HER COMING OUT STORY

HER COMING OUT STORY

Remember when I wrote this story about my family orchestrating suitors for me, men who came calling for my hand in marriage?

Well, top among these men was Nnamdi, the one who I quizzed about his stance on homosexuality and adoption. If you read the story, you’d remember I talked about asking Nnamdi what his opinions were on the LGBT and adoption – and on the subject of homosexuality, he said he was on the fence, when with further probing, it became clear that he wasn’t exactly on the fence.

Anyway, what with my reluctance to commit to any form of relationship with him, it would seem that Nnamdi relayed our conversation regarding homosexuality to my aunt, the woman who is not quite my aunt who connected him to me. And my aunt in turn forwarded whatever he said to her to my mother. This of course came as a shock to my family, and as my parents struggled to deal with it, they instructed everyone to not tell me what they’d just learned.

My younger sister however went ahead and told me. You see, my sister already knew about me. I came out to her after I wrote this story for Kito Diaries. After it was published, I sent the link to her to read. I don’t know why I did that, considering she is the most religious of my siblings. On some level, I didn’t care. I just wanted someone in my family to know, and I figured I’d start from the worst possible scenario. But much to my surprise, she reacted with love. First, she asked me if that was me in the story, and when I said yes, she started crying, talking about how she couldn’t imagine how alone I must have felt all the years we spent growing up with me having to hide who I was.

Since then, she has stayed supportive, looking out for me especially where our parents are concerned. Anyway, she told me about our parents learning of me being a lesbian from my aunt, who was informed of this by Nnamdi.

I was furious. What did he open his big mouth to say? Scratch that! Why was he even opening his big mouth to say anything to anyone about me!

I called Nnamdi with my confrontation, demanding to know why he would let someone else in on our private conversations. And this man-child had the nerve to tell me that my aunt was the one who linked him to me, and so, he was merely giving her an update so she would know it wasn’t his fault that things didn’t work out between us. Can you believe that! Instead of this overgrown baby to take his L over my rejection of him, he just had to get back at me.

And this was someone my people were hoping I’d marry. Lesbianism sha, saving me from immature husbands since 1900!

After that phone call, I blocked his number on WhatsApp and wherever else he may have access to me. For good measure, I blocked my aunt as well.

Anyway, my sister told me everything that was happening with our parents, including the fact that they’d given an instruction for me to be kept in the dark. That meant I couldn’t do anything about the situation, no damage control of any sort. I simply had to wait for them to make their move.

And the wait was torturous, especially since they didn’t seem to be in a hurry to do anything. I didn’t even know what my aunt told them for chrissakes! My sister had told me that my mother was worried about my aunt possibly telling anyone else what she’d told them, and that hurt a little bit: that my mother was more invested in how this “secret” would make the family look than in reaching out to talk to me about it.

When my mother did get around to calling me, I tensed when I saw her Caller ID on my phone screen. But all the breathing-in I did to fortify myself for the battle I imagined was about to happen was futile, because she never brought it up. She simply wanted to talk normal talk with me. I obliged her, warily waiting for her to suddenly spring the attack on me. But that never happened. We talked and then the call ended. When next we talked, it was more normal gist. When we chatted on WhatsApp, it was more normal gist. I got more of the same attitude from my father too. It was as though they were acting like whatever they’d heard about me never happened. And I went along, unsure whether to be relieved or saddened by this.

This all happened in March; life went on, what with the COVID-19 pandemic taking over the world’s attention.

And then, a week ago, it finally happened.

My mother called me and started talking about how she dreamt about me, and in that dream, she saw me with a man, and I looked very happy. I laughed and told her that I was already happy, and that I didn’t need a man for that to happen. She went on and on about how I needed to get married soon and how it was God’s wish for me to do so. This was nothing new; we’d had this conversation several times in the past. What was new was when she started admonishing me that I was letting my friends in Lagos influence me, and that was the reason I didn’t know what was best for me. I started to get irritated at this and told her we should end this conversation and talk again later, because I was getting upset and didn’t want to say things I might regret.

After the call ended, the next thing I got was a WhatsApp message from her.

As I started reading it, I felt a slight chill snake its way up my spine, for it immediately became clear to me that what I was reading was the message Nnamdi sent to my aunt, which she had obviously forwarded to my mother. I wanted to know what Nnamdi said to them; well, here it was (his exact words):

“Auntie, how far… The first day I called Net, she said before anything, that she wants to ask me a question. I said okay. She said what’s my take on lesbianism. Codedly, I said am not in support of it and am not against it. But I now ask her what will make a woman feel sex with her fellow woman. She said the same thing that will make a man feel sex for a woman. I now asked her what’s her position, she said she is fully in support of lesbianism, that as far as it’s something they are doing for themselves and not disturbing anybody. Each time I call her, she is always with her fellow girls, so am sure she is a lesbian. Secondly, I called her on vals to wish her happy vals, and she said she was having dinner with her girl friends. She didn’t pick my call Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And I sent a message to know why.”

