by Remmy Duchene
You see, I never had the hardship of coming out – for my regular readers, you know I’m a straight female who is a rampant supporter of the LGBT community. So I will never know the true hardness of it all. But I did have a friend come out to me and I do remember the fear that I saw in their eyes.
As a Jamaican, my people’s music is full of homophobic lyrics that as I grew older and look back on them, I was ashamed to remember I used to sing those songs—ever. When you’re a kid, you sing things or watch things and you don’t really understand what you’re singing—all you know is that the beat is awesome and makes you dance. At thirteen, I moved to Canada and was immersed in a new culture, filled with all kinds of people —my mentality and view of things changed. For a while, I had my head so far into books, I didn’t notice much of anything. Once in a while I would look up long enough to breathe, eat something, interact with friends and family but that was about it. Then one day I put down the book and took a hard look around me and I did not like what I saw.
When I was about fifteen, I met my first out friend. He was sixteen and terrified of telling me he was gay. Why? I’m Jamaican and he was scared that I would hate him. He wasn’t the first person to think that. The first time, I was offended he’d even think I’d hate him just because he was gay. But then I went home and had a conversation with another friend who pointed out that singers like Buju Banton and Beenie Man are from Jamaica. They are the face of the Jamaican people in the media, and people outside looking in believe they speak for all Jamaicans.
Right then I began thinking about it—I began asking questions, educating myself. It didn’t take much. I merely talked to my friends and their friends, and then it was all clear to me. Coming out shouldn’t be such an end-of-the-world experience. Hell, there shouldn’t be a thing called “coming out.” To me, people should just be able to be who they without fear of being hurt or those they love not to love them anymore. You see, there is so much fear and anguish behind actually telling someone you’re gay. I could not believe it all. It both stunned me and broke my heart.
When I was writing my character Kofi, I cried. There was a strange sense of sadness there. Though Carter (Kofi’s brother from Book one: CIRO) is gay, there was still some hesitation and confusion for Kofi. I hope, when people read OSAKI and see what Kofi goes through they will be a little more understanding toward the plight of people having to come out. I hope the thought “you’re gay just tell people” will stop, because it is not as easy as that.
Why did I write this post? I was sitting around wondering what to blog about – and I saw this article where a woman outed a teenager before he was ready. I am not in agreement with that and think that is one of the worst things you could do to a person.
Please, be a kind shoulder and encourage someone. That could be the difference between their happiness and tears.
Once a samurai, always a Shiver…
Kofi Olabasu needs a vacation. He’s spent so much time looking out for his brother and working that he’s completely neglected himself. To make matters worse, feelings for a man are driving him crazy. The moment Kofi feels Osaki, he knows something is about to change. Confused about his attraction to Osaki, he agrees to take a vacation and accepts Osaki’s offer of being Kofi’s tour guide in Japan. However, nothing is as it seems. Soon every dark corner is filled with danger and those who wish to do him harm.
Osaki has a lot on his plate and love is the last thing he has time for. Not only does he have to get used to his new powers as a Shiver and all the training it involves, but he also finds himself being drawn to a human—though Kofi makes it clear he’s into women—and Osaki must respect the man’s wishes. All Osaki really has to do is focus on training and being the best tour guide possible for Kofi. But nothing ever goes as planned and soon rogue Shivers are popping out of the woodwork, hell-bent on destroying Osaki for his inheritance. It soon becomes quite clear that they want him dead, and they’re not afraid to use Kofi as leverage—or as collateral damage.
Publisher’s Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.
An Excerpt from Osaki
Kofi flopped to his bed and clasped his hands in his lap. He stared at his fingers for it was easier than meeting Osaki’s brown stare. “I believe you.”
“Please look at…” Osaki stopped and looked up. “Not now…”
“What’s the matter?”
“I am being summoned. Please do not leave here. I must speak with you.”
Though Kofi wasn’t sure where Osaki thought he would go, he nodded and took a breath as the shiver stepped toward him. It seemed Osaki thought better at what he was thinking of doing.
“Can you call Ciro and ask him to bring Carter here?”
“For you, Kofi, anything.” Was Osaki’s simply reply then he was gone. Kofi exhaled long and hard, feeling his body throb sweetly.
He stood by the window, staring out, wishing Osaki was there but happy he wasn’t. Those were the contradictions going through him. He stood there for a while, feeling as if he moved his legs would buckle if he moved.
He swung around to see, heart pounding for he thought for sure one of those stupid shivers were in the room with him. It took a moment for his brain to recognize Carter and Ciro standing there. He watched Ciro kiss his brother, waved to him and shimmered away. Carter instantly rushed to Kofi’s side and grasped his shoulders. “Bro—what’s going on? Are you okay? And what happened to your arm?”
“Rogue Shiver attack—came after Osaki and got me.”
“Where was Osaki?”
“Give him break, huh bro?” Kofi pleaded, exhausted. “He did the best he could.”
“You know Osaki wouldn’t intentionally let anything happen to me. He loves Ciro. Ciro loves you. You love me—see how that works?” Kofi inhaled, weak with the tension in his heart and spine. “He protected me but that’s not why I called you here. Something happened and I don’t know how to deal with it.”
Kofi shook his head and fell into Carter’s chest. He held on tightly while Carter rubbed his back and returned the hug. The last time he felt this down was the day he found out he’d failed his physical and couldn’t join the NYPD. “I—I don’t know what’s happening. I really need you…”
“Sure, Kofe—whatever you want. But you have to tell me what’s wrong. You said something happened—let’s start there.”
“I-um…” Kofi swallowed. “My body is rebelling. I can’t control it. You can’t hate me for what I’m about to tell you.”
“Damn it to hell, Kofi Arturo Olabasu!”
“I think I’m gay.”
About Remmy Duchene
Multi-published Remmy Duchene was born in St. Anns, Jamaica and moved to Canada at a young age. When not working or writing, Remmy loves dabbling in photography, travelling and spending time with friends and family.
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