This article appeared first in UP Magazine’s December Issue (Link). I freaked out as I emailed it to the editor for my monthly column but then figured “fuck it” it’s not like anyone online didn’t know I was bi anyway.
“Well you are one of them believe it or not 🙂 Openly bi in Kenya? Takes courage man. You are paving the future Adam 🙂 keep on fighting!”
It started off with — as a lot of things do — a text sent to my mother erroneously. She forwarded it to me and asked what the content was referring to. Her reaction was anything but surprising, something akin to the five stages of grief. Defined as the framework we use to accept the loss of someone you love. Denial: No this can’t be, my only son can’t be bisexual. Anger: which woman will marry you now; how could you do this to me? Will we ever have grandchildren? The rest followed soon.
The sender of the message, identity still unknown, has no clue the chain of events he/she had set off. How could they? I’ve been openly bisexual on Twitter and Facebook for years and I’ve mentioned conversations with people ranking from brothel owners to barmen in this column where my sexuality was the subject. A bulk of the 4500+ people who follow me on Facebook probably think it’s all a jest or a way to support the embattled LGBTI community, which they’ve convinced themselves I’m not a part of. I could in my mind’s eye, see my mum analysing every single man I was close to and trying to figure out if I was sleeping with them. Were they best-friends or boyfriends?
I of course did what I usually do in such situations, got and stayed ridiculously drunk. I started off quite civilized, Bloody Maries in the morning, but by the time the second batch was mixed it had enough tabasco to reflect my anger, vodka to quell it and a hint of tomato juice representative of the calm I most certainly did not want to feel. I then moved on the the queen of cocktails, the Gin and Tonic, hold the tonic. This began to mellow me out so my late afternoon was consumed by whiskey and the evening by Legend Brandy, a drink of suchs ill repute that it’s apparently drunk when the changaa runs out.
It saddens me to think that getting absolutely shitfaced cleared my mind. It’s as if my brain, liver and kidneys had conspired against me and held an intervention.
“Bruh, Slow down. Legend? Really? Here’s why you shouldn’t judge mother dearest,” they said “Who do you think you are looking at mummy with contempt? You who not long ago in high school made fun of a gay boy who is now one of your closest friends. Ye of the homophobic status updates on Facebook and the transphobic tweets. Isn’t her shock justified? Think about it, she’s caught you at least four times sneaking a girl into your room after a night of debauchery at Crooked Q’s; sometimes it wasn’t just one. Doesn’t she have the right to know if she’ll be a grandmother soon or ever? There’s no other siblings for her to place her hopes on as you well know. Or if by some mistake on her part she had caused the duality of your sexuality.”
I really had overreacted, granted some of her questions were ludicrous: Asking if my sexuality was why I changed my career path to journalism, if it’s why i refuse to cut my hair or the explanation for my wanderings around the country. However, these were borne of ignorance and not malice. When I finally turned on my phone the next day, she’d sent a few messages reflecting the final three stages of grief: bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. She hadn’t lost her son, she’s gained a deeper understanding of his nature.
However, having finally reached this chapter in my relationship with mother I figure that next year I’ll stop identifying as bisexual. Cliche resolutions such as giving up alcohol or losing weight are well and good, but I can’t be arsed to bother with, either. Gin is too good and bacon is BAE. However, I will stop identifying as bisexual or pansexual. Not because my sexual preferences will have changed, after all it’s not just a phase, but to lose the inconvenience that labeling causes. Mummy hears bisexual and her mind is assaulted by the mountain of shit mainstream society has created around the world. Pansexual involves hours of just trying to explain what it is and saying you’re polyamorous will have you convincing friends and family that you’re not just a really horny bastard. I feel that just saying, I love people for who they are inside regardless of creed, genitalia, aesthetics, size, age (within reason) or the innumerable things we are conditioned to obsess over when deciding who to love. So come 00:01 a.m. January 1 2016, as I drink my way into the new year and avoid the overtures of the sketchy guy selling pills at the NYE party,I will stop labeling and stick to loving.