“Family Can Make Or Mar You.” – Kenny Brandmuse

“Family Can Make Or Mar You.” – Kenny Brandmuse

Last Sunday, October 25, Kenny Brandmuse made a social media post that was so heart-aching, it must have resonated with lots of (especially queer) people, because the post was shared several times on Facebook, with its comments section filled with love and concern.

It was a post that decried the circumstance of family members who are catered to by out gay people, and still, they deride them for their sexuality. Kenny lectures families who choose to languish in their ignorance and homophobia, demonizing their kin who are gay instead of taking the time to get some knowledge about what it means to be gay and learn some humanity.

He also draws attention to the fact that “LGBQ people are more than twice as likely to feel suicidal and over four times as likely to attempt suicide, compared to heterosexual youth”, understanding his responsibility to tell his stories because of the child somewhere listening.

Check out his post below:

*

“On Friday, I deleted almost every member of my family from my social media accounts. It was a very dark week for me, in addition to the injustices going on in Nigeria.

Some family members believe my being gay is part of a satanic cult where I have donated my sexual organs to acquire wealth. Some even said, I was told, I sell sex to make money. While it’s almost laughable and not an entirely new narrative from our highly religious and superstitious Nigerian folks, it rubbed me the wrong way.

Because these are people closest to me.

Because all that I have worked hard for is what many of these family members live on.

It’s not charity. In Nigeria, due to corrupt governance and poverty, there’s an unwritten social contract that families live on families’ incomes. To have these same people call you unimaginable names when you are not in the room while living on your hard-earned incomes can be heartbreaking.

For a day or two, I became very sick. It got to me. I stopped eating well. I managed to get by at work and started slipping into a very dark depression mode until I reached out to myself with kindness. Thanks to my sister (my biggest ally in the family) who stepped in and spent time talking with me. She cried with me. She stayed up late at night with me as we walked through this.

Family can make or mar you. While we all need someone like my sister, we also need a backbone of steel to exist in this multiverse of pain and shame.

Here’s my message to Nigerian families and friends:

1. If you can use the Internet to learn about all sorts, you can also read about what it means to be queer. Nigerians are some of the most well-read people on earth. And no one, I repeat, no one has any excuse to demonize anyone about their sexuality or gender in 2020. It’s not my duty to educate you about the simple act of being human. My visibility is the education you need. Yes, all of me. Take a look at millions of LGBTQI+ people on earth and me and tell me we are not human, as are you.

2. Sex is not what makes one queer. It’s who you love. Stop obsessing over who we sleep with. Well, except you want in. We do not police your own bedroom. End SARS-ing us. You condemn the Police for intruding on your private lives, yet you keep prosecuting us for loving and looking differently.

3. Stop attributing your bigoted views about homosexuality to your faith and religion. If you can believe without a question that a virgin can be pregnant without having sex, it shouldn’t be hard to stop questioning other people’s lives.

Listen, LGBQ people are more than twice as likely to feel suicidal and over four times as likely to attempt suicide, compared to heterosexual youth (Kann 2016). These stories are a major part of the stressors. Be kind.

Be kind.

Since being out, I consider it a huge privilege to share some personal stories on here because I’m aware a child is listening.

PS: I’m doing very well. Getting ice cream. Taking selfies. And loving who I am.

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  1. Mitch
    October 31, 09:27 Reply

    I would never understand the insistence of people to double down on their homophobia. There is a clear cut difference between questioning a phenomenon because you do not understand it, and questioning it as a means of invalidating and/or deriding it.

    Most of all, I would never understand how people are happy enough to feed off of people whose humanity they do not respect or regard.

    So, here’s my take:

    Queer people, LGBQ folk, y’all need to stop ‘killing them with kindness.’ Killing people with kindness is good and fine. It is, in fact, a virtuous (if you do believe in virtue and the inherent lack thereof in certain people) thing to do. However, if your virtuousness is allowing people walk all over you, invalidate your life and treat you like shit, do not hesitate to cut them off.

    There’s this thing in medicine called gangrene.
    It’s a situation that occurs when a part of the body suffers necrosis (that is to say, it dies and starts to rot) due to a lack of blood supply.

    Whenever gangrene sets in, there’s usually this prevalent notion that certain remedies can fix the situation. However, this is wrong. The longer one remains with gangrenous flesh attached to their bodies, the more the parts of the body in close contact with said gangrenous flesh start to suffer necrosis. This is because death and its toxins and noxious aura are contagious, especially in such close contact.

    So, the answer for gangrene is to cut off the dead parts so as to give the living parts a chance at a better life.

    Queer folk, cut off family members who introduce poison into your soul. Cut off people who spread hate into your lives. Cut off, especially,
    those who are dependent on you, who are in one way or another attached to your life – whether by blood or proximity or whatever the fuck else – yet choose to invalidate your existence, to spite you, to mock you, to treat you like you’re less because you’re queer.

    Like gangrenous flesh, chop them the fuck off!

    The chopping off doesn’t have to be physical. I daresay you cannot entirely divorce yourself from family, no matter how hard you try. However, the chopping off must happen in your mind, in your emotions, in that part of you that attaches value and meaning and essence to them, to their lives, to their wellbeing, to their presence in your life. Cut that power they have over you off! Let them have no place whatsoever in your life, save occupying mere physical spaces and answering family members.

    And, if you can, please cut them off from depending on you. You cannot hate me, despise me, invalidate me and yet love my money. I and my money are one. You want my money, you would fucking treat me with all of the dignity accrued to me by my humanity.

    Otherwise, to the left to the left!

    • Pezaro
      October 31, 13:28 Reply

      How do I get you a box of pizza and ice-cream for this comment😁
      Anyone who doesn’t value my existence or what I represent shouldn’t be in my life in the first place. ‘Family’ is just a term, one’s true family show themselves with their actions. Hell will have to freeze over before I allow any family member make me feel bad about who I am. Just like the gangrene s, I cut them off mentally, emotionally, even physically if need be.

  2. Rudy
    October 31, 10:52 Reply

    THIS!!!

    As an M.D, I could not have put the necrotic/gangrenous relation any better than you have Mitch.

    Family could be the most toxic presence in one’s life being LGBTQ.
    And it’s great you highlighted the emotional and psychological way of cutting them off since that’s usually the most pressing part to cross.

    I am doing my own pruning in my mind….
    It’s 2020 & ignorance is certainly NOT bliss!

  3. bamidele
    October 31, 18:47 Reply

    I began this mentality of choosing who should (not) be in my life or around me, in October 2019. Still in progress. Before that, I had always been fully there for a lot of people who don’t even care about me beyond the immediate favour they received from me at wish.
    My own case surges beyond sexuality. My conclusion: people generally–families or friends–can be dramatic; many will never like you, even if you cut off your head for them. Best is to look inwards, and reason logically, and prune out those who don’t deserve your attention in all ramification: don’t waste your time with them.

    Indeed, doing so is not easy. Hence one has to first learn to be comfortable in one’s own skin and think beyond the loneliness that paints the ‘new life’.
    In my case, I stopped going to church, because of the hypocrisy I witnessed on a regular basis; then I dumped a great number of friends and families.

  4. Hausdorff Space El
    November 22, 16:29 Reply

    This really got to me. I am constantly on guard to protect my mental health esp from well meaning people. I tell you a truth, Every new day, the battle becomes tougher.

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