Coming Out Letter
By Alexandra Maduagwu
Good morning Mum and Dad.
It’s your daughter, Alexandra Maduagwu. I know you have heard some things about me and I’ve been hoping that we could discuss those things.
Firstly I regret to say I’m not coming home for Christmas. This is NOT because of anything happening right now or anything you have heard, I just have a lot of work and other projects lined up for that period and I’m thinking of coming early next year instead. I was thinking of how to mention it before all this started.
I am NOT living with my lover. I am living with my friend. But I am a lesbian and that is not something that can change. I tried to change it when I was younger and it was very hard for me to go through the conversion therapy and deliverance as well as the mental torture I endured as a child. I no longer want to put myself through that agonizing pain of trying to change, I am now in a position of acceptance.
I am your daughter and to an extent, you have always known who I am. I am not a “hateful” person as someone has branded me. I am also not being influenced or possessed or used by the devil, I am a lesbian and there is nothing wrong with me. The only difference between who I am today and who you thought I was is that you now know what gender I love and why I will not be marrying a man. That is the only thing about me that is different. My sexuality or gender expression do not influence my character as a person. I am all the good things you know me to be and more.
I understand your displeasure at not talking to you earlier even though I had known about my sexuality most of my life. I did not tell you because of homophobia – which is a range of negative reactions people usually have towards people who are LGBT. It includes things like forced conversion therapy (deliverance), corrective rape, verbal abuse – shouting, name calling, gaslighting, physical abuse – beatings, abductions and so on. In a family, in addition to those reactions sometimes people get disowned or kicked out of their houses or much worse. I have never been able to predict what your reaction would be and I’ve suffered enough in my life over my sexuality and gender expression. I didn’t want to face the unpredictable reactions you both might have towards my sexuality. I have a memory where someone was talking about gay people on the radio and mum immediately started to insult them and say they were of the devil and I had already known at that time that I was gay. It was a heavy day when I realized I could never talk to my mum or anyone about it.
The question of my sexuality has come up before at home. I thought in those moments you would show me something that let me know it was safe to talk to you about it. I have never felt safe in my life as a queer person. Not at home. Not anywhere. You have had suspicions about it and I kept saying to myself that when you were ready to talk about it, you would let me know.
Instead supposed “family” have fed you negative information about me and my biggest sadness is that what they said has been taken without intending to speak to me about it at all. As if they were more trusted than I am, or as if I don’t deserve the decency of a loving and understanding conversation with my parents. I have had to do this life mostly alone, I have always known why. I have never expected anyone to understand me because no one is free of bias. Most especially not Aunty Ifeoma who is looking for whatever reason to hold onto and say “see o I did not abuse her in my house, she was the bad one”. Which is not true, her and her rich family, Tolu especially, disrespected me in subtle ways for no reason but that’s not the conversation here.
Knowing how my stay with Aunty Ifeoma went, I’m curious as to why it’s a good idea to take her words about me without speaking to me at all. I’m not a foreign person you don’t know. The only thing you don’t know about me is my sexuality – which is not a bad thing, as I hope you will eventually understand.
Religious and cultural bias might make accepting me and adapting to this new information challenging but I know it’s okay to love who I love and be who I am, that’s the point I’m at now. The rest of the world will hopefully catch up.
More than anything, I would love for us to get to a point where we can talk about these issues and better understand ourselves. I hope you come to a point where you love and accept me for who I am, sexuality included, because that is the point I am at. I will tell you anything you need to know and answer as many questions as you might have if you would be open to it. I would also love to rebuild a relationship with both of you that is based on 100% truth. The truth about my person, the truth about my interests, the truth about my life. I’m offering this and I hope with everything in me that you meet me halfway.
I understand if all this is a lot to take in at once. I would like to have a conversation about it when you are ready. In the meantime, I will continue to do my best at life and I will keep in touch.
Here are some links for further reading if you’re up to it.
Conversion therapy – https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy
Corrective rape – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrective_rape
Gender expression – https://genderspectrum.org/articles/understanding-gender