It’s a travesty how European colonialism in conjunction with Christian missionaries, have destroyed traditional beliefs and religions of indigenous native peoples around the world. One major blow pertains to gender and sexuality. Presenting written archeological and verbal (by way of spoken word or oral traditions passed down from elders) factual evidence can cause a level of cognitive dissonance in the minds of today’s religious believers or followers. For many in today’s society, it’s as if there is a retardation that prevents wonder or natural curiosity surrounding ancestral beliefs or customs outside of the Christian faith. Not only is it possible but irrefutable that 400 years ago, people not of European decent held and practiced beliefs and religions far removed from Christianity. Global Colonialism changed all of this.
I state all this because all my life I’ve heard same gender sexuality is a White man’s disease and practice. Even at a young age this seemed a fallacy for me. Nonetheless, over time, I believe millions of same gender sexual men of color have been indoctrinated with this belief. This has caused confusion and dysfunction in many. Same gender sexuality has always existed not only in the animal kingdom and natural world but also in the human species. As part of our platform, Cypher Avenue has presented this information before but admittedly not with enough frequency. As then, some of the information was / is of disbelief but I encourage individual research to draw your own conclusions. My personal goal has always been to say to same gender sexual individuals…“Please walk tall because there is nothing unnatural about you.” Attempt to look outside of today’s prisms and study world and ancient histories. Everything shouldn't be wrapped up in a White Jesus, the US Flag and Queen Elizabeth.
Homosexuality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Pre-Independence
By: Stephen O. Murray
The myth of exclusive heterosexuality in indigenous black/sub-Saharan Africa was widely diffused by the 94th chapter of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1781). Referring to homosexual behavior, Gibbon wrote, “I believe and hope that the negroes in their own country were exempt from this moral pestilence.” Gibbon’s fond hope was based on neither travel to Africa nor on inquiry of any kind.
A century later, Sir Richard Burton, who unlike Gibbon did know something of Africa, reinforced the myth of African sexual exceptionalism by drawing the boundaries of his “sotadic Zone,” where homosexuality was supposedly widely practiced and accepted, in such a way as to exclude sub-Saharan Africa.
Especially where Western influences (notably Christian and Marxist) have been pervasive, there is now a belief that homosexuality is a decadent, bourgeois Western innovation forced upon colonial Africa by white men, or, alternately, by Islamic slave-traders. The belief of many Africans that homosexuality is exogenous to the history of their people is a belief with real social consequences–in particular, the stigmatization of those of their people who engage in homosexual behavior or who are grappling with glbtq identities. These beliefs are not, however, based on serious inquiry, historical or otherwise.
There are no analyses of the social structures of African societies written by indigenous people prior to alien contact. What is inscribed of “traditional” African cultures was written by some of the Northerners who disrupted African cultures, first travelers, then missionaries, colonial officials, and anthropologists. In many cases the observers inscribing “traditional” African culture did not understand that their presence as observers was itself a product of history and domination.
Nevertheless, the observing Europeans are the only source of data on homosexuality in Africa until the most recent few decades. Most of what can be learned about traditional African societies was inscribed in the last decade of the nineteenth century or later, when the continent had been colonized by European states. To keep down the costs of colonial government, European (and especially English) colonial regimes used “indirect rule,” endeavoring to maintain customary laws, though attempting to ban some customary practices, particularly sexual ones.
The travel, colonial, and anthropological literature include reports of native conceptions and native practices of male homosexuality in many societies across every region of the continent. Documentation of female homosexuality is less abundant, but exists for many cultures. The contact and colonial era reports are critically reviewed in Murray and Roscoe’s Boy-Wives and Female Husbands. Here, only a few examples of each of the main social organizations of homosexuality will be mentioned.
“Boy Wives”: Age-differentiated Homosexuality
In the central African Zande culture, before European conquest, it was regarded “as very sensible for a man to sleep with boys when women are not available or are taboo.” English anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard was told that in addition to times when women were not available for sex, some Azande men had sex with boys “just because they like them.”
