Wednesday, April 10

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Dear Gideon Okeke, I used to be more homophobic than you!

by Paul B. D



For the sake other people mentioned in this write-up, I'm writing this with a fake name.

Many years ago, I was this ignorant homophobe who'd sworn to bring damnation to any gay person that crossed my path.


Unlike what you normally see in most homophobic Nigerians, I hated the lesbians too. In fact, just as much as I hated the males.

I once stopped talking to a boy in my street because he'd one day, during an argument at the barber's, kept showing open support for gays.

We used to be good friends and no matter how I tried to make him stop saying things like "gays are normal people", he just wouldn't.

And right there that evening, I severed all ties with him. Quite very funny, the idiot never even realized I had been keeping malice with him.

He was very shocked when, many months later, I told him about it. By then, I had become a different person.

I really must say that there is something quite liberating about letting go of hate. It makes you more human. You judge people less and you treat people more naturally.

I remained homophobic up until the night my twin brother came out to me. It was the time of Glee, the TV series. My bro was addicted to the show. I hated it. Couldn't wrap my head around why anyone would find the show the slightest bit entertaining.

One of those Glee nights, I asked my bro what he found entertaining in a gay show like that.

"Maybe because I am one!" I heard my bro say.

I turned back to him, expecting some laughter to indicate it had only been a joke. But nothing like that came.

My bro remained expressionless, his eyes held firm to the TV screen. At that point the actors were singing, with the effeminate gay one getting all the camera spotlight.

"You think you are gay?" I asked my bro.

"You think I cannot be?"

"We are bros, you can't be gay."

My brother laughed then and, just like someone under a strange magic of confession, began saying things. Real weird things about how he had always been that way. He was saying things I never the least imagined.

It was all so crazy I had to leave and go outside.

But by the next day, I could tell something in me has changed about gay people.

My bro has always been normal, has always acted normal. If he can be gay, then who knows the number of gays I have laughed with, eaten with, drank with and played with, without even realizing it. For all I know, my girlfriend, Neye, might even be a lesbian and I did not know.

I'd say there is an aspect of homophobia that is prompted by fear. Like the presence of gays somehow threatens your own existence. I've been there...so I know.

And as soon as you realize something like that cannot be true, you'll be on your way to living a smooth, hassle-free life.

So Gideon Okeke, your opinion about Marc Jacobs getting married to a man does not make any sense.

They are two happy adults and what they do in their bedroom shouldn't bother anyone.

The real cure to homophobia is getting to know some real gay people. Most of the homophobic friends I had back then have not met or interacted with any gay person.

They just fear and think the worst of them. I couldn't imagine doing to my bro any of those things I once had in mind to do to any gay person that crossed my way.

It's all so stupid.

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