[To all the closeted, to all the afraid. This is a bluntly honest letter on acceptance, that my close friend published. Share it with whoever you think needs to read it].
A letter to friends, but more to everyone else.
I’m Keith. I’m 20. I’ve chosen to be many things in life: a helper, a poet, an atheist. Bad roles as well: a manipulator, a thief. There have been people whom I have provoked, and some of these times I’ve taken joy in seeing them seethe.
But in November of 2013, I was reduced to nothing by a seething group. Stones were pelted on me in broad daylight. Yes, I mean to be literal here. A group of boys did this (I won’t call them men) because they were seething. They must have coupled it with a lot of name calling; I wouldn’t know, I was busy standing there and feeling like an absolute nothing.
Why, you ask? Surely this must be the climax of one of my ‘badder roles’ in life.
No. I was reduced to nothing by my peers because of a role, one that I had, for better or for worse, no choice in playing – because I am gay.
Depression followed, and my friends whom I have only sporadically met through the past six months may now be given a reason for me avoiding them – I was busy trying to kill myself. I sought help when I was standing at the precipice, and I gulped pills worth enough serotonine to make me think myself worthy of life.
I told my mother about all of this a few minutes ago, it was a big task; I had to start at BASE 1 with a ‘Maa, I’m gay’, and she couldn’t even look me in the eye for a few seconds. She took her time and came up with a (-resounding failure of a-) reply, “Your fault. I don’t see why you had to tell the world about yourself.”
She’s my mother of twenty years. Twenty years through which I’ve stood up to my father for her. Go read what she said to me again.
Maturer people, who have the comfort of calling her ‘aunty’, tell me hers isn’t a generation that understands homosexuality. I’m more concerned with WHY.
When maa heard about me, and when the dudes were taking an aim at me, they both shared an essentially flawed understanding of who I am. They undoubtedly pictured me with a man. All I picture myself doing is being able to love.
Mum/The guys and I aren’t on the same page here.
We allow others to point a finger and laugh because we’re so insecure about ourselves. There are people I know (oh yes) who continue to stay in the closet and make things worse for themselves. What they don’t realise is that they’re making things worse for me as well. The closeted further the stigma because their inaction certifies the abuse. Their silence gives validation to those dudes who threw stones at me.
I can speak about liberty, dignity, and all of that. I can. But who listens? The point of all these pretty words is lost when people end up continuing to live thier lies.
I have fought others before the guys and mum, and I will keep fighting. I have a set of beautiful friends that will keep me going even if I falter. And all of this, my resilience, my friends, this isn’t unique. I am me, and my firends are mine because deep down I refuse to feel ashamed of myself. I love myself, and I love my friends; I refuse to hide because I don’t think my heart is ugly.
People may have skeletons in their closet, but it’s really sad if they’re it.