TURN THE LIGHTS ON

TURN THE LIGHTS ON

Every moment of my life, I am confronted one way or another by the reality of the feelings I have that are unlike what is the norm. My earliest memories of my homosexuality are of the time when, as a child, I would often beg my babysitter to join me whenever I was bathing, and then I’d ask him to let me touch his thing. I think I was four years old at this time. In Primary School, I would always want to go to the urinary whenever I knew there were lots of other pupils there so I could see the boys’ penises. And then, pretty soon, I was having sex in my dreams, almost every night, and all of them with guys. I was still in Primary School at this time, less than age 9. I hadn’t been exposed to anything gay on TV or in books. So, whenever I hear this homophobic argument that homosexuality is something that infects children from what they read or watch on television, I think of myself and shake my head at the sheer fallacy of those opinions. Everything gay I manifested as a child came very naturally to me.

After Primary School, I got admission into a federal government college. It was a mixed secondary school. I vividly remember one situation, during a morning assembly, when my house captain was called out before the student body and demoted as punishment for something he’d done. I asked a friend what crime he’d committed, and he said, “Senior John na gay.”

I didn’t know what this meant, and I asked, “What is gay?”

And the boy said, “Senior John na homo.”

As if ‘homo’ was any clearer than ‘gay’. Of course, I asked, “What is homo?”

And so, he explained that the senior had been caught having sex with junior boys. And instead of being repulsed, I was instantly fascinated. Finally, I’d discovered the name of my identity. Gay. Homo. And clearly, I wasn’t alone in this.

I was quite effeminate in Secondary School, and this feminine behaviour of mine was like a beacon calling on the sexual attention of boys to me. At night, there’d be boys, my mates, approaching me to help them release. Seniors would call me out of a school activity and ask me to go wait for them in their dormitory; and if I was there till nighttime, they’d beg me to let them have sex with me. Blow jobs were like a daily communion I bestowed upon my faithful. I crushed on every good-looking boy that I came across. And it wasn’t just that. Even though there were a bunch of students who seemed gay and really into me, I tended not to have any time for them. Oh no. I was more into those boys who talked a lot about girls. Those boys who chased girls. The supposed straight kids. This desire led me down the road to some bad encounters such as giving a boy a blow job or a hand job at night, and getting reported the next morning. Sometimes, this resulted in me getting punished by the senior who I’d been reported to. Other times, I was ‘rewarded’ by the instruction to sexually satisfy the senior.

Whenever I was home for holidays, I was often indoors, and since my family lived close to a university, we had students who lived in our compound. Older boys who made the seniors in my school look like little kids. It wasn’t very long before I got involved with one of them.

He was a neighbour, schooling at the university, and had a girlfriend who often came to visit him. Let’s call him Mike. I’d just gotten home for the midterm break. And that day, I was bored. I went over to his place and knocked on his door. He let me in; he’d been watching a movie and was home alone. During a sex scene in the movie, I suddenly started feeling wild. And I turned to him and asked him if he had a big dick. He was evidently startled by question and reacted with a laugh. He mumbled a response intended to dismiss the subject, but I was not to brushed aside. I asked him if he could allow me touch his dick. The amusement fled from his countenance and he was instantly angry. He warned me never to say that to him again, threatened to report me to my parents and asked me to leave his room.

You have to understand something: at that age, I didn’t know how to control my urges. Sex education for the homosexual child is not something that is obtainable in Nigerian parenting, and so I had no one to talk to me about my yearnings. For that reason, I was often bold with my intentions – like I was with Mike – and I was lucky that I always escaped with threats and chastisement. Mike never told my parents, but thenceforth, I stayed out of his way.

In my senior year in secondary school, I was growing more aware of my sexuality, and understanding just how much who I am clashed with who I was brought up to be. I have a strict Christian upbringing, and I was starting to understand how religion was anti-homosexual, and I was feeling condemned by this. I flirted with thoughts of suicide a few times, but ironically, was saved by the same Christian faith that condemned me – the thought that I would go to hell if I took my life.

And so, caught in this warped head space where I hated who I was and didn’t know what to do about it, I acted out by being more sexually active than ever before. My friends and I became the hallmarks of prostitution. We were literally competing with each other over who could sleep with the highest number of guys – both fellow students and NYSC-assigned teachers – before graduation. Even at home, my whoring knew no bounds. I was seducing and having sex with street boys and whatever university students I could sexually ensnare. The most fantastic thing about all this was how my parents never knew what their child was up to. (Or if they knew, they never brought it up with me.) I got smarter and more coded than I was when I was a Secondary School junior, and so never experienced any kito mess.

