How To Be an African Gay Man.

BY OBINNA TONY-FRANCIS OCHEM

Africa is a homophobic continent and people who are born gay are made to know they were not born that way. You should know this; you were not born that way. You chose this sin. If you keep arguing with them, you will lose. You will continuously get gaslighted if you keep arguing. Have you heard about the phrase of pouring water on the rock? Have you had that feeling when you were little or now when you did not do something but people keep insisting that you did it? That’s the feeling. 

Never argue with them that you were born this way. “Nobody is born gay. Gay people need to accept this and stop deceiving themselves,” they say. 

When you are in love and get heartbroken, in every possible way, show you are hurt deep inside you to protect yourself. But also, you can showcase it subtly to let people around you know you are hurt. However, know that they will assume your lover’s gender. 

What happened? I’m heartbroken, you will reply. Even if you try to make the answers sound gender-neutral as much as possible, they will still assume it’s the opposite gender. And when they do, the first instinct is to correct them, but you have to refrain yourself because you are in a place where to love the same-sex is considered a crime.

 You will worry about the erasure but why would you care about erasure and the risk of being killed?

As a young boy, if you are feminine, the best part of your years will be spent trying to structure yourself into heteronormativity. It’s inevitable. You are constantly trying to watch your gait. You are trying to check your feminine movements. They don’t care about anything else you can be. Your good character, your other features, etc. 

“Why are you behaving like a woman?” So, the next thing is for you to become defensive, “Ah, I am not behaving like a woman,” even if you can’t help it. You keep protecting yourself. 

The only way you can think of shielding yourself from homophobia is to be violently homophobic. You are quick to tell everyone how much you hate homosexuality and how you want them to be killed, of your sexcapades, that is the only way you know.  It is the only way you can shield yourself, and avoid suspicions.

Obinna Tony-Francis Ochem writes from the comfort of his tranquility, exploring the theme of gender, class, sexuality, climate change, and shape-shifting monsters.

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