RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 61)

RANTINGS OF A RANDOM (Gay) NIGERIAN (Entry 61)

I have quite a few straight friends who know about my sexuality and we remain very good friends. Some of my best moments are spent with them either running, drinking and talking (even if it’s over the phone), or sometimes listening while I rant about my boyfriend and his many wahala.  I have been fortunate with my friendships. I always say that I cannot be close friends with someone whom I cannot show my true self. I can hide from colleagues and family members because I don’t get to pick them but I have a choice in who becomes my friend and life is too short to befriend close-minded bigots.

So anyway, I was chatting with one of them recently and he sent me a link to a podcast which he asked me to listen to and share my thoughts. The podcast was a studio conversation some people had about gender, feminism and themes along those lines. The podcast was 90 minutes long and my initial response was: Ain’t nobody got time for that. But then the ride home from work takes almost that amount of time if you factor in Port Harcourt traffic, so I figured I might as well listen to the podcast on the way home. I started listening to it and it went well for the most part, until I started to hear sexist comments; in fact, at a point, one of the guests said “Amber Rose is a whore who doesn’t want to be called a whore.” At that point, I simply closed the podcast and exited the page. I cannot use my data to annoy myself, especially after the kind of crazy day I’d had. Issues such as gender and patriarchy (especially as constructed in Nigeria) bring out the worst in me. The entitlement of the average Nigerian male disgusts me, so I typically try to avoid some of them because I will most likely attack very viciously.

After about two hours, my friend messaged to ask what I thought about the podcast and I told him I didn’t listen past 15 minutes of it. He asked me why and I said that I don’t tolerate sexism and misogyny of any kind, therefore I won’t subject myself to what is essentially 90 minutes of torture; the most painful part being that I won’t be able to clap back, so I’d essentially be sitting in the car, seething for nothing.

His response startled me in a way I couldn’t have predicted. He said, “You cannot work in conflict resolution.” (To which I replied saying that I have never sent my CV to the UN or the AU). He continued: “There are many places where your temperament will be a disadvantage to you, and I’d like to see you in a situation where the coin is flipped. Looking at it from that perspective, I am trying to imagine you being a homophobe; you’d have been a bloody and dangerous one. Yes, you are on the right side of very many issues, but sometimes I worry that you don’t tolerate any form of dissent. You have drawn a line in the sand and you take on anyone who dares to cross to the other side from you. I love you very much just as you are, but I will plead with you to sometimes try to understand the other arguments in an issue. Doing this will even help you tackle it better rather than moving in with a Mack truck at the first sign of dissent.”

This comment blindsided me and completely knocked me off my rhythm. I mean, a few friends have said I am forceful in advancing my opinions. On my birthday, some guys made a scrap book; ‘trailer driver’ was a phrase most of them used. However I have never imagined myself as a heterosexual homophobic man; would I be different from the people that I have made it my life mission to hate? Would I be one of those guys who’d set up gay men and beat them to pulp? Perhaps I would be one of those guys who camp out on Bisi Alimi’s Instagram page everyday just to spew vitriol at him? I think of myself as informed and intellectually superior to the vast majority of Nigerians, but would I really be any different from them were I not gay?

I thought about this and I didn’t know the answer immediately.

I always typically laugh in the face of people who say that being gay is a choice; I am always like: Are you kidding me? Who chooses such a difficult life to live? However one thing being gay has done for me is that it has allowed me to be more tolerant of difference and has forced me to consciously unlearn all of my biases. Whenever I feel myself judging someone or even starting to judge someone, that little voice speaks in my head reminding me that I quarrel against being judged myself and therefore I don’t have any moral justification for judging another person. This has helped me get rid of a lot of my prejudice and has made me a better person.

However after sometime and thought, I decided that I would not be like the stereotypical homophobic Nigerian. The difference being that I have a lot of information chiefly because my mind is open to learn and unlearn. Some of you know me personally and you know that I am a voracious reader, and embracing the world of books from an early age has opened my mind as I travel the world through the things I read, meet people and immerse myself in the very many nuances that writers are able to capture and share. I talk a lot of one of the best books I read this year, Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta; this book opened my eyes to the struggles of Nigerian lesbians. Prior to reading this book, I typically thought that lesbians had it somewhat easier in Nigeria, that people are less likely to stone two women holding hands for example, and that the kind of marriage pressure they are under is a bit different from mine (as a gay man, that is). However upon reading this book, I realized that our struggles are basically the same and it opened my eyes to some of their issues that I previously wasn’t aware of.

So premised upon this, I would say that were I not gay, I would not be like the retarded Nigerians (pardon me please) who are choking on opium fumes and cannot think for themselves; more proof of this lies in the fact that the literary scene (which I am pretty much immersed in) is filled with people are less likely to be bigots.

I would say though that the things my friend said to me are not lost on me. Going forward, I will try to be one who listens to dissenting voices (this is going to be hard) and one who tries to make sense of the other side of an argument. I pledge never to assume any form of intellectually superiority, after all, everything I think I know, I picked up from other people. I will end by saying that like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (one of the gods that I worship) said:

“The aim is not to be neutral in all matters, rather you should have opinions on everything, strong opinions at that, but they should be humane, informed and from a broad minded place.”