The adult males paid the families of boy wives, just as they paid for female brides. The two slept together at night, “the husband satisfying his desires between the boy’s thighs. When the boy grew up he joined the company and took a boy-wife in his turn. It was the duty of the husband to give his boy-wife a spear and a shield when he became a warrior. He then took a new boy-wife.”
One commander, Ganga, told Evans-Pritchard that there were some men who, although they had female wives, still married boys. “When a war broke out, they took their boys with them. . . . If another man had relations with his boy, the husband could sue the interloper in court for adultery.”
The South African Thonga provide another particularly well-documented instance of a boy-wife role. A number of southern and western African societies also had female husbands, though whether these husbands had sexual relations with their wives is unclear in what has been written. (It seems that anthropologists studying the phenomenon did not ask that question.)
Gender-differentiated Homosexual Relations
Gender-crossing homosexuality has been discussed as common in the (Nigerian) Hausa bori cult (and in Afro-Brazilian offshoots of west African spirit-possession religion).
Among the Maale of southern Ethiopia, some males crossed over to feminine roles. Called ashtime, these (biological) males dressed as women, performed female tasks, cared for their own houses, and apparently had sexual relations with men, according to Donald Donham. One gave Donham a clear statement of the “third gender” conception: “The Divinity created me wobo, crooked. If I had been a man, I could have taken a wife and begotten children. If I had been a woman, I could have married and borne children. But I am wobo; I can do neither.”
Among Swahili-speakers on the Kenya coast, particularly in the port of Mombasa, mashoga are transgendered prostitutes who have all the liberties of men and are also welcome in many contexts in which men are prohibited. The paid partner usually takes the receptive role during intercourse, but it is likely that his inferiority derives from the fact that he is paid to provide what is asked for, rather than from his undertaking a particular sexual role. The one who pays is called the basha (derived from “pasha,” a high-ranking official and the local term for the king in packs of playing cards).
Among the Fon, the predominant people in Dahomey (now Benin), Melville Herskovits in the 1930s reported that, after the age at which boys and girls may play together, “the sex drive finds satisfaction in close friendship between boys in the same group . . . . A boy may take the other ‘as a woman,’ this being called gaglgo, homosexuality. Sometimes an affair of this sort persists during the entire life of the pair” (though he earlier referred to homosexual relations as a “phase” through which adolescents pass).
Egalitarian Homosexual Relations
Most of the reports of homosexual relations not involving differences in age or gender status involved young, unmarried men’s sexual relationships with each other. Kurt Falk wrote about an especially intimate bond of association, soregus, among the southeastern African Naman that included sex both between men and between women (with mutual masturbation the most common form of sex, but also males taking turns at anal penetrations and females using dildoes on each other).
An “exceptionally reliable” Nykakyusa (a people living around what is now the Tanzania/Zambia border) reported to Monica Wilson in the early 1930s that male friends, who live in villages of age-mates when not out herding cattle, generally sleep together. The Nykakyusa accepted that male friends who danced together would have sexual relations. “Even if people see them in flagrante delicto, they say it is adolescence (lukulilo), all children are like that: they say that sleeping together and dancing is also adolescence,” according to Wilson’s elder. He reported that interfemoral intercourse is “what boys mostly do” and also reported anal and oral sex, (“some, during intercourse, work[ing] in the mouth of their friend, and hav[ing] an orgasm”).
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance. Much of this same-sex activity was situational or premarital, though there were long-term relationships, too. The special Christian animus toward homosexuality was carried to Africa by Europeans and stimulated denials that “the sin not named among Christians” existed among “unspoiled” Africans.
About the Author:
Stephen O. Murray earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Toronto. Since completing a postdoctoral stint in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, he has worked in public health. His books include American Gay, Boy-Wives and Female Husbands, and Homosexualities.
Note: Within ancient societal customs or traditions; it was common for young girls and young boys to marry their peers or be promised to older Men based on tribal stability, financial and survival reasons. In many countries these practices still exist. As women fight for their (and children’s) rights and freedoms, these practices are being abolished or altered but unfortunately in many countries these traditions prevail.
