Let’s Discuss…About The Visibility Of What Society Doesn’t Want To See

Blog_Let's DiscussA friend of mine and follower of KD wanted to know, a couple of days ago, what comment made in disparagement of someone’s HIV status that brought on the collective wrath of the blog. I directed him to the contentious post, and when he was done, he returned to our private chat with an opinion about the KDian who shared his HIV story on KD: “Not a good move, if I must say… smh.”

And so the following is a bit of how our chatversation went after this tersely expressed opinion.

ME: Why? Why was it not a good move to share something to inspire people? Because someone will have something bad to say? So, by that standard, Kenny Badmus should not have talked about his coming out as well?

DUDE: Do you not see the resultant effect? Besides, Coming Out and HIV issue are two different things.

ME: Oh really? Educate me.

DUDE: Keep waiting. My point has been made. He made a wrong move. Even the Kenny guy. Anyways, he will survive it because he’s not based in Nigeria. He wouldn’t have tried it if he was based fully here.

ME: …Clearly you’re one of those who believe everything hidden should stay hidden, because we wouldn’t want to upset society.

And his response to my comment was to taunt me to come out to my own family, if I thought so highly about people coming out, effectively missing my point. Because, it wasn’t a chat exclusive to the two of us, a second friend who had access to the chat intruded with his own opinion.

NEW DUDE: It’s a brave step…and everyone does not have the courage to do it (anytime soon). What Pinky is saying is that when someone goes through with it, he should be admired and not put down. What have you been getting from KD? Just sex stories?

Now, this conversation went back and forth, on and on, with the second friend and I trying to make this first guy understand the importance of opening the eyes of society to those things it would rather be blind too. Suffice it to say that he never got it. He’s a gay man who doesn’t believe people should share stories about their struggles for survival over HIV or that homosexual persons should come out of the closet. And that, sadly, is the stance many of us – and I don’t even mean the heterosexual majority – take on issues such as this. Some of us believe we shouldn’t cause any ripples. We should let sleeping dogs lie. We should keep quiet and perhaps they (society) won’t bother with us.

But I have to ask, where there any Nigerian gay men or lesbians agitating to get married before the Nigerian anti gay bill was drafted and subsequently signed into law? No. There was silence there, and yet, society had to meddle.

And in the wake of the sharing of that HIV story that should-not-have-been-shared, I know the tide of emails I got and tortured but grateful souls I had to deal with, all of them responding to the first ever HIV narrative on Kito Diaries. A couple of correspondents, one of them who is now a good friend, were prompted by the story to go get tested, and when one of them turned out positive, he had the presence of mind to take decisive actions to help himself.

All because a brother told his story.

Kenny Badmus’ revelation of his 16-year living with HIV undoubtedly inspired the length and breadth of the public who read what he had to say.

And his coming out, while it incurred the wrath of majority, gave hope to the minority still ensconced in their closets.

My point? Things that society would rather shun should have visibility, so that the people can learn to accept it and get past the controversy of it. Slave trade, Equal Human Rights, Black Voting Rights in America, HIV/AIDS, Feminism, Homosexuality – these are all contentious issues that deserved visibility and either got it or are currently getting it. Visibility which led to resolution. Of course, society will fight back. But does that make it okay to remain silent and hidden?

But hey, that’s just my opinion. What’s yours? Let’s discuss about the visibility of the things society would rather not see.

54 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss…About The Visibility Of What Society Doesn’t Want To See

  1. The average human being is a coward.. So I’m never surprised when people utter such nonsense. Its no wonder they’ve created this “greater being” in their head to forsee all things and guide their feeble life.
    Comfort is the enemy of progress. People are fine hiding in the shadows and being Lil bitches and when a brave person makes a move, they all wag their tongue like cheap ekuke dogs wag their tail when they see sh*t.
    If you like being invisible to your family, if you like introducing your lover as a friend and marrying a lady youre not gonna enjoy sex with, then fine… But don’t make silly comments about people who have more balls than you!!!!.

    • Max,don’t drag this to religion. Tolerate people of faith & they’ll tolerate u. Nobody gains in this constant bickering over religion.

