forward! Abeg. At least that’s what I expect in return when I’m helping people out.

  6. Pink Panther
    April 06, 08:04 Reply

    So that is how you stylishly crucified me on the cross of Calva—sorry, Kito Diaries becos of that our mutual female ‘friend’, eh? God is watching you o. And you’ve twisted my defense of her. Colossus, come and bear me witness o.

  7. Silver Cat
    April 06, 08:08 Reply

    There goes Dennis, doing and saying all the things I love. I’ll be in PH in a couple of weeks, we need to sit down and talk but I’ll mail U prior to then. And yeah, I’m open to running.

  8. #Chestnut
    April 06, 09:05 Reply

    Meeehn .. the truth is, in this country, if u decide never to interact with anyone that doesn’t approve of gay ppl, u might never get to speak more than 100 words in a day! lol. u definitely don’t have to be friends with them, but some form of interaction is eventually, always necessary.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      April 06, 09:10 Reply

      I said Minimal interaction only!

      I work with homophobes, I live with them too, I just keep them out of my social circle.

      Why will I go and grab beers with people who throw homophobic slurs? Or who will probably smash the bottle on my head if they knew?

      Life is short omo! No time

  9. Mandy
    April 06, 09:51 Reply

    I don’t think everyone who goes easy on the minor homophobia of their friends or acquaintances do so as a by-product of seeking validation. Some people may do so simply becos that friend means just that much to him or her that they’re willing to overlook his reservations.
    In my own case, when it comes to my straight close friends who aren’t fully accepting of my kind, as long as they are not virulent or loud or persistent with their anti homosexuality. Then we can coexist in our friendship. Once they get me to start feeling resentful with the things they say, then that’s the beginning of the end

  10. Too clean
    April 06, 10:24 Reply

    Nice one Denins!

    I am a very vocal person and my family and friends know that about me..

    I can stand up to speak no matter who is involved or what the matter is,so there is nothing I can’t tell you..

    I have told some of my friends that I am gay and no one has ever said they won’t be my friend because of that ooo…Yes,they may have reservation about it which is understandable.,.sometimes I tell them so to see if they will let me go but the reverse is the case

    Do you know why?

    If you know your worth,if you know who you are,if you don’t beg for friendship,if you don’t lick assess..If you’re very exposed.intelligent and very comfortable,I don’t see any reason why they will want to ignore you or stop being your friend….

    These have worked for me very well..

    My rule is that I don’t beg for friendship at all..if you want to misbehave,I bullshit you …i don’t have the strength to beg anyone for relationship or friendship…in fact,I really like being single so that no one will do anyhow because some stuffs piss me pff..

    There is this youth corper in my office who is a lawyer …since we are the only igbo speaking lawyers (I am not igbo at all),he came very close to me,so one day,I told him that I like guys….he was uncomfortable at first,I didn’t even look at him twice,I told him,if you know you are not comfortable with it,you can meet other lawyers and be friends with them….

    He left but the next day,we were talking and he said I can’t tell him that he is not my friend,that we are good friends and nothing will ever separate us oh…I smiled ooo because if you have a banana,every monkey will be your friend…now,he doesn’t do two hours without calling me,anything he does ,I must be involved…

    He even confessed that in his life he hasn’t seen a guy like me.,,

    My dear being gay is good but please go to school,expand your horizon ,brush your self up,polish your self,get a job even if its not paying you well just get busy from 9-5pm…Be independent,even if you drank garri,come out with class…and see if you will not be respected…no homophobes will have a choice but to like your friendship when you have these qualities…

    What a timming Denins,I am in court for another matter now …A woman came to court seeking for dissolution of marriage because her husband likes anal sex…imagine

    On a lighter note,if there’s any legal matter concerning any gay you know,I am ever ready to render my services based on charity…

    Do I even have any homophobic friends?Yes,I do

    Do they still want my friendship?

    Yes,

    When you have something worthwhile,even the angels will run after you.
    Lol

    • Francis
      April 06, 10:33 Reply

      So basically you’re comfortable with them sticking around ’cause of what they can get from you. What happens when that “thing” is taken out of the equation?

    • Dennis Macaulay
      April 06, 10:35 Reply

      Too Clean thank you!

      I know who you are now and I will take you up on that offer of pro bono legal representation anytime the need arises.

      I’d DM you.

      Thank you

      • Too clean
        April 06, 11:11 Reply

        Lol,Dm.
        .biko,who am I now?

        I swear down you don’t know me oooo

        before I break person head here

    • Silver Cat
      April 06, 15:50 Reply

      And now, I have a new bae in the person of Too Clean.

  11. Khaleesi
    April 06, 11:23 Reply

    Bless you DM, you are indeed a gem! Homophobia is hard to correctly define due to the fact that it often comes in very subtle and barely detectable forms (much like racism), homophobia can sometimes appear to be very benign and harmless, but scratch deep enough and pay close attention and you’ll see it coiled up like a snake waiting to lash out when u least expect it. I however do cut benign homophobes a lot of slack, cos lets face it, the background of most Nigerians including a lifetime of religidiot inspired mental conditioning can only lead to such an outcome. I once came out to a friend and he made all the right noises about being accepting of my sexuality and all and then a few days later, we were having a random conversation and he popped out “have u ever considered dating a woman” … that statement alone, spoke volumes about his true thoughts.
    I have repeatedly told people that being gay is not illegal, it is the act of anal sex or any attempt to conduct a gay marriage or register a gay club, association etc that are gay, so in theory, i could walk up to a policeman and tell him that i am gay and he would have no basis for arresting me other than that we have a screwed up justice system under which all manner of illegality can thrive unfettered. As for the hypocrisy of religidiots, lemme just take a deep breath and hum kumbaya.
    Homophobia thrives because deep deep down as far down as the subconscious, a lot of people including a large chunk of gays see homosexuality as abnormal, less than, inferior to and a tad repulsive when compared to heterosexuality and therefore not worthy of true equality in every sense.
    This blog can really be an instrument for doing a tremendous amount of good, Thank you DM!! Its time we start to look @ life beyond hunting for the next big dick or phat ass; there’s more to being gay than all that, there are real and pressing problems which are peculiar to gay people, problems that can be solved or at least alleviated through sustained and concerted efforts….