Read the whole post here.
Best Posts in Forum: LGBT News and Events
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I have heard and seen Don Lemon called, coon, house nigga, sell-out, wanna-be white, etc. There are plenty of things he has said over the years that I absolutely disagree with; however this type of name calling, I never did. In all my years of being more “aware” of the world around me and watching cable news, I have never seen an anchor (Black or White) take the time to pay tribute to same gender loving Black men on national television. Don Lemon highlighted their academic accomplishments in addition to Esu’s partner and children. Give props when they are do!
- Thread: Why We Do What We Do
Below is a comment we received via FaceBook...
"Good evening, I want to greatly thank Nick Delmacy and Octavius Williams for the creating such an incredible venue for black gay men who are proud of their masculinity and don't conform to stereotypes. Recently, I've been enjoying Inside The Mind of Octavius Williams video clips, which has personally resonated with me because, as a homosexual black male who grew up in one of the most repressive states of the US South (Alabama), I can surely relate to the yearning for belonging to one's own black male peers which had been elusive for me. I now reside in Florida.
I was never sexually molested and had both a mother and a father in my life married and living together, contrary to common views/misconceptions about homosexuality. I was naive to the fact that my peers made it clear that I was different and ostracized me, although I wasn't behaving effeminately yet I stood out to them. I even tried to fit in with the local LGBT community during my college years, yet I stood out like fish out of water. I had so-called gay peers to call me stuck-up just because I wasn't down for whatever or gave in to their sexual demands. Hell, I even had gay white peers to say I was 'acting white' just because I didn't match what they saw from a damn hip hop/rap music video. I, too, have found myself being more of a loner because of past bullshit and drama from so-called friends/peers. And to add insult to injury, I grew up having to deal with the emotional loneliness and the fact that not even my relatives (and parents) truly understood me because of their own personal hang-ups about homosexuality.
This is a really sad story. Domestic violence is serious and I don't think we talk about it enough in the LGBT community. If you have a gun in the home, you are ten times as likely to be killed by that gun at the hands of a significant other than by an intruder. I wonder what the fight was about that someone is now dead because of it...
@OckyDub I think a lot of this is social ordering. A Ph.D. represents a certain status, Columbia is an Ivy League school, this also is elements of the rags to riches story, it is also a story that includes the trope of the Elite Gay Man....This story wouldn't receive the same kind of coverage if this was a domestic incident between Jamal (McDonald's workers and community college student) and his boyfriend Dante from Jackson, ms.
Dear White Gay Men,
Well what a wild couple days you’ve had. When recently-elected Alabama Senator Doug Jones was sworn in to the US Senate, you came across a photo of his openly gay son Carson Jones staring blankly at Mike Pence. And with a bar set lower than Precious’ self-esteem, thanks to you he’s now some sort of LGBT hero. By next week you’ll be saying that Carson Jones threw the first brick at Stonewall.
It’s time for you to put down the poppers for a second and refocus.
I’m not saying that photo isn’t amusing, I definitely chuckled but it wasn’t until you all took to social media calling the picture “everything,” “iconic,” and “an act of resistance” that I took issue. The most popular tweet about this photo calls it the “photo of the decade.”The “photo of the decade” is this photo of a white gay man looking at Mike Pence the exact same way gay men look at everyone? Honestly, it’s not even the photo of the week — trust me, I opened Scruff just this afternoon.
The HRC even said “We are all Carson Jones,” which makes sense since the HRC is pretty much just white gay men.
Here’s the thing about white gay culture: you guys have this remarkable ability to make any man who happens to be white, gay, and alive a hero — and a lot of times he doesn’t even have to be gay * stares directly at Timothee Chalamet *!
The photo is just a photo, but the reaction to it brings into focus more problematic issues. It highlights how little you are fighting for equality and how much you are fighting for your own privilege.
