Foreword (from the writer): Following the harsh criticisms of the previous entries on the James’ Journal, I would like to remind the readers that these entries are neither fiction nor the narration of particular salacious real life experiences. Instead, they are the musings of a twenty-something year-old male. Remember that, and try to be kinder the next time you want to drop your comments.


April 15

My mum found out I was attracted to men about three years ago. You know how women can do better jobs than FBI agents when they set their minds to do a bit of investigating. She happened to snoop around my phone and saw some texts and she called the number and a dude picked up. It’s more complicated than that but that’s another story.

She didn’t say anything about it for a while. Then one Sunday, at night, she called me into her room, asked me to shut the door and started to fire questions at me. Foolish me hadn’t deleted any of those texts and she asked me to call the number and put the call on loudspeaker. I felt so cornered and I was terrible at lying to her then. In the end, naive me admitted that I liked dudes… hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it might be.

She prayed for me, we prayed together. But inside me, I knew the prayers were not going to work. I had been praying for most of my senior secondary school years to not be gay. I had cried and fasted and read my bible just so that I would not be gay. I was born again but almost every night I’d fall asleep thinking of the hottest boy in my class, thinking of his lips on mine and his dick in my hand and fantasizing about different ways I could find out if he is gay. It was maddening and depressing.  I’m thankful I didn’t think to commit suicide though… I always consoled myself that as long as there was life there was hope that I wouldn’t be gay anymore.

Anyways… The next one year of my life saw a drastic change in the relationship between my mum and I. I used to be her sweet caring son, always in the kitchen with her (I don’t know how to do a lot of cooking still, since I was mostly there to keep her company), always there to cheer her up. But it was no longer like that. When she looked at me, I could see the hurt and betrayal in her eyes. She no longer trusted me and that hurt so-so-so much. Little things I did that she would have ignored, she would pick on and begin to harp on and worry and start to pray and fast. The only time I travelled to England with her, I commented on how I found a man’s tattooed arm cool and she snapped, “So you want to get tattoos too, abi?”

I tried to explain that just because I liked them didn’t mean I wanted them, and she said, “I don’t know what you can do anymore.”

It was then that I began to resent life. That I wondered how much of a pain threshold I could bear and if I should take my life. I’d see her so depressed and I would be depressed because I knew it was because of me. But I managed to keep my sanity thanks to an amazing best friend.

I’m sure many of you think “Oh, you should have gotten a girlfriend or at least convinced her you’ve stopped.” I did try that tactic… heck, I even tried to stop. But the lying and everything was too much to handle. That was how I saw myself the second year after she found out learning not to care too much about it. It was for the sake of my sanity. I figured that it could have been worse… she could have told my dad.

And she told my dad. But the old man didn’t say anything about it to me. Nothing whatsoever changed in his attitude toward me. He still made jokes and still punished me accordingly when I misbehaved.  My mother would frequently ask me if he has said anything about it to me and I would shake my head. I began to wonder if he didn’t care so much about me that news like this should bother him, and so did my mum. She went and asked him why he hadn’t talked to me (I didn’t have a problem with him not talking to me… let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist)

So my dad took me for a drive and he said things that made me love him even more. I don’t know, maybe it was because he didn’t spend most of his time watching Africa Magic and actually read books other than the bible and listened to the news. He said to me, “I know most people don’t choose to be this way but it’s a taboo in this country, so you need to discipline yourself.”

That was it. His words. There was no “You’re going to hell if you don’t stop!” or “You cannot be my son if you’re doing this!” And in that moment, I felt at peace.

Nothing was said about it for awhile. I also no longer thought about ending my life much.

My brothers also knew about my desire for guys. My elder brother is a womanizer and a homophobe… but when I gathered courage to ask if he hated me, he said, “Of course not. You’re my brother… there’s not much I can do about it but please just try and stop cause it’s a sin.”

I laughed and asked him if fornication wasn’t a sin.

He said it was but the society didn’t mind fornicators.

My younger brother would have been mostly indifferent to it but because it affected my mum badly (and she, like most mothers, was responsible for the emotional climate of the house), he resented it and always asked me to stop. One time, he even got access to a conversation I had on my phone and was so angry, he threatened to tell mum and dad but I begged him not to. I think he still told my mum in the end but I wasn’t at home to see how that played out.

