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Deconstructing Flaunting

At the beginning of this year, during a conversation on Facebook with a friend from High School, he posted the following:

“just read a post in which a family member said to confine your sexuality to the bedroom…something u should expect more of by the way…more people are gonna be upset especially as u seem to be “flaunting it in their eyes”. Hope the attitude you put up is really you and not a front?”

I remember being taken aback by the comment ‘as you seem to be flaunting it in their eyes’. I knew that this friend accepted me, loved me and was not being malicious. Yet, I noticed that I felt a sense of ‘I have done something wrong’.

Before responding, I had a quick glance at recent posts on my wall. During the preceding period, I had posted articles on subjects like, the recent gay teen suicides in the US, commentary about the anti-same sex marriage bill in Nigeria and sometime last year I had changed my status to being in a relationship, tagging a picture of my boyfriend. I then went to my dictionary to double check what ‘flaunting’ really meant. Feeling reassured that ‘flaunting my sexuality’ was a good thing, I responded with the following:

“…. i intend to live my life without shame – but with Pride and Dignity… they may call it flaunting, i simply call it being authentic! thanks for your concern though (i appreciate you mentioning it, rather than simply playing the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell), even if i hurt as a result of their comments, i know i will get up and continue on the journey…. and i have lovely people like yourself, who i know accept me for me :-)”

That was the end of the conversation and yet for many days, I could not shake off this feeling of unease. A few days later, I posted the following on my status update:

I was recently told that i am flaunting the fact that i am gay on Facebook and that it might upset certain people, i looked up the definition of ‘flaunting’ and i must say, i am proud to flaunt it (Flaunt – Display (something) ostentatiously, esp. in order to provoke envy or admiration or to show defiance). I flaunt it because i walk side by side with Eric James Borges, I flaunt it because in the words of the late David Kato ‘If we keep on hiding, they will say we are not here’…. And i flaunt it because i am not ashamed of being gay…..

Within a few minutes, there was a flood of comments from friends in response to the update. Here are some of them:

Is it any different than what other people post about what their children are up to, what they did today, or bought, or holiday they took or . . .

And yet, heterosexual people are FREE to flaunt, kiss, hold hands and cuddle up at any time out in public without even having to THINK it whether it be at a a live staged play, watching a theatrical film, enjoying a music concert, watching a tv series or tv commercial spot, or catching billboard sign while zipping along on the highway, etc, etc. And yet still, some heterosexual people (and some low esteem homosexual people) think homosexuality is being thrown in their face at every turn when it is brought up in a flaunting or political way. Heterosexuality is pushed and conditioned as this default or authentic and ONLY way of being, while homosexuality (and bisexuality and transgendered experiences) are supposed to be these obscure (and deviant) ways of living!!! We’re in the 21st century folks and the obscurity days are over! Believe that!

I better take my profile picture down. I have been FLAUNTING the fact that I am both a woman and a human being. ENOUGH OF THIS FLAUNTING. ENOUGH.

I don’t care what they say, I am me and happy to smile of been free and born Gay. Its my life and I am not living it to impress any one but me. Its my life and I am responsible only to me when it comes to accepting me. I got my freedom from the day I was born, so I flaunt it for all to see that I am Gay.

I don’t care if people are gay, straight, black, white, or orange with three heads. It’s what people are like on the inside that counts. I pity anybody who hasn’t yet worked that out for themselves. Even my six year old knows that everybody is different – it would be a bloody boring world if we were all the same. Flaunt away my friend x

Do straight people flaunt it when they get married, when they hold hands in public, when they kiss in public, etc.?

Am I missing something?? Flaunt what?? That you’re fab, that you fall in and out of love, that you hurt, feel joy, make love, make lunch, live the life you were born to live..?!? What is this flaunting of which ‘they’ speak?!

Could you imagine someone being accused of flaunting their heterosexuality! I think today, I might flaunt the fact that I’m right-handed!

Even though I have been out for about 16 years now, when it came to Facebook, up until early last year, I was pretty much in the closet.

What I had discovered last year was that the remnants of the shame I had carried regarding ‘being different’ was still lurking somewhere within me. And over the years, I had come to learn that one of the best ways to be free from the shame that binds is to talk about the issue; for shame can only thrive where there is silence.

And so what I now know is that, if ‘flaunting’ means ‘to publicly display with pride’, then I must say ‘I am proud to flaunt!’.



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