As you all know, the LGBTQ+ community suffers oppression from majority culture in a variety of ways. A lot of these miscarriages of justice get overlooked and underreported. Trans women of color are dying at alarming rates so you can have wedding cakes, so it seems a little strange to spend time giving praise to this white gay man for a blank stare. To call staring aggressively at a homophobic Vice President an “act of resistance” is a slap in the face to those who have fought and continue to fight on behalf of all of us. The most obvious problem with this is that blank stares are typically the extent your activism.
It’s no secret that QPOC have contributed a lot to LGBTQ+ culture, from voguing to ball culture to all the terms you’ve stolen and still use incorrectly. Alvin Ailey revolutionized modern dance. James Baldwin wrote queer criticism that has inspired generations of gay men while also being a leader during the Civil Rights Movement. And yet, in spite of all the hard work QPOC have put in and sacrificed, we rarely, if ever, receive our due. Well, the bill is here and it’s time you pay up.
For the LGBTQ+ movement to make strides in addressing its own demons and fully liberate our community as a whole, this near-canonizing amongst you of other white gay men for merely existing needs to be curbed. To have lived and died fighting in the name of queer liberation is the only option for many QPOC, as our intersectionality forces us to be vigilant in our battle against oppression both within the LGBTQ+ community and outside of it. Outside of the LGBTQ+ community we are n**ers, spcs etc. The problem is that inside of the LGBTQ+ community, we are also those things. We’re told we’re undesirable but it’s “just a preference” and then excluded from the narrative, while you whitewash our cultural contributions and present them as your own. Enough.
Your complacency and apathy to the struggles above highlight much of the underlying issue, which is that your activism is firmly grounded in privilege. Your advocacy only extends as far what’s important to you, not the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. What you wanted was the right to marry to save on taxes and reap its benefits personally, not because it benefited the entire community. The entire gay rights movement has somehow posited this idea that if white gay men win, everyone wins. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when you actively takes steps to make sure that QPOC lose.
You want your Pride parades uninterrupted and your wedding cakes bought with ease because, as white men in a society structured to benefit you, you’ve been taught that everything should be yours. Your homosexuality has provided an obstacle to that entitlement and you’ll do almost anything to get it back. Endlessly hyping up other white gay men like Carson Jones and praising narratives that represent you is the way to receive access to the level of white male privilege you so desperately desire, while those around you continue to suffer. You should expect more from yourself and QPOC should feel no problem demanding it from you. I certainly don’t.
When it comes to Carson Jones, you should all take a beat from stalking his Instagram to remember that he’s still from Alabama. I wouldn’t put all my Truvada pills in that bottle just yet. We’ve still gotta make sure his Just A Preference rewards card isn’t activated, he’s not a misogynist, and that he doesn’t side with Jamie in The Last Five Years. That is, if you don’t see those dealbreakers as perks.
Phillip Henry is a writer, comedian, advocate, and performer in New York City. His writing can be seen in various publications including Teen Vogue and Mic. He hosts a weekly LGBTQ comedy variety show The Tea Party in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.
Dear White Gay Men, Stop Turning Yourselves Into Heroes
- Thread: A Meme is worth 1000 words...
- Thread: Reason #143 Why I Hate Being Gay
Had to create an account just to comment on this. And it's not short
Granted, I agree that it may be a little hard to relate to, or even stomach, as it's not the broadest depiction of gay people. Yet I think this video is a pretty accurate depiction of the gay culture our American media publicizes. To a greater extent, it's a facet of gay culture that our straight-controlled/heteronormative-minded world can say it's most familiarized with. I know first hand from visiting public-opinion councils for grant approved PrEP/sexual health clinics; they were more concerned with advertising their services to a specific "gayberhood" demographic in a general accepting urban center (already well serviced, mind) than making their campaign more discrete for the more disadvantaged gay population residing in the suburban, conservative rings of the city (of which they also claimed they wanted to serve). So while that Prep campaign might incite revulsion on this type of forum, I'm pretty sure marketing/outreach felt they hit their goals with regards to targeting their audience.