    • Pete are you trying to stifle any criticism of religion from Max? State the defence of ur views rather than hiding behind the ‘I am offended’ toga, oh Censor Board member

      • DD,i wasn’t trying to stifle Max. I believe in the existence of a Supreme Being but am no fan of organized religion as they are presently constituted (an opinion I have raised before). I’m only saying that nobody benefits in this constant bickering. Religion should be a personal issue. We should strive to respect another’s religious views provided it does ni harm to you. For example,if I’m in a public bus & the passengers chose to pray, I keep quiet, stop discussing & try not to make use of my phone unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    • @Max, Gbam!!! Nigerian gays are their own worst enemy, look closely and you’ll see that 70% of the time, the chief architects of 85% of our problems …

  2. People sha. Empathy died a long time ago. While I do not blame him, as there will always be immature people waiting to use the knowledge of your circumstances against you in a fight, I still say he is a baby with access to phones. This is life with REAL ppl living in it and having and battling real life issues. A warm cup of milk in ur cozy little corner will not make the bad go away.

  3. The day a person decided to not care what negative thing society will think of them but what good their action will bring about is the day that the person truly starts living. And as much as there will be negativity from dumb people who will use your dirty linen to insult you, there will be those who will have your back and you can can start sifting through your true friends and the pretenders. Anyone who comes out or mentions their positive status should be ready to receive insults and start growing skin impervious to them so when idiots come up to use it against them it wouldn’t hurt at all.

    Fear is the enemy here. Abolish fear and things will get much better.

  4. As for me i might come out to my family and even i hv came out to some frnds of mine, but i dnt fink i wil ever tell anyone if m positive (which i pray to God i won’t cos it scares me) my HIV status let alone sharing it on a blog.

  5. I’m not brave enough to come out to my family or to society, but my cowardice does not give me the right to urge other people to do the dirty work for me,by coming out of their own closets. We advocate more coming-out stories,true, but are we brave enuff to come out ourselves?
    Pinky, to an extent,I think I understand what “dude 1” is saying (although,from a different perspective). If I understand correctly,he’s saying ppl shouldn’t be encouraged/pressured to come out,because society will react with harshness,right? Well, I too think we have no right to encourage/pressure people to come out, UNLESS we have,ourselves come out. We don’t really have a right to hide in our own closets and demand more coming-out stories from other people.
    For those who are brave enuff to come out, I commend and appreciate them,because I know that indirectly, they have done something for me, which I had no right to request of them,in d first place since I’m currently too scared to do the work myself.
    I won’t ask/urge anyone to come out(until I have),but if I do get stories about people who have been strong enough to come out,I will greet them with humility and respect and gratitude and awe.

  6. I can understand the POV of the first guy, he’s someone who obviously loves to avoid conflict by any means necessary. If he’s going through a rough patch he’d rather just keep it hush-hush or maybe confide in one or two persons.

    The thing is, every society likes to be nosey, and everyone wants to offer that two cents in whatever issue there is. Top of it the gay and HIV/AIDS issue. Us gay people are accussed of causing hurricanes and tornadoes and making the economy crash. The Nigerian government before the anti gay bill was passed made it a point of duty to bring up the gay agenda whenever the atmosphere was heating up against them. Classic case of “nyanga dey sleep trouble come wake am”. I remember when the bill was finally signed Elnathan tweeted and said now the gay agenda will not be used to divert Nigerians attentions from the real issues affecting Nigeria

    So do we allow society to continue bullying us. We can’t just close our eyes and count to 5 and then hope the confrontation would be gone. We’ve got to stand up and say “Hey who I shag does not affect the price of garri in your village” and for those of us who aren’t brave enough to be activist, should try and encourage the guys on the frontline fighting for gay rights.

    HIV/AIDS will always be an issue until a cure is found. But until then, the stories of these brave men and women are there to encourage us that, even though you’re living with the virus, you can still make your life worthwhile. We should applaud them and hope that those who are negative would heed the caution behind their stories, while encouraging those who don’t know their status to summon the courage to do so.

  7. Visibility is important! Coming out is not everyone’s journey in life, but if you cannot do it fine just don’t denigrate those who have the courage to.

    I will come out to family and give them the choice to stay with me or leave, either way I will be fine.

    When you talk about it, you demystify it! It no longer controls you, the narrative becomes yours!

