Being gay in Nigeria

Earlier this week, the Nigerian Same-Sex Marriage bill had its second reading in the House of Representatives. The bill, if passed, will prohibit marriage or civil union entered into between persons of same-sex.

The proposed legislation also imposes up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine on anyone who “witnesses”, “aids” or “abets” same-sex relationships. The bill carries similar sentences for the establishment of gay clubs, and for any activity seen as supporting gay rights.  The legislation does feel very much a sham, because not only is it currently illegal to engage in ‘homosexual activity’ in Nigeria, it is also a huge cultural taboo. More

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Reflections on the implications of Religious Faith for African Gays and Lesbians (Part 2)

We have for decades denied the existence of homosexuality in the African community. It has been shrouded with secrecy and linked with occultism. It was considered an abomination beyond redemption, a taboo incomprehensive and a disability by the nature of God, therefore God’s answer and punishment is venereal diseases.

The expectation of African parents for all children is the same – an investment in their future to produce offspring, improve their economic and societal status. A male child is expected to lead, uphold the family name and bear the future generation. Females are properties to be sold for a dowry price. I must say that things are changing, but so far for LGBTI children, they expect us to settle into a heterosexual relationship, or at least be silent on the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity

Exorcism and religious homophobia was the answer to the curing of homosexuality. In March 2009, EXODUS International USA made a trip to Uganda in collaboration with Family Life Network and offered the cure. I believe that these destructive patterns will leave LGBTI people, our friends, allies and relatives more confused and damaged by these atrocious claims and deliberate attempt to dehumanise us. More

Reflections on the implications of Religious Faith for African Gays and Lesbians (Part 1)

The journey to reconcile sexuality and spirituality has never been an easy voyage, nor will the world around us facilitate such an easy path. The construct of understanding sexuality is mired with the audacity and ferocity of the dominance of religion; this often makes it less easy for those who already struggle with their sexual orientation – and in many cases sampled with my own experiences, the challenges of finding the right balance or footing.

As a person of faith who is gay, the acknowledgement of my Christian faith and the fight to remain within this community continues to be a challenge. I have to accept many times the crown of being a pioneer and leading people to an inclusive and loving God has not come easily, but at a terrible price that often not only questions my faith as a Christian, but those who claim to be Christians too.

Many people like myself often give up, and there is no doubt that statistics around the globe show a high rise in mental cases and illnesses of those who are unable to find a resting place on the issues that dogged and ache. The terrible ways in which many gay people have been treated by Christians, question the teaching of Jesus, that says “love thy neighbour as thy self”, unless of course if the neighbour is a homosexual, then it would be justifiable to hate and or kill them. More

The Paradox of Religion & Faith

Religion has in the past played an integral part of my life and has significantly impacted on how my sexuality and sexual orientation has evolved. Religion (Christianity and Islam) has impacted on who I am and how I continue to live my life to a certain degree; and the choices that I have made, and continue to make.

In my opinion, the West African culture, (Nigerian culture to be specific to me) intertwines religion, faith and spirituality (be it Christianity or Islam or other traditional worshipping) with being ethical and moral. Hence, due to my religious upbringing (my dad is a Christian and my mum is a Muslim), I would suggest that this made me get married to a female and have a family; and initially suppress and fight against who I truly am. More

We are One in Adodi, We are One in Brotherhood!

I first joined Adodi in 2008, after being encouraged by a brother I met online from DC CHARLES NELSON. He encouraged me to apply for the Scholarship, where 50% of the fees are paid for by Brothers who can afford to pay. He said that if I did and was successful, he would pay the other half, I would only have to pay the flight etc.

I looked into Adodi, thought I would give it a try, and posted off my application; which after Charles’ help was successful – and he kept his word. He held my hand throughout the time, up until the retreat in Ohio in July 2008. We spent time together before & after the retreat, sharing hotels and food etc. It was the first time IN my life that I had witnessed and experienced something so generous and unconditional; on the retreat I met another 90 or so Brothers, who all thought the same. The experience was life-changing, to say the least. I decided there and then to commit to Adodi for the rest of my life and attend the annual retreats, and chant to that effect – being a Buddhist. More

Family Ties: Reality of Blood Relationship

Maintaining Family-ties is very central to most traditional Africans. An attempt to disrupt that could be suicidal. That was my case for many years. I was ready to do all it takes to maintain it, because as they say blood is thicker than water.

I grew up in a family of two sisters and one brother, as the last child. My father was more or less the only child of his parents. He was raised by his aunt and through her, she had one sister and two brothers (never call them cousins; there is no vocabulary for that in Yoruba culture). I always felt a great bond with my siblings and with my extended family as well. Both were often robed with “aso-ebi” during ceremonies. But, is blood really thicker than water?

As a young man conscious of his ambiguous sexuality, I was deeply confused with no one to confide in. I lived most of my pubescent to adulthood alone and in fear because of this reality. My anxiety was around the shame I could bring to the family and the rejection I would suffer. To avoid that, I was on the run from myself. I ran away from a profession I had passion for (comedy) to becoming a Catholic Priest, my second choice career. The priesthood stood as the stage shutter between me and those who may question my sexuality. It turned me to the fan and fancy of my family and friends, until I came out. More

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