- Thread: Gymder
- Thread: The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness
I am not going to copy and paste the whole long article here, but I saw another site had a post about it and it does speak to everyone of us in some way.
Why Didn't Gay Rights Cure Gay Loneliness?
So much of this is true. Especially to me the way we are so hard on ourselves, and how we can be so cruel to eachtother, and ourselves.
Anything to add about being a POC and a gay man/SGL man along with all of the rest?
Will we ever learn?
11 Celebrities Who Love Their LGBT Family
Chris Evans and brother, Scott
We may swoon for Chris Evans as Captain America, but the hunky actor has a gay brother who's just as swoon-worthy. Also an actor, Scott Evans has appeared in Looking, Go-Go Boy Interrupted, and One Life to Live. The two are the epitome of brotherly love.
Anne Hathaway and brother, Michael
Other than her Oscar-bait of a career, there are plenty of reasons to love Anne Hathaway. She certainly loves us. She's long been a supporter of LGBT issues, having spoken fondly of her gay brother, Michael. In 2010, she said that their family left the Catholic church because of its treatment toward gay people.
Cher and son, Chaz Bono
Cher may be an icon for gay men and drag queens around the world, but she's also a pretty awesome mom. After her son, Chaz Bono announced his decision to transition in 2009, she put her support behind him. Since then, Chaz has become a face of the trans community and Cher has become one its best allies.
Colin Farrell and brother, Eamon
Colin Farrell has long been a heartthrob to gay men and straight women alike. His support for his gay brother, Eamon is just as timeless as his handsome Irish charm. In 2014, he penned an open letter pleading for Ireland to embrace marriage equality. Most recently, he served as Eamon's best man.
Magic Johnson and son, EJ
Although Magic Johnson has long been an advocate for AIDS awareness, his parenting skills are something to be admired as well. When his son, EJ came out as gay in 2013, he showed total support.
Cyndi Lauper and sister, Elen
Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" still serves as an anthem for LGBT people. Her entire career has shed light on the issues our community faces, making her an ally. One reason for her support is her close relationship with her lesbian sister, Elen.
Ariana Grande and brother, Frankie
Most female pop stars have a GBF, but Ariana Grande has a GBB (gay big brother). Frankie Grande recently made it on our list of 100 most eligible bachelors.
Lena Dunham and sister, Grace
The Girls creator has always been a supporter of LGBT rights, vowing not to get married until marriage equality was a reality in the US. She also revealed that she was jealous of her sister, Grace who is a lesbian.
Adam Levine and brother, Michael Noah
Adam Levine has developed quite the fanbase. When he's not showcasing his inability to keep his clothes on, he's being an awesome brother. Since revealing that his brother is gay, he's become an outspoken ally.
Susan Sarandon and son, Miles Robbins
Although Tim Robbins deserves partial credit for this one, Susan Sarandon gets major props for rocking this eccentric outfit alongside her son's even more eccentric My Little Pony couture at the Zoolander 2premiere. She's a big fan of his refusal to conform to gender norms.
Sally Field and son, Sam Greisman
She's played Spiderman's aunt and Julia Roberts' mom, but in real life she's the mom to a gay son, Sam Greisman. She has frequently spoken in support of her son and other LGBT people.
- Thread: The New Jacob Kohinoor
I think the major problem with his thinking is that for him his authentic self was queer and wanted to be a drag wearing, diva worshiping, smedium wearing out and flowing rainbow pride gay and that's cool but he now thinks and believes that that's the only gay that's real. It's not!
I personally think the overidealized thought of over sharing every deep and personal thought and everybody being open to feeling and sharing those deep feelings is what's really toxic in society.
You can be traditionally masculine and have deep sensitive feelings on the inside and that doesn't negate the masculinity in and of itself or make one more authentic over the other, it's just not necessary to wear them tighter than that smedium sweater.
