“This article is part of a collection of articles commissioned to celebrate Transgender Remembrance Day.”

By Alexis Favour

Today has been intensely exciting. I know, right?

 So, people like us plenty like this? Even though I’m not the only gay person out there, and you’re not the only transgender person, I never imagined they would gather so much in one place. Like all of us!!!! My boyfriend is so cute when he gets excited and has every reason to be excited. We were on our way back from the pride celebration organised by the House of Max, and it was amazing seeing so many people like us. I didn’t know how much I needed this. As Raphael said, I’m not the only girl raised as a boy, but I never imagined seeing so many of us together in one place and so happy.

I’m starting to look more feminine. Yesterday I finally dared to braid my hair after years of growing it out. I’m quite tall and delicate combined with the high waist jeans, the tank top that covered the cloth padding in the bra I wore, the heavy makeup and the pair of heels, and I finally got called  “she” and “her” in a way that wasn’t mocking. Thinking about it, I feel emotional.

We can see my house from a distance. It’s a yellow duplex with a red roof, surrounded by coconut trees. No one should be home; my brother left for school yesterday, my sister is at all-night rehearsals, and my mum is working.

It should be safe to say goodbye inside”. We rarely get to say more than a shouted goodbye as we always walk separate ways to avoid prying eyes. 

Really? No one’s home?

No one’s home, so I can tell you I love you without anyone screaming at us.  The last part was barely more than a whisper out of fear of what could happen.

I turn my key in the lock that secures the gate and walk in, Raphael behind me. It’s a wide compound with enough room to host the same celebration we just returned from. That thought just crossed my mind. The darkness I saw inside the house reassured me I was right and there was no one home.

I turned to Raphael and took a good look at him. He’s somewhere between bodybuilder and athlete, with a boyish cuteness that no girl would ignore. I reached out to touch his messy hair, and I never understood why he never combed it. He’s charming, and I knew exactly what To do From his smirking, so I reached in and kissed his lips. He kissed me back, and we were locked in a mighty wave of passion. I knew he had to go, so I broke away from all that passion and turned around with a content smile. Suddenly my smile drops.

Mom?! She’s not supposed to be home! Why is she home?! Immediately, I remembered she had returned home this morning saying she wasn’t feeling well enough to work and had taken the week off.

Wait! Did she see us? She must have. What is she going to do? When I braided my hair yesterday, she didn’t speak or reply to my greetings. What would she do when she saw me kissing a boy? Nothing good, that’s for sure.

“David Ayomide” She looked like she just saw me murder someone

“First, you went and got your hair braided; now you’re kissing a boy??!! What are you even wearing??!!” Her anger is like a dragon, its ugly body filling the entire compound. Spitting flames in my face, burning me alive.

I didn’t raise a homosexual,” she said scornfully.

I turned around only to find a space where Raphael had stood moments ago and the gate wide open. At this point, I realised it would be now or never. I have to do this alone.

Looking back at my mother, I don’t remember where the courage came from.

You’re right. You didn’t raise a homosexual.

Good. And you know kissing a boy is a bad decision. Right, David?

She said with her eyes tearing through me. That’s not my name.

It’s Davina. I’m a girl”. I said, returning her look defensively. 

A sudden wave of relief and euphoria comes over me; it feels so good to say it. But the feeling is deafened by the anxiety that hits me like a rock when I look at my mom’s face. I knew she would be mad, and our relationship could be ruined forever. After all, the world isn’t accepting of me, and she is a part of that world as a typical Nigerian mother and all that comes with that package. I almost can’t recognise her now. Her usually beautiful face is scrunched up in a way I’ve never seen before. Her eyes seemed red with rage; her eyebrows were bent to a point they could almost touch her nose. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she grew horns from her head or fangs out of her mouth. My heart beats so hard I’m sure the neighbours could hear. My breathing becomes shallow, and I feel like I’ll throw up. These tight jeans aren’t helping.

I see her opening her mouth, and I know whatever she’s going to say, it’s terrible. Then Pause. Her expression changes from anger to that shock. Her eyes widen, and her brows arch upward. Her left arm moves with lightning speed to grab her right elbow. She looks at me with eyes that speak a language I can’t understand. Just as her body lowers to the ground, I rush to her with speed I never knew I had.

Mom!! What’s happening??!! Mom!!”

She raises her hand to hold my face, her eyes speaking regret mixed with disappointment and regret. Her mouth opens again, and words come out.  Hauntedly shaky words I wish she’d never said, words I can still hear clearly to this day.

“Y-Y-You’re n-n-no Ch-child of mine.

The silence that follows is deafening. Her eyes close, and her heart stops. I shake her violently as I scream so loudly I feel my lungs would explode. The words “Mom, please” repeatedly came out of my mouth.