Even When In Rome

article-2362973-1AD18C76000005DC-547_634x423What I have to say is something most people do not know or readily talk about. Homophobia among Nigerians or Africans in diaspora is of major concern to me. I often hear of young Nigerians who have journeyed far away from home and away from the scourge of homophobia, to a land where they presume they can be free to be themselves and experience a new environment where they can meet people like them, and yet they cannot enjoy this new found freedom, thanks to the increasing number of African or Nigerian communities in the West.

We read about some very hurtful kito experiences in Nigeria and we cringe and sigh with disgust, but a young naïve boy/girl also experiences daily humiliation and gay-related hostility as a student living abroad, afraid of reporting to the authority for fear of being outed to his family back home or fear of rejection from his/her African community. Those who have actually dared to forget whatever ties they have with home and live their lives freely irrespective, deal with threats and name calling, snide remarks and sometimes discrimination when they encounter fellow Nigerians.

Now, some of us have been brilliant enough to handle such people and put them in their place, but an increasing number of young guys resort to depression and possible suicide. Some of my other friends from other races discuss such issues with me, and it’s no wonder they sum up so much negative thoughts about Africa. This in particular breaks my heart; as mildly they tend to make me see it, as much as they try to coat their disdain of my homeland, I already know they are thinking it.

I particularly want to commend people who have dared to live their lives far above this hate and have enjoyed the freedom in these foreign lands to the fullest. A number of these people have dared to move out of the shell that didn’t just bind them at home, but also followed them across waters, and they are now reaching out to others. The need for a sense of belonging has pushed gay young men to the claws of hostile homophobes and this has affected the self esteem of a lot of young Africans in so many immense ways. I was lucky enough to meet someone earlier (a Nigerian) who had faced homophobia among Nigerians in the diaspora but has risen above it all to be a better and finer person in the society; this young man is my best friend (he also reads KD), and he helped me realise my true self whilst giving me that sense of belonging I so desired.

I personally want to urge other gay men abroad, who have found themselves in similar circumstances and have risen above it, to reach out. You don’t know whose life, self esteem, courage, and freedom you might be saving.

Written by Anonymous

30 thoughts on “Even When In Rome

  1. I understand that “joining” a Nigerian community, when one relocates abroad gives one a sense of ‘home’, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of leaving nigeria to escape “nigerian homophobia”? I mean,Nigerian communities in diaspora are most likely made up of Nigerians who left Nigeria with their idiosyncrasies and ‘value systems’ intact; same minds,different location. Sadly though, it might not be so easy to advise a gay person seeking to avoid homophobia by fleeing the country, to turn their backs on their country men when they get there. A part of u will always feel like a foriegner among foreigners.

  2. This is so true… I have friends over there who r still in the closet for fear of disappointing their Nigerian friends over there.. They’re just as scared as we are over here..

  3. This writer has just summed up all i have been trying to tell my friends when they talk about me “dulling” and not hooking up. I have attended countless Nigerian meetings where prayer points like “pray that our children do not LEARN the evil American practice of homosexuality” “pray that every demon of homosexuality will not come near our children” “pray they don’t pick it up when they go to college” and of course the hall goes loud with prayers from bigots who are still here illegally and not sure their next night in the US is guaranteed. I don’t blame anyone for deciding to join the African community in diaspora because it remains the best way to know your way around and Nigerians being the snooping mofos that they are, will always be all over your business like flies on shit.

  4. @anonymous, a big kiss for this article! ! When i lived and studied abroad, i actually made it a point of duty to actively avoid Nigerians, the few who were my friends became my friends after careful vetting and screening. Needless to say; i had a fabulous gay old time with no fears or inhibitions!!
    My advice to anyone who’s moving abroad ro study or relocate: i know you feel lost when you first arrive in a strange land, but resist strongly the urge to rush headlong into the arms of the Nigerian community, yes you need something familiar, persons whom you easily connect with on account of a shared cultural background, but it’s better to take your time (considering your peculiar circumstances as a gay man/woman) and a carefully select your friends – thank me later! Also, moving abroad should be seen as an opportunity to broaden your horizons, make friends with persons from a variety of different backgrounds – whats the essence of moving away from Nigeria only to keep living in ‘Nigeria’? The Nigerian diaspora is usually closely knit, nosy and gossipy wjth everyone being in everyone else’s business … you likely dont want to get caught up in this, so always have this in mind even as you hop aboard the aircraft thats carrying you towards your dreams ***hugs****

    • Preach, Khaleesi! How can you say you’re going abroad when you leaving Nigeria to go live in ‘Nigeria’? Even if you must comingle with Nigerians, omo! If the association starts to stifle you, cut loose.

