Fiction: The Fate of Homosexuals

Reuters photo

 

By

Bernard Ollo

 

 

On 18 January 2007, the cabinet of Nigeria approved the Same-sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2006 and sent it to the National Assembly for urgent action. The bill, however, did not pass.

 

On 29 November 2011, the Senate of Nigeria passed the “Same-sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, 2011”. The bill was passed on 30 May 2013 by the House of Representatives of Nigeria.

 

Two similar bills had been proposed since 2006 but failed to make it through parliament.

 

On Monday 13 January 2014, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Same-sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act which parliament passed in May 2013. “Persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offense and are each liable to a term of 14 years in prison…”

 

The Nigerian anti-gay law became effective on January 13, 2014 and it bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups.

 

The United States came up with something – on Friday 26 June 2015, the US Supreme Court’s ruling legalized same-sex marriage in all the 50 states of the United States. Formerly, 13 states banned same-sex marriage and only 37 states issued licenses to same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states.

 

 

 

#

 

 

Nura was an effeminate. He was gay. He was dumped in Africa. Nigeria was his home. He was in the number of the population in Kano. Tudun Wada gave him shelter, comfort and hid him. He was alone. Few people knew he was gay but a lot of people knew he was an effeminate. He walked alone in Tudun Wada. He dared not tell anybody about his identity. They would stone him to death. They would lynch him. Only him knew about his identity, and he kept it to himself like an age-long secret tucked in his anus.

 

“That’s how he was born,” the women would say.

 

 

 

Nura’s birthday fell on November 23. Happiness choked his face. His birthday ought to be celebrated with friends like any other birthday. But he had choosen to celebrate his birthday in a special way – with his “homo” friend, Danjuma. Since nobody would want to know of his identity. Since the society closed its gate to people like him and rebuked his identity with live coal. The society would never incorporate him and his friends into it. There were sparks in his eyes. November 23 was the day his mother gave birth to him, gave birth to his identity. That was who he was. Uncontrollable happiness bounced in him.

 

Danjuma could be seen in his small room. Full of smiles. Beside Nura. Danjuma was more masculine and muscular than Nura. But he had ample buttocks like a woman’s. Nura’s eyes were already fixed on Danjuma’s voluptuous buttocks. Nura locked the door so hard. The windows were all vehemently closed. The room shrank back in darkness. Just a red candlelight wedded on the centre of a circular table.

 

They looked at themselves and smiled. They knew what was about to happen. Manly lust rushed at Nura. He swallowed his spit. A strong desire, he could not resist, to take all of Danjuma rained on him.

 

Danjuma twisted his tongue around Nura’s tongue. Their eyes were shut into heaven with Danjuma’s both hands placed on Nura’s extra-large buttocks. They loved it. That was who they were. Yet the world would not allow them enjoy themselves and let them be who they were.

 

 

One woman, Nura’s neighbour saw them when they went inside and had gone to report to the police. A police man followed her to the place. He forced the door open and saw two men profusely sweating, heaving, breathing fast and moaning, “Give me some more, Danju. Nu.”

 

Stabbed with shock, the police man announced to them. “You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent or anything you say or do will be used against you in the court of law.” He put handcuffs around their wrists. He threw them into the police van he’d brought with two other police men, batons caged in their hands.

 

“They are homosexuals? Hey, tophia, “a police man was asking his colleague in the counter while he was passing by their cells. “A homosexual’s crime is more than a thief’s.”

 

Danjuma and Nura were confined in the cell, beaten every day, being only asked one question, “Why did you do it? Do you know homosexuality is forbidden in our land?” Their faces were swollen. Their bodies were full of red lumps. A huge bump had emerged on the side of Nura’s mouth as if he swallowed a big egg that had jolted to the side of his mouth and had refused to go. This was my birthday gift, he thought, feeling sorry for himself, feeling sorry for his identity.

 

Nura was in the dock. His pleading-for-mercy eyes fixed on the face of the “wicked” judge. “After sufficient evidence, based on the woman neighbour’s conviction, Nura convicted of homosexuality is hereby sentenced to 14 years in prison.” The judge banged his gavel.

 

Tears welled in Nura’s eyes.

 

Danjuma too had been confirmed guilty, judged and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. They were thrown into separate prisons.

 

 

#

 

The light of the morning stabbed Nura’s eyes. He used the back of his palm to shield its rays. He didn’t want to wake up. He was in a dream and he didn’t want to wake up from the dream. Just a moment ago, he was in his house celebrating his birthday. He’d wanted to celebrate his birthday in a special way, Danjuma came… He felt the sharp pain in the nape of his neck and shut his eyes. He was in prison. For being himself.

 

They poured Nura acid of ostracism. Because he was gay. He was rejected in society. Nobody would go near him. They saw him as someone that had an abominable disease. No friend came to him in the prison. Other male prisoners in his own cell ran away from him.

 

He was cut into two with the prison warden’s maltreatment. They would beat him at times, blood coming out of his mouth, for no reason, calling him names.

 

“Ebola,” a prisoner called him.

 

“Lassa Fever,” another prisoner called.

 

Nura felt tears in his face.

 

“No,” another scrawny prisoner protested. “Calling him Ebola is fair. Ebola, HIV and AIDS, Lassa Fever and Bird Flu are in him. People who have Ebola, HIV and AIDS and Lassa Fever are better than him.” So as a result they ran away from him like a cursed object and an ostracized fool.

 

One morning when the prisoners woke up. Nura heard it.

 

“Don’t shake hands with him o. He has Ebola. Don’t dare even touch his clothe o. If his sweats touch you, you’ll be infected with Ebola.”

 

“Torinya, I won’t shake him or near him. He sweats a lot.” They spoke from their own cell facing Nura’s cell.

 

A feeling of death needled Nura. He felt his types did not belong here. He felt somewhere like United States would accept him into her.

 

“Sodom and Gomorrah have landed in the United States. Sodom and Gomorrah can not rape Nigeria as much as they have raped America and have infected her with the seed they planted into her.” Nura remembered Torinya said.

 

They disallowed Nura the right that was given to other inmates and human beings. They scarcely gave him food, water, freedom of air and freedom of speech. He was thinning. He hated the mother that gave birth to him gay.

 

His heart was tearing apart. When was the last time he had felt love? Bush of beards covered his face. They had refused him a razor. They said it was not part of his right. They said part of his right was to be alienated from society. They said part of his right was to be disintegrated from society. They said he was not a normal human being, so could not enjoy the rights other human beings were enjoying. His walrus moustache had grown so long that one could hold it by the tip and cut it with a knife.

 

He felt like crying every night. There were no joy of being who you were. Where were the LGBT communities here?

 

He lived in the desert, alone. He kept on walking, he saw nobody, nobody came to him. He kept on walking like a mad man, tired of life. Did it mean there was no place for people like him in this world?

 

Gays were palaced in these, they’re friends of ostracism, he thought bitterly. Sleep hooked his eyes, irritation in his bones as he struggled to sleep out of his nature and wake out of this dream a different person.

 

 

 

 

 

Bernard Ollo - Tuck Magazine

Bernard Ollo

Bernard Ollo is a short story writer and poet living in Nigeria. His short fiction and poems have been published on Dwartsonline, Allpoetry and forthcoming in The Nigerian Writer (TNW). He studies English at the Benue State University.

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