BREAKING FREE

BREAKING FREE

Right from a young age, I was effeminate and thought that I wanted to be a girl. I was very expressive in my effeminacy, and in many ways, I think this is the reason why my journey to being out to my family has had a softer landing than most. Everyone in my family knew my feminine tendencies and indulged them, not batting an eyelid or chastising me whenever I was found in my sisters’ things. As a child, people would often mistake me for a girl, and when they asked me, “Are you a boy or a girl?” I would say, “Both.”

This was cute until one time in Primary School, when I was filling out a form, and under the Sex category, I filled “Male/Female”. Whoever read the form must not have found it amusing or cute, because the school reported me to my parents.

At this point, I think they, my parents, began to pay more attention to my expressions and think less kindly about it. They would catch me in my sisters’ clothes and would scold me severely. I didn’t stop though. I just became more careful. I loved how I felt in those oversized female clothes and shoes. And when my sisters started wearing makeup, I too began playing around with their cosmetics. My sisters didn’t mind; they thought I was being creative, because I even suggested good ideas on their application of their makeup.

I put on nude eye shadow one morning that we were going to go to church, and when this was noticed, reactions ranged from laughter to irritation. But I didn’t let that get to me. I was feeling too fabulous to be bothered.

The first time I crushed on a boy, it didn’t go beyond looking at him and having him look back at me. I wouldn’t know if it would’ve developed into something more, because, then my family moved to a different place.

And then, at age 12, I met and started crushing on another boy named DJ. Things went beyond just eye contact. DJ was older, the age mate of my brothers, but he didn’t treat me like a silly little boy. He would often tell me kind things like how he liked my hair or whatever I was wearing or how I talked. Sometimes, he touched me too, that is, he would hug me whenever he visited, and he didn’t mind hanging out with me alone.

I remember being so smitten by him that one day, I went to my mother and asked her, “Why am I not a girl?”

I will never know what my mother was thinking as she looked at me. You see, my mother often told me that I should have been born a girl, but that, when she got pregnant with me, she prayed for God to give her another boy. And so, a traditional part of my mother believes that her will clashed with the will of God, and what she got was a product of that clash: a very feminine son.

When I asked her that (for the umpteenth time, I might add, because this was a complaint I’d been peppering her with ever since I was old enough to not like being  boy), she’d looked at me and asked, “Are you asking me this because of DJ? You like him, don’t you?”

As I recall this now, I have no idea if my mother understood what she was asking me, if she suspected that I might be gay. I remember being taken aback by her question, not because I thought she was implying that I could be homosexual (because I didn’t even know the word at that age), but because I didn’t know that any other person had noticed my devotion to DJ.

I said, “Yes.”

She sighed and then said, “Please be careful, my son. The world is full of people who will try to take advantage of you. Do not do anything that will bring regret to you and this family.”

That was all she said. And at age 12, it didn’t even make any sense to me. All I’d wanted to know was why I didn’t look more like my two sisters. Instead I’d inherited the looks and anatomy of my three brothers.

My mother wasn’t the only one who noticed my affections for DJ. My two older brothers of course did. And the mischievous human beings that they were, they decided to pull a prank on us. They told a girl in our neighbourhood who everyone knew liked DJ that the reason DJ hadn’t asked her out was because he was dating me. I noticed the girl’s malevolent looks aimed at me whenever I was out in the street with DJ. I mentioned this to him, and he dismissed my reservations. But the girl’s hostility became so apparent, that he took me along with him when he went to confront her, to know why she was acting so antagonistic toward me. And she blurted out in bitterness that my brothers had told her that DJ and I were a thing.

DJ was scandalized, and in the heat of his exchange with the girl, he said something that broke my heart: “How can you think that I’d ever date Mikey? He’s a boy for chrissakes!”

As I stood there, I felt very distraught within me. Once again, the fact that I didn’t have the right body parts had denied me something I desperately loved.

DJ and I went back to my house, where he confronted my brothers and they laughed, saying they were simply having some fun, considering how close they’d noticed DJ was with me. They teased us, saying that we make such a cute couple.

This incident of course had the expected outcome of causing DJ to start distancing himself from me. Thinking about it now, I don’t think DJ had any homosexual tendencies toward me. I think he fancied himself a kind older brother, and the self-consciousness of knowing that people had started to sexualize our relationship made him to pull away from me.

When I got into boarding school, I began to experience the ugly side of society’s contempt for feminine-presenting boys. I was bullied and sometimes, threatened with rape. These didn’t scare me though; they simply annoyed me. As someone who’d enjoyed the much validation I got from my family, I was irritated by all these people who seemed to have a problem with me being who I am.

