Young and innocent. That is what most of us were when growing up. As kids we hardly recognized ourselves let alone our surroundings. Our body hormones were busying trying to catch up with the fast growth rate that we went through during that phase.
When I was growing up I knew that there was something about me that was not ‘normal’. It never bothered me though. My hormones and the adrenaline were blazing! I did not have time for the unknown trivial things. However things started taking shape later in my primary (elementary) school life. Certain people who would shape my queer life crossed my path. I can not remember at what point Ben* joined my school but I remember at some point we were in the same class. I attended a public school. I went to this school from my first to eighth year, unlike other kids who changed schools like diapers. Maybe I was focused and disciplined and my family never moved.
Ben and I were friends and I really enjoyed his company. I would make sure we hang out with him most of the free time. He was good-looking, lanky and witty. I always made sure we sat together during some of the classes. My desk mate was a pretty Rwandese lady whose family had settled here in Kenya. I liked her. I am not sure if I had feelings for her. I discovered the other day that she is engaged to a friend of mine. Good for them! I guess now I do not have feelings for her. Anyway, back to the story. I do not know what she thought about me whenever I invited Ben to share the desk with us but sitting next to Ben was the best feeling I had ever gone through then.
The reason I tell of this story is because it marks the start of my journey to my sexuality realization. Ben was the first male figure I was attracted to. The first I ever touched. A touch that always electrified every time it happened. This was no ordinary touch on the arm. I remember stroking him on his thighs whenever we sat together and he never raised an issue. I am still confused as to his sexuality though I haven’t seen him in over ten years! I would not be surprised if he ended up being straight.
I did not know that I was queer then. The idea of ‘queerness’ or homosexuality never existed as far as I was concerned. I guess I was raised as a naive child in a conservative family. Matters sex, sexuality, liberties et al were not discussed in the family and they are rarely discussed even to date, yet I am a grown ass man in his mid-twenties. The interaction I had with Ben would lay a foundation for the things I would do and learn over the course of my queer journey.
*Name has been changed.