  8. Gosh can’t believe we are still on abt what I said; its the internet, when one publishes a story on the internet, then one shouldn’t expect that a filter will be put on the things said abt said story. There will always be mean, malicious ppl that would say the cruelest of things but that shouldn’t matter, especially when such ppl are in the minority and their opinion is hardly ever the general consensus as is often the case here.

    At the end of the day, what someone thinks about you online, shouldn’t be an issue or be cause for profuse debate or worry, because they do not know you and you might be better off than them. Thats how I see it, and thats why most opinions here abt me or matters relating to me, are like water on a duck’s back.

    • I think chizzle is one of the smartest dudes in this blog,. His humane nature may be masked by life rigors or by his choice but overtime I detect unspoken words, among other things…. maybe someday I ll write my opinions of people on this blog, .. pinky u go post??

    • Chizzie, it seems to me, that you were trying to justify what you said to Dubem concerning his HIV status. There are a few things i would like to point out.
      1. You want us to move on from what you said. But if there is anyone on this blog who keeps bringing up things that have happened in the past, it is you. Remember the King issue? Darling, practice what you preach. If you dont want us to talk about what you did, you should have shown some restraint.
      2. This is not the first time you are saying that people should not take seriously what others say to them on social media. I wish to point out, my dear, that if there is anyone who takes things too seriously on this blog, it is you. That is precisely why you leave no “sin” unpunished, to the extent that you chose to use something as personal and sensitive as a person’s status, to hit them back. You did admit, that your intention was to hurt, and you even sounded like you were satisfied with the result you got. Since you expected Dubem to hurt, then that is contrary to your belief that people should not be offended by online comments. That is contradictory. Another proof what you take things too seriously on this blog is that you will not allow DM enjoy his “imaginary life”. If all this aint that serious, then let him be, abeg.
      3. Still on the point above, you have said social media is not important. But darling, it is. Some life long relationships (including marriages) started on social media. Careers have been built and destroyed by events on social media. Social media is important, as evidenced by the amount of time you spend on it.
      4. You say people should not be offended by what others say to them on social media. But you see, not every one is as strong as you are. That is just how it is. Some can handle stuff very well (eg how DM handles all your vitriol). And did i say you are strong? No, dear. I see through you. You are not strong. You are very weak. People who have got capacity are able to TOLERATE crap. You obviously dont have the capacity. That is why you strike back. And you strike back because you have a defective sense of self; one that needs to be protected at all costs. This is why you would go so low, as to use a person’s HIV status to strike back. In other words, this is your philosophy: strike back, no matter what. Win the verbal war, no matter the price. You see, dear. This short lived victory (in quarrels) is really important to you. If you dont have it, you’d feel incomplete. You see why i said you have a defective sense of self? If i am wrong, prove me wrong by not being vitriolic.
      5. People’s opinion about you are like water on a duck’s back?? hahaha! You lie, dear. We know what we see. You are too sensitive to opinion’s about you. That is why you respond the way you do. You want to prove me wrong? Then dont respond. Take note: the extent to which you are hurt can be easily determined by the amount of bile you spew in return. See? Easy to know. So darling, i really wish people’s comments about you are like “water on a duck’s back”. I pray for such a day. When it arrives, there will be signs. And we will know.
      6. Finally, if you were truly sorry about your comment to Dubem, then you would not have (indirectly) justified it with this comment. Again, insensitive.

  9. It is our responsibility to cure society of homophobia. I read somewhere, long ago, that the ability to identify a need, is the qualification to fulfill it. Remember that some persons in the past fought foreign rule, so that you could live free in an independent state. I understand fear; its a human thing and everyone has known fear at some point. Fear, however, for example, does not stop mice from sneaking around to nibble at “the forbidden”. Amazing how we have created such a wide, interconnected web; a world within a world, albeit underground. We did this in spite of our fear, quite successfully too, driven by libido. Visibility is great. But since the harsh climate has pushed us underground, then we have to make our unwilling invisibility an advantage. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what it is. Out in the world, you cannot be who you are. But in the closet, there are no restrictions. Before the cart gets upturned in the public, plotters would have convened, night after night, to connive. When you smuggle out, to frolick in the closet, remember your responsibility. At some point, you should ask your partner: the world is dark and painful. What can we do? Some can be bold enough to come out in the light of day (like Kenny), to be a force for change. But fearful mice can come out at night, to nibble. EVERYONE CAN DO SOMETHING. (As for me, of course I have a plan. Hehe! I’ll do my bit to expose the thoughtlessness and stupidity of homophobia). Too afraid to come out? Then, for the sake of the unborn, let’s make this world kito-free.

