Secretive vs Open

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A shocking tale of violence, shame and death has inspired a group of young men living in the Congo Town back road community to speak out, again.

“The first time I spoke out was at the Central Police headquarters over a year ago after being assaulted on Johnson Street,” Boo stated.

Boo is being violently sought out by many people who are angry at his feminist ways. In his community, residents are openly admitting their distaste.

“We don’t want to see him around. I don’t want my boy children seeing a guy acting like a woman,” they grumbled.

Boo’s problems began two years ago he said, after he was raped by friends.

“I was young and loved sneaking out to bars. I met some guys and we drank. Next thing I remember is waking up in a room with blood around me,” he said. “I couldn’t tell anyone because I was ashamed. But what was actually worse was what followed afterwards, the constant experiences.”

Since Boo’s alleged experience, he has six scars on his face and has been hospitalized three times.

I met Boo after Bernice, a resident of Camp Johnson Road, showed this reporter a popular gay pub in Monrovia. Inside of the small but cozy spot were men and women of all ages. But, what seemed a bit different about them was the fact that the men inside look like women and the other way around.

“This is our social gathering spot. Here we find dates, women who like to have women, or men who like each other. Almost every gay person comes here,” Bernice added.

On Friday, I saw Boo sitting shyly in the corner while drinking beer. He seemed detached but looked well dressed in a linen suit and shades. His hair was tinted red and earrings dangled from his ears. He wore women’s shoes and held a handbag.

“I’m Boo, I know you to be a journalist. Can we talk?” he asked.

The issue of homosexuality and lesbianism has silently crept its way into Liberia and has found a so- called home. Though many cringe at the thought of same sex relationships or same sex marriages in a country that forbids it by law, no one seems to want to accept the fact that it is happening.

“I started having relationships with men last year after someone I trusted initiated me into it. He said I looked like a woman and liked me for that. I didn’t want to do it but I needed the love and money,” added Gucci, a favorite in the bar.

Gucci is Boo’s best friend. He was also allegedly attacked by two men in Logan Town last month for staring at one seductively.

“They didn’t play to beat me. I carried my complaint to the law and they asked if I was gay and I told them no. They threatened to check me… and that’s how I left the case. See my mouth? Some teeth moved,” he jokingly said.

Being a gay in Liberia causes constant gossip and fear. One of Boo’s friends was reportedly murdered in the Brewerville community eight months ago because of his sexuality.

“They abused him for hours. By the time his ma found him, his anal wounds had become badly infected. They never went to the hospital because of shame and he passed away a week later,” Boo said.

“Fear is what’s gripping me because I can’t come out in the day anymore. My face is badly scarred and my community won’t give me a chance,” he added.

Meanwhile, Boo’s mother who asked not to be named in this story said her son’s life is in danger.

“All I’m doing now is saving money to help him leave this country. Look at his condition, the people made him like this and now they want to kill him,” she cried.

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