The dilemma of Lot’s Wife – To look back or not!

Ade FBOne of the tales that has always stayed with me from the “Sunday School of my childhood” is the story of “Sodom & Gomorrah”. Now, it would be easy to base this on the fact that I am gay, and that the story of Sodom is often used by fundamentalists to chastise gay people. But, that is not the case. Long before I knew for sure that I was gay, I knew about the story of Sodom.

More specifically, I knew about the story of Lot’s wife. It was a story that our Sunday School teachers would come back to, time and time again, and it was certainly the most haunting of the bible stories from that period of my life. I was fascinated by the story of this woman who was turned into a pillar of salt! I guess the story felt like it was straight out of 1001 Arabian Nights or Greek Mythology – two other delights from my childhood. More

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When I take off my vulnerability armor and allow myself to be seen…..

Ade - WakeOne of the many things I love about storytelling is that each time a story is told, something is always discovered or rediscovered by the storyteller. No matter how many times I tell a tale, I am always finding another insight or revelation, which always leaves me feeling like I have never told the story before.

One such tale is an encounter that I recently had with a taxi driver in London. In fact, a few minutes after the encounter, I found myself telling the story in a business meeting, and in the days that followed, I must have told it at least once a day. As I reflected on the story earlier this week, I found that I was still uncovering newer depths to the story; very much like Alice, lost in Wonderland and getting more curious and curious!

I have wanted to write about the story for the past couple of weeks, but I had become so enchanted by the oral telling of the tale and somehow felt that putting it to paper might mean that the story no longer unraveled. But as I found myself going through the OutTales archive over the past few days, I noticed that so many of the stories here all have further levels to what has been written, and if I was to write many of them again now, there will be a different pair of eyes and hand bringing new life to the already told tales… More

My Mother & her Gay Son

Some days it feels just like yesterday when I boarded a late night Nigerian Airways flight from Lagos to London. It was January 1988. I was 19 and all I thought about, as I stared out of the airplane window, was: “At last, I can finally start being me. I can finally start living my own life”.

What I did not anticipate back then, was that I carried a huge amount of shame about being gay. Leaving home had not taken away my pain; it had simply travelled with me. It would take me another eight years, before I experienced my first sexual encounter with a man. Until then, I simply denied the ‘gay part’ of me by taking refuge in daydreams and in a church, where on most Sundays, the pastor condemned gay people. When I finally left the church, I embarked on searching for ‘the one’, which sadly only led to one-night stands and ‘short-term’ encounters. I excelled in my career, travelled continuously and found many other outlets to help numb my pain. More

‘Oh pleaze, we always knew you were gay!’

Somewhere between Winter ’95 and Spring ’96, I decided that I had had enough of living in the closet and felt I needed to embark on the journey of coming out – a process which also led me to being a steward at the ‘96 London Pride.

Following the death of my father the year before, I was determined to show up more fully in my life and coming out felt like the most obvious way of embracing this longing. Prior to his death, coming out was not something that I had thought I’d ever do. I did not personally know anyone of Nigerian origin who was gay, let alone out and in my mind I felt that I’d probably get married to a woman and simply carry on with living what I had considered a ‘normal life’.

At that point in my life, living was more about compliance and fitting in. I did not consider myself someone who had the courage to honor being different.

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The ongoing journey of my Coming Out and self-acceptance (Part 2)

I reached the age of 17 and was still on ‘outpersonals’. ‘PD’ wrote me one day. He was an English man who lived in France and was 48. We became online friends and for the first time I had an older friend I could talk to. He was a paying member on the site, so we could send each other messages. We clicked as great friends and we wrote each other almost everyday. He lived alone, with his dog in a big house. He told me of his past as a model and an actor. He’d ask me a lot of questions, about school, my family and life in general. I sent him pictures of Nigerian neighborhoods, my family, the markets and other places.

PD knew a lot about Nigeria because he was there in the 70’s at the invitation of his neighbours in London. He sent me lots of pictures too. As our friendship developed, he started to call our house every weekend. He cared a lot about me and often called me his son. He encouraged me to be focused in school. He asked me to stay away from Jason and his friends. PD never had any children of his own, but he was once married. Every time he wrote, he ended his email with “your friend PD”, that meant a lot to me. More

The ongoing journey of my Coming Out and self-acceptance (Part 1)

Ever since I was a young boy, I have been drawn to those of a similar gender to myself; even though I never knew the word that described my attraction, until I was old enough to watch the Jerry Springer show with my older brother. He had said “funny Homosexuals”; I was 13, maybe 12. That night, I checked the dictionary for a broader meaning of the word and picked up some synonyms – finally, I knew the word that described my feelings and desires.

As a young boy, I remember kissing the boy who sat next to me in class on the lips. My classmates had laughed, but no one told our teacher. I remember watching wrestling with the whole family and being fascinated by the half-naked men. I remember spying on my uncles’ get dressed and on the neighbour in the next house taking off his clothes, when he got back from work.

As I got older, my desires did not go away. I did not have many friends and was considered feminine. I was also overweight. I was called names by the local kids – ‘sister’, ‘football-head’, amongst many others. My eyebrows made my classmates tease me the most; they always made fun of the owlish shape it had. I soon started tweezing them, I have never stopped since, and no one remembers how they originally look. More

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