MOVING FURTHER AWAY FROM THE CLOSET

jamie-marks-is-deadYou came out to your family and a few friends, and no one ever talked about it at all. No one asked if you’d found love. No one asked if there was someone you were currently seeing, or even how you were feeling.

You came out from the closet and stepped into a room full of broken bones on a very squishy wooden floor, and every step you made was like a wakeup call to the wild animals that there was a foreign object in the room.

And you wondered: Which is better, the stifling closet or the awkward lounge?

Nobody talks about the next step after coming out. Scratch that. Nobody knows the next step after coming out. Well, here is an idea: if you are still in the closet, enjoy the comfy dark confinement. And if you are out, welcome to the living nightmare where all you once knew . . . well, life just became a blank, nasty slate.

A couple of months after coming out to my family, I began to notice that things were good, but not great, and definitely not the same. I used to be a loner even among my family members, but now I make loners look like party people on steroids. Most times, I just wish I remained in the closet where my worst fear was how long it would take my travel documents to be ready so I can move to Europe.

But I am out. And I am not going back in.

I remember the first meaningful conversation I had with my dad after I came out was: “So what direction do you want to take now?” It took every fibre and restraint in me not to say I want to be an activist for the LGBTQI community. I instead replied, “More schooling.” I have been volunteering at HIV/AIDS educational peer projects, Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders since I was sixteen, and every time we were out, I could spot the LGBTs among the victims, and beside them would be a ‘loved one’ who didn’t fit in the picture. And I would imagine a world where we wouldn’t have to be subjected to the status quo, where when a loved one is to be by your side, it will be picture perfect, and not the ‘ideal picture’.

As I got older, my passion increased. I would write short stories about two boys, and then burn them so no one would see. I longed for a better, freer world to share my stories, but there was none around me. And what was then a passion slowly turned into an interest, and then it became a job experience on my resumé. And then, last year, I discovered Kito Diaries, and like a phoenix, an old passion came alive, stronger and brighter. I discovered a new family where I needed no restraints.

So to rightly answer my dad’s question – I want to/will be an activist for the LGBTQI.

It’s been months since the conversation with my dad, and now more than ever, I am convinced that this is what I want. But then that means I will have to come out to the world. Coming out to some close people is one thing, but letting the entire world know and defending the course? The answer to this have been keeping me awake at night and making my heart beat world records over and over again every time I hear the word ‘coming out.’ I am almost convincing myself that it’s not my place to change the world, or even make it better, and it is certainly not my position to cause change.

But then, my mind tells me: “Find what you love. Stand by it. And let it kill you if it can.”

I am exhaustively confused and torn. It’s becoming like a curse that I can’t shake off. Two friends I told said I was being courageous; they forgot to add stupid, psychotic and suicidal. They don’t understand that the reason I told them was not to support me, but to talk me out of it.

For now I don’t know what the next step for me is and I am terrified to find out. I have made a countdown to a couple months for my public coming out, and maybe a video clip to go with it.

I am sharing this because I need all the prayers and help in the world. There’s also that hope that someone will succeed in talking me out of this.

Written by ScarFace

57 thoughts on “MOVING FURTHER AWAY FROM THE CLOSET

  1. Baby steps Scarface…. Baby steps

    You’ve done stage One- Coming out to yourself

    And stage two- Coming out to your family

    Now just relax and breathe in the fresh air of freedom from achieving two milestones.

    When the time is right, stage 3 – coming out to the world- will come naturally

    In the mean time…. RELAX!!!

    • Oh and the crazy awkwardness is typical with most Nigerian families who are kind enough to accept you, so don’t get a hang nail over it…. They too need time to get used to the idea that they wont be attending some bad ass owambe called your wedding and maybe you might be giving them grand dogs instead or grandchildren lol.

