When you come out to your family, in their tolerance of your identity, you acquire for yourself a whole new set of problems. It’s like you’re a brand new teenager and all your male relationships suddenly come under the side-eye scrutiny of your parents. At that age where you being with women is welcomed, even encouraged, you come out as gay and inadvertently walk yourself back to that age when they view your associations — this time with boys — with suspicion. And it doesn’t help that being gay comes with the baggage of all these stereotypes that include promiscuity and a lack of sexual restraint. Once you’re gay, you have to want to sleep with every guy.

My mother is the one member of my family who has stayed resistant to the acceptance of my sexuality. She loves me — that much cannot be called into question. But it’s as though she’s constantly waging a war between her maternity and her faith. And in this battle against Jesus, I’m really taking a beating. My mother and I have fought so much over my “unrepentant” determination to be gay, that we eventually came to an unspoken agreement where we simply decided to have a relationship where my sexuality is largely ignored.

However, she cannot help herself; she seems to associate every perceived bad decision I’m supposedly going to make with me being gay. Like when I was moving to a new place and she called to talk about it. She couldn’t quite understand why I would up and move out from where I’d been the past five years, and at some point during the conversation, she blurted out, “I hope you’re not moving because you want to move in with a man.”

This was such an unexpected utterance that it surprised a laugh from me before I responded, letting her know that my decision to move was entirely my own. As if I would tell her if I were moving in with a lover. Her reaction to my coming out had taught me that the less said about my sexuality, the better for our relationship.

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Owerri for an extended visit. There were a number of family issues that needed to be taken care of. One of them was getting a live-in caretaker for my ailing father, considering the unavailability of my mother. When he was hired, the guy turned out to be a well-built, dark-skinned young man with washboard-flat abs and an eager industriousness. Some might think of him as attractive, but he was too rough around the edges to appeal to me. Besides, he was here to be my father’s carer, and I may be a hoe, but I’m an ethical hoe.

However, I wasn’t aloof in my behaviour toward him. My warmth made me someone he began to approach for little favours he should meet my mother for. Like money to buy airtime, and money to cut his hair with, and money to buy this and to buy that. He was on a salaried job of taking care of my father, but I understood that until the end of the month, he would need money to get buy. I didn’t mind; I gave when he asked. I also went out of my way to talk to him, to engage him in idle conversation, something that didn’t escape the hawk-eyed notice of my mother.

Then one mid-morning, my mother and I were having a late breakfast in the dining room. We were chatting away about this and that, and without thinking anything about it, I mentioned that I’d been giving Ben (that’s what we’ll call the guy) money for his general upkeep.

As I talked, I felt my mother’s gaze sharpen with interest on me. But I mistook the suspicion in her eyes for annoyance. I thought she’d gotten annoyed that the person she hired was bothering her son with issues he was supposed to bring to her attention.

And when she asked sharply, “Why is he coming to you and not to me?”, I shrugged and said with a smile, “Well, you’re the madam. I’m just your son and closer to his age. That makes me more approachable.”

She narrowed her eyes and I laughed, still misreading the situation. I added, “Alright, alright. The next time he comes to me for money, I’ll tell him to go and see you instead.”

“You better,” she said with a severity that I found surprising.

After that, it seemed as though we had moved on from the topic. But boy, was I wrong. When my mother stepped into my bedroom a few hours later, not even the grim expression on her face prepared me for what she had to say.

“My son,” she began in a warning tone, “I just want to state categorically that I don’t want a scandal. Do you hear me? I don’t want a scandal in this house.”

“What are you talking about?” I said, turning to her with a frown of confusion.

“This thing you and Ben are doing, where he’s coming to meet you for money instead of me… I don’t want to hear that it is actually what I’m thinking. I don’t want it. I just don’t want it in this house. Are you hearing me?”

And like a clap of thunder, comprehension dawned on me. And on its heels came swift anger. The confusion cleared from my face to be replaced by the beginnings of fury.

“What is that supposed to mean?” I snapped. “What thing is it you think me and Ben are doing? Please tell me, mommy.”

“I don’t have to say anything,” she shot back, not backing down. “You know what I mean. Let it not be that it has started, because I will not have it. Years ago, your cousin scandalized his family with a boy staying in their house and today, my sister and her husband are still trying to cover up what happened by making him get married. You, you have said you won’t marry. That is between you and God. But in the meantime, do not bring scandal to my house.”

I stood there staring at my mother, feeling a riotous mix of emotions wage a war inside me. You know that desperate feeling you get when you love somebody so much, yet you absolutely hate how they make you feel sometimes? I was feeling all of that as I sat there on my bed, glaring up at the woman standing before me. Tomorrow, she would become a very doting mother whose beautiful smile always makes me want to hug her. But right in that moment, I hated how she couldn’t simply get to some sort of internal compromise regarding the person she had found her son out to be.

What she said was hurtful. I felt very hurt by her words. And it was on the tip of my tongue to hit her with a rejoinder about how I had a boyfriend waiting for me in Lagos. You know, further crush her marital expectations of me by shoving my “homosexual lifestyle” in her face.

But that malicious urge lasted seconds, and i reined it in. I sighed instead and said wearily, “OK, mum. I will try and not bring any scandal to this family.”

She nodded, stared grimly some more at me, a look which I returned, before she turned and left the room.

#Sigh This journey with my mother is going to be a very long one, I see.

Written by Pink Panther

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  1. Buddha
    September 30, 08:43 Reply

    So you have a boyfriend waiting for you in Lagos. And here I thought we were going to be married with each other.

    • Pink Panther
      September 30, 09:55 Reply

      So you were busy thinking instead of proposing, eh? ?

