I was thinking over the weekend about how more apparent it is becoming that I am dissimilar from those with whom I have to work, but more so, from those with whom I have to interact in social situations. Yes, I live in the UK, but the social circles within which I find myself are comprised mostly of people of African descent, African and Caribbean men and women, for many of whom the very idea of homosexuality is anathema. For this reason my sexual orientation is not a matter that I am able to discuss openly with many of the people around me, those whose association I value. It is a problem, because it appears to me that there is a vital part of my person that is hidden from them. And in a strange way, I am uneasy about this since I cannot help thinking of it as untruthfulness on my part. I suppose in their minds I am thought of as just another bachelor, and at my age I should soon qualify for the honour of being referred to as a "confirmed bachelor", lol. And a 'bachelor' is a status that is seen as being inherently 'junior' to the status of 'married man'. But I can't blame them, since they can only see the world through their own eyes and interpret what they see using their minds.
In an ideal world, I would wish to be among them, on the arm of the man I love, being seen together, me and him, as a couple, on equal terms with any of the heterosexual couples around us. Thoughts of this kind have lurked in my mind for years, but as time has gone by and one has become older and more mature in mind and body, these thoughts have become more poignant and more frequent. It was the anniversary celebration of my church last Sunday. After the usual Sunday service, which had an unusually large number of people present in the congregation many of who were invited guests, there was a function in the church hall where the guests were feted and people stood around chatting and socialising generally, the clergy and the church members mingling with the invited guests. It struck me as I stood among all these people how glaring it was that I was different, since I seemed to be the only grown up male who was unaccompanied by his partner.
Africans (and especially Nigerians) have a way of making a show of their couplehood, (does such a word exist?). Wives make a point of wearing matching outfits with their husbands, thereby asserting their spousal union with the person whose outfit matches theirs. This made my solitariness even more pointed at the church function yesterday. There is one particular lady, extremely friendly and a member of the church who is herself happily married with four children. She has mentioned a few times, in passing, that she has some cousins who I might be interested in. I know she means well and I hold nothing against her. Clearly she sees me as being in need of a wife, but I just laugh it off and say, "You're so kind, but I'm not ready yet..." or something like, "I'm happy the way I am at the moment...". But this is exactly what I meant earlier when I said that I feel as if I'm being untruthful. How I would have wished for her knowing that I'm gay, to suggest to me that she has a gay cousin who she'd like me to meet.. (wishful thinking eh? lol..) But it doesn't stop there..
I'm not writing this post because I'm lamenting the fact that I'm not currently in a relationship. Even if I was in a relationship and I attended that church function in the company of my partner, we both would still be seen as two bachelors, regardless that we were in a deeply committed and meaningful relationship. Our relationship (assuming people understood the nature of it), would still not be regarded as being at par with a heterosexual relationship, whatever the state of that heterosexual relationship. It seems that it is the heterosexual marriage that sets you up for social upward mobility. I heard on the news today that Elton John and his partner David Furnish with whom he has entered into a civil partnership, which is a formal union recognised in law as being equal to a marriage between a heterosexual couple, were denied a proposed adoption of a Ukrainian child by the Ukrainian authorities. Why?, you might ask. Wait for it...because Elton John is not married. So it appears that the Ukrainian authorities (and Ukrainian law apparently) believe that the child's future is better secured when he remains in an orphanage throughout his childhood, while being denied the warmth and security that loving parents could provide..
Anyway coming back to what I was saying before I digressed, there is an unhealthy situation that needs to be rectified. A situation which leaves people like me feeling left out of society's mainstream, and where for me and others like me to climb up the social ladder, we must conceal what is our true nature and pretend to be something that we are not. I cannot change my sexual orientation, so asking me to do that is like saying to the straight man that he must become gay in order to make progress with his life or in his career. I am fortunate that I live in a country where my sexual orientation is not a bar to my career advancement. But it is still an issue in my social life, since I am reluctant to limit my social contacts only to other gay people. What in fact can be changed is the way people perceive homosexuality, but again, maybe this too is wishful thinking...I know I've been rambling in this post, but I needed to let that out somehow..Have a great week ahead everyone.