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My Ticket

By, Clinton Mabilo

I worry because of how I feel. I don’t know if I will ever be accepted because of my secret. I can’t breathe too deeply because I could be exposed at any time, and made to carry my shame. I am afraid because I would be lost in time, not fully remembered, like the dust covered books of history. It is so hard to be me and this is because I am gay.

Mortals have called me an abomination, not fit for heaven. I am what people have called at variance with culture. They can speak of culture now but they forget that men made culture for themselves. These days I believe only equity can restore equality, but in a country of green and white, lady Justitia has been deceived to see difference as a threat.

People have decided that my story and existence are no longer valid because I am gay; a man who is emotionally and sexually attracted to another man. I am forced to reaffirm my humanity every single day and yet some people feel I chose this, they call it a lifestyle that I can easily tweak but I often wonder why I would choose to be preyed upon, beaten up, hated and jailed.

I have applied to ride the carriage of law but underlying interests and hate clog the wheels of justice. I will not stop; I will keep pushing because the only ticket have is my humanity.

I am a man, I am gay, I have rights too. I have a right to be alive! I have right to privacy and dignity! I should be left alone to live. This is all I ask.

Let me tell you a story about the struggles of a boy who was born with a different identity.
His name was Ayemere which in Edo language loosely translates to “I want to be remembered”. Ayemere was a boy who was deeply loved with the stark indulgence that comes with being an only child but he had a secret. Ayemere was gay and he had wanted to take that secret to his grave.

He dated girls because he was expected to, he joined the boys in the neighborhood to catcall the street queens. He immersed himself in football and drug use just to tick the boxes of expectations, to the world’s approval. Ayemere turned twenty-two he told his mother about his nature. She immediately rebelled against him, calling him an abomination.

I once heard a friend question the fact that love and a claim to humanity is only guaranteed when the world around you approves of who you are. Ayemere was left to sleep on the cold streets. He went from public shelter to public shelter. His only crime was that he was human enough to tell his story in clear and concise language.

Ayemere wanted to live up to his name. He wanted to be remembered.
I am Ayemere. I want to be seen.
I want to be remembered. I am human.

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