Please, help me explain this transgender business? By Peju Akande

Please, help me explain this transgender business? By Peju Akande

I’ve often heard it, people change. I can accept that. Small changes, even big changes, yes; however, monumental changes are what I can’t deal with. Here’s one change I can handle, I have a 15 year old son still in secondary school and I’m glad he likes girls. In fact, he likes them so much I keep wagging my finger at him, just so he knows I’m not ready to be a grandma any time soon; so his liking for girls should be toned down until the time he can feed himself, clothe himself and put a good roof over his big head.

Buff and not so
Then and Now

That’s change, ‘cos I know growing up, a 15 year old would never tell his mama which of the girls in his class he liked; she would first go bonkers on him, tell him his life story and how hard she works to keep him in school and just for the heck of it, she would whack him so hard, his head would spin for days.

Now, I’m not the only parent who is relieved her son likes girls or at least, shows more than a passing interest in girls. These days when the adjective, ‘straight’ is being used to describe men, I want my son in that category, for starters. (You’ve got to understand, this isn’t about gay bashing or homosexuality. No be me born dem, so whatever orientation anybody chooses isn’t my business).

I recall, back in the day, we had just two categories of adults: men and women. That’s all. Today, we have like five different categories of adults- straight men, gay men, straight women, lesbian women,  and finally transgender. It’s kinda confusing, right?

Same way I got confused when my Js2 daughter told me we have just 8 planets in the solar system. Who blew up the 9th? I asked. Growing up we knew all the 9 planets straight from the heart- Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

“Pluto is no longer a planet, mummy.”

“Iro ni!

Her gleeful response was “In the olden days, you people had 9 planets, but in our days, Pluto is a dwarf planet and so doesn’t qualify…”

I stopped listening. “By the way, girl, my days are not ‘olden’…yet.”

This kind of confusion has got me again with this buzz about Bruce Jenner, the father figure in the much lapped up American reality TV show, Keeping up with the Kadarshians.  It just beats me silly, how a man, I mean, a manly man; a one time Olympic champion with the attendant rippling muscles and swooning girls, suddenly wants to connect with his ‘inner’ woman! He wants boobs, he wants butts, he wants a vagina…for what?

Bruce Jenner with boobs
Bruce Jenner sprouting boobs

Enlightened as America is, this is monumental for them or there won’t be such a media circus around it. If Bruce Jenner wasn’t such a celebrity, I guess we would have thought him mad. But he’s one, what do we say but openly hail him for ‘coming out of the closet’, (who locked him there in the first place?) We must accept his decision, (or be called bigots or something worse by the rest of us) We must embrace him, (Nobody is asking his wife of 25 years what she feels).

Me, I decided to ask. At least ask someone who is like a Bruce Jenner to me here in Naija. Around here, we don’t faff around with lofty words like trans-gender or gay, we just look at you and decide then move on with our lives.

My hairdresser, Sisi Bode will always be a man to me, no matter how effeminate he is. Sisi Bode is all male, he’s got a huge chest, like Raja Ramjet in our cartoon of those days;he’s got calves that can cut through any jeans trousers; he’s got biceps that make any t-shirt  look sexy.

But that’s where it stops; his hair is longer than mine, and more luxurious too and he has a permanent pout. I wish I could get him to teach me how to achieve one, and when he walks…it’s with a waddle, like a duck. That kind of walk will get any girl more attention than she can handle. And lastly, Sisi Bode is the best hairdresser I know in Lagos.

So one day i decided to ask Sisi Bode THE question; “tell me,” I said, “which are you more comfortable in, your feminine side or your masculine side?” “Aunty, what kind of talk is this one na, abeg face the mirror let me finish your hair.”

Spoken like a true woman!

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1 Comment

  1. Jmk

    This is GROSSLY UNFAIR. I have to protest….in fact, carry placard join sef!!
    Why, oh why; would you build up anticipation like that on Sisi Bode, have me eagerly wanting to know the deal about him….only to end the story on an “aproko, mind ya business note?”
    Diaris God oh!


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