  10. I am too chicken to come out – for now, probably always will until i am perhaps outed by “WHAT I AM NOT DOING” … however, for those who have the courage to take the bold step, we should, must, are bound to support and encourage them, even if its by means of a brief whisper of support from deep within our closets. Know that every little bit helps. But like i said earlier, gays are often their own worst enemies … a brother has the courage to step out for the truth and his worst opponents are other gays – that’s the sad reality

  11. Ok my 1 cent:

    Coming out should not be what’s on our front burner now…hey aren’t we already at least beating some odds by even typing our comments here? So coming out and raising the rainbow flag all around toyin street or wuse 2 shouldn’t be our focus for now. We could just keep doing what we are doing for now and the key verse here is baby steps!

    For instance do we know how many people are hooked up to KD and yet do not have the nerve to even write a thing coz they still feel that a pseudo won’t even be able to hide their true self…

    So baby steps pipo. We start like this and share our stories and maybe one day we could get TOdekunle Brown or our new poster boy Kenny to publish a book with some of our stories edited by pinky ofcoz…(pinky ur gonna make a lot of mulla am sure).. then just maybe the greater public will see that there are some SANE people who are gay! Then some might learn a thing or two and small small we may just be accepted for who we want to be known for…good pipo… and then acceptance may come!

    However with that said nobody should be pressurized to come out and ofcoz commendation should be given to them that come out coz men it takes a lot to do that so yes I say baby steps.

    • Lord sometimes re-read your comments before posting them. I did state clearly that coming out is not for everybody, but those who have the courage to should go for it. A life of hide&seek forever is certainly no way to live. Anybody that wants to come out should come out, no one is pressuring anybody and no one should discourage them either.

      The double life works for you and i respect you for that, to me a two-timing existence is certainly no way for me to live my life

      • I wonder what I said up there that ticked u so Dennis Macaulay to have this spat on me. I read what I write and maybe it don’t make sense to some of u but it sure as well makes sense to some who open their minds!

        So yes I live a double life thanx for bringing it up to my face it was a good reminder! Please keep it up! And may you continu to be honest gay man that U are! Bravo!

  12. Nice perspective everyone has.
    I jst hav ds little advice- we need to let sometins go,remain buried and forgoten on dis blog.- once trashed out let it remain in d trash.
    No 1,no matter how strong likes to b reminded of hw bad he’s bin constantly neither does any 1 love to b d subject of empathy always
    We hv all goten d point cn ds ship sail already?
    There are a lot of wonderful new tins for us to xplore I tink we shuld start finding dem out.
    Jst my honest opinion. (I maybe wrong)
    Cheers y’all

    • Thanx Paul….thats just love…which sadly not all of us here can boast of having!!! …..and just as the good book says you can write the world but without love U are nothing!

