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At The Rubicon – How I Came Out At Work

team stockI never go out with work colleagues. Yes, it’s because of privacy issues related to gayness. I especially avoided it when in African cities. I realised quickly that the religious and conservative environment meant that often people could be singled out by their supervisors for things they did on the work night out or just in public and were seen. One of my colleagues ended up losing his job for something that was not even related to the company, something in his personal life that leaked.

However in the UK, it’s far easier. There is a certain feeling that everyone has been there and done that and people don’t really care who you shag or if you shag at all. And there’s a certain camaraderie that’s built up by those after work drinks.

I work in a female-dominated environment and they have all been very nice and easy to work with. We’ve had a few big nights. One of them in particular was so bad I had to be helped home. I had thoroughly underestimated their bar prowess and paid dearly for it the next day.

So on another night out, I was chatting with one of my colleagues when she started to get a bit flirty. At that point, I took a few minutes to gather up courage and then told her “Listen yeah, I’m gay.” She laughed and said “we all know!” I was stunned. I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked how she knew and she responded: do you not remember??

On the big night that I’d gotten so drunk, I’d told many of the coworkers that I was gay. I don’t even remember any of it. And so it had been passed on as part of the usual office gossip and was old news. I was the only one who didn’t know I’d been out at work for weeks. A few things suddenly began to make sense.  I’d detected a softening towards me from many formerly frosty members of staff that hadn’t been there before and now I knew why. For some reason I felt weird at work. It wasn’t that I was upset that I was careless with my private life – it’s legal to be gay in the UK and I knew my job wasn’t in jeopardy – this was all uncharted territory for me and I had never even considered telling work colleagues. All my energy so far had been expended in figuring out how to tell family with the plan that I’d work on work folk later should it be deemed necessary yet the reverse had happened.  Eventually I decided to let things flow and not overthink it. So far things have been good, no one has made anti-gay statements, made me feel uncomfortable or tried to set me up yet (thankfully!).

And the love and respect I have for my coworkers continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

 

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Challenge To Nigerian Anti-Gay Law Dismissed But LGBT Activists Hopeful

LGBT NigeriaSince the infamous bill become law recently, many LGBT and human rights activists have pulled together resources to try to fight the law. Interestingly enough the first person to attempt to bring down the law is  a straight ally, Teriah Joseph Ebah, who does not live in Nigeria. The case was however dismissed as the court said the plaintiff could not prove how the law harmed him personally and hence he was not qualified to bring the case to the court. From what I’ve been told, this is not at all the end of the line, even though it is a setback of sorts but it leaves open the door for a future case. The clear problem is that the only ones who are affected by this ruling may have unique difficulties in actually bringing this case to court since it means that one has to admit to being gay for the law to be seen as a source of harm and coming out carries certain risks – loss of employment, verbal and physical attacks among others. However LGBT activists seem positive and I really hope z new, stronger case is made soon. Read the rest of the story here.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Sodomy In The News: The Gay Medical Doctor And The 16 Year-Old Student

Source: Daily Graphic www.graphic.com.gh

Source: Daily Graphic http://www.graphic.com.gh

There’s a news story making its way through the Ghanaian media about a medical doctor who had sex with a senior high school student and infected him with HIV. The major legal issue is that they had sex when the boy in question was 15 and therefore under the age of consent. Currently homosexuality is one of the most controversial and sensational topics that one will find discussed in the media and by the public and usually the LGBTIQ people involved are usually young, flashy and feminine gay men who are bold enough to come forward and speak their mind. This is the first time in a long time someone considered a ‘respectable’ member of society has been involved in such a story.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Politik, Uncategorized

 

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“We Could Have Been Famous Friends”

While having a much-needed tea break in a nearby café just before closing, I ran into a friend and colleague I hadn’t seen in a few months. We’d become friendly after we collaborated on project but when the it ended and we went back to our departments, we never seemed to find the time to meet up. It was unfortunate as I enjoyed her company and she was one of the only gay people at work I was friends with. However I wasn’t out to her. She once described me as “the straightest” straight man she knew. While I was amused, I wasn’t sure I liked that description especially the frisson of pleasure I felt when she said it. Did that mean I was completely boring with no redeeming qualities? Was the fact that I felt some pleasure inside mean I was still clinging to the hetero-normative ideas of manhood and had a problem with feminine qualities I or other men possessed? Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Culture Shock 3.0 – On Being Gay in London

_61431723_pride1Whenever one moves to a new place, there’s a period that’s spent learning how the people do things and trying to integrate into the community. It’s very different from being a tourist in that place and London is no different. The learning curve was no joke. Knowing how important the things that are not said were just as important as understanding what was being said (in clipped, polite tones of course). I had to learn how to make friends all over again. A friend recently told me that she’s been in London for 15 years and she still doesn’t know how to make friends here (she’s from Paris). Aside from weathering the culture shock of a new environment, us gay people have to learn what’s acceptable in any gay society and how to fit in. It hasn’t been easy but it has definitely been fun and illuminating. Some of these may be slightly NSFW. Either that or I’m more prudish that I think: Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2014 in The Business of Living, Uncategorized

 

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Messages From Home – Two Bombs and A Mass Kidnapping

Chibok protest  I remember thinking “thank God this is not us” when I would see car and suicide bombings in the news as a child. How the story has changed today! Besides a reputation for online fraud, Nigeria is now also known for religious unrest with associated massacres and bombings, the fear of which is so great that  the Independence Day celebration was shifted from the open square to the apparently impenetrable fortress that is Aso Rock, the location of the Presidential Complex. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Politik, Uncategorized

 

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Uganda: One Step Forward, Ninety-nine Steps Back

gay ugandaRecently, the President of Uganda was celebrated for choosing to back down over the proposed anti-gay law. However the jubilation was premature: he recently signed the infamous law into being. This law includes life imprisonment for some homosexual acts and prison sentences for people besides the couple who participate in same-sex marriages. Even worse: he apparently had overwhelming support from the country’s citizens who rejoice at a victory over western/unAfrican influences. True to Ugandan form, a local tabloid has come up with names of 200 gay men and women in Uganda although the paper’s online edition did not carry this story, according to CNN. . I am sad and disappointed. The hypocrisy of carrying a Bible/Qur’an yet opposing “western influences” seem to be lost on many Africans. I will admit that there is some high-handedness in the way some western aid organizations decide how aid money is spent (especially on projects that are not that big a priority) and in trade agreements that clearly do not favour the low and middle-income ones, homosexuality will never fall into that category. Rights are rights and seizing the rights of a minority when these rights do not in any way affect how the greater majority live their lives will never be the way forward. This is not even something that any African country should be told by anyone: this is something it should know. Where is the Ugandan Social Justice Department in all this? Incidentally their webpage is offline at the moment.

Enough said.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Politik

 

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