That was it. A bruised ego made this man send this tripe that outed me to my family. I remembered the Valentine Day call. It was actually on Thursday (the eve of Valentine Day) that he called. I’d answered and upon hearing the female voices in the background, he’d asked who they were and I told him they were my friends. Friends, I said. Not girlfriends. My friends are my friends, not “girlfriends”. And yes, on Friday, I was at a queer party when he called, so I didn’t answer. And then I spent the weekend having a blast, and didn’t bother with him.

And so, based on all these, he had concluded that I was a lesbian and had sent these “findings” to my aunt. What a detective.

After reading, I sighed. So, the cat was finally out of the bag. My mother had finally decided to confront the issue. She sent more messages, this time talking about how I was disgracing the family, how shameless I was and all whatnot – you know, the usual parental homophobic recriminations.

I was instantly provoked. A rush of anger surged through me as I considered how my mother had turned on me based on the words of a man she didn’t even know. So if I wasn’t a lesbian, this would be how she’d take the word of an idiot and turn on me with it?

I replied, telling her that I was done with all this and that I had already blocked the man and my so-called aunt, and that if she or my father decides to bother me with this issue, I was going to block them as well. I told her that I’d discussed many other things with this guy, and how come he only decided to dwell on this and “report” me with it? I affirmed that I was in support of the LGBT community, but how was that enough to make me a lesbian?

We were typing furiously back and forth. She didn’t seem to be listening to me as she went on and on about how hell fire is real and how I should leave my family out of all this nonsense. She also brought up her concerns about my aunt, talking about how she has been wondering how many people my aunt must have told about this; she said this in such a way that made it look like she was blaming me for whatever indiscretion my aunt exhibits on this issue.

She said that many women make the same “mistake” as me when they are young, and upon becoming adults, they come to regret those “actions”.

In my mind, I was like: Well, how would you know? Are you one of them?

As my mother raged on, at some point, something inside me snapped and I began typing furiously on my keypad before hitting Send.

The message I sent was: “If I’m a disgrace to your family, then you can disown me. I have nothing to hide anymore. Listen to me carefully: I am not going to get married to a man, because I like women. And don’t say it’s because of Lagos, because even growing up in Port Harcourt, it was the same. I never changed. I have been this way. I have fought it though; I prayed to God, hated myself, cried at night. But then, when I realized I wasn’t the problem, I learned to love myself. And if you don’t love me, I will continue loving myself.”

However, two seconds after I sent the message, I stared at my phone screen in shock, saying to myself over and over: Net, what have you done?!!!

The WhatsApp signal showed for a long time that my mother was typing. I could imagine her struggling to not only digest the turn our fight had taken, but to sort out what to say to me.

Then she finally responded. “I can’t disown you, my child. I prayed and cried for years before you came to me, and the devil cannot take you away.”

I sighed heavily. This was clearly not going to be an easy road for me and this woman.

She went on to remind me about when she suspected I was “doing lesbianism” with one of my friends in Port Harcourt. She said I needed help and she was going to help me fight it.

I told her I didn’t need help and that I was done fighting it.

She responded, saying that as she was typing, she was crying, and that she was never going to accept me being a lesbian.

I didn’t expect any acceptance from her anyway. I told her as much. I also told her to stop trying to change me and that I wasn’t influenced by anything, I had always been attracted to girls even before I knew there was a name for it.

She told me that her younger sister “used to be like that too, even till she got married, and with the help of God, she finally overcame it, and now, she is a pastor”, and so I should get married and with time, “the urge will fade away”. This was fascinating news to me; my aunt is a very religious woman, even more so than my mother. If she was truly as lesbian as my mother said she was, then she must be battling lifelong demons.

The back-and-forth between my mother and I turned into a really long conversation that didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Eventually, I tapped out, feeling both physically, psychologically and emotionally drained.

The next day, I got a message from my sister. She said she’d read my exchange with our mother, and that I should take it easy with her because of her health. She added that I should remember that I was not alone, that she’d always be there for me.

This was very heartwarming to know, especially in the wake of how fractured things suddenly seemed between me and my mother.

Later in the day, my mother messaged me, apologizing for the things she’d said, saying that she loves me and then reiterating that she would help me “fight this sin”.

I sighed.

Then I replied that I love her too and I was also sorry for the things I said, but that she shouldn’t try changing me.

