Nele's Thoughts

Dear Royals, This is Why You Cannot Afford To Still Consider Being Gay a “Game”.

Simply because it isn’t.

While this might suffice as explanation enough, I do think it is important to talk about this a bit more.

This mentality, although not statistically proven, through extensive personal experiences and objective observations, is sadly what the average Nigerian gay man believes. While sex is crucial to humans who are down for it, regardless of what sexual orientation, and in this regard, we -gay people- have got every right to have as much sex as we want. It is also important to examine the basis by which we exist, the premise we put forth.

With the understanding that the chance of short or long-term legally recognised relationships, isn’t readily available, it is not enough to not look inwards. It is not enough to keep seeing queerness as a temporary fad, an eccentric itch to deal with while maintaining a socially acceptable image of wellness. Cutting our lives out, running from the truth of who we are, failing to question the reasons behind the internalised hatred we feel deep inside, manifesting as queer on queer violence, toxic masculinity, verbal abuse, unhealthy sentiments, and a life consistent in not only the lies we tell to keep up appearances (very much understandable as things are) but the ones we make ourselves believe.

That we are not human enough. That we aren’t pure enough. That the only form of hope of normalcy is to fashion our existence into a fleeting time of our life we imbibe in secrecy, lined with a sense of shame.

Most of my early relationships, brief and otherwise, with gay men had this theme running around it. Men who craved sex like they couldn’t have enough memory of it to last them through their “inevitable years of normalcy.” Men who called what we were having together a sin, something that needed to stop with immediate effect, only to text me later at night for a hookup. There are so many others, that might not have happened to me, but to people that I know, and even ones I don’t know, but no doubt am sure are happening. Although it may not be their intentions, (neither is it their fault, that should go to our hypocrisy saturated country), it is a great mar on the (queer) growth of other gay men who do not know very much. This mentality forms an ever-widening chain of toxicity, of wrongly adopted identities, of men who will see bottoms as not more than things to jerk off in, who find Sides dubious, who have a dogmatic approach to queerness and are rarely ever piqued to break out of the negative energy they don’t even realise they carry in excess. This sort of sentiment empowers patriarchy and the very worst kind of misogyny like Bottom shaming, discrimination of fems, and the many other ways that femininity is reduced to the ecstasy and domesticity it is expected to be naturally able to provide.

It is high time we ask ourselves questions, we push against the pressure, the self-hate, misunderstanding of queerness and take charge of the narrative of our own lives. Lives that when everyone leaves, stays with us. In the dead of the night, or in that space where societal pressure has taken a break from looming over. Internalised homophobia is a great enemy of any LGBT community. It literally rots the very idea of acceptance, of solidarity, of saying “I am no longer hiding from myself, there is nothing wrong with me, I am worthy of full unrestricted existence and in that I want you to know that I see hope for us”. It is not enough to enjoy the act, the few minutes of being you and shaming it in your heart, and pushing it out on others, and if anything, it spreads. Faster because hopelessness has twice the ease of settling down as opposed to hope.

Do not let our safety strategies wrongly feed you the notion of queerness as a debauchery, of something designed for and by secrecy, something too dirty to not deserve proper existence in the light. Don’t forget that our society is people’s construct, and one thing I am very sure of, is that the heart of people can be so dark. Especially if things aren’t in alignment with their setups.

Self-acceptance is such a beautiful experience, sharp in the perspective she gives us, and abundant in the liberation we get to feel inside, that it is a very sad mystery why we aren’t embracing her enough. We can only expect the kind of social acceptance we have made peace with within us. Self-acceptance is powerful enough to make one want to cause a change, to share their newly found truth with others, to find that even if we are possessed by demons, that it is one of the best spiritual arrangements yet. It doesn’t stop there, it also helps to map out what kind of change we hope to see, having conquered the most important one, that is our personal battle.

One thing I have also come to experience is that with self- acceptance, every other facet of our lives; religion, tradition, ethics, morals, sentiments, all find a way to come to a merge. They will not happen in a snap, but will inevitably begin to adjust to the truth of you.

And most importantly, with you at peace with yourself, you find less worry and more freedom, less anxiety, more joy, the vicious circle of destructive sentiments getting gradually destructed, and one or two or many other budding queer lives granted beautiful and guilt-free experiences.

Never forget; you are wonderfully made.


Nele’s Thoughts is a column run by Nigerian Writer Nele Anju. Click here for more posts.

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