I finally graduated from Secondary School and five years ago, I gained admission into a higher institution to study Medicine and Surgery. Countless times, I told myself I would change, but it seemed change wasn’t for me. I’d gone for both secular and religious counselling, but nothing seemed to work. I was in the university now, where the temptations presented were wider and varied, and I initially strived to maintain a low-key social life, to abstain as much as I could. Even though I failed in my abstinence vow and got involved sexually with a few guys, I was able to keep it under control with the knowledge that I had exams to pass and a future career to cater to. I also tried to “man up”, working on my effeminacy until I’d all but rid myself entirely of it; I wanted to fit in more at school and being masculine-presenting was one way to ensure that.

Then, a friend called Kingsley happened.

Kingsley was a good friend of mine and course mate – tall, dark, well-built and handsome. He was the kind of guy that was seen as typically straight. He was an unrepentant womanizer, and the only son of his parents, even though his father passed away in our second year. We were initial study-mates, as I often helped him with his school work.

Being friends with Kingsley was hell for me. I desired him. I always wanted him, but I really enjoyed our friendship, so I didn’t take any liberties with him. Besides, he was homophobic and often talked thrash about gay people, and this made me uncomfortable with him. I was also kept uncomfortable by his persistent recounting of his sexploits with girls; he’d talk about how he’d date girls, fuck them, dump them, and move on to their best friends. I would laugh uncomfortably at his gist and hail him as “king of the girls.”

And then, after our Year Three MBBS professional exams, he posted a homophobic update on Facebook and tagged me and some of his friends to it. Feeling supremely put off by this, I asked him to untag me from the post. He asked why. I told him that the post would appear on my timeline and because I didn’t have any problem with the way people live their lives, I didn’t want anyone visiting my timeline to see that post and think I do. He promptly untagged me.

After that, I began avoiding him. It helped that at this time, he’d begun to really become a malevolent person – smoking, doing online scam, and being part of a cult group. However, even though I was successful in not seeing him, I never seemed to have the same resolve whenever it came to replying his “Bro waddup” WhatsApp messages. I’d always respond.

Then the day came when he told me about how one guy hit on him on Facebook and how he’d not only turned the guy down, but gone on to shame him on his timeline. I asked him why he did that, and he began talking about how homosexuality was a sin that should never be accepted. I asked him that isn’t being a cultist, a scammer and a smoker also a sin that shouldn’t be accepted. I pressed on, asking if his mother would be proud of what he had become should she learn of his new habits. By the time I was done speaking to him and pointing out the hypocrisy of his prejudice against gay people, he had quietened and come to the acknowledgement that everyone had their lives to live and should not be judged for it.

Then I talked to him about how most gay people are who they are from birth, and how setting them up the way he did the guy who came on to him on Facebook was cruel and not at all cool. It was at this point that he asked me if I was gay.

I affirmed his question with, “Yes, I am.” Honest to God, I hadn’t planned on coming out to him. I didn’t know when the words escaped my mouth. One second, I was the pro-gay preacher, and the next, I was the out gay man to him.

He reacted with surprise, but then finally said he was cool with it, that after all, it was my life.

We didn’t stop being friends after this. And he didn’t stop with his gist about his womanizing, about how he slept around with girls and how he was now even running things with married women. Finally, I had enough and I told him to stop. That I was uncomfortable with all that sexual talk.

“Besides,” I added jokingly, “you’re indirectly seducing me. You know I’m gay and you’re busy telling me how you are fucking girls.”

I was joking, yes. But I was also indirectly opening up about my desire for him. He must have caught my drift, because with a suddenly serious expression, he told me to never entertain the idea of me and him ever doing “that gay shit”, because it would never happen. He emphasized that he was straight and would never do guys, and that it was best for me for get rid of any sexual thoughts about him from my mind for the sake of our friendship.

I could hear him. I could hear the wisdom in what he was saying. But I couldn’t help the way I was feeling. My attraction for him appeared to be intensifying now that I was out to him. To combat this, I began avoiding him. It was such an emotional turmoil for me, so much so that I was composing cryptic WhatsApp statuses about heartbreak as a way to vent. I also stopped chatting with him, never responding to his messages.