      Keyword: MAYBE…. you may in the future decide to either be a single gay dad or something

  2. Baby steps scar face… Jarch said it all.
    There is always confusion and uncertainty whenever one takes a step outta comfort zone. Like graduation, marriage, new viz venture, coming out.. my dear, find ur feet and plant it,gradually it will get used to de terrain and u won’t be scared no more.

  3. There are no heroes in the grave!

    Coming out is cool, but its not a recipe for happiness. Infact, it can be disastrous if its not handled well. For me, and those living in this part of the world, it can also be down right dangerous

  4. The answers here sounded like you guys were beating around the bush, he wants to know NOW if he should come OUT publicly or not, my dear if you want to do that, think about what will happen to your family, and your own safety too. You can’t just do that if you are still in Nigeria, so make sure your travel papers are ready so you can leave the country when it gets ugly, cos you may not be that lucky. Goodluck for now.

  5. Jarch has said all that’s needed to say. What I will add is that you should have it behind your mind that there is someone who hears and understands your faintest sighs. Courage brother

  6. Form an NGO or join existing ones. Identify your strong points & where you can possibly help. It’s never easy but who says it can’t be done.

  7. I think you should take a breather and relax a bit. When you are older, more successfull and more independent your voice will resonate louder and then you can skip the country if need be. Case in point; Kenny B

  8. There is a lot of work to be done.
    I have no right to tell you how best to enter into your third stage of coming out. I will only suggest. Tap into the potentials of this incoming administration. Form a discussion group (don’t waste your time trying to form NGOs), discuss the best way to undermine Nigeria’s anti -gay laws. Help sponsor subtle gay friendly bills. This will eventually out you nationally.

    As for your looking for someone to talk you out of all this, I suggest you remember the Bisi Alimi experience.
    My dear Scarface, if your gut feelings isn’t ok with it, don’t do it.
    What will you fall back on if the whole thing backfires?
    That’s the question you must always ask yourself.

  9. Well, you’re so brave, ScarFace. That’s all I can say. Nothing anybody will say can change your mind if it’s made up. I think a time will come when more Nigerians will come out, not just to their families, but to the world. History is being made with our generation. Whatever you chose, coming out or remaining in the closet, I think you should think about the consequences. Ask yourself, “Am I willing and ready to pay the ultimate price? Is it worth it?” Of course you alone can answer that question. I think you should definitely come out to the world, because it’s worth it, because only by becoming visible can we challenge the arrogance of Nigerians who think that we do not exist here; and, perhaps, even elicit some kind of empathy because you cannot empathize with something that does not exist. But what advice would I give to myself? Here: Don’t come out to the world until you’ve written that book that can save your ass. So, unless you are ready to be a martyr (which isn’t wrong, although it is something I personally would love to avoid as much as is possible) wait and build yourself into a voice that cannot be overlooked or easily shut. Go abroad and study.

  10. Scarface, you’re dealing with a simple lack of understanding on the part of your family and friends. It is that way because most humans simply can’t let go of all that has been ingrained in them to start a fresh journey of understanding. Don’t despair.

    As for coming out to the world, if you think you are strong enough and can face the backlash with your head held high just like Bisi Alimi, then go ahead. Your mind is your only stumbling block on your path to self-discovery and actualization. Think big my friend, and you’ll be big!

  11. ScarFace. One step at a time. Don’t burn yourself out. You are still in Nigeria. It is still very illegal. You’ll be hunted and the axe might fall on you. No need to rush. And you can do your stories anonymously.

  12. This is a nice piece. I was close to tears.

    You forgot to tell us your age and what you do.

    You forgot to tell us if you intend never to come back to Nigeria when you leave.

    I have nothing to tell you.
    If you think you have to tell a stranger about your sexuality, good for you. To me, I believe it is only your family and friends that deserve to know, but if you think you’d be doing the world a whole lot of good by coming out, then go ahead.

    Just don’t forget the effect it would have on your family. You don’t need to think about yourself alone. If you leave the country, what happens to your siblings and parents? Are they going to leave with you?

