Kechi, in his own words: “Being gay is the ultimate quest of finding self-worth with or without the validation of outside sources. Be it family, piers, society etc. Just as well it means knowing who you are, what you’re about and what you are capable of despite what the world and your current situation tells you.
(With regards to challenges) Too many to count. But finishing college and coming out to my parents have by far been the hardest. Another challenge has been and continues to be knowing what exactly a gay, black/Nigerian, Christian man with aspirations of becoming a fashion designer looks like. The fact that I’m still seeking it despite the odds in a way is its own success.
The gay community in New York City is a lot of things good and bad; large, superficial, diverse, political, colorful, progressive, Eurocentric, intellectual, ageist, fabulous, transgressive, homophobic, spiritual, hedonistic and the list goes on. But ultimately it is what you make it. If you want to party and do drugs there are plenty of people who are more than willing to do that with you. And if you want to further your growth as an individual and are open to having new experiences there are plenty of folks to go down that path with as well.
(With regards to coming out) In a nutshell when I was 16 my mom caught me looking at certain materials on the internets. Ten years later not too much has changed. It’s more like the big pink elephant in the middle of the room that no one talks about. I’ve told them on more than one occasion that I am gay and I didn’t ‘choose’ to be so but they refuse to believe that. Both of my parents come from very conservative backgrounds so the likelihood of them ever truly accepting me as their gay son is slim. But what’s hope for anyway?
I would tell my younger self a couple things:
-Grow thick skin, because it will definitely come in handy.
-Finding a meaningful relationship at the club; very unlikely.
-Sex is great but it can get really old, really fast.
-The sooner you are able to disregard what others say and think about you the better off you’ll be.
-Do not fall victim of finding self worth in materialistic and superficial possessions as so many people have and continue to do.
-You’ll never be completely ‘out’ of the closet; it’s a life long process.
-Some weekends are better spent staying in whether alone or with the company of friends.”