“Amaka, you are one of my favourite columnists. I’m a man with a feminine voice and I’m also effeminate. Growing up was hell because I couldn’t play with boys, they always look for ways to shut me down and out.
Girls shoved me aside too. My teachers called me unprintable names as well. My parents and siblings didn’t make it any easier either. Although, I was quite a handful, at the slightest provocation, they insult me with ev- erything that is feminine about me.
I became a recluse, introverted and most of all, insecure. It was so bad and I hoped they saw the hurt in my eyes most times and stop hurting me.
I am in my mid 30s and never for once attracted to men. I’m not gay, neither am I bi-sexual. I’m straight; it’s just unfortunate that I am differ- ent. I didn’t learn it, I was born this way. I tried to change my mannerisms but failed woefully at it, so I stopped trying.
Most employers wouldn’t employ me because of my feminine voice and girlish behaviour. I started my own business immediately after I graduated and I’m doing well for myself.
Women who date me mostly do out of pity rather than love. The last girl I dated refused to be seen in public with me. It really hurts when people including strangers tell me to come out of the closet, that I’m gay. They tell me that I should own my truth.
Please, use your platform to en- lighten Nigerians that being effeminate doesn’t mean that one is gay or bisexual. I’m a living proof. They should stop jumping to conclusion without facts and treat us like we are humans.”
Dominic sent this via email.
Effeminacy, according to Wikipedia is the manifestation of traits in a boy or man that are more often associated with feminine nature, behaviour, mannerism, style, or gender roles rather than with masculine nature.
I had a classmate in secondary school that was effeminate and I can totally relate what Dominic said about rejection from both male and females and the loneliness that follows.
I met a boy of about 19 or 20 in a saloon recently and his mannerism was that of female except his voice that was of a man. His colleagues in the saloon especially the girls kept picking on him.
I was irritated because the insults they hauled at him got to me. Some went as far as teasing and touching his big butts and insinuating that men are beginning to have sex with him from behind.
This young man was visibly angry, but what could he do, the girls were mean and heartless. I couldn’t stand
it, so I had to send him on an errand and I had a hearty chat with these girls.
Most of us are guilty of accusing people falsely and blindly. That a boy is wholly or partially effeminate does not make him gay, neither does a female who dresses and walks like a man a lesbian.
Imagine a situation where men won’t deal with you, girls won’t accept you, and you are left with the choice of going where you are under- stood and accepted.
Bullying has devastating effects on people and the choices they make. We must stop accusing people falsely and pushing them to become that which we wish they are not.
We push them away from us yet complain when they go belong to a community where they have a name and are accepted.
Taunting and badmouthing people who are different has probably pushed most effeminate men into homosexuality. At least, it is a world where they are not rejected or insulted for being who they are. One thing we should be clear on is that homosexuals, lesbians or bisexuals are the most normal looking people we see around us, not really these ones that unfortunately found themselves with features of the opposite sex.
Show some understanding. Don’t push any child into a life of insecuri-ty, depression or suicide. Treat them as humans because if we all had the opportunity to choose the gender we want to be created in, I’m sure they would have chosen better. This is not to say there are no men who choose to be effeminate. Drag Queens are men who impersonate females for entertainment purposes. They just love to dress and act like women while cross-dressers do it in secret mostly, though it is more of sexual or gen-der-related fetishes.
Being effeminate makes for a difficult love life with women. It is lonely and unfortunate living in constant fear thatyourwomanisprobablywithyou just out of pity rather than love. It is even worst when she loves you but not proud to be seen in public with you. Women must desist from dating effeminate men out of pity. Don’t lead them on till they fall in love with you, and then reject them when they want more from the relationship.
If you are not interested in their love advances, choose your words carefully when turning them down. Don’t go telling them to come out of the closet. He is effeminate but he’s human, with a heart, blood, passion and most of all he’s straight. Parents, siblings, teachers, in-laws and the society in general, most of us claim not to be homophobic but our reactions toward effeminate men are not fair. We can do better.