    Good luck

    • Sinnex nothing will happen to his family, they will not die! Bisi’s Family is hale and hearthy.

      While i respect your views, I need to state that there comes a time when you have to live for yourself. Selfish yes? But true, you have to live for yourself and do what is best for you and not what family expects.

      This one is his call, as it should be

      • Dennis by coming out to the world you are not doing what is best for you, it is a selfless act which intends to give hope to those depressed LGBTQI folks, and honestly by doing that in Nigeria you are putting your family in a precarious situation so the big question is which would u rather stick your neck for?

      • Well, going by the law, these families would be harbouring a criminal, wouldn’t they? Lol.

        #TheRidiculousness.

      • Sadly the families of out Nigerians do get persecuted but most times in a subtle way. Not a nice feeling.

  13. I think you already know what you wanna do.
    But here’s a friendly warning: Freddy Kreuger is on the other side, so watch your back.

  14. I think you should stop at Stage 2 for now. Let your work for the LGBTQI speak for you and – yes – eventually out you to the world. Else, it might just look like a cheap publicity stunt. Unless you’re a celebrity, a public coming out won’t do much for the community by way of validation and “endorsement”. We will just know you as “oh, that our crazy brother who everyone knows is gay, he made news on LIB and Bella Naija…” The end. Next scandalous headline.

    Instead, as you do further studies, you should talk to people and organisations doing important work for the community in Nigeria and see how you can be part of their work.

    But, hey, all this from a man still in the closet. So…you’re my oga at the Top on this one…

    (Uhm, Pinky, I didn’t mean it *that* way oh!)

  15. Wow scarface, i am amazed & awed @ ur courage, i dont have such courage,but i can only wish you strength and stamine for the tough winding journey ahead ***hugs***

  16. Hello Scarface (o! The sound of your name as it rolls out the tip of my tongue just makes me wanna….*gulps*. I can borrow my FGM’s Man-toy for a while can’t I?. *Side-eyes FGM*

    Coming out to family is very brave. Yes!, very very. But Hon you might want to take cognizance of the present religious and political climate before you yank that your bolted third Titanium casted door open and take a plunge into unfavourable weather.

    Its’ not like it’s not possible to come out to the world (atleast we’ve seen model cases already and they are not dead yet *shudders at the thought*) but you might want to first be in a position where and when the fracas becomes red hot you would soar freely and be invincible. Partnering with international agencies and organising community sensitization should do.
    And o! You might want to also partner with friendly LGBTQi security details.

    *coerces FGM to brew you very potent safety potion*

  17. I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that you realize that in life, you grow. You get better.

    I may be out to Mother but I’m certain I’m not ready to be an activist and for this, I admire your courage to not go where the path is leading, but going where there is no path and leaving a trail.

    The world is so obsessed with defining sexuality for everyone and attaching labels to it. Any time any person openly leaves the sexual norm, their sexuality becomes, more often than not, the absolute defining characteristic of that person. It becomes the first thing people think about and often the first thing they mention. Every other part of that person all but disappears.

    The world is totally different from your Family.
    Think this through and Plan this well. My own belief is that there is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror.

    Be careful.
    Keep Glittering.

  18. If you are igbo or yoruba and your extended family is based in Nigeria, it is never worth it, believe me. When the shiit finally hit the ceiling fan, you will find yourself to be alone. Trust me it is a very lonely world out there. I know what am talking about.

    • I have to beg for my ignorance to be excused. at least i know the two aforementioned tribes and their views on homsexuality and lesbianism is like asking a parent fom these tribes to choose for their offspring a career between ‘homo’ and arm robbery.. Sure they would most def be praying for none of the above. Their response would ve left you wondering….
      From my discussions, with dudes from other tribes about coming out to folks, some seems to ve a soft landing and indiffrence to the issue, so much i admire their folks and pleased for these dudes.
      All in all, i still maintained coming out either to family , friends or the public needs weighty consideration.
      I believe there shall be a change one day in 9ja specifically regarding the matter.

