I didn’t used to think I was gay. Never saw myself as gay. I’d searched the word in my Oxford Dictionary, the sixth edition – in paraphrased words: ‘Having feelings for the same sex.’
That isn’t me, I thought.
I was a straight girl trapped inside the body of a boy, I corrected. Now, that’s not being gay. Being gay should transcend just what your physicality dictates, shouldn’t it?
Countless times, I would find myself standing in front of that green-plastic-edged mirror my mum got some time ago from a wedding she wasn’t really supposed to have gone to. These countless times, I saw the same things. The same things that always got me riled up. Made me seek an opportunity to vent and scream and nag.
Why are those nipples still tiny? I’d want to scream. Why isn’t my chest swelling and getting rounder? Above all, can I understand why God (in His infinite mercies, abi?) would give me that brown knob dangling between my thighs?
The contradiction, however, was effortless.
I cannot stand straight on my feet without having to cock a hip. My fingers seem to have a mind of their own as they fly and play about while I talk or try to explain things. I seem to own the runway every- and anywhere. My body frame, despite being male, has a touch of femininity.
“You had better not put on those skinny jeans to follow me. Don’t you know you have a girl’s physique?!” my mum would yell. It became a mantra but over time, she stopped. Duh, I’m not in charge of how my body turns out to be, I would almost want to yell back at her.
I was nicknamed a lot of things by family and friends. First Lady (which I loved), Omekanwanyi, girl-boy, Miss Pepeye, the list goes on. My voice was something else. Let’s just say Beyoncé probably sounds huskier. When I make a call, I have to exhaust a reasonable amount of airtime in trying to explain that it’s a guy and not some girl you’re speaking to. I always preferred panties to boxers (God forbid that I should wear those inflated, unsexy things). I go out and people almost always mistook me for a girl.
So what was happening?
Why wasn’t my physical development fulfilling my destiny as a woman?
I resorted to prayers. Yes, I prayed. After I got that slightly confusing information the doctor revealed to my dad about hormones, I began to pray. Not against the news though, but in favour of the news. Somehow, just maybe, the hormones may kick in and I’d finally get to be who I truly am. Who I truly felt like. Who I was meant to be.
I wanted to be a girl. I craved to be a woman. One with full breasts, a slender waist and well-rounded hips. I would have the grace of Oprah and the attitude of Madonna. I wanted to fall in love with Channing Tatum and get married to him on a hill, putting on a cream-coloured, diamond-crested bridal gown with so many men gushing and falling at my feet, gnashing their teeth in anger and regret for not winning my heart.
I had to be a girl!
But years to come, I’d still wake up a boy gradually turning into a man. I was growing hair on my jaw! The fuck!
Suddenly, that carrot between my thighs seemed to be more alive. What in the world is it looking for, all erect, in the early mornings?! If I were a girl, would I have to worry about morning woodies and their embarrassments? Frustration set in as I realised the hormones weren’t going to work anymore. I grew disillusioned. I had no idea what the doctor said he saw; my voice may be feminine, my body may refuse to be masculine, but I was male. MALE! I mean, you couldn’t overlook the dustings of hair on my skin, the conspicuous bump of the Adam’s apple at the base of my throat. The breast-less torso!
Acquaintances would refer to me as Mister when I would proffer my left hand to be called Miss and eventually, Mrs. I needed that title – the acknowledgement of my femininity. I envied and loved JLo. Worshipped and hated Shakira. Detested and adored Beyoncé. Cursed at and admired Michelle Obama. Women that didn’t have to pray and cry to be who they essentially were. Why would God do this to me and tell me He loves me? How could he give my mum a girl-child after making me a ‘son’?!
Having dealt with this for seven years going on eight, at age sixteen, after I had just won my first phone (a java phone) in a dance competition, I went online in search of answers. I had to know if I was alone in this despicable dilemma. I had to know there were individuals, guys, who felt the way I did. I needed to know there could be a solution to my problem.
That was when I came across the word.
That one word that describes what I felt in great detail, unraveling to me the things I didn’t even think I felt or maybe did but was too ignorant to recognise.
Yes. I felt transgender. Wrongly placed in a body I don’t really have an appreciation for. I look around me and see the pride in the eyes of my male cousins for being male. Rubbish. I see the regret in some of my female cousins for being female. Stupid! These girls, they do not know the gift they have. What they could do with wielding such a wand of beauty and charm. Harry Porter had nothing on them. It’s a man’s world? Who said that? Probably some low-life, street urchin fortunate enough to put together a group of words that appealed to the chauvinistic masses in his time.
It was crushing that I could only wish to menstruate. I could only wish to know what it feels like to have my hymen broken. I wanted to know what it feels like to have my clitoris touched during copulation. To be suckled on by that sweet-looking infant I’d spent breathless hours bringing to the world.
Devastating was the fact that despite this, despite not being a girl, I couldn’t stop my attraction for guys. Maybe I would never stop loving guys, but I could change being gay, right? What makes me gay is the fact that I have a penis instead of a vagina. I didn’t want to have a penis!
I remember saying to myself when I was eight, that one day, I would give my penis out to someone. As a goodwill gift. Helping the needy.
Such mundane thought, I know. But at the time, it brought a smile to my face.
Over time, I got to know I could change my sex. Finally, a flicker of hope. The joy blossomed within me, as I counted the years that’d come by when I’d reach the independent age to go abroad and answer my true nature’s call. This was always my number one priority. The emergence of Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, Ms. Sahara and the likes only made me more enthusiastic and zealous to accomplish my goal.
However, very recently, I have been having a change of heart. If I’m to do this, I do not want it to be based on wanting to change my physical disposition only. I do not want to do it because I don’t want to tag myself ‘gay’. That makes no sense.
I want to do it to be a true representative of all who have gone or are still going through what I went through while growing. I want to do it for all the right reasons and not convenience. That stage, I haven’t reached yet.
I recently watched the surgical procedure in changing one’s sex, and by God, it was gory. Having never been a fan of blood and gore, that wasn’t a good step to have taken.
I still believe in Trans people. I may one day change my mind and take that bold step, but until then, I would just make do with being gay. Being a feminine gay man. One who unconsciously still flips his head backwards to remove the imaginary sheaf of tresses in his face.
Let the world deal with it. And like a popular transvestite often says: “Gag on my extravaganza, bitches!”
Written by Delle