“The onus shouldn’t be on queer people to come out,” said YNaija’s Bernard Dayo while responding to this piece we published last week, “the onus should be on cis-heterosexual people to interrogate heteronormativity – the belief that heterosexuality is the default or ‘normal’ sexual orientation.”
It is the human thing to do certainly, but it can be difficult to step back and examine one’s bias in a society where everyone is assumed to be heterosexual by default.
It can be argued that cis-heterosexual people are victims of the very system that emboldens them to think they’re the best thing since sliced bread. The same system makes it impossible for them to see past the tip of their noses.
When the LGBT+ tell their story, as we do on this blog, it is because our social discourse is starved of representation for queer issues and not because queer people are compelled to prove they are deserving of dignity.
Hence we tackle here the perennial question, “When did you realize you were gay?”
3 queer Nigerians share this with us.
Adamu (M, 27)
It can’t be a realization if it is part of the essence of who you are. I didn’t come to realize I am gay, I came to learn the words for who I have always known myself to be.
For context, I had my first crush at 7. I crushed intensely on my cousin, who was at the time crushing hard on my sister. His crush on my sister was just as valid in my 7 years old eyes as my crush on him. I would begin to learn about the wrongness of my crush for the same-sex in my early teens, thanks to my growing knowledge of the Islamic faith of my parents.
I have since unlearnt that negative view and learnt that it is inspired by a heteronormative worldview that recognizes only itself as the default. I am my own default, and I’m fully valid.
Jane (F, 24)
Depends how you define realization. If you define it as one’s first experience of romantic affection then that will be when I was 6 and fell in love with a classmate in primary 1. I sketched a love letter addressed to her and handed it in the next day as my assignment.
The teacher had asked us to sketch a nuclear family, and I sketched myself and my crush, her name is Layla. Two simple stick figures, both obviously female, and labeled for emphasis Jane & Layla and next to us, two stick figure kids and a cat.
Safe to say that day and the subsequent days of that week was when I began to learn about the self-absorption of heterosexual people. I would be read tons of books about ‘proper’ nuclear families for the next few years until I could read by myself and then I was made to read tons of books about ‘proper’ nuclear families. Safe to say they achieved nothing. I am still gay, thank you and God bless you.
Kachi (M, 21)
Third year of University, I am a late bloomer.
To be fair, I was raised in and for the church. My parents and our pastor had great expectations for me with respect to the church, hence sex or the closest thought to it was far from my mind for years. Until my new roommate walked in in 3rd year.
He was the most beautiful person I had ever seen in my life, male or female. I hated him for making my knees turn to water by simply existing. He was very effeminate and did everything with such exquisite delicacy. I became obsessed with him and obsessed with how much I hated how he made me feel. I could smell him coming from afar, I could tell his laughter apart from everyone else’s, I could tell he had passed a place simply from smelling the air and pulling his scent apart. It was obsession.
I remember I kept reminding myself, “This is a boy, Kachi, a fellow guy.” My heart was unmoved. I struggled a lot until I accepted what is and told him I loved him the following year. Long story short, we dated throughout my final year, and it was the happiest year of my university life.
Featured image: Black&Smart