- Thread: Vivica Fox Says 50 Cent is Gay
Just think; if 50 Cent was on a show and talked about Vivica having an abortion, plastic surgeries, caked on make-up, or fake hair…black women and black queers would lose their minds with cries of misogyny while invoking some type of PC “shaming” allegations. Isn’t “booty snatcher” a "prison rape" derogatory term? Also, I thought gheys were against “outing”....Oh except if it’s a black male non-fem celebrity.
On the other hand, I say to those HIV+ folk, use your GI Bill, any other benefits, and get the fuck out for your own personal development and safety. Let Trump and all his MAGAts die for any stupid wars his tiny dick gets semi-hard for (see y’all when that Iran invasion goes south, dumb asses! Lol)
Hell, I've had sex with males and a single female that I didn't want to have sex with for free.
This is a perfect example of why I think most straight black women are just as homophobic as most straight black men. The only difference is they're willing to tolerate the company of effeminate gay men when it suits them.
- Thread: Not Gay Enough...
- Thread: Today is National Coming Out Day
What they don't tell you about coming out is that you will have to continually do it over and over and over again. Especially if you are not overtly obviously homosexual.
There are times that I still get nervous sometimes coming out to new people. Or correcting them when they refer to my wife. Coming out is not this one statement you make. It is the hundreds of little statements you make that make the difference. One day, I won't get those butterflies when having to correct someone and tell them I have a husband and not a wife. I think that is a good thing.
According to his website Preston Mitchum describes himself as a Black Queer Feminist.
I'm starting to think that Black Queer Feminists are mentally delusional. Specifically the Black gay/queer male feminists who are being continuously taught how to be better women....seriously.
This dude went into a nail salon full of women. Got uncomfortable stares, rude service, and bigoted cackles; ALL FROM WOMEN, then goes onto blame the poor behaviors of and by these women on TOXIC MASCULINITY AND PATRIARCHY.
Even when bashed by women, feminists still can't resist blaming men for their problems.
What kind of fresh hell is this? No really? This sh!t is caked on in layers all across the gay spaces online.
This was some disgusting sh*t...
To be really real, it is time as a group of "masculine" brothas to acknowledge that muh f*ckas is on to something with this toxic masculinity stuff.
Getting G-checked in the hood is part of everyday life for ppl that's in the hood. I just recently had to restrain myself from beatin on this lil 5 foot nothin dude at this liquor store in Flint. All I did was get out the car and ol dude started yelling"Beat a n*gga ass in some flip flops" multiple times... I was obviously the only nigga with some Jordan flip flops on, it was also obvious that this dude was suffering from the toxicity of a hyper-masculinized projection. Check another nigga on his manhood in order to reaffirm your own... Classic hyper-masculinized endeavor... Homie thought cuz he was with a bunch of his boys that they would back him if I wanted to make the beef legit... I ended up peacing up all the n*ggas he was with because I was in my hood and they all been knowing me since I was a lil nigga except for him. They started saying "Don't mind him" because they all know what could've happened.
I done had shotguns and glocks pulled on me, done had niggas say I wasn't a real man/strong man cuz I didn't perfectly meet the parameters of one in their opinion. None of this is new and it happens on both the macro/extreme level such as this filmed example and even in micro/banal interactions.
I'm just waiting on a time when I can be a man and not have to beat somebody ass to prove it.
On racism in the gay community:
I picture this dude listening to En Vogue's Free Your Mind while swiping left on brown faces.
On homophobia in the black community:
I wonder how many non suburban, mid to lower level communities of color he's been through.
The Lives of Great Men a memoir by Frankie Edozien is Nigeria’s first book about LGBTQ Life. Edozien, a lecturer at the New York University captured the lives of gay men on the continent and the challenges they face. Edozien is the first Nigerian to write a nonfiction book on being a gay man.
Dr. Frankie Edozien is the author of Lives of Great Men. The book will be launched in London tomorrow, the 23rd of November at 7pm.