Then this year, after I told him about how I asked a girl out for the umpteenth time and she turned me down for the umpteenth time, he asked me if I was gay or bi. I didn’t answer but he said he didn’t care about it much anymore, that we were brothers.  So I explained to him that I liked girls but definitely not as much as guys. And he was cool with it.

My extended family also knows… at least my mum’s side. She felt she needed prayer buddies and all her sisters (four of them) are quite spiritual. I don’t care much what they think but I am mad as hell that my mum went to tell them. I think that’s why one of them hardly let’s her children stay at our house now… cause I’d probably molest her sons. Urgh.

Well, after she told her sisters, her sisters asked my cousins if they knew anything about it. One of my cousins did, but she played dumb. It was about this time last year that I told her I was gay and she said she had always known (she saw gay porn on my phone) and explained how my mum had called her mum and her mum had asked her if she knew anything about it. Did she care? Not at all. But like most others, she wished I would stop.

My mum still tells me till now to be a good boy and not do anything that God will get angry at. I also no longer assure her that I’m no longer gay so she doesn’t get her hopes up too much for them to be crashed. I just give non-specific answers when she asks about it or ignore the questions all together.

Do I wish my family never found out that I am attracted to guys? No, not at this moment. It’s rather freeing believe me. They are not happy with it… not completely but they still love me and that’s what mostly matters. I also don’t have to worry that they will find out or cover my footsteps ever-so carefully from them. Sure, it was hell the first two years or so… but things got better and I got stronger. And in some ways, it has shown that even if everyone else turns away from me, I still have most of my family who have got my back.

Written by James

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  1. pinkpanthertb
    June 08, 05:19 Reply

    Lemme just be the first to say this: I envy you. To have that onus of your family knowing taken away from your shoulders, what a relief this must be for you.

  2. earl.
    June 08, 05:56 Reply

    That’s some brave shii….. You should be saluted…

  3. QueerBoi
    June 08, 06:19 Reply

    Lemme just say that This is by far the best write-up I’ve read this year. Beautiful piece and intellectual prowess. Keep it up.

  4. blue fox
    June 08, 06:44 Reply

    hmm you have an understanding father, in my house 3times found n I’ll be disowned.

    • fiqiyahaya
      June 08, 19:13 Reply

      I’ve been disowned four times n my parents still don’t want to agree that I’m gay… they make me drink zamzam water from Mecca every Wednesday

      • Deola
        December 14, 09:32 Reply

        Sometimes the denial hurts more than the lack of acceptance. Lol @ zamzam water. I can only imagine.

  5. kendigin
    June 08, 07:06 Reply

    Its what most of us fear the most: rejection!
    At the moment the relatnship with my parents is very strained, almost non-existent – due to certain series of unfortunate events (both parents have been married to several others over the years, leaving a trail of emotional and physical disasters on d kids).
    So to dump my sexuality of them at this moment wld be the straw that broke the camels back. That said, I fantasize coming out everyday. The burden of lieing and hiding can really be overbearing.
    My mum once asked me subtly, but I lied flatly. Infact, I faked as if I didn’t know wot it means to be gay. Lol
    Perhaps oneday I will reach the point where it doesn’t matter anymore. Most of my friends are now married and everyone thinks am weird for not doing the same. Perhaps if I was overly girly it wld be easier to come out. Who knows?

  6. Chizzie
    June 08, 07:38 Reply

    Well for once you are not rambling about something abstract and extraneous.

    I remember a cousin that saw I had gay porn on my phone. He didn’t say anything abt it for the rest of the day, when he was abt leaving he asked if I could transfer some to his and I did, and that was it. He’s married now with kids.

    • trystham
      June 08, 10:44 Reply

      ROTFLMAO. Maybe hr wanted to show his friends. The freak show I saw on my cousin’s phone

  7. aproko pikin
    June 08, 08:37 Reply

    I remember how I told my parents. And seriously I expected to be thrown outta the house. Maybe it bcos of the way I told em; kinda like I was seeking deliverance (lol), like I needed help to overcome. Anyway, we rarely talk about it and I’m kinda burden-free cos no sh*t person would come & want to blackmail me with family!
    **my 1st experience started with my cousin, today we both know our handiwork (lol)**

  8. Lanre Swagg
    June 08, 08:59 Reply

    Smoothly written . Really . Like cream. That said , I like to say that if not for that psychological maneuver known as “denial” , our families , especially mothers , already know about our sexuality. As Africans and highly religious people, they sublimate and explain it away …. The African taboo especially in Nigeria is to actually mention it. Then shit gets real. I always laugh when my friends , especially the more obvious ones say ,” ha, nobody in my family knows o,cos am very coded …” Honestly ? You must think your people are as thick as bricks just cos they are ‘bush’ Nigerians…

    • pinkpanthertb
      June 08, 09:50 Reply

      Hahahahahaa!!! You’re so right. that’s why whenever I’m asked ‘Do your people know?’ My response is always ‘I don’t know.’ Because truly, I can’t say one way or the other. Saying with absolute conviction that they don’t know…well, that’s kinda like blind belief.