      • Buddha
        September 30, 12:25 Reply

        On bended knees, against my better judgement, I, an accomplished writer of some sort, do hereby ask the hand and heart of some jerkoff biochemist – that is you- in marriage. You, Pink Panther, must have probably given me some love chemical or something or something or something. Because it’s the only way I’d convince myself to marry some ethical hoe.

        If you agree, the biggest mistake I’ll ever make will happen in Melbourne. Me and you far away from home. If not, maybe I’ll get lucky and be distracted by Michael J. Scofield..

          • Buddha
            September 30, 21:17 Reply

            That’s a yes. Anybody who has lived in Lagos is crazy. Me and you.

            • Pink Panther
              October 01, 07:51 Reply

              That’s not a yes ooooo. It’s a “I’m side-eyeing you because I’m not sure I want to spend the rest of my life with a crazy person”.

              • Buddha
                October 01, 09:30 Reply

                Even when the wrong one loves you right?

  2. IBK
    September 30, 10:53 Reply

    Too relatable ???????????????

  3. Francis
    September 30, 12:11 Reply

    From personal experience, this same behaviour would have applied if you were straight. No come give girl belle for my house oh. No one wants a scandal in their house but they are everly open to discussing the ones going on in other people’s houses ??‍♂️??‍♂️

  4. Black Dynasty
    September 30, 12:23 Reply

    Oh man…. I’m having similar issues with my mum in full denial mode albeit to a lesser extent. She tried to emotionally blackmail me when i was home in June and I shut it down so abruptly, that she had a look of utter shock on her face like i slapped her and hasn’t tried that one since. Last week when i innocently brought up a book on emotional/psychological first aid, she thought it might be a good idea for me to a see a psychologist to discuss any issues, as the “impossible could be made possible” i.e. going from Gay to straight ???. I smiled and continued talking like i didn’t hear what she said.

    Igbo mothers and the need to cover up scandals for the appearance of a perfect family is far reaching i see….

    And yea I’m still writing @ PP, admittedly haven’t written for a few weeks with tons of work and travelling, not to mention the story is still unfolding.

    E.g I came out to my youngest brother last week and he was super supportive. 1 more sibling to go when i catch up with him in November…. fingers crossed

  5. Malik
    September 30, 13:59 Reply

    “And in this battle against Jesus, I’m really taking a beating.” Na real battle against Jesus and sometimes it seems there’s no winning this one.

  6. Higwe
    September 30, 14:50 Reply

    Your mother is goals mehn ???.

    I love how she laid it down.

    For someone that refused to spend an extra hundred bucks to meet a potential sex mate ( when you were at the precipice of exploding from horniness ) you expect us to believe that you’re giving the muscular , athletic, male caretaker with washboard abs tips , because you’re so altruistic …

    LMAO ???

    • Pink Panther
      September 30, 15:29 Reply

      Altruism had nothing to do with it. And not every athletic, muscular offering is to a nigga’s taste. Some people have lines they won’t cross, however much they hoe about.

    • Audrey
      September 30, 20:24 Reply

      Bia Nwokem where have you been?
      So we suddenly get to hear from you cos Tasha is out of the house eh kwa!#HandsAkimbo….
      Higwe kpachara gi anya there.

      At this point me I think I’ve submitted to my mums demand of having a GIRLFRIEND and they are going to meet come Christmas as she’d be spending it in our house.The joy that emanates from mumsy’s face when speaking on the phone with her is better experienced than explained but in all I know one thing for sure….

      This nigga enjoys the warmth of a brother over that of a lady and not even my being married to Kim K would change that but this is Africa and we can’t do so much to change the status quo.

      • J
        September 30, 21:52 Reply

        Excuses. I hope it ends in praise ?

  7. J
    September 30, 22:18 Reply

    Pinky keep the hope, don’t say you won’t marry you never know what tomorrow brings… You could meet a good man someday. She feels she has failed as mother to have a gay son, but she’ll get over it with time. Just be cool and empathize with her.

    Some of you here are even trying to come out to your parents. Me I’m not bothered, I don’t need their approval and acceptance. They are living their lives, so I have to live mine.If they disturb me to get married, I will just run away ?

    • Pink Panther
      October 01, 07:50 Reply

      My decision to not get married applies majorly to women though. Of course my mind is not that deadset when it comes to men. I’m romantic enough to keep my mind open for a future legalized union with the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.

      • Buddha
        October 01, 09:33 Reply

        With me! Yes you read it right. I’m your destiny. The earlier you know it, the better for KD community.

  8. Higwe
    October 01, 00:33 Reply

    Pink P in his feelings again .

    You make it so easy ???.

    Please help me text VOTE Mike to 33052 .

    He looks exactly like your type ?

    • Pink Panther
      October 01, 07:47 Reply

      I don’t understand how you think every response I give to you must be coming from my feelings. You must think very highly of yourself to believe you have that kind of power. Some responses are just that: responses. Not a reaction. Maybe I’ll just go back to ignoring your digs. That always worked better for me.

  9. John Adewoye
    October 01, 01:05 Reply

    Love does not hurt. Love brings comfort and gets comfort. Love does not suspect sincerity. Love helps truthfulness to blossom. Love does not continually create atmosphere of negative doubt. Love appreciates positive actions. Love is not tense but firmly stand by honest interaction. Love does not dwell in disagreement. Love seeks common ground. Love does not create sadness. Love cares for your happiness. I think mom has fallen out of love with you. I understand you don’t have to pay her back same way, because two wrongs never make a right.
    I credit your honesty, your self-acceptance and your courage to share this story. Let it be your strength and your healing when arrow flies.

    • Pink Panther
      October 01, 07:54 Reply

      I get the points you’re making about these definitions of Love. But when it comes to parental love, this is a little too simplistic to just say the parent has fallen out of love with their child simply because they don’t fit perfectly into these boxes.

      Thank you though for your encouragement.

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