One day in class, he accosted me and asked me plainly if I was avoiding him, and if the reason was because of what he told me. When I didn’t respond, he said it wasn’t right. That I shouldn’t hope for something to happen between us that would destroy our friendship. That he had accepted me as I am – shouldn’t that be enough? That it wasn’t fair to him that I would end our friendship because of something like this. I told him I wasn’t ending our friendship, that I was simply trying to adjust some things about myself. That when I was ready, we would get back to being cool with each other.

I later moved out from the hostel and was living off-campus, whereas he was still coming from his family house as his mother couldn’t provide money for him to rent an apartment around school, and since their house wasn’t that far from the school, it made sense for him to be a day student.

Because I was now off-campus, he started the habit of “borrowing” my room for his sex romps with his various girlfriends. He would always ask me to keep condoms for him, and whenever I returned after he was gone, there’d be this heavy after-sex scent hanging in my room that often turned me on. All the work I thought I’d done on myself to get over him would come crumbling down and I would be back to where I started: lusting after Kingsley. And because Kingsley was the kind of guy who liked to talk, he would always tell me about the girls he’d shagged in my room. This time, instead of telling him to stop, I would in turn tell him about my own sexcapades with guys. He didn’t flinch from my stories. In fact, our shared experiences brought us closer together.

Most of my friends often wondered how I was able to stay friends with such an unserious fellow as Kingsley. Their questions were expected. I was a nerd, an A student, and Kingsley was one of those students whose philandering ways you observed and found yourself wondering how he even managed to get admitted into medical school. But aside from the fact that I was in lust with him, I had this protective instinct over Kingsley. I felt like I needed to take care of him, be responsible for him. Besides, he appeared to need me. So, I never imagined that anything could happen that would tear us apart.

I would soon find out how very wrong I was.

TO BE CONTINUED.

Written by Sherry

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14 Comments

  1. Mandy
    January 02, 09:38 Reply

    Oh wow. This is shaping up to be another version of that “Thirst goes before a fall” story. This lust gay men have for straight men is such a bane on our existence. It’s like straightness gives these men an untouchability that gay men feel incredibly drawn to.
    Hopefully, he didn’t need your help and you waved sex with you as the only way you’re going to help him.

  2. E
    January 02, 11:51 Reply

    Straight or gay, man needs to understand that you should never give too much space to obviously toxic friendships. I mean, it’s not like he was the best friend you could ask for (having sex IN YOUR ROOM?! EW!) and you were clearly having sex with other people so it’s not like you were desperate or something. You don’t have to avoid people to tone down a bad friendship, just start limiting how much time and attention you give.

  3. Francis
    January 02, 14:45 Reply

    I flirted with thoughts of suicide a few times, but ironically, was saved by the same Christian faith that condemned me – the thought that I would go to hell if I took my life.

    This

  4. Tes
    January 02, 16:18 Reply

    Am i the only guy who deosnt feel any form of lust towards straight men?

  5. Alladin
    January 02, 23:09 Reply

    Why do feminine guys have to man up I see that as being a coward i believe in loving yourself enough to not change for anyone as bravery thanks

    • Patrick
      January 03, 00:21 Reply

      Do you know how hard it is for effeminate teenage boys? Loving oneself is great alright, but in a deeply homophobic society, you have to understand that ‘maning-up’ is a survival instinct, an almost unconscious reaction.

    • Pink Panther
      January 03, 07:03 Reply

      It’s quite insensitive to call effeminate guys who “man up” cowards. It is bravery to be true to who you are, but it is an act of survival to decide to change, especially if your effeminacy makes you a target for scorn and derision all the time.
      What is unacceptable is for one to turn around and deride those who are effeminate, but if someone wants to work on his mannerisms in order to fit in, he shouldn’t be faulted for that.
      It’s the same thing as being in the closet? Alladin, are you out of the closet? If you’re not, then you really shouldn’t be calling effeminate guys who man up cowards. Cos they’re surviving just as closeted gays are.

  6. Omiete
    January 02, 23:32 Reply

    Oh your childhood was just like mine. I was flirting openly with people without a care in the world. Thank God I turned out okay.

  7. viko
    January 03, 00:17 Reply

    this is perhaps the “truest” story ever told in this platform… bonus: it doesn’t hv a lurid sex scene that leaves you groping for Vaseline
    ***wink

  8. Mitch
    January 04, 20:12 Reply

    You have to understand something: at that age, I didn’t know how to control my urges. Sex education for the homosexual child is not something that is obtainable in Nigerian parenting, and so I had no one to talk to me about my yearnings.

    THIS!!!!!!

    • Pink Panther
      January 05, 04:53 Reply

      It’s a very unfortunate reality of the Nigerian gay child.

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