This is my story, this is my life, a testimony to the extraordinary life that I live as a Nigerian gay man.
Light transcend to darkness, sound to silence, no rays of hope and a pool of shame, a word I call gay (homosexuality). As it echo’s in disgust, hate, anger, and stigma. As the sound of my ears felt cold, my heart as cold as ice and strong as rock!
It all began when I was young, fragile, and frail, so feeble and like a gentle deer I was but deep within me I knew was I different, unique, but never knew what it was. Then it came the first time to my ears ‘GAY’. For me it was nothing but for I was just a child reluctant, free spirited and like the wind I was full of life and fun.
Life had just began, for then, I was going into a new school and entering a new grade.
For the second time it came to my ears ‘gay’. That word again attributed to me. For I was mocked, scorned, taunted, and with tears dripping down my eyes I took up the dictionary and checked for it. There it was staring at me in the face but indeed it accompanied my feelings, my distinctive character and for the first time I felt fear for I knew not what it was. I was alone and never liked too many people around me. Always behind the spotlight and you could barely see me. For I lost my friends, my relationships and everything I had as at then. Everything slowly moved away for it was maturity yes! but the real issue was my sexuality. Being gay and the whole lots of baggage that comes with it. Its burden is so high and heavy.
You are damned, cursed, and condemned. It was a big scar and a huge mark. Just like the mark of Cain and the mark of the cursed ones. Therefore I was invincible even to my own family, I was hard to read I could not be predicted, my life had taken a new twist and turn and my personality took a new dimension. Some days I secretly pray for death. A once smart and brilliant fun student and child became a shadow. No one to talk to, no place to go, trapped and hidden in my own room and darkness as a companion for the only rays of light was school and church that I would go to. Passing down my street and lane are memories to me of which I once played, laughed and smiled seeing my old friends and old school mates.
The burden was much and I felt life snapping out of my every veins, I could not do the things I used to do before, the vacations, hangout and all other fun activities, even to read due to the fear of discrimination, and I did not want to infect anyone with my virus/plague, cause at that time, that was what I was. Rejected and castaway. I could not stand in front of the alter to sing again to worship and bless those souls as I used to do. For even in the church it echoes “all homosexual will die, they will burn in the lake of fire, they are damned, and they are going to hell!”
My soul bleeds, my heart bitterly cried, for I was torn between both worlds. Being gay many see as a crime, and this is evidently clear with the homophobic attitudes that you get from people, colleagues, friends and family members. For a gay man, it was like dancing on hot lava and fire with your feet.
At a point I stopped praying, for I felt God had punished me. But one thing I did was stepping up and bracing myself. For having that thick skin and loving myself was the best thing I ever did. I realized I never really needed some part of those books, for I just had to be a new page with new writings and drawings because taking a walk is the first stage in life, indeed one must not see the whole staircase. I became a small motivational speaker and guidance and councilor to my fellow LGBTI community members that needed me and were heading toward the wrong direction. In some ways I think I have now become some sort of an impact in the lives of many within the community.
I say, it matters how we live and help each other for if we do not love ourselves and protect each other how then can we defend each other from the outward stones been thrown at us? Indeed we are beautiful in our own skins, pure in our souls and unique in our own different ways but we are all HUMANS after all.
Written by Annonymous