At the 2015 Pen World Voices Festival in New York, Frankie Edozien was still working on his book. Lola Shoneyin, the director of the Ake Arts and Book Festival had urged him to “hurry up and finish.” But sometimes books take a life of their own.
The Lives of Great Men is Edozien’s debut nonfiction book. For someone that’s been in journalism for over 20 years and currently serves as the Director, Reporting Africa at the New York University, one would argue that a book is long overdue. Edozien’s defence however was “this book needed to be done right. In everything I do, I want to ensure that the final work product is as close to perfection as I can make it.”
Edozien’s book is a memoir on what it means to be a gay man in Africa. In a continent that’s accepted the Western notion of Christianity but rejected homosexuality Edozien says: “We’ve seen governments exploit in some fashion, the fear of the gays and it helps them turn the attention away from the fact that they haven’t adequately produced bread, electricity, roads, schools, hospitals.” Countries such as Uganda have established agencies that hunt down gay men.
The Huffington Post said of The Lives of Great Men, “From Lagos to Brooklyn to Accra to Paris, his memoir is a tenderly constructed cloth bearing the imprints of unsung gay men living their lives, triumphing and finding joy in the face of intense adversity. Their greatness is derived from their fortitude, and it’s heartening to come across a book where marginalized members of a given community are being honoured with such tenderness and graça.”
Lives of Great Men front cover. Photo: Frankie Edozien
Edozien would be the first Nigerian to write a nonfiction book on being gay. An excerpt from his book was recently published in Quartz Africa. Part of the excerpt reads:
And back home in Nigeria I am filled with hope when a leading Nigerian online publication, Pulse.ng, calls out Nollywood, our robust film industry, opining that the ‘representation of homosexuality in most Nollywood movies is at best a caricature attempt at bad comedy.’
I have to admit that I used to be of the mindset that, even if it is a poor depiction, at least there is one, especially since many habitually say we gay people do not exist in Nigeria. In all the years that Nollywood has been churning out films – movies that are sought after all over the continent – we have rarely been seen. But the depiction of Nigerian gay men as bearded effeminates sporting bright red lipstick and making exaggerated arm movements is not funny, nor is it remotely the norm, and I now feel that if Nollywood is going to depict us, then they had better do it right. We are not going to be the butt of their jokes. And clearly the editors at Pulse don’t recognize the caricatures on screen either.
For Edozien, writing this book was a labour of love and he hopes the book would allow for many “good conversations.” The Lives of Great Men is a celebration of African lives.
- Thread: I'm A Black Man And I Was Raped
Last year I was raped.
And because I’m a stubborn man, I didn’t even begin to deal with it until months later.
I was newly single and living a faux fabulous life; not necessarily ready to be physical with someone yet, but I jumped on “the app” to get a little attention and see what was out there.
They all can't be bad, right?
Per usual, I kept the conversation pretty surface level with most guys. Sure, I’ve used apps to consensually find late night hookups before, but I wasn’t really in that mental space emotionally yet.
One guy in particular was really nice. Good job. Quirky. Two-point-six miles away. From his picture on my cracked, dated iPhone 5, he definitely was not my type. But I figured at least someone wanted to treat me to a free cocktail. We met at his house early evening and chatted it up for a bit. He drove us to a nearby bar where it was obvious that he and the bartender had built a rapport from the friendly head nod and suave introduction. Now, anyone who knows me personally knows that as skinny as I am, my alcohol tolerance is that of a German lumberjack. This night, it took only three small, unsupervised complimentary whiskey cranberries until I was blacked out, facedown, with my new “friend” penetrating my anus in his bed.
I still have no idea how I got to the man's bedroom. I remember feeling suddenly dizzy at the bar. I remember leaving the bar. But getting back to the car? The drive back to the apartment? Saying goodbye to the friendly bartender? Nothing. When I came to I was able to push him and he got off of me. But I was too weak to even walk and I instantly fell back asleep. When I woke up again, I walked to my car and fell asleep for another few hours until I gained the strength to drive back home. I never saw or spoke to him again. In fact, if I walked right past him today I more than likely would not be able to recognize his face.