  12. Dickson Clement
    April 06, 12:51 Reply

    Stone -hearted!!! I would say Emotionally strong #ruthless#badass#… I like it when people are emotionally strong… Keep up the good work Mr. Dennis M., and all the other guys in the house who break boundaries and who continually redefine our perception and understanding of this great topic ‘sexuality’

  13. ambivalentone
    April 06, 13:13 Reply

    Whatever form the homophobia takes, it is one step away from being mobbed. The mild homophobes only cling to the trappings of ‘sanity’. If they can bash ur head in and get away with it, they would. In fact, I’d trust the vocal and vitriolic homophobes with a quick, painful death. Those seeming mild ones, slow, tortuous death while smiling with you

    • chuck
      April 06, 14:51 Reply

      I agree that homophobes will kill you if they could get away with it.

  14. Cho
    April 06, 15:43 Reply

    DM, I can imagine you have a very strong andesire domineering personality. Why do you seem to alienate people with opposing opinion? I think you should be able to ignore the part you don’t like e.g. ignore the homophobic part and enjoy the rest the person has to offer just like some of your friends don’t understand your sexual orientation but still accept you after all. I still look forward to your write up every week and hope to meet you someday and hopefully have you not chop my head off…lool

  15. keredim
    April 06, 16:00 Reply

    I agree with you, there are no varying degrees of Homophobia. But I think the way we react to it, so long as there is no threat to our lives and livelihood, should come in varying degrees.

    The woman in question is homophobic. From your post , I don’t think you are out to her. Who is to say, based on your good character and achievements, she wouldn’t be more accepting of homosexuality if she knew you were gay?

    I don’t think homophobes are born that way. They are conditioned by society to be homophobic. It is up to us (where possible) to be visible and show people that we can be responsible and that there is more to us than sex.

    You saying that in our search for validation we are willing to settle for cookie crumbs, is unfair. In a hostile environment like Nigeria, we do what we have to do to get by. You smile and get along until you get what you want and “don’t need anyone”, then you carry face like you carried for the woman.

    Your stance of minimal interaction with (non-violent) homophobes is laudable, when you are independent. But should a young student maintain the same stance , when he needs them in his day to day life to get to the same position you are in now?

    All I am trying to say is, there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to all cases of homophobia. Play the game.

    I know a Christian mother who was distressed by her son’s sexuality, when he came out to his parents 8 years ago. Over the years he and his partner have won her over. She will be attending their wedding at the end of the month. (Ok so she is German).

    But I do know a Staunch bible thumping Christian Nigerian Mother who said to her son, when he came out to her “I know what the bible says and who am I to judge. But first and foremost you are my son, my first born. There is nothing you can do that will make me forsake you”

    You can call that “patronising” or” accepting crumbs” if you like, but for a lot of people, it is enough. Its enough that they “show up” and are authentic. It is also a good starting point to allow the homophobe into our lives and show them its all bad.

    Finally, you guys in that your gym group need to sort out your dietary habits. Seriously!!!

    • Francis
      April 06, 16:16 Reply

      Hmmmm, maybe it’s just my paranoia sha. I just don’t fancy plying this your route ’cause in the back of mind I’m always wary of them “striking” one day.

      P.S: You need to quit obsessing over people’s diet. Is it paining you that you can’t chop and workout like them? ??

      • Keredim
        April 06, 16:30 Reply

        Yes, its your paranoia.??

        PS: its paining me that they put so much effort running through all the “rumus in Ikwerre” then they wreak it with fatty foods.???

        • ambivalentone
          April 06, 20:19 Reply

          EVERY-FUCKING-TIME this body thing comes up, I take a really long look at this avi of urs. Biko, are you a grower or a shower???

          • Keredim
            April 06, 21:06 Reply

            Its depends….

            What do you look like??

            • ambivalentone
              April 06, 22:13 Reply

              A mix between Medusa and Kabal. Does that help or hinder?

              • Keredim
                April 07, 04:03 Reply

                With a minor adjustment to the medusa part, it would help?

                • ambivalentone
                  April 07, 08:02 Reply

                  why the Medusa part? The intent is to make at least one part ‘stone’ hard, not so?

  16. keredim
    April 06, 16:01 Reply

    *….show them its NOT all bad…

  17. Colossus
    April 07, 09:16 Reply

    I’m late to the party so there is not much to say. I agree with Keredim 100%, you can’t block every single homophobe because whether you like it or not, they come in varying degrees. Choose the degree you can work with and do the needful.

    You go to the cinema? If I hear. What movie did you watch? Did you sleep all through? Can you recount the major plot of the movie? Nna shift, one cinema date does not equate you with deola. Better stop it oooo.

    That our mutual female friend is not a homophobe. I can bet my left ball that if PP came out to her, she wouldn’t hate him. It might even be obvious to her that he is gay after all the dude is not really hiding anymore. Yet, they are still close friends. She has been conditioned as a Christian to believe gays are evil, she has not shed that believe but she is at least liberal about it. Cut her some slack.

    Glad we could help and like Francis said, please the guy’s should pay it forward. If we all did, we’ll have fewer sufferings in the land. God bless your heart for at least listening to these young men, May your heart be stronger for it.

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