      • trystham
        June 08, 10:48 Reply

        yes o! i took the foreword VERY personal.

      • trystham
        June 08, 12:41 Reply

        bcos of this- “Instead, they are the musings of a twenty-something year-old male.
        Remember that, and try to be kinder the next time you want to drop your comments.”
        musings being the msin word

  9. CeeCee
    June 08, 10:46 Reply

    Wow James, great piece!! This is something most can identify with. I guess for most of us the greatest fear is being found out by family. I think you’re pretty lucky to have a fairly understanding family otherwise the results would have been drastically different. A friend recently told me that somehow his folks found out he’s gay, for the 1st few months it was a turbulent and difficult time but that eventually, they faced up to it and are now actively working to protect and cover him up. Its never easy anywhere in the world for your family to discover your sexuality isnt straight, but frequently from my investigations, I have seen that it leads to a lightening of the crushing burden of deceit, guilt and fear which is part of living a deeply closeted life …

  10. Iduke
    June 08, 12:18 Reply

    My mum asked me the dreaded q some weeks back. It hurt but men I denied sha. I still have time to do some cover up shut. I just realised from this piece. All we have is family. It doesn’t matter if the members r connected by blood
    We need ppl who will understand and support us. Thanks James for clarity in tot. This was an epic piece

  11. Anonymous
    June 08, 14:33 Reply

    I told my closest opposite sex friend dat hav kissed a guy b4 and i like it i lied dat we din hav sex didn’t tell her more den dat or cus i cant ova trust & y i did is cus i knw her secret too now she is always asking if am hearing 4rm d guy cus he is now in d UK if only she knew hav also been with her cousin!

    • kendigin
      June 08, 19:05 Reply

      Ever heard of punctuation? Comma?? Fullstop??? Duh!

    • KingBey
      June 08, 23:53 Reply

      Which kindergarten did you pass out from?

  12. Evergreen
    June 08, 20:59 Reply

    Nice one… I wish I’d a family like yours, I’d open up and leave a free life devoid of all the burdens it takes to live a closeted life! The only relative of mine who knows I’m gay avoided me for like 4 good months and thank the heavens he promised no to let it out, I’d been dead now. Before the night he knew, we were closer than the body and soul but after that night, we were like Tom and Jerry and series of questions were being asked as to what’s with our seeming enmity all of a sudden… he kept to his words not to let it out but I was dying inside of me cos I couldn’t bear the hate. I sent countless unreplied messages, endless avoided calls and he even blocked me on social networks. But after 8months now, I think he’s accepted me as I’m cos the good old days re back. wish I could tell my family…I hate girls with a passion.

    • CeeCee
      June 09, 00:57 Reply

      No dear, you have no reason to hate women, they are not your problem. If you hate them for being women, then how different are you from the hate-filled homophobes who hate and attack gays simply for being the way they are? Please find a way to love and accept all humans except they try to harm you. Also, if you intend to live in Nigeria, you might someday soon have to marry and settle with a woman or at least have a child via one of them … Good luck!!

  13. KingBey
    June 09, 00:02 Reply

    Lucky you…well, I think my Mum knows about me because she advised me against Hausa men when I was going for my NYSC to the North. So then, i was wondering why am advised against men while my brother was advised against women…loll..then she told me that if i must have sex, I must always use a condom…I think my Dad knows too but i tried to confuse him. he asked me once if i was gay….this happened because he was seeing different guys in my room…hehe…I denied flatly and invited my girlfriend over the following day…lmao ! But I told my cousin and he was totally cool with me…even told me that he was not shocked…I asked him why and he replied that no straight guy loves Beyonce the way i do…well……now, he’s always asking me for updates on my latest BF and sexcapades…hehehehhe

  14. jan
    February 11, 22:31 Reply

    ‘… but things got better and I got stronger…..”

    this is everything.

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