The third boy I liked was Kenneth. He was a boy in my school and he made me happy, especially whenever we played about in the hostel, holding each other and just laughing, carefree, our joy unspoiled. I was 13 then. One time, we were called homo. Neither Kenneth nor I knew what it meant, but the attitude that came with the way the word was hurled at us made me know it was something significant. And so, I asked a senior boy what “homo” meant. And that was when I got my first education of who I truly was. It made me very happy to finally have a name for me. But then, knowing that name also meant knowing that it was what they preached about in school as an abomination. The fear that came from being exposed to this contempt caused Kenneth and I to grow apart.

 At this time, I’d become part of a clique of friends. We were all effeminate and we called ourselves the Spring Stars. We danced ballet at social gathering in school and we were popular. We liked boys and we shared our stories with each other of our crushes and of the seniors who visited us at night. We were untouchable as a group, because seniors feared that harassing us would result in us exposing them. This friendship kept me safe from bullying, because as a group, we went after whoever dared to mess with one of us.

Then I entered SS1 and I was suddenly on my own again. All the other Spring Stars had changed school after junior class. And I reaped the repercussions of our fierceness from the classmates who were afraid to bully us in JSS3 and the seniors who’d felt threatened by us. They all came for me. I was miserable. The boys in my class took it upon themselves to “cure” me of my femininity. They would slap my hands from my waist or knock it down every time I gesticulated with limp wrists. They would shout at me to deepen my voice whenever I spoke. Everyone was telling me what to do, how to act, how to talk.

One day, one of my teachers, who’d apparently noticed my efforts to change, asked me why I was behaving differently. And I told her that I was trying to be “more manly”.

She said to me, “You can’t cheat nature, Mikey. God created you this way for a reason. Instead of fighting that, concentrate of being a better you and love yourself, no matter what anyone says.”

Those words impacted me down to my soul, and may be a major contribution to why I have determined to be who I am today.

After that talk, especially when I went home for the holidays and saw that my grades were low because I’d been so focused on becoming the masculine person people wanted me to be, I decided enough was enough. I would be who I’d always been and if my classmates didn’t like it, they could go fuck themselves.

Over the years, this determination wasn’t easy to maintain. And after getting derided too often from people over how I present myself, I decided to talk to someone: my sisters – at least, about my effeminacy, not my love for boys. And they talked about how they were very cool with me being the way I am. They gisted me of when I was a toddler and liked to be carried and petted, craving attention “like a girl.”  That I would get very upset even then whenever I was dressed in boy clothes. That I would take the wrapper on my bed and wrap it around my head whenever I saw our mother tying her gele to go to church or a function.

It warmed my heart to listen to my sisters talk about me with so much appreciation for who I am.

Then I began to fall in love with Edwin. Remember Edwin – the boy whose story I told of love, a relationship, and then him outing me to the whole school?

Well, back when we were still a thing, when I was still in love with him, I told my sisters about that, this time, coming out to them as a homosexual. They acted surprised, but were again full of acceptance.

One sister said, “You’ve always been confident. Continue to be like so and to be true to who you are. I love you, Mikey.”

And the other sister was the voice of caution: “Don’t start telling everyone o. You know how this world is with gay people. So, don’t do anything stupid.”

However, when I started telling them about Edwin, they changed the subject. LOL. I guess there’s a limit to how accepting and comfortable family members can of their brother’s homosexuality.

Coming out to my sisters gave me the gift of seeing myself as gay outside the confines of my mind. And, in a way, it prepared me for the eventuality of Edwin outing me. Instead of cowering and seeking to explain myself or deny what people had seen in the WhatsApp chats that Edwin made public, I owned it. Someone in school threatened to report me to the school authority if I didn’t pay him and I told him to go ahead and do so, that I would be very capable of defending myself at the disciplinary board. After all, my only crime had been to love the wrong person.

After that incident, I refused to hold back any longer. When I read my elder brother’s Facebook status, a post where he was spewing homophobic trash about polygamy being better than “gayism”, I came out to him. I sent him a message telling him that for his information, I am gay.

He replied, “I am not comfortable with you being gay, but I will love you regardless.”

And he followed that up by deleting the post.

During one morning devotion, my dad, a pastor, was giving a sermon and had started saying something homophobic about how people choose to be gay – when I interrupted him and said, “They don’t choose. They are simply born who they are.”

He looked at me, as though he wanted to say something, but then changed his mind and switched from what he’d been preaching.

Then, one time, my mother was complaining to my aunt, her sister, about my older siblings being such black sheep of the family. Her annoyance came from my parents’ resentment of the choice of people some of my siblings were dating, people my parents feared they’d want to marry. And my parents didn’t approve. I began to lecture my mother on their interference in my siblings’ choice of who to spend their lives with.

“They are not black sheep, if your reason is that they may marry who you don’t approve of,” I told my mother. “They are white sheep.”

