I turned twenty-six a couple of years ago. The day after my birthday, my mum woke me up; the time was a little past 3am. She said she couldn’t sleep, that she had tossed and turned through the night and had finally decided to come to me with this matter was of grave importance. Immediately, a sudden fear gripped me. Was someone in the family dead or in some sort of trouble? Or had one of these “no-good kito wearers” decided to out me for one reason or the other (a lot of these guys hang around my area, since I live close to a bar. I make it a point of duty to ignore their snapping fingers and whipping of imaginary hair). Anyway, the fear was real. And in the next few seconds, I thought my heart would explode.

As my mum sat close to me and held my hand in hers, I was tempted to throw my hands in the air and scream some form of explanation. At that time, I had just begun to accept my sexuality and was definitely not ready to come out of the closet. I couldn’t imagine her reaction should I try to explain that her only son preferred dicks to vagina. My mum is well known for overreacting and taking things to the extreme. As the seconds began to tick by slowly and my head swiftly began plotting fantastic stories I could tell to cover my tracks, she burst out with the most shocking words. She told me how she wasn’t getting any younger and how she wanted to carry her grandchildren as soon as possible. Long story short, she demanded to know who I was dating in order to kick-start the marriage process. She stressed the importance of marrying from our part of the country and that I was old enough to get married.

As I listened to the words fall out of her mouth, a strong pool of bile swelled in my belly. I had hoped we wouldn’t have this conversation so soon (actually I wished we would never ever have this conversation). Obviously, it would be easier to sit on burning coal than admit the truth to her. I looked in her eyes and I could see genuine love and care with a hint of years of pain. Hurting this woman is the last thing I want to do, but how do I explain to her that I feel little or no desire to court women. The only girl I ever attempted to date fell so hard for me. I felt no reciprocation of same feelings for her. I could fake the interest, but loving her was impossible. All I could think of was the touch and love of a guy. In the past, I’d often wished I was straight. I prayed and fasted for God to turn me straight. I went to church, attended Sunday school, was a member of the church choir and did all that the good book asked. Still my love for men raged on.

Years later, I am still gay as ever. Gradually I have come to accept myself, love myself and in fact, I am glad that I am gay, even though I’m closeted. I am convinced that my mum knows or at least strongly suspects that her goody-two-shoes son is not like the other boys. Yet she has not stopped demanding I settle down quick. I have imagined several ways of coming out to her, I know she can take it. She is a strong woman. But I do not how she will react. Besides, I am in a family where nothing stays secret for long. Soon everyone will get to know my little secret and I fear I may be cut off, disowned or worse.

Many of my friends my age are married. Some have kids. All are still very much as gay as I am. In fact when I look at their wives, I am shocked that they are agreed to the union. Do they even know of their husbands’ true sexualities? I wonder. What is it with African tradition and heterosexual unions? How can a gay man ever love a woman the way she deserves to be loved? Sometimes I think that perhaps marrying a lesbian may be easier. She may be more understanding and compassionate. But I’ve had bad experiences with girls in the past. They have no secrets. In a fit of rage, a woman could go the extra mile to hurt you. What then? Wouldn’t that be more humiliating? My second option is to flee abroad. But where do I start from when I get there? Honestly, the tradition of loveless marriages is doing more harm than good. Or am I the only one that feels this way?

Written by Ken George

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  1. CeeCee
    May 06, 07:36 Reply

    Wow ken!! You took the words right out of my mouth!!this reads almost like the story of my life!! When relatives and family members throw ‘good wife material’ at me, I look at the girls with pity and realise I cant go through the evil motions of deceiving an innocent girl as I would never wish the same on any of my sisters. A number of my friends r married, all I see written all over most of them are stress and misery and I ask for the umpteenth time, what on earth is so wonderful about marriage, especially if you’re not mentally prepared/willing to enter into it. Well, seeing as Nigerians seem to be obsessed with marriage and view marriage as the highest achievement and for this reason pressurise everyone to get married at all costs, they shall continue to contend with fake sham marriages b/w men who actually prefer other men and women who are so desperate that they jump into any marriage so long as there’s a ring on it&they can attach ‘Mrs’ to the end of their names. I actually feel no pity when I read about women who eventually find out that their husbands r gay, they all deserve it cos thats the end result of creating an intolerant and oppressive society. Fleeing abroad and losing everything else might be a viable option in the light of the current homophobic climate ….

