I don’t think there are enough closets in the world to house all the homosexual men who have not yet ‘come out of the closet.’ All over the world, middle-aged men are living a lie as they portray a certain lifestyle and sexual preference when in actual fact they secretly live a different life. Even in Botswana, there are married men, with kids and smiling wives, who are closet homosexuals. They keep up appearances and maintain a charade of ‘happy family men,’ trying to convince themselves and those around them that they are heterosexuals when in fact they are not. Gaborone is cluttered with such closet homosexuals.
‘After nines,’ is what the streets have named them, as they are known for crawling out of their closets and interacting with their homosexual partners only at night. This was confirmed by an openly homosexual man who said, “We call them after nines because we only spend some quality time with them at night, preferably after nine.”
He further revealed that he regularly receives proposals for secret sexual relationships from married men on social media.
“Yes they are married and many of them hold high profile positions. They spend lavishly on you as long as you give them what they need; sex.”
But why do these men, obviously happily married with beautiful wives and lovely kids, suddenly develop interest in homosexual relationships when they reach middle age? The truth is most of them have always been homosexuals. Deep down, they have always known that they are gay, but chose to suppress their feelings and portray a false image to society because they were scared of being cast out. You see, society has made them that way; because society is cruel, judgmental and at times downright stupid. Being gay is not an illness, it’s not demonic and it’s not wrong. Only ignorant people believe such rubbish.
Being homosexual is as much a part of one’s sexual, physical and spiritual identity as being heterosexual. A person’s sexual preference may change over time, as it’s happening with the middle aged after nines. That is not an abomination, but merely a developmental stage that is largely out of their control. It’s near impossible to identify after nines. Everything about them; their physical appearance, the way they carry themselves, their demeanour and dress sense, all of it screams macho, heterosexual, alpha male.
Botho Maruatona, a Gender Officer at BONELA says there is nothing foreign about men who sleep with other men. She added that an Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey found that some men do have sex with other men, whether gay, bisexual, heterosexual, single or married.
“It does not mean that these individuals are necessary gay, but they do have consensual sex with other men. Sex is a private activity conducted consensually behind closed doors,” said Maruatona.
The survey was conducted in two areas in Botswana among 545 men. Regarding the tag ‘after nines’, Maruatona explained that it’s a metaphorical term used to refer to men or women who are involved in heterosexual relationships but secretly engage in same sex relationships.
“Some are open homosexuals who have secret heterosexual relationships, others may be bi-sexual and looking to explore their sexuality. Others believe sexuality is fluid, therefore why not explore,” she said.
For some men, the attraction to having sex with men is fuelled by their wives’ refusal to have anal sex. The advent of ‘after nines’ is also fuelled by sex work, as there are some homosexuals out there who are willing to offer a happy ending for cash. This also fuels the myth that homosexuals have money.