On a beautiful Wednesday, I was at home enjoying a quiet evening with Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing (totally recommending that book, guys), when my friend called me. After the typical exchange of pleasantries, he proceeded to ask me how I have the guts to use my picture on Grindr. I was startled. Yes, I had started using Grindr again (hoe is life, baby), but of course, I would never do something as silly as using my photo there, definitely not in this dangerously homophobic country. I asked him the name of the profile and he told me. I went on Grindr and scrolled to find the profile, but because of search limitations and seeing as I am not a premium subscriber, I couldn’t find the account. Now my friend is based in Lagos, so his ability to easily see the profile means the account is based in Lagos. I smiled; work takes me to Lagos often, so I knew I would find this person.
The following week, I took off to Lagos on a work thingy and immediately I touched down, I opened Grindr and scrolled through to find the person. And voila, there he was – or should I say, there I was with my smiling face staring right back at me. This idiot lifted a photo from my Instagram and was using it on Grindr. I laughed inwardly because, you see, when you strike me, I retaliate with the force of ten strikes. I am never one to be crossed as I tend to go to very great lengths to retaliate. If this was the game he wanted to play, then two can certainly play it.
When I got to the hotel, I deleted my Grindr, downloaded another one and set up a fake account with some photo I downloaded off the internet. I sent him a message before going into the shower. When I got out, he had replied and we started chatting. I asked if that was him on his profile and he said yes. We chatted some more. I asked the idiot for his phone number and he gave it to me.
That was the end of him. Off I went to truecaller. I soon got a name, which I took to Facebook, where his information was made available to me. I selected his best and clearest picture from Facebook and went ahead to set up another Grindr account. I included his Facebook name, his Instagram name and even his LinkedIn profile (he works at a major bank), as well as his number. See, I have always said that I am totally against outing any gay person no matter the circumstances, unless you want to out me first. Then you will get a full dose of your medicine. I went to bed smiling with satisfaction at what I’d done.
The following day I purposely did not open Grindr till lunchtime. When I did, the guy had sent me over 20 messages begging me to take down the profile, that he is sorry for whatever he’d done to me. I told him what his offense was and told him to remove the picture immediately. He complied, and I got rid of the account.
Grindr has been compromised, and this guy thought it was okay to put my facial picture on the app for the whole world to see. I really cannot wrap my head around why gay men are so wicked to other gay men. Now my friend is having the same situation. He is some sort of body builder and people are using his face pictures on Grindr, and I have told him to do same thing to them. Since some people have refused to have sense, we will forcefully teach them how to have sense.
Nonsense and ingredients!
One of my friends who lives in Europe is getting married to some beautiful German guy and we are all jealous but happy for him. I have been looking at my bank account with side eye, checking if it will allow me be great enough to attend the wedding, but with the way money has vanished like Daddy Bubu, I don’t know again. So anyway, we – a bunch of my friends – were discussing the wedding and making plans to send them a gift, seeing as we may not be able to attend. Our friend had told us that it was going to be a traditional ceremony somewhat, so we were planning on buying Igbo traditional attire to send to him. While we were having this discussion, one of us seemed like he was uncomfortable with the whole idea. He scoffed a few times and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I asked him if he had something to say.
He responded that we were making much ado over nothing, that he schooled in Europe and that gay relationships as well as marriages are a joke because they mostly don’t last. He also said that very many gay people got married while he was schooling there (in Sweden, I think) and that none of those marriages lasted. Now I have always said that gay relationships here don’t even stand a chance of survival because the possibility of happily-ever-after is not there. Essentially these relationships come with an expiry date and this is why I think a vast majority of gay men do not bother with commitment, because they often think: What is the point?
Now the argument my friend was making was something else and it is easily disguised as honesty. You see, that is the thing with homophobia lite; it is so subtle, you may not see it. But as Absalom my darling always says, I am a curator of antigay rhetoric and polemics, so it is often easy for me to spot homophobia no matter how watered down it is. Now let us even assume that gay marriages don’t last, why do we use longevity to determine validity or otherwise – and to decide if we will extend same rights that heterosexuals have to homosexual people? Why don’t we use this same yardstick when talking about heterosexual marriages? Or is it because you somehow think heterosexuals are on the right side of nature?
Look at Hollywood for example, how many of the heterosexual marriages there make it past two years? I’m not one to shame anybody, but for how long was Britney Spears married? Should I talk about Kim Kardashian? How many marriages did Liz Taylor have? Does anyone talk about denying heterosexuals the right to marry because their marriages don’t last? Should we even talk about Nigeria? How many of these high profile marriages have we seen crash in less than four years? Even for those who aren’t celebrity.
It is important for us to be careful how we allow inherent biases cloud our judgment. If we truly believe in equality, then let us have equality. If the man and woman can marry and divorce after six months and the world does not end, I don’t see how it is an issue if two men or two women do the same. Statistically speaking, homosexual marriages tend to last longer anyway (I will have to find that study later, it’s somewhere in my drop box), but even if they don’t last, it doesn’t matter.
I am taking time to talk about this issue because every day, I see more and more Nigerian gay men who always say they don’t believe in gay marriage; not that they don’t want to get married themselves (which really is their choice and not my business), but deep down somewhere, they don’t think same-sex marriages are valid and therefore should not be entered into. I don’t want to go down the road of internalized homophobia because I will sound like a broken record, but brothers and sisters, having a learned bias is not a problem (we were all raised to have different biases). However, to still hold on to it even in the face of higher information is a problem. Homosexuality is not a transient phase to be experienced on the way to heterosexuality (and subsequently done away with). And please, I beg you, my people, always be ready to unlearn some of the things you have learned and re-learn new things. This is the age of information and there is no space for stupid people in this new world.