I hope this made some sense to you. Anyway that’s why it’s called a rant.

See you guys next week

XOXO

DM

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21 Comments

  1. Mandy
    October 19, 06:42 Reply

    Another consequence of being hot-headed and intractable in your opinions in the face of what you perceive to be differing with your opinion is not just the likening to a homophobe, but the fact that you end up losing well meaning friends. No good ever came out of being a persistent Mack truck.

  2. Peak
    October 19, 07:32 Reply

    I think being different, taunted, hunted and persecuted all your life has a way of causing an evolution in people. You develop a formidable wall of defence that reads no nonsense zone. Always alert and ready to launch a counter attack at the whiff of rubbish. Particularly if you have made peace and in touch with yourself. Most importantly if you are well informed.
    Your reactions is most likely fuelled and driven by the understanding of life and the need to speak up for fellow minority groups or those discriminated against because that is your story and defending it is more like second nature to you and a way of indirectly defending urself. But ur years of acquiring knowledge through reading, meeting and experiencing people and one’s personality make up has a way of telling if one would have been a raging homophobe and kito manufacturer. There are gay people who can’t tolerate the sight and existence of other gay people. So I don’t quite agree with him. He does have a point about reining in our bias, temperament and giving room to hear the other party out rather than the kill at sight approach that most gay men use.

  3. sensei
    October 19, 08:05 Reply

    I have followed your entries through the years and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a chronicle of your personal transformation. Keep it up.

  4. Oby
    October 19, 08:15 Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. It is something I have thought about, being a gay Nigerian myself raised mostly in the UK.
    Also I had found myself judging other UK/US based black gay men who are not out, particularly the ones that refuse to send face pics on those apps. I have became aware of the perceived weakness I see in them and how I have let my self righteous attitudes cloud my compassion. Not everyone is in the position to come out and be open as I am, and I need to take more time in understanding this. Not judge but at least giving them the benefit of the doubt before making assumptions.

    Thanks for the article. I love your writing and observations.

    Oby

  5. Francis
    October 19, 08:20 Reply

    the most painful part being that I won’t be able to clap back, so I’d essentially be sitting in the car, seething for nothing.

    ????????????

    Sometimes I feel the same way too that’s why I give non-virulent homophobes small leeway. You never know what your life would look like if you were in the other side.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      October 19, 11:23 Reply

      It can pain, sitting in the car and vexing while not being able to clapback. If na twitter you visit their @ with trailer but this one na waste of vex

  6. Pags
    October 19, 08:32 Reply

    Good piece as usual.

  7. ambivalentone
    October 19, 08:41 Reply

    The entitlement of the average Nigerian male disgusts you??????Ehen??!!???

  8. Bain
    October 19, 09:14 Reply

    I generally avoid people that don’t see reasons in other peoples opinion…. especially when both parties are well informed and not speaking out of ignorance….I’m sure people are homophobic because it’s human nature to hate what you don’t understand….let’s all be open minded….life gets easier….
    great article DM.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      October 19, 11:24 Reply

      People should open their minds more and read more and by that get a better sense of the world they live in

  9. swanky
    October 19, 14:02 Reply

    He has transformed into an idol for me and I’m gladly a fervent follower.
    But the sad thing is that he doesn’t know it.
    Love you MD

  10. doe eyed monster
    October 19, 21:55 Reply

    Hmmm… I was discussing with my friend recently how buharis statement might have been a joke but a bad one, and how feminists won’t find it funny… Only for him to say buhari did not lie, that females have roles in the family and said all these things… He said there was no need for any gender equality thing cause he dint feel females were marginalised.. .they were simply told to follow their roles.. .

    If you know how much restraint I had cause he does not read. .i tried explaining the whole purpose of the gender equality bill, enlightening him that it wasn’t about women being equal to men, but would like equal opportunities since they are not less of human beings.. He said it was simply westernisation that is making us have this discussion..

    So I went on to ask if it was westernisation that was responsible for us fighting the gay right bill, ND he said yes… That’s when I gave up. (he is gay)

    I told him to replace “gender equality ” with “homosexuality” and tell me how much of a homophobe he would be…

    • Francis
      October 19, 21:58 Reply

      Na this kain gay men dey find housewife material in their baes. Can’t deal.

  11. INDIGENE
    October 20, 08:28 Reply

    I listen to peoples opinion more than anything, I understand perfectly every situation because I do see myself in their shoes…
    .
    I think that’s what all gay men should do. we crave for acceptance, we want other to look beyond seen is as people who wants to get into every man’s ass-hole. we want them to know that this is who we are and not minding the fact that we are gay; We also have choice!
    with all this we should also try and listen to other…

    Nice transformation Dennis.

  12. Edo
    October 22, 02:21 Reply

    hi DM. I read this late. I honestly would like to meet you bcos we are age mates, opinionated individuals and share opposite opinion on certain issues and I feel I am always right….lol!

    it is repulsive to be always right. I know that. being a people manager I try to skew people’s perception of my “rightness” so as not to get them repulsed against me.

    I am happy someone got you to see that being a “truck driver” isn’t always fun.

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