You are on a fairly occupied danfo bus where bodies haven’t begun to stymie the freedom of using your phone. It could be a taxi though or even a BRT, really any arrangement that will allow you to lean back or rest your head on the age browned window sill -which ever you are used to- as you turn on your data. Note that you are relaxed. Nothing is relatively out of proportion in your life. So today you are open to anything. Just as you are opening every active app simultaneously, to finally settle on Facebook or Twitter; whichever you are better at.
On this fine harmless, open day, something pops up from your news feed. Someone. A friend. Your Buddy whom you have run things with for a while has shared an article on his timeline. Something from Kitodairies, Gaystarnews, The Rustin Times, Gay Africa, or Buzzfeed LGBT. The picture in the article; perhaps of two men smiling close to each other’s face or a man lying down with his brief edging down his backside, urges you without excess alarm as at now, to read the heading.
Ten ways to top your man affectionately. Or These coming out stories from around the world will inspire you to (hopefully) take that bold step. Or Check out the adorable photos of a Nigerian gay couple’s wedding in Houston.
This your friend has multiple love emojis topping the link, which is what puzzles you.
You might click on the link to read, and view, or you will not go past the comment box -after reacting with wow! Although you hope it expresses your shock- where you will type something like ” guy which kine thing be dis nah? You no tell me say you be gay oo. *laughing emoji.”
But you really don’t find it hilarious. You wonder how come you have not noticed. How it is not a possibility you care to think about. How come?
There are a few ways I am written out of the narrative. I am not concerned that this happens, however it leaves me insecure that nobody cares to notice. This quietness around the possible alteration of my protracted suppression or indifferent use of my sexuality as a meme runs deeply.
Just yesterday, someone greeted me and as always was quick to ask me “how the girlfriend” is doing. This happens all the time. On the surface this comes off as an innocent tease, but where is the possibility of him asking about “the boyfriend”?
I am watching a Change manifesto on the National Television; people trying to reform social ills in the country through short didactic video clips. There’s been one about examination malpractice, another about bribery, but none about homophobic assault. Who dat wan epp nah?
Perhaps it is not a thing to talk about. It doesn’t exist. It isn’t happening. Nigerian LGBT persons don’t find themselves living miles away from people they are close to. Emotional imbalance is not a thing that can come from not having a progressive conversation around heteronormativity.
People can so wipe me out of everyday subjects.
In this block of flats, there is a suspected paedophile. He stares long, and treacherously at little things even as he gifts them sweets. A woman. An attentive mother has taken note. She has seen him invite boys and girls into his flat to watch DSTV. So she raises a secret call to the mothers in every flat. She warns them to keep their girls safe. To monitor their girls’ movements and make sure to dress them decently. She draws up precautions to back this up.
But she says nothing about the boys. Really it doesn’t cross her mind that a boy might be forcefully fucked. It doesn’t fit into her suspicions that He might be doing all he does to tame a boy.
For how long do we intend to look away? Why aren’t we responsive enough? We are people like you, people off you. In this widening, and thoroughly evolving world, why do we still rule out the emergence of long repressed identities? Why do we allow the screwed minds in between to manipulate their beauty. My beauty. Our beauty. And have this muffled without question.
By the way, who can boys tell? How can it be told?
I am ten or eleven. He was the friend of an aunt. When he touched me I felt aware. Torched. A part of me was in concession. Another wouldn’t piece it together normally for years to come.
I am thirteen or fourteen. My body is too big for my age. He was Mother’s man friend. Mother isn’t home. He comes to lie with me on my bed because we are that close. He was the father I always wanted; temporary, divided, and illicit in our relationship, through mother. When he drapes his legs over mine, leaning too close. I am reminded of the many times men have tried and sometimes succeeded in doing this to me. Blackmail my body to feel sweaty and inadequate. To be seen as something to quench an unconventional sexual thirst.
Sometimes I feel good at the awakening. But now it repulses me because I never got the chance to write my own history. To love and be loved with consent. To be able to say I had someone to tell these happenings to. Someone who took and planned precautions for me. Someone who urged me to love, and love right.
Make spaces. Approve development. Shift small to allow this variegated truths. Your buddy can love soneone that looks like him. Boys too can be sexy to men.
So I scream. You scream. We scream. They scream. To a (seemingly) silent heaven.