Chapter 2

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Nature has its way of consigning people into perpetual damnation. It rears its head in a pretext of predestination and uses fate as its weapon. The Yorubas had thought Esu, in his devious way, had reformed Olodumare’s creations by recreating them. Olodumare was a loving being and had made all his creations in the finest possible ways, but Esu had other plans. He made an altercation to some of Olodumare’s brilliantly molded beings and had reversed what they were designed to be. This way, a heterosexual man is made gay, a man meant to have huge muscles is gifted with hunchback, a man is born blind.

Accordingly, Orunmila, was the reformer of all that has turned bad as a result of Esu’s handiwork. The irony about this Yoruba mythological belief comes into play with people whose sexual attraction is towards the same gender. How they could accept a man born blind as one of Esu’s mischief but rule out a homosexual, obviously another of Esu’s mischief going by the mythology, to not worth being called a human being, puts into light the obvious bias nature of human being. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, nature had made it so. Homosexuals were blight of nature, the very raw form of Esu’s creation.

Another belief ruled homosexuals as ardent followers of Esu. His most trusted acolytes. They were the perfect creation whose only damage was in sexuality, and so Esu sent them out into this world to ensure that people continue to live in sin. This belief in some ways mirrors the Yoruba version of Esu’s recreation, only that this time Esu was commonly referred to as the devil, or Lucifer as the case may be. Normally, to the Yoruba people, Orunmila was the only one who could help Tade. The other believers hold that Tade would need a special deliverance and a due confession of all his sins thus far as a homosexual. These two sets of believers had ruled out the possible thought that perhaps nature is all to blame.

I sat still watching the Yoruba documentary that celebrated the heroics of Orunmila. It was a week after the street saga with my father. My school’s resumption was just a week away and I had decided to meet with Tade and discuss with him what his plans were. I stood up and made to walk across the street, when I heard a knock on the door. I moved to the door, opened it and beheld Tade standing, just as stunning as always.

“So, Tade”, I said as he walked inside. “I have been researching societal stereotypes on masculinity and how it has helped change our world and people’s views on who and what a man should be. I think this is one of the reasons for people’s infinite reservations towards homosexuals”.

“You think what people have is reservations?”, He puzzled

I stood, froze up, coiled, then reflected on what I had said, then I knew it made no sense. It was just pure hatred people have, not reservations. Hatred that stemmed from God-knows-where. He looked at me again, this time, meekly. Then he broke the silence.

“I actually understand you. It is one thing to want to ignore homosexuals, it is another to never want them near you at all. It is completely a different thing to never even want them to exist. It might not be entirely people’s fault. I mean, in biology, we were taught reproduction and the only thing said to us is procreation via male mating with his female counterpart. Same sex was never mentioned. These are some of the things that shaped people. Then there’s religiosity. Then there is the deep rootedness of culture. It is perhaps, unheard of, to find stories of homosexuals in our cultural traditional stories. Then as you have said, there is the stereotypical factor of masculinity”.

“Hmmmm”

“Believe me young lady, your father did not pay me to lecture you on sexuality, acceptance and rejection. People feel accepting homosexuals is acculturation. A dilution of our revered culture.” He stopped, looked round the room and then rolled his eyes back to me.

“But then is it acculturation that people have to accept homosexuals? Also, do you think we have homosexuals because of western influence in our society?”. I asked with keen interest.

Tade simply smiled. From his eyes, I knew he was glad I asked. On my part, I knew I was going to ask. I have always been curious on who Tade is since he told me he could not extend what I felt back to me. I love him still, that wouldn’t change, and I channeled my love into understanding him. What had transpired on the street the other day had made me more curious on why people would just decide to be belligerent on a fellow human being who had done absolutely nothing to them. His existence cost them not even a Kobo but somehow, for his sexuality, which doesn’t conform to the heterosexual normativeness of the society, people can’t seem to not not care. To them, his acts were disgusting, something that’ll make them puke, but whose fault was that?

He reached out to my hands, then walked me to the bed. We sat, gently, eyes locked on each other, countering each other’s gazes.