      • This depends on economic realities. If your economic standing depends on Nigeria -your business is there, or your source of income is there, cutting loose might be tough.

  5. I’m yet to comprehend why I will leave a particular place to another with my sexuality being the major consideration. I’m even more at a loss why I should leave this my Nigeria to another country simply because I’m gay. For those who see reason to I wish them luck but instead of shutting out one,s kins men in a strange land I think we should go to the drawing board and draw up our terms of engagements with them. Define how close you get to them,the class or amount of information we divulge about our acts etc. No matter how one looks at it, it’s not advisable to totally isolate oneself

    • gad, if being openly out and proud matters to someone, they will not take your advice. You are advising them to be closeted abroad.
      I don’t believe that you can be in a long -term healthy relationship while you’re closeted. Part of being with someone is letting people know you are with someone.

      • I haven’t advocated being closeted even though I will personally tow that line if I care so much about what others say to the extent of considering suicide. In a nut she’ll, what I’m saying is that we gays should know where they draw the lines while relating with likely homophobes. I’m actively involved with my town union but our relationships ends after meetings. If anybody has course to see me for anything personal,we meet either in my house,in office, in a bar or any where we decide,discuss what we need to talk about and every one goes his ways. If anybody,s concern about my family goes beyond “how is madam and the kids?” I will call him to order politely

      • I get the feeling that you’re equating living your life outside the closet with flamboyant gay living. Because what you just detailed about your life… One can live that same reserved life and BE out of the closet.

      • I see what you mean, gad. however, effeminate people cannot do that. people will recognize that you may be gay when they see you or talk to you and will ask questions.

    • Gad, we are actually saying the same thing. Thats what i mean – you take your time to select your friends carefully and you define boundaries on your own terms rather than on their own terms@ a time when you’re new to the country and overwhelmed … as for relocating because of your sexuality, for some people, it is a necessity, not everyone is a s fortunate as you are to be a breadwinner and to be surrounded by understanding relatives!

      • Khaleesi, are you insinuating that my family,s tolerance was because I win bread? Lol. Its a possibility but I don’t think so. My Dad threatened to kill himself if I don’t quit being gay because according to him it brings bad luck and untimely death. He gave his approval when he visited me and met two of my gay friends whom in his own words “are very good boys”. Let me digress a little, when my father threatened suicide, I was devastated. I ran to Jide Macaulay and the advice he gave on how to handle my family was very helpful .My father came to regard gays as a rare breed of humans before his demise. Jide,s advice was simply that I remain good and kind to all.

  6. The day we stop investing all our energy towards pleasing people,stop minding what they say or think about us and concentrate more on who we are and what God is working on us to make us the better for us. We should not allow the foolish hate or remark of men to drive us into a life of disillusionment. Be the best you can and forget those who think they are more righteous than righteousness. Let’s compare the beautiful things ahead of us in life with the misery of those who manifest hatred against us. We will see more than enough reasons to live happy lives with memorable moments of laughter

    • Defining the amount or class of information you divulge to a diasporic community of your countrymen sounds like one investing his energy on the opinion of others.
      Why do you have to define your status and relationships with your fellow countrymen? Why do you have to ‘watch it’ with the things you do, considering how much of who you truly are you’ve revealed and whose sensibilities you may have offended?

      • Let me say this again, if you feel strongly about the opinion of others then you have to develop mechanisms to protect yourself from hurt and one of it is by defining very clearly your level of involvement with them. Why are degree certificates with laudable grades not pasted on the face of the owner but kept away in safe files at home? Being gay is gay but do we have to announce it anywhere we go? In summary,if you can’t withstand the bashing from fools stay closeted but if you you can.olboy, do your thing and damn the idiots

  7. Pinky what happened to the many series we have on KD even James Journal?..reading through them again to refresh my memory about their stories..it’s been a long time

  8. Was that not how one idiot who’s even from my own state set me up in abroad ooooo……him and his flatmates took my phone and cash after making jest of me. I went back with about three Cops….not only did I get my phone back…..the visit of the Cops revealed the fools were even staying illegally……lmao….who’s crying now? Imagine an illegal fool trying to set me up. Chukwu kpoya oku dia !

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