      • Tolerance,love and understanding are natives of no tribe. They abound in all tribes and are absent in all tribes. They are natives of places where they are welcome and practiced.

      • Most dudes from various tribes in Nigeria would never dream or think of the idea of coming out to their families, never mind friends; and the public?( well unless they have gone stark raving mad). This is because they certainly know that there aint gonna be no love, tolerance(maybe a little) or understanding coming from their folks( at least 98% of their folk). It would be like wanting to commit hara-kiri.
        There could be so much to lose and so much to be forfeited. Still i know things will change one day with time and enlightment.

  19. Everybody has said it. Bide ur time. Remember the point where you couldn’t take the pretence any more and u just had to out urself to ur family? There will come a time when u just won’t bear it, then u will snap n damn the consequences. You prolly are very close to that edge. Just keep ur cool and support whatever group is on ground now.

  20. I know this will touch a lot of nerves and change the perception some people have about me but lemme be candid here and ask?
    Is it absolutely necessary for you to come out to be an activist like the Bisi we all love and Kenny B? Are you also HIV ? Are you willing to let go of the life you know now(no matter how bad or good it may be) for something different. Do you know people in high places who can help you in a desperate situation. Do you have the money to skip town and settle elsewhere comfortably, if this goes south.
    If you do not think what pinky is doing is LGBT activism then you are wrong. I expect KD be discovered and know nation wide soon enough and people will see that we are just people. Isn’t that what the activism is supposed to show? What you see on other blogs and stuff are not much different than here, well except that Khaleesi breeds dragons, Max can’t stand Gad and Dennis is a hopeless twink slut.
    It is brave that you thought to do something like this. After i watched Selma, i saw the reason why Martin Luther did what he and i cried because it felt like that is how gays are treated but Rev. Martin did not have the internet to show people what he wanted them to see. He did not leave USA to broadcast to black americans the popular ‘I have a dream’ speech. He was them through it all and eventually paid the price a lot of them paid before him. I think most of us are content with taking baby steps and the results are there. Call me a coward but there it is.
    Having said all this, ultimately the choice is yours. You have to think it through and through.

    • Oh Brian..ur ending part of ur comment got me.. u should take a hug.. hope our scarface reads it and assimilate too..but ultimately coming out is private decisions

  21. Nobody cones out as heterosexual. The only reason a lot of us come out (to family/friends) is because — as soon as we realize our attraction — create a farçade of heterosexuality.

    Just as the family of a transgender kid informs neighbors and friends of the child’s identity, that’s the same as we coming out to family. For identity.

    Celebrities coming out do so mostly to give face to the struggle. But we also need ordinary people unless it would be labeled a cult.

    **You needn’t be publicly out to be an LGBTI activist. For your (personal/professional) saftey, it’s better to float human rights activism. That way you can walk into any office to campaign, raise funds or lay complaints. You’d be seen as a HUMAN rights activist. Makes it easier to get sponsors. It always gladdens me to see people ready to make the sacrifice for the future.

    I also plan on coming out to family and going deeper into activism (the boyfriend is all but supportive — sad). I currently just do sensitization/education both on LGBT issues and safe sex.

    I’ve always imagined I’d get killed before my 40th birthday — but after studying Harvey Milk I upgraded that to 50.

    Maybe whenever you can, hit me up. I’d be happy to help.

  22. I think you have already taken the biggest step by informing your family. Certainly, nothing else matters more now. Set your boat to sea and catch the next tide. You have earned the liberty to sail home to your happiness

  23. I understand what this is like. Definitely get yourself more involved in activism. It’s enjoyable and will help you get to know other similar-minded people who can help you through this and into a better life. I’m involved with a couple organizations that have helped me while I help others and I’m trying to get even more active (In fact, I made a little post about it yesterday). Keep it up and keep in touch. I’d love to be a help.

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