Out in Africa

Out in Africa

Gay African men.

I go to a cruisy gym in downtown D.C., but believe me when I go there it is to keep my 40-something ass tight and not to cruise for sex.

But I notice things going on, the guys who you never see exercising on the floor but always seem to be in the sauna and shower, stealing furtive looks at your dick or ass.

Last week was no exception. I was sweaty and hot from an hour of treadmill, weights and ab work and just wanted to take a shower. The usual suspects were there, haunting the shower room like faggety ghosts. 

 The middle-aged Ethiopian guy who stared at guys’ dicks as if they were his last meal. The beefy, probably married black dude with the sad eyes that seemed to beg, “Fuck me.”

And a new one. A tall, dark skinned guy a little pudgy around the middle. He had almost finished showering when Ientered but he found a reason to stay as I soaped up in the stall across from him. He walked by several times, trying to make eye contact. I kept right on showering, trying not to return a look.

When I finished showering and got back to my locker there he was, walking by and staring again. So against my better judgment I nodded back in greeting. And that was that.

My partner “Morgan” was on the way home and texted me to let me know he could pick me up a few blocks away if I needed a ride home. So I sat at a Metrobus stop waiting for my ride, Amel Larrieux singing on my iPod.

And then the guy from the gym, the one who had stared at me, appeared out of nowhere. “Damn, did he follow me?,” I thought.

“Hello,” he said in a thick, African accent. And he smiled. I noticed for the first time he had a gap between his teeth. And a broad gold wedding band on his finger.

“Hey man, wassup?,” I answered.

“I noticed you didn’t talk much in the gym. Are you always so quiet?”

His eyes looked me up and down appreciatively.

“Man, I was just there to work out.”

“Well maybe we can see each other sometime,” he answered. “I’d like to hang out with you.”

I knew where this was going so I changed the subject fast before he asked for my digits and inquired whether I liked to fuck, be fucked, or flip.

“Hey you have an interesting accent. Where are you from?”

“Senegal,” he said, grinning.

“Cool, well if I’m in the gym say hello man. I’m waiting for a friend to pick me up.”

He looked puzzled for a second, then shrugged.

“Okay, take care,” he said and ambled off. Before he was a block away I noticed he was on his phone talking, probably trying to arrange another hookup before he had to get back home to wifey and the kids. I chuckled. It was so ironic an African man was hitting on me at a time like this.

A few days before my interaction with the Senegalese dude in the gym Secretary of State Hillary Clintonmade her historic address to the United Nations on global LGBT rights. And the news was abuzz with the fact Uganda would again consider a law to outlaw homosexuality, possibly making it punishable by death. In fact, I think one African official had even gone on the news saying the United States could not impose its culture on theirs.

That’s why I laughed. Africa has millions of LGBT people — the guy from Senegal was just a drop in the ocean. Africa has always had LGBT people. And until the human race blows up itself or dies off from an asteroid hit, killer plague or just plain boredom Africa will continue to have LGBT folks.

A 2010 gay pride parade in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In fact, it is documented that homosexuality existed in Africa thousands of years before Europeans arrived on the continent, way back to the days of ancient Egypt. Women in Lesotho were able to enter into long-term romantic relationships called “motsoalle.”  Azande warriors in the northern Congo took younger male lovers into their households. And in ancient Angola gay men known as “jimbandaa” were given an honored place in society, that is until the uptight Portuguese arrived and jailed and harshly punished them.

So all this fuss about whites bringing homosexuality is bullshit.

Still, I feel sorry for gay men of Africa. Apart from South Africa, being gay on that continent must be hell. And it isn’t much better for Africans who migrate here.

A few months ago a Nigerian buddy called me. Like me he was married with children but now divorced. His children were grown but word was getting out in the relatively small and close-knit Nigerian community in Washington, D.C. that “Amadi” likes to bang male ass. In fact, what they probably didn’t know is that Amadi liked to take dick as much as he gave.

“Immanuel, my kids are starting to ask questions. And my ex-wife is spreading stories about me. What should I do,” Amadi asked. His voice usually sounded so happy and carefree but this time it was tinged with fear and worry.

“Look Amadi, your kids love you no matter what. Just be honest. Tell them you prefer men but please don’t go into all the details. You don’t know their personal sex lives and yours is none of their business either.”

“Okay man, thanks so much for talking to me,” Amadi answered, sounding better but not fully relieved. We made more small talk and then he hung up.

Amadi hasn’t called back so I don’t know whether he took the advice.  I hope he’s okay.


  1. Antonio G

    Excellent entry – Props for Amel Larrieux – I plan to dedicate one of her songs to a future boo of mine.

    Your insight on “Out In Africa,” does seem right on time with all of the news happening within Africa regarding LGBT attacks, jail sentencing and murders.

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