“You know”, he said “when I was little I had effeminate tendencies. Not those that come out very flashy but the ones that you just know this person acts or wants to act like a girl. Not like I always want to do so, but sometimes, I just feel comfortable doing that. I loved long hair, actually, my favorite indomitable character was tweeny just for her hair. I loved to paint my nails, that is why up till today, I still look at my nails. I love that my hair is silky and smooth and if I have my way, I can buy about 15 hair products just for my hair. The way I talked then, you’ll definitely know that I was effeminate. I always believe speaking like the societal masculine way is too stressful. You have to always constantly speak as though you are fighting someone, just so you could look aggressively masculine. You must walk as though you are always rushing somewhere just to show that you are not walking like a lady. People tag a slow walker, a she. Imagine that! These are traits I am not comfortable with but I had to adjust. Where I grew up, these are traits that must be exhibited by a guy. Aren’t I talking way too much”

“Are you joking?” I hit him. He winced, I never cared, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what it was like when he was growing up. I wanted to know what he felt and how he felt. Whether he was pushed to the walls, whether the Tade I know is not the Tade that should have been. I wanted to know if his life was altered by the demanding society. 

He sensed it. He saw my sincerity. Then he breathed out, heavily, and continued.

“People mocked me when I speak. They constantly said I behaved like a girl. I loved the way ladies spoke. It is more relaxing, they never go on top of their voice just so they can speak. They just calmly say the words out. I wanted to do that, not have stress about the things I say but I was mocked. I was not exposed to many things in my childhood and teenage age so I had to change that about me. Even up till now, I still watch the way I speak. I try to hide the ladylike tonality of my speech. I try to make my voice husky, to make it masculine, to make it seem as though I am comfortable with the way I am speaking. To ensure that people see that I am indeed a boy. Then there is the mannerism part. People definitely questioned this, even in my secondary school. My teachers abused me for that. They said I acted like gay. Just because I walked more relaxed than other boys. My life is laced with people judging me on if I were a lady or a guy. I hid this all. I can’t bear people saying I acted like a lady. I was tired of constantly hearing it. I was a very young boy of about 12 years and people constantly mocked this part of my life. Because of that, I did what guys did. I started wearing clothes that weren’t stylish, then I just cream and that’s it. If it were up to me, I’d apply facial products, but then I stopped using it. I know it makes no sense to not be stylish just because I want to avoid people tagging me gay, but then I did not want prying eyes and the only way I could think of was to not make an effort. And so, I did not. I stopped being femme. I strived to become very masculine. It wasn’t that I wasn’t, I just always wanted to feel relaxed. Not that I always want to paint my nails, or apply facial products and hair products, I just want to do them occasionally, but I couldn’t. Society ensured that and then I knew, I really knew I would go on a path of change.”

He faced me, as though he had just fought a battle and came out triumphant without breaking any sweat, then he calmly beheld my eyes. He turned away from me, walked to the small refrigerator by the side of the door and then he turned before opening the refrigerator. “Now, do you think in any part of my story, western acculturation comes in. I was around 10 when I felt like doing all of these. In fact, social media was not as wild as it is today, but I still felt all I felt then. Do you think there was any western influence. Where’s the acculturation?”

He smiled, I noticed the smile. It was his brightest smile in a while. I moved closer, stared deep into his face, extended my arms in warm embrace and he took it. He relaxed tenderly, he was not sorry for his nature, but he was angry that he couldn’t express himself fully. It was as though he was tamed. Tamed in his little world, put in the coffins by the society that was meant to make him explode. He was caged in a tiny little box. He saw the world from the perforation of the box. The world had indeed been cruel to him, and with all these, he sought no vengeance. He was not bitter towards the insane society that thought, or made him think he was the insane one. Instead, he sought for love, but even this, the society continued to gloriously deny him. He was proscribed, his kinds were blights of nature. The very raw form of a mishap. A catastrophic mishap in the settings of the universe. He was not welcomed. His love was not accepted. He should demand reparation, but he wanted no part in all of that, all he wanted was to just be him and love. But sadly, the world wanted him to do that in a tiny little cage they have put him his whole life. This, I reckoned, and I began to cry. Profusely, I poured out.


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