Published on July 10th, 2012 | by Guest65
For Colored Men: Pink
’14 years of Pink’ by ********* (Mario)
14 years is a long time.
Growing up, I used to be in love with the television. I stayed glued to the small 14 inch color TV in our living room and disappeared into fanciful worlds where people had beautiful hair that went past their shoulders and super powers and everything ended well. Well, most of the time, anyway. I was something of an awkward child, with an even more awkward name – I mean, who actually names their half-hausa, half-itsekiri child, born in Lagos, Mario? My parents, that’s who. Just them and no one else. I was as much of a boy as anyone else; I loved video games, played soccer, hated girls. Then I turned 13 and my feelings towards girls changed. I didn’t hate them anymore but I never experienced the all-consuming obsession for them all my friends had. Just a mild curiosity about what a vagina looked like. That was all. I’m still waiting for the mad desire and obsession with females that all my friends experienced back then to happen to me. Now, I’m almost 27 and I’m damn sure it isn’t coming.
I’ve been waiting for 14 years.
Some things are ironic, actually a lot of things are. For example, I am from a family of painfully straight people yet by some twisted turn of fate I am a faggot.
That’s right, F.A.G.G.O.T.
Or just ‘fag’ for short – that’s what the less politically correct parts of society call people like me. I could say ‘homosexual’ but that sounds too clean and scientific – like a biological classification or the label on an experiment. I could say ‘Gay’ but the word just evokes images of half-dressed, rainbow people dancing in the streets and having a good time. Neither of these descriptions could be further from the way I feel every morning I wake up in this country.
That’s the amount of time I would spend behind bars for any public display of who I really am. It doesn’t change much, being gay… err… I mean…. a faggot in Nigeria has never been an issue of waving rainbow coloured flags in the streets anyway. We are used to being every society’s dirty secret. But it’s a harsh reminder of what this particular society really sees me as – a criminal. One who needs to be quarantined from the rest of “sane” society, kept with his own kind and other filthy people – scum. It would be quite amusing if it wasn’t so saddening.
Do I really deserve to be locked up for 14 years?
It’s human nature to fear or abhor what we do not understand. But our society makes no attempt to understand this “vice”. It doesn’t seek to know, so it can’t. It can’t know that choosing what sex one is attracted to, is about as easy as choosing one’s eye colour or hair length. Hell, do you think I would choose this if I could decide? I wouldn’t choose a life where all I get is to live behind secrets and lies. A life where I’m either going to end up terminally single or married to someone I do not love while I carry on a series of forbidden dalliances. My mother is already asking when I will bring home a wife to bear her grandchildren. No, I wouldn’t choose this. I’d choose to be on the other side of the divide calling for death and imprisonment to the faggots or just ignoring their existence.
Hey, Lets lock up the faggots for 14 years!
Sometimes, I don’t really blame people for being so judgmental. I was raised to have the same values they do and sometimes it’s hard to even accept some people who share the same sexual orientation as I do when they decide to use their orientation as an excuse to rebel against the very fabric of common sense. Their crass behavior, flamboyant promiscuity and attempts at gender bending all make me want to shake them violently and remind them that in spite of how they dress and who they sleep with, they are still men. They perpetuate the disgusting stereotypes that gay men have to wrestle with every day. No, I do not love pink and No, I don’t fantasize about wearing dresses and high heels. No, I don’t want to join a singing group and No, I don’t talk through my nose. It’s all so disappointing but I then again, I don’t really blame them either, not everyone can become as comfortable with hiding in plain sight as I have.
I’ve been doing it for almost 14 years.
I find it comical when people refer to the faggots as some covert, diabolic sect. We are your brothers and sisters, your friends and colleagues. But society won’t understand and it’s not my place to lecture it. I’m no activist or martyr. Just another guy who just happens to like guys. So I’ll just play along with skill as I always have. I’ve learnt that life is all about secret lives and garnished truths. This is especially true of Nigeria, where your fathers and brothers and uncles know and sleep with me in private but denounce my kind in public. In this country we skirt around the truth and use tactful phrases to mask reality. That’s fine by me. I guess I’ve come to peace with it. The lies and the facades will go on, as they have before me and as they will continue long after I am gone. I will laugh at the right jokes. Flinch at the right things. Maybe even throw in a snide comment or two once in a while.
After all, 14 years is quite a long time, isn’t it?