  13. I have wondered when people ask why gay people feel the need to come out. Unfortunately some gay people ask the question themselves. Some follow up the question with statements like
    “Why don’t they just keep it to themselves?”
    ‘Why must they tell us who they have sex with?’
    ‘Do you see straight people going about telling people they are straight?’
    This last sentiment has actually been expressed by someone on this blog. The truth is that straight people don’t need to because simple daily activities or discussions proclaim their sexual identity.
    A man and woman walking down the road holding hands – Straight!
    A group of guys checking out a lady walking along the road and screaming – Straight!
    “What did you do this weekend?” I spent it with my girlfriend – Straight!
    Many daily interactions border on relationship status and sexuality which for us can be a minefield leading to evasiveness, lying and half-truths, using gender neutral terms and the like, but for straight people is a continual process of ‘coming out’. A quote I read once described weddings as ‘a very public declaration of a very private intention.’ In other words “This is the woman (or man) that I’m going to have sex with for the rest of my life!” If that isn’t coming out for straight people (excluding the bi or MGMs), I wonder what is. So the argument that straight people don’t come out to me is not valid, they do so every day.
    So why come out as gay. One of the reasons would be because society won’t leave you alone. The Nigerian society is geared towards conformity. Everyone must be the same. Anything outside the ordinary must be challenged. That is why people you barely know feel they can ask “So when are you calling us?”, “You mean you don’t have a girlfriend, fine boy like you?” and on and on. If people minded their business (which by the way is a biblical injunction that all the antigay Christian crusaders seem to forget), then there might not be a need to come out but since they won’t, that closet just has to be opened.
    Another reason is that if we keep hiding, then no one will know we are around. One of the things that struck me when I watched the movie Milk is a statement he made calling on his fellow gay men at a gathering to come out to their families and friends. The reason for that was so the people will know that the gay people they condemn and persecute are their brothers, sons, cousins, uncles, friends and even husbands. I believe that if enough legislators in countries like ours and Uganda knew their relations were gay, they would not be so quick to pass laws that would make it a crime not to report a gay person because that would mean they would fall foul of the law.
    Coming out also helps normalise relations with people. Personally, I avoid social interactions because issues about relationships always come up and I am running out of lies. I am equally getting tired of plastering grins on my face when I’m actually seething inside or of having to belittle my fabulous self to explain why I am not desirable. If they know, the questions will stop. They will either accept it or reject it. Either way then one will know who his real friends are and can cut the excess baggage.
    A lot of celebrities keep coming out and that helps also to dispel myths about gay people. Tim Cook came out and I had a laugh imagining all the homophobes develop a love hate relationship with their beloved iDevices. On a more serious note though, it will force some to think that if a gay man was involved in this, they can’t be all that bad. Alan Turing was very instrumental in developing the modern computer, think what the world would be without that gay man. The gist is that if we keep hiding in the closet then those that think we are no good will continue living in their fool’s paradise but if we break open the doors to those wonderful wardrobes, they will be forced to think and re-evaluate their positions.
    Coming out stories also serve as inspirations to others in the same boat. It is a kind of beacon showing that all is not lost. The stories give hope, because one can think, if he can do it then maybe I can. And if a story sows a seed in someone’s heart and another adds to it, soon enough there will be a whole forest of trees that would make the soul once wallowing in despair, a veritable fortress of strength. I know how I have been lifted by stories of people like Jason Collins, Michael Sam, Neil Patrick Harris and more recently Kenny Badmus. His story about deciding to live when death didn’t come like he wanted it to struck a chord within me because I sometimes have wished for death to free me from the conflicts within. It obviously hasn’t.
    On a more pragmatic level no openly gay man can be blackmailed for being gay. Blackmail thrives on the fear of being found out which necessarily disappears when out has already come. It may also take the edge out of some kito experiences. Hiding in the closet in some ways gives others power over your life. They control what you can do, who you proclaim to love, and the very essence of your being. It is hard to imagine long term happiness coming from that kind of life. Breaking those doors helps to take control of one’s narrative and become the master of your fate. I think that power is too strong to hand over to anyone else.
    I know that in homophobic Nigeria the threats of jail term and disownment are deterrents to coming out. Nevertheless I think it is important that there is an understanding amongst gay people of the importance of coming out even if it only helps arguments on comment sections of blogs. I imagine that those that started the gay movements faced similar opposition and some still face it even in the western civilisations. The gains so far in those societies would not have been made if everyone had kept their sexuality hidden.
    Finally to answer the question, I’m not out but it is something I think about a lot.

    • Bia iwu Dimpka biko dey! Whaaaaaat! Guys we have another Sensei! Yes! A zillion likes my brother….one kewl zillion for U jo!

      So guys coming out yes but let’s take it eh like that song…”nice and slow steady on we go oooooooh!”

    • Omg.. I have a new person to admire… And its Dimkpa… You talked like a real Dimkpa.. You need to write a piece here for us pls.. I’m gonna copy your comment and save it for future reference.. 1,000,000 likes ✌✌

  14. Anything thing we talk about, you will bring it here. Okwaya? I will beat you very soon ! BTW, I just got new set of locks for my closet.

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