A list of gay/bisexual men in Nigeria, compiled by self-styled investigative journalist known only as Queen Aisha, has made the round of Naija Twitter and is picking up more speed by the day.
The list, comprising essentially of actors, music artists and internet influencers bears the name of almost every male celebrity out there. It will be laughable if it isn’t dangerous.
There are many ways to see this trend of wielding the existence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and other sexual and gender minorities as fodder to build a following or generate traffic. The one that interests this blog is the clearly needful demystification of human sexuality for the many who still struggle to come to terms with the idea that there are LGBT+ people in the world, there always has been and there always will be.
It is worth addressing the likely reason why anyone’s waking thought will be pondering the gender of who so and so person is sleeping with.
Attitudes towards the LGBT+ are still in the bin in Nigeria. Despite slight improvement over the years in the response of Nigerians about whether they would accept a relative or friend who is gay/lesbian – 60% saying no in 2019 against 83% in 2017, many remain adamant that people are born gay. With that denial comes dehumanisation and with it the violation of the human rights of the LGBT+.
It makes sense thus, for someone sitting in the unjust privilege conferred by virtue of being part of acceptable society, to compile a list in the hope of putting a target on the backs of people who are doing infinitely better than them.
The jokes and banter in reaction to the list notwithstanding, this is a chance for introspection by Nigerians of all social standing.
Some of the men whose names made the list are feminine-presenting, and these without fail are tagged gay. Others like globally acclaimed music artist David Adeleke known by his stage name Davido, are masculine-presenting almost to the point of toxicity. Although in truth it means nothing, some in the latter group are fathers to children they joyfully sired with women they have publicly loved for years.
None of these things matters however, where bigotry is hailed as moral uprightness.
The same whip used to beat even proven homosexuals is the very same one that will be used to come for everyone else, whether they are heterosexual or not.
Sexuality, like most everything innate in human beings, is after all not written on anybody’s forehead. We are only human beings in our wholeness, sexuality – homosexual and heterosexual alike, is only one of many things that make up that wholeness.
It shouldn’t need discussing even were any of the names on that list gay or bisexual. It is only content fodder now because the vast majority of Nigerians have bought into the harmful untruth that there is only one way to be a human being in Nigeria, and that way is the cis-gendered heterosexual way. Anything else, and the loud majority screams, “lock them up.”
Unfortunately, there is enough room in that prison to contain us all, and anyone could be the next perceived homosexual who ends up at the receiving end of oppression. All the women in the world one sleeps with won’t make a lick of difference.
Ado Aminu writes to expand human stories. When not reading, writing or arguing about how the patriarchy has and continues to ruin everything, you’ll find him daydreaming about his next cup of coffee. You can follow him on Twitter @PettyMuse.