MY GAY FRIEND AND I

MARTINS TACHIO

When I picked up my pen to write this article after some research on gay and bisexual individuals, what was ringing in my head was why medical sciences are not playing a significant role in disabusing our minds on the fact that gays and bisexuals suffer a psychiatric condition instead of allowing most of the world to remain ignorant that it is a deliberately chosen lifestyle for sex perverts!      

Fact is that gays and bisexual individuals actually suffer prolonged periods of psychological trauma before they open up on who and how they really feel inside, as evident in Bolu Okupe, Uche Maduagwu and many other Sharp young men that are too many for me to mention here.         

As an outgoing person with indifference to the subject matter, I started my research at a popular bar in Area 11, Abuja, where for the first time I sought  to share a conversation or even a drink with a confirmed homosexual prostitute. 

Yes, a sugar boy that I could rap and get friendly with for the purpose of developing this story.     

At this bar, In the male conveniences, the wall was decorated with marker and pen inscriptions of ‘call me for annal sex,’ leaving a phone number. Others wrote, ‘Call me if you need a man for the night.’ On and on, I could count more than half a dozen phone numbers of males soliciting sexual interactions from other males!      

I picked two phone numbers that were clearest on the wall writings so I could contact them, feigning to be a client. I returned to my apartment and in quietness placed a call to one of the numbers. It rang for a while and went dead. I tried again and the person on the other end picked up the call. He sounded like a woman, but for the slight coarseness of his voice, I rightfully concluded he was a male. We exchanged pleasantries, then I deliberately started speaking in Hausa; then I apologised and reverted to English. But the guy said no problem, that he spoke Hausa, too… We continued our brief chat and I told him where I picked up his number. He murmured in agreement, then I now went ahead to seek an appointment with him and since he already knew why I called, he agreed we meet in Gwarimpa at a first generation fast food restaurant on 3rd Avenue for Saturday afternoon at a particular time.                             

I arrived at the venue for the meeting 30 minutes before schedule, bought some snacks and chose a table overlooking the parking lot. At about 10 minutes past the appointment time, I noticed a black tinted BMW 5 series drive into the parking lot and as I was watching through the glass partition, my phone rang! My gay friend was calling. He asked if I was already in the restaurant; I answered to the affirmative. Then I watched as he tumbled out of the tinted glassed car, Ghosh! This guy was big! Over six foot tall and from my estimate, at least 150kg or even more! He was wearing a kaftan but it couldn’t conceal his big hips and bum bum, just like a plus size African woman. Ha see me see trouble! I became nervous as I waved my hand to signal to him I was the one. He walked to my table smiling, we shook hands and hugged!  He sat down and we started chatting, straight to business from my memorized story.          

I told him I was looking for a male partner and I confessed that I was new in it, but I have always had the urge! He smiled and responded curtly, “That’s cool.” And within a blink of a second he started caressing my hand from across the table in the restaurant. Then he noticed I was uncomfortable; then he started to speak, maintaining a rare eye contact with me, the type that says ‘are you sure you really want to do this?’ He started to speak, confessing that he likes sex but unfortunately he does not penetrate his partner. Rather, it is he that prefers to be penetrated! And if I’m cool with that, we can be good friends and travel around together! 

He started telling me the wonderful feeling he gets when a man is having him and it’s usually at this point he gets an erection and even ejaculates! My body turned cold and my heart started racing! So, I broke the conversation by asking him if he would want something to eat, since he was my guest. He said okay and we went to the counter to collect some more snacks and chicken.    

We returned to our seats; while he was eating, I started asking him the questions I had in mind. Asked how long he’s been having intercourse with men and all that; for the sake of this article, I will call him Tony (not real name). He is 36 years and he’s been living gay since he was 10 years old. He was first introduced to it by his lesson teacher, but loved it from day one as he had always been attracted to men right from a younger age! He told me he feels like a woman inside and sometimes likes female dresses. Then I asked him if he lived overseas would he consider a gender reassignment surgery. Tony, my gay friend, told me frankly that at some point he was troubled and wanted to give it a try but his parents would disown him, as he is an only child and heir to a huge business empire owned by his mom! All the while I did not tell Tony I was a journalist. I only gave him a hint that I was a forex trader and I loved it. To cut this story short, in my over 40 minutes sit out with Tony, I observed he was in turmoil with his mind and body about who he really was, some kind of identity crises whether he was man or woman in a man’s body – what the experts call gender dysphoria.                 

Gender dysphoria is a psychological state of mind common with lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons. It is a feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur on people whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth or sex related characteristics.

According to mayoclinic.com, gender dysphoria is a diagnosis listed in the statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association Journal. The term gender dysphoria focuses on ones discomforting feeling rather than the identity; hence some of the symptoms of gender dysphoria displayed by kids but hardly noticed by parents include, a strong desire to be of the other gender or alternate gender different from assigned sex, strong desire to be treated as the other gender different from assigned gender as we see in Bobrisky, a strong conviction that you have feelings and reactions of the other gender than the one God assigned to you and significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other areas of functioning.    

This symptoms might start from childhood and continue into adolescence and adulthood or even much later after midlife. Complications for gender dysphoria might occur when persons/kids refuse going to school due to pressure to dress in a way that is associated with their sex, impair the ability to function at school or at work. In some adults, it could lead to suicide ideation, suicide attempts or suicide itself.     

Treatment options may include hormone therapy, Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) or behavioural therapy. In any case, over the years, surgeries such as feminizing or masculinizing surgeries to change the breasts or chest, external genitalia, internal genitalia, facial features and body contouring have been effective in the treatment of gender dysphoria.           

One of the earliest sex reassignment surgeries happened in the Netherlands in 1959. In this case, the gender was changed from female to male after a successful phalloplasty (construction of a penis). Interestingly, the operative procedure and technique had already been described in 1938 and was perfected after World War 2 in Germany. The psychological and social consequences after a sex reassignment surgery, especially on people who underwent Cross sex hormone therapy treatment, is that they tend to be less gender dysphoric, have better quality of life but may live with regrets over the sex reassignment, which could lead to suicide, according to some studies. While others live happy and relieved.                     

. Tachio is an Abuja-based journalist. He can be reached through martins.tachio@gmail.com                                     @tachiomartinXL

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