The Voice Of A Homosexual

The Voice Of A Homosexual

Growing up effeminate gave me a notoriety that was as shocking as it was unwelcome. Imagine being known EVERYWHERE you went because you did not fit in the norm. Imagine walking into a room and every pair of eyes in the room will turn in your direction to follow your progress.

Little wonder it made me self-conscious of everything about and around me.

After my WASSCE examinations years ago, I was at home, waiting for JAMB and admission into the university. I was the home’s errand boy. I went everywhere, from the market at the request—orders—of my mother to buy home groceries, to the mechanic workshop to oversee the repairs of my father’s car.

On this fateful day, my mother had given me her ATM card and asked me to go to a GT Bank ATM and make a withdrawal for her. I entered the usual yellow buses—those buses in Onitsha back in the day, usually with an elderly man behind the wheel, a foul-mouthed conductor clutching precariously to the door and mostly female passengers headed into Ose or Main Market.

I was seated in the bench directly behind the driver, in the middle of it.

There was chatter among the women.

At the various stops between Savoy and my destination, people were hopping on and off the bus. At some point, someone entered the bus and another person already seated behind me had to adjust her sitting position to make way for the newcomer.

As the bus eased into creaking motion, its exhaust pipes belching acrid black smoke into the atmosphere, I felt the woman seated behind me shove at me with startling vigor. Her hands kept pushing at me with such insistent force that I could no longer ignore the bother.

I twisted round in my seat and snapped, “Ma, please stop pushing me! You could have just told me to adjust and I will adjust. Are you trying to push me off the bus?!”

The woman looked at me, stunned for a moment that this small boy would dare get confrontational with her. She had the jaded, near-aggressive look of Onitsha older women who do not come from money; or who have fought so many wars in their lives, they seem to have seen it all and view the world through those jaded lenses. Her upper body was heavy, her breasts like large melons stuffed into her modest blouse. Her upper arms were a pendulous mass of loose flesh that swung with each movement of her hands.

“No wonder,” she said sneeringly, her eyes narrowed at me, her brows creased into a severe frown. “The way he speaks… Homosexual!

In that moment, I could have sworn that every movement inside the bus stopped. The chatter ceased. The air stilled. The passengers appeared stunned and constipated all at once. Even the bus’s creaking engine seemed to stop, as if to recoil in horror from THAT word the woman had uttered.

I couldn’t believe my ears. All my life I had made myself small. I had tried hard to be nothing more than a mere fly on the wall, just so I could escape abuse. And, here I was, in the middle of all these people, caught under the harsh beam of this negative spotlight – just because I had spoken in that soft voice so oft detested in guys.

My senses exploded in a wash of visceral anger. And I found myself reacting in a way I never imagined I’d ever react under these circumstances.

“Yes, I am a homosexual,” I snarled at her. “I have been sleeping with your husband! And you—you are a prostitute!”

She reared back, struck by the blow of my retaliation. Then she returned with full force, roaring, “Homosexual!”

“Yes, I have agreed. I am. And I have been sleeping with your husband and your sons! And you are a prostitute! You got all your children through prostitution!”

The people in the bus hadn’t recovered; they were still too stunned into a near catatonic silence, some with mouths open in sheer horror, others with jaws clenched shut, as if some invisible force held them from speaking.

The drama continued to play out.

“Homosexual! You will burn in hell! See the way he speaks! Look at him—he looks like a girl! Homosexual!”

“Prostitute! Did you tell your husband the truth, that he is not the father of your children! You sleep around! And how did you know about homosexuals? Are your sons homosexuals? Do they sleep with other men?!”

The woman seated on the left end of the bench I was seated on looked ready to drop into a faint. She kept pressing her body into the dirty metal finish of the bus’s bodywork, as if trying to burrow into the metal to get away from me.

We continued to hurl unprintable insults at each other—this woman and I. Then I turned away from her and faced “front”. As though acknowledging the ceasefire, she too shut up and didn’t say another word. A few minutes later, I notified the driver that I had gotten to my stop at Ogbommanu. Immediately I alighted, the woman started again, her loud, angry voice sounding like the wail of a wounded animal:

“HOMOSEXUAL!”

“PROSTITUTE!” I shouted back at her, clapping my hands for emphasis, over and over until the vehicle pulled away out of earshot.

Later, when I returned home, I felt chilled at what happened. It wasn’t just that she was a woman, but that she was a woman who was older than my own mother. And she had been filled with such hate, such visceral anger against me – and for what? What did I do to her to make her look upon me with such contempt, such unveiled hate?

Over the years, I have thought back to that day, that very incident. And I have thought back to that woman who attacked me simply because I looked different, talked different.

Written by Kingsley Adrian Banks

About the Author: Kingsley Adrian Banks is a Nigerian novelist. His debut novel, Behind Closed Doors, is known for its tackling of gender stereotypes, effeminacy, bisexuality and the gay life in Nigeria.

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  1. Black Dynasty
    August 17, 15:52 Reply

    👏🏿👏🏿 I absolutely loved your reaction!!

    Violence beget violence… simple!

  2. Chichi Asampete
    August 18, 08:52 Reply

    I had the same experience last year while traveling from Nsukka to Port Harcourt. Our bus got spoilt on the road, and this young lady in her late twenties or early thirties said no one was leaving. We should all wait for the driver to fix whatever was wrong with the bus. Na so I carry my bag with other passengers to board another bus. Madam started calling me homosexual and that I sleep with men. I stopped in the middle of my catwalk and walked back to her. I thanked her for helping me advertise my market and she should scream it louder so everyone could hear; I’ve been single for a long time. Madam was horrified. 😂😂😂

    • Eddie
      August 18, 23:17 Reply

      I gagged at this 🤣🤣. . .

    • Mikey😘
      August 19, 19:55 Reply

      Who are you!!!! I love the response….
      I’ve gat to meet you

  3. Tristan
    August 22, 18:14 Reply

    This piece is hilarious. Nice one Adrian. I just became a huge fan of yours.

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