Gboko Stewart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monrovia – Fashion model and celebrity social media influencer, Tarus P. Cole, may not be living his best life since coming out in May 2020, and later going into hiding when he was taken out of context over remarks that “99% of Liberian men are gay.” But it has not stopped him from writing a book on living as a sexual minority in Liberia.
LGBTI persons continued to record instances of assaults, harassment, and hate speech by community members, according to the 2019 U.S. State Department report on Liberia. In November 2019, a group of people attending an HIV testing party came under severe attack by angry community dwellers over suspicion they were engaging in same-sex sexual acts.
The Liberian fashion icon, unmoved by the avalanche of threats he faces daily since his interview which caused a firestorm on social media, is set to release his autobiography which is aptly titled ‘Coming Out,’ according to Cole in his birthday post on social media.
“You see, I had always been behind the scenes, I was always scared to speak of my sexuality,” he stated. “I had so many people who pretended that they love me and life was so beautiful with those people around. I got scary when people bully me and I didn’t even believe in myself at first.”
The book, set to hit the stands in January next year, would be launched at a discreet location due to security reasons, journalRAGE has gathered. And for Cole, 25, it is a reflection of all that he is, “can be and will ever be.” “This represents my soul, my passion the pain in me to add value, and to grow. Most of all, it reflects the confidence and strong believe [belief] I have in myself and my potential,” he wrote.
“This represents a new level of self-belief. You’ll be seeing a lot of this so keep your eyes out for it, and watch out.”
According to the model and father of one, ‘Coming Out’ is a journey to self and socially develop the mind of others. “I have realized that I am my greatest asset, [and] I am my biggest project. I too deserve to be worked on, I deserve the attention, the love, the support, and effort.”
He furthered that it is an embodiment of who he is as a person which no one can change as he did not choose to be different. “This realization didn’t come overnight, I didn’t do it all by myself—I had a lot of support from family, friends, and even strangers,” he added.
He added that he wants to be the author of his destiny while he is still alive and would no longer be upset and impulsive—as it was in the past—when he was bullied.
“I was always scared [of] what people may think about me—I decided to live for society and forget about my happiness.” This, he added, placed him in the company of people who pretended to love him and held him under the illusion that his life needed their validation.
“How often do you wake up in the morning with one idea in mind for what you want to accomplish, only to find yourself doing something else because of social pressures or personal anxieties? Do you dress the way you want to dress? Do you listen to the music you really like, or do you follow the herd? Are you working the job of your dreams or the job of someone else’s dreams?”
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