At first I was totally fine. I had made the decision to put myself at risk and this is what happens to people who do that, right? Totally my fault. I decided it was best to tell someone who meant the world to me, though I still was not able to say the word “rape.” However, this trusted person used the information I disclosed to him and threw it in my face when he found the opportunity to be upset with me.
That was the moment it unexpectedly hit me.
My body. My naked body. The only thing I was given at birth was violated. You can take my material things, but the first gift given to me, my first gift from God… It was assaulted without my consent. The feeling was something I have never experienced before. The touch of another human being was absolutely disgusting. My usually clear and concise mind was unable to properly formulate the words to express what I was trying to internally pick apart. Why now? Was I hurt from the actual event? Were these suppressed emotions what I had been subconsciously been holding back for months and months? Was I just hurt that someone I truly cared about used something so personal against me to try and hurt my ego? I had heard rape stories, but never thought anything like that would ever happen to me; especially as a man.
When I was able to get a grasp on my words later that evening, it all came out like months’ worth of suppressed verbal vomit. I ended up calling a guy I used to date who I trusted and who knew how to deal with me on a deeper emotional level even though we were not together. Through talking about it and having a comforting ear, I finally addressed the fact that I was indeed raped.
I decided it was best to see a therapist. In all my years on this planet, my mind, body and soul never had a reaction like this to something. I wondered what else I was holding onto that could emerge through conversation with an unbiased professional. Completely out of my emotions this time, I told the story and they were in shock that I was able to vividly describe something with such a straight face.
There were a couple triggers here and there. A certain pop song I specifically remember that night on the way to the bar. I was thrilled when the song that was publicly silently cutting away at me in social settings was dismissed from the radio airwaves. I used to tense up when I thought about the cruel statements from the friend who is no longer in my life.
I thought about pressing charges. Maybe getting the bartender fired or at least doing an investigation. I had no clue if he was involved, but he probably had some answers. When I thought about it, I really didn't know the location or the name of the bar. I couldn't even remember what the bartender looked like, his name; and it had taken so long for me to come to terms with everything that I had already let the pain and everything go. I would never condemn someone who goes after their attacker, but for me it was a personal triumph. I have no information. I made a personal choice to not move forward with trying to find these people. I did not want to put energy into something like that. I made the choice to put power in my words and bring awareness to the topic.
I wondered who else ever felt in denial about being sexually assaulted. Even as a very self-aware black man it took me months and unexpected assholism for me to personally address, acknowledge and heal from what had happened to me. The thing is, women are not the only ones who are subject to rape. Once I started doing research and reading the statistics and studies behind rape, especially the history, I wanted nothing more than to let men and women know that if this happened, you are not alone and it's okay and healthy to talk about it. Rape in men, especially heterosexual men by women is more common than you think. I’m still learning and researching.
I brought it up on stage at a Kiss & Tell Live event in New York City. Expecting it to be an uncomfortable but well-received conversation, I could feel the air sucked out of the room full of Manhattan gays and gals. I began to notice every time I brought it up, people would clam up and instantly get uncomfortable. It soon became common that more and more of the men in my personal life came forward with similar stories. I was graciously given the opportunity this month to tell my story in a room full of people in Washington, D.C. I purposely didn't tell the story I was going to share with the facilitator prior to, but I saw I was the only man on the panel and it fit the theme of the event. Whether the audience liked it or not, they were going to hear me out.
The talk went great. I received so many "Thank yous.” So many questions. Especially from women. It was put on Facebook Live and I've had people comment, inquire and commend me, both nationally and internationally. I learned so much and was given the opportunity to hear stories from the other amazing panelist who sat beside me. Our testimonies varied, but our willingness and desire to openly share our stories of overcoming was enough to instantly unify our energy. Our vulnerability organically drew us together.
So, I have a message for you: You are not alone. Speak up. Speak out. Learn from others. Get the help you need to heal from this and turn your pain into power.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm A Black Man And I Was Raped
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