My mother chuckled. “And you, you are what?”

“I am pink sheep,” I said with a smile.

“Which one is pink sheep again?” my aunt interjected.

“It’s the one who will not tolerate you people telling me who to marry, the one who will simply invite you to the wedding, and when you come and see a man at the altar, it will be your choice to stay or leave.” All this, I said with a smile of course, to soften the sting.

But my mother looked at me then. And I would never know what she was thinking about what I’d said, because she didn’t say anything.

I am seeing someone now, but the rumors that have started circulating of me being gay has made my parents self conscious enough to interfere, telling him to stop coming to our house and me to never go to his. I don’t think they know that we’re dating; I just think they now have a problem with me being around young males.

But I’m fine. I’m in a good place now that I won’t trade for anything. There will, I’m sure, be mistakes and triumphs ahead, but as long as my foundation is to stay true to who I am, I’ll always be fine.

Written by Mikey

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  1. Dexy
    October 25, 08:01 Reply

    Oh mai god!😁😁😁
    See my smiling ad blushing like what i dont know.
    This your story warmed my heart this morning.
    Keep being yourself micky no matter how hard it might seem.
    Love and Light hun♥

    • T-man
      October 25, 10:53 Reply

      And here I am smiling at your comment too. 😅😅

  2. Michael
    October 25, 14:59 Reply

    Yes. You will always be fine.

    Well-done.

    • Mikey😘
      October 26, 09:33 Reply

      Thanks dear Michael you too will be fine

  3. ❤️
    October 25, 18:49 Reply

    This is absolutely beautiful
    I enjoyed it.
    I am happy for you, for your family

    • Mikey😘
      October 26, 09:38 Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, I guess what my friend said I forced who I am on my family so they had to accept me, and I never tolerated homophobia from anyone even in school, I guess that’s why my outing wasn’t a surprise

  4. Tariq
    October 25, 22:36 Reply

    This is a beautiful piece….

    And you are strong!

    Loads of love…

    • Mikey😘
      October 26, 09:41 Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story, you too can be strong even stronger, love you too

  5. bamidele
    October 25, 22:46 Reply

    Wow! what a story. Amazing. That you teacher who told you to accept who you are deserves a medal. Many nigerian teachers will even worsen the whole thing…

    • Mikey😘
      October 26, 09:45 Reply

      Thanks for appreciating the story, and the teacher said what she said because she felt I was turning to a bad boy she usually critizes me before for being effeminate and singing soprano while my mates sang tenure and bass, while I guess she told me what I needed to hear to think back

  6. Mandy
    October 26, 08:33 Reply

    Your life reads like a manual we should all emulate on our journey to self acceptance and authentic living. You not only had the issue of your sexuality to overcome, you also had your effeminacy to deal with. You are simply very brave and it is very commendable that there’s no lasting self loathing in this story of your journey.
    If you ever come around to writing your memoir, do give that your teacher a shout-out. She did a wonderfully special job, which Nigerian teachers are not known for.

    • Mikey😘
      October 26, 09:50 Reply

      Lol a manual? Thanks for saying I’m brave but people take me more as a dating person. Their self loathing didn’t last cause I guess they saw it had no effect on me so they switched sides, like one guy that was always throwing shades at me for being effeminate later started asking why effeminate guy just have to be so cute. And the teacher when I came back the next term to my true self she started complaining that this wasn’t the change she was talking about, by then it was already too late……. Thanks for commenting

  7. Mikey😘
    October 26, 09:51 Reply

    Thanks for appreciating the story, and the teacher said what she said because she felt I was turning to a bad boy she usually critizes me before for being effeminate and singing soprano while my mates sang tenure and bass, while I guess she told me what I needed to hear to think back

  8. Mikey😘
    October 26, 09:58 Reply

    Thanks pinky dear for sharing my story and using my picture as requested, I guess that’s part of my daring side, thanks for also editing my story to make more sense, I really appreciate. For correction dj was my age mate, it was my younger brother who knew I was gay right from my first crush that pulled the prank with his closest friend then, and what I and dj had was real.
    Finally I’m glad I inspired some people here
    Thank you all for your comments I appreciate ❤️

  9. Raine
    October 26, 14:00 Reply

    Being gay & a pastors son comes with its own burden, how do you cope? Religious expectations and all? Did you guys change your church?

    • Oludayo
      October 26, 23:52 Reply

      I changed mine. Although I don’t think that solves everything, it helps with the pressure

    • Mikey😘
      October 27, 00:04 Reply

      I just do me my parents know I am strong willed, I serve God the way I can, I don’t have time to listen to what people have to say, I was given the title of dinner of the year once so? That’s it

  10. Tristan
    October 30, 10:59 Reply

    Your story is beautiful, Mikey. Keep living.

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