  2. john
    May 06, 10:12 Reply

    Story Of my life… Well u are not the only one bro.

  3. Dominic
    May 06, 10:30 Reply

    You think you have gone through all the phases of denial, dejection, hatred and all the likes to an abode of self-awareness and self-acceptance until you reach that age of 26 upwards and then the marriage talks begin and then it hits you that you might not be as prepared as you think. I do like girls, but like 0.000000001% of them and it happened that I have only loved 3 or 4 my whole life time. The next one I see I swear its straight to marriage, I do want beautiful children as well. Then I will be having my homesexacapades at the background. Life on the down low… So help me God!

  4. kendigin
    May 06, 15:18 Reply

    Marriage is definitely an issue most gay men (especially those in this part of the world) have to face. That’s y its so difficult or almost impossible not to place an expiry date on all gay relatnships. Like how do u cope, falling in love with a man, and having to share urself with a woman!
    I think gays also contribute to the problem. We are all way too scared to stand up to pressure. No one is saying u must come out of the closet, but maybe its high time we start saying no to “forced marriages”. There’s strength in numbers.

    • pinkpanthertb
      May 06, 15:23 Reply

      Well, it doesn’t help when you realize that the pressure is coming from family, the people you most love and have known all your life. the people you fear disappointing. the people you fear alienating. I’m still closeted, but my brother just recently found out about my sexuality, and he reacted the way I suspected he would. Very negatively and antagonistic. And even though he has told no one and we still talk every now and then, something has been irreparably damaged in our relationship.
      Now, consider an entire family not accommodating your sexuality and the fact that you will not follow the norm of society, and getting into a marriage of convenience seems like a small sacrifice to make.

      Seems so. But at the end if the day, it really isn’t so.

  5. Chizzie
    May 06, 16:01 Reply

    wow bravo. I just recently turned 25 and my mum and siblings have begun the when-will-we-see-your-girlfriend talk, my case is made a tad worse cause I am the only boy. I have absolutely no attraction for women, ,ive tried but intead of admiring a womans boobs when watching a straight skin more interested in her shoes. I don’t know how married gay men live with themselves. I have a preference for older men, and most of them r always almost married and sometimes I think of their wives and family and it sends shivers down my spine. how do they go back home? how do they kiss their wives knowing where those lips have been. I once had a married guy answer a phone from his wife while he was still “in’ me, he ended the call with a curt ‘I love you so much’ and resumed banging me.
    I can’t bring myself to live a double life like that. I don’t see myself ever getting married except by some miracle I become straight.

    • CeeCee
      May 06, 20:21 Reply

      Omg!! … and resumed banging me … I was rolling on the floor with laughter!! I often agonise over how I can spend the rest of myife living a fake life of deceit and I honestly dont know if I can pull through with that
      I also know that one of the greatest and crininal stigmas u can commit in nigerians books is not being married by the time you’re in your 30s…

      • kendigin
        May 07, 07:46 Reply

        So so true! Am seriously considering fleeing the country. Just exploring my options

  6. La Roche
    May 08, 16:36 Reply

    The big M…a huge issue. All I can say is ‘Lord have mercy’

  7. Tariq
    August 11, 18:00 Reply

    Lol..I am 34 and the last of four boys..I do have few girlfriends who never ever come to the house, no trophy girlfriend, no fiancée and more interestingly, no marriage pressures…. They all know I want money and more money…

    So no one is talking marriage…

    PS: sometime ago, my married elder brother n I were discussing ..somewhere along d line he practically advised me not to rush into marriage o…

    I am thankful for my fans anyways.

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