Kito Diaries has been seen by someone who doesn’t bat for our team, guys. And this brother has something to say. Yes, you’re about to read KD’s first write-up written by a straight man. His pseudonym is Henry, and the real life story below is his.
My name is Henry, and I am a straight man. I know you are wondering what I am doing here, but I came across this blog on a friend’s phone who is a regular contributor here and I begged him to help me send in this article. I implore you to keep an open mind when you read it.
Right from when we were kids, I knew something was different about my brother, Chukwuma. (Not his real name) He kept to himself mostly, even though I knew he wasn’t an introvert. He was the darling of the family and our parents indulged him in almost anything he wanted, yet it was as if he was not happy; like something was bothering him.
As we grew older, I started noticing how he walked – graceful, calculated steps, just like our two sisters, and when we walked back from mass on Sundays, you may not tell him apart from them from behind. He did not play football with us boys in the neighbourhood, neither did he play ‘police and thief’; he was content playing with our sisters’ dolls, and in those moments when he dressed up the dolls with my sisters, his animated side came alive.
The older we got, the more different we became. I started hating him. I did not understand why he loved wearing my mother’s shoes at home or why he walked like a girl, neither did I understand why his hands were always in the air like he was carrying a bag. A gulf started developing between us. We could not do things together. We could not go out together. I liked rap and hip hop, while he liked singing along to Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, matching their high notes. To me, he was less than a man, and I was ashamed of him; so I did not speak up in his defense when the boys at school called him names, I did not fight for him. I avoided Chukwuma in school; I simply could not understand why a boy would choose to be girly. I was very naïve.
Eventually the rumors started, people said he was homosexual and I refused to believe them. I remember the time I punched a boy in school who called me “homo’s brother.” The signs were there, but I refused to acknowledge them. I was better off not knowing, it gave me peace.
I eventually found out at the University of Port Harcourt where we were both admitted, him to study English and me to study Engineering. We were roommates, but we rolled in different circles, him with a few also-girly guys, mostly from his department, and me with some other guys. He always had nice things, things I knew our parents did not buy for him. A new phone, a new pair of shoes, the sound system etc. He was never broke. I smelt a rat, but I still refused to dig for it.
It was the day I was supposed to sleep over at my girlfriend’s place that I found out. My girlfriend and I fought and I had to leave her house just around midnight. I got into our house through the back door, with the generator drowning out sounds of me unlocking the door. And then, there was my brother spread-eagled on the bed with a boy I recognized from his class on top of him. I simply turned and left. I never told our parents about it, but something shattered between Chukwuma and I that day. We started avoiding each other, we never stayed home together at the same time, and we only talked when it was necessary. The tension could be cut with a knife.
After school and NYSC, he moved to Lagos and started working there, while I stayed back in Port Harcourt. We had no relationship anymore, even though at this time, I was trying to cultivate one. But he wouldn’t take my calls. I wanted my brother back, but he was gone. I drove him away for which I am ashamed of myself.
I regret all I have done. I love my brother very much, but I could not process the situation at the time. I was taught in church that homosexuality is a grave sin; I did not know how to relate with him after I found out. Looking back now, I should have reached out to him. I should have encouraged him to talk to me, to rely on me. I should have being a shoulder of comfort during those times he was depressed. I should have fought for him when the school boys called him names. I did not know how to love my brother, my gay brother; I was a coward and I now fear the damage I have done may be irreparable.
Chukwuma just gained admission to go to graduate school in the United States. In my heart, I know he is only escaping from all the negativity that threatens to choke him here. I am terrified that I may lose him forever, that he would go and never come back.
I want to believe you read this blog, my dear brother. I don’t know any other way to tell you how I feel but to write this. I love you and I will always love you. Please let me be your brother again.
Written by Henry