She called me and told me to pray with her. I obliged her and endured a communion with God, where He was repeatedly asked to heal me of this “sin of lesbianism”. I was tired to fighting, so I endured that prayer.

My mother appears to be committed in her mission to help me fight this thing. I don’t think she has told my father about what happened between us or that I’d come out to her, because he hasn’t called me to say anything. These days, she is trying to get us to fast and pray. I don’t know how long this will go on, but –

Pray for me to get through this, will you?

Written by Net

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  1. Ken
    August 03, 07:47 Reply

    Omg! Stay strong dear. You are practically living through every lgbtq worst nightmare. Well u are already out so u are half way there. It’s not easy but still try to hold on to your family (whatever ridiculous and futile actions they decide to take) while still staying firm and true to yourself. Maybe you can look for materials on the internet that can help enlighten your mum more about the community. Just take it easy with her tho, remember it wasn’t so easy for you to accept yourself let alone someone who doesn’t understand how it feels.
    Chances are your dad already knows. But usually they leave this particular type of emotional and psychological battle to their wives. Eventually you and mummy will have to come to a compromise. Godspeed

  2. Lopez
    August 03, 07:53 Reply

    You’ll be fine Net, just stay strong. I see me in your story. I was literally outed by a half brother, I waited and waited for the confrontation but it never happened, I’m still not married and everybody is just fine. My only advise: reiterate to your mum you don’t need fixing and she can’t fix you. You’ll be fine Net.

  3. Mandy
    August 03, 08:00 Reply

    “Lesbianism sha, saving me from immature husbands since 1900!” ?????? Aswear, y’all lesbians are the lucky ones who don’t have to deal with trashy men.

    Anyway sha, you’re off to a good start. Your firmness is refreshing to see, and you should maintain that energy. you don’t have to always lose your temper with your mom, seeing as she has whatever health issues she does. BUT you don’t also have to endure anything with her. The prayers, the fasting… Please let there be a line you’ve drawn that you absolutely won’t let your mother drag you across. Because if you give her an inch, she will take a mile. Hopefully, the firmer and more resolute you are about this issue, the more it will sink in to her gradually that this reality is here to stay. But if you keep praying with her and indulging her mission, all you are doing is give her hope that deep down, no matter what you say, you really want her to help you fight this thing.

    Good luck to you, net. I have always admired you on this forum. Stay strong, sis.

  4. Mitch
    August 03, 08:13 Reply

    Sweetheart, this is the point where you put your foot down, not giving in to your tiredness or anything. Because the more they badger you and you get tired and stop, the more they feel entitled to badgering you. And, who knows, from badgering it could turn to dragging you for various humiliations in the name of deliverance.

    One thing I do with my mom, who is as staunchly homophobic and hateful as any devil you can think of, is to shut her up before she gets on a roll. She’s praying and starts to add something about Mitch getting saved from homosexuality? I immediately interrupt and warn her to change the subject before I provoke for her.

    We’re discussing and she brings up one of her idiot anecdotes about homosexuality, I interrupt and warn her not to spread her ignorance as I have no inclination whatsoever at gazing upon its gaping form. Or I jejely plug my earphones in my ear and start playing music in very loudly. Discussion don end be that!

    She tries to enter my room during her midnight prayers to pray for me, I jejely walk out of the room and when she leaves, I walk back in and lock the door.

    I cannot, will not and must not be stressed by their homophobia. Their feelings are theirs to have, my space is mine. You may need to get as vicious as them in order to impress on them the necessity of leaving you alone to be.

    My thoughts are with you.
    Stay strong, sis.

  5. trystham
    August 03, 12:53 Reply

    I see you had gotten to the tipping point where u couldn’t be bothered, because I do not see how anywhere in the message could have made anyone conclude you was a lesbian. But what do I know? Agenda must agendate

  6. Black Dynasty
    August 03, 17:07 Reply

    From someone who’s been where you are with a mum who’s conflicted but still loves you…. stand your ground. Every trick in the book will be used but stand your ground.
    They might never accept you being a lesbian but they will respect you/your decisions and you get to set that boundary line. It will be a long journey ahead, I pray for courage on your behalf.

  7. Pezaro
    August 05, 15:11 Reply

    You’ll definitely get through this, just give it time. It helps that the burden of coming out has been lifted off your shoulders, they’ll most likely tire out and leave you be. Try and stay calm and strong – not aggressive or feisty and you’ll be fine dear.

  8. Modd
    August 06, 03:20 Reply

    Oh wow… That’s a lot to take in. Stay strong.

  9. DBS
    August 08, 03:27 Reply

    Tough lane
    Reading this really made me strong
    As I am sure it made some
    Stay strong
    It will pass

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