One Fine Saturday Evening
Growing up as a gay African man, isn’t really an easy thing, dealing with the Christian and Muslim religions preaching against it and violently stigmatizing it as a whole were problems people who were gay had to face on a daily basis. It was of the utmost importance that your sexual Identity wasn’t discovered by friends or family members because of the fear of being hated, abandoned, disowned and socially stigmatized by people. So for the longest time I had to face being gay alone and without any guidance, protection or societal knowledge/values to help me understand who I really was. Everything I knew about being gay I learnt from the internet. The internet was the only place other people like me could interact, and it was the only place I could get enough information to understand what my sexual Identity really was, and I was lucky and smart enough to meet good people who could show me the right path.
Unlike lots of gay men in Africa, I was lucky enough and blessed to move to Canada for my undergraduate degree, I still had lots to deal with concerning the cultural transition process in order to adapt to living here, I wasn’t out either back home or here, emotionally it was a difficult process for me because before I could even think of coming out I had to be comfortable with my sexuality , I felt I had to find someone who I trusted enough to know this side of me that even I wasn’t comfortable with at the time, my relatives were excluded because I knew personally how homophobic they were, but I couldn’t blame them because they were not really educated as to what being a gay person was, but deep down I knew that if there was any place ever to come out it would be here because of how socially accepting it was. I took my time to look for friends who would understand surprisingly it wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be.
One fine Saturday evening, I invited the few friends I had over for dinner at my apartment, and I felt I was ready to come out and identify myself as a gay man, I was really nervous about it because I didn’t know what their reactions would be, and most of them were guys and I was expecting to lose some of them as friends that evening. They all came over, seven of them and we made a nice dinner, ate and talked about a lot of things, when it got to the point that I was feeling comfortable I told them that I was gay. There was a chilling silence for like a minute then one of my friends burst out laughing screaming “I knew it!!!”, and everyone started laughing too, I was a bit shocked and confused but I kept laughing with them too, when it died down, they all congratulated me and were happy and excited that I came out to them, we made a lot of jokes about it and it sparked up a lot of conversations and sometimes uncomfortable but intriguing questions. I was glad it finally happened, and them accepting me made me accept myself for who I was, there are still battles out there that I need to face concerning coming out to family members, some I may win and others I may lose and the uncertainty about it all can be nerve wrecking but I’ll never know the outcome till I’m comfortable enough to try, but at least I know ii have a few people who are willing to be there for me, and that’s good enough to face anything life has ahead.