By Mike Daemon
The latest episode of No Strings, the Nigerian LGBTIQ podcast, tells the story of Joseph, a depressed 16-year-old gay Nigerian, who has been pestered and verbally tortured at home by his family, especially his father, ever since he disclosed his sexual orientation to his sister in confidence.
According to him, the problem started because he thought he could trust his sister and could disclose his sexual orientation to her:
“I needed someone in the family to know about my sexual orientation, as I started feeling very depressed, and I just needed to tell somebody about how I was feeling and what I was going through. I needed a member of my family to understand that I did not just become gay, but that I have always been gay.”
Joseph battled depression for many years as he tried to understand his sexual orientation. He says:
“I think my sister observed that I had become withdrawn, and so decided to find out what was going on. She persuaded me, and I eventually gave in, by admitting to her that I am gay.
“But after telling her, she insisted that I must have had a sexual encounter with somebody, and as a result, the experience made me gay. I tried to explain to her that this was not true, but she argued about it.”
A few months after that episode with his sister, his step-mother called him into a room and told him about a dream that she had about him:
“My step-mother … told me that God had revealed to her in a dream that I am gay, and that I will die if I do not admit to her and embrace change. I was going through a lot at the time, so I admitted to her that I am gay. I guess she must’ve disclosed it to my father and that was when the real trouble started. …
“He called me all sorts of names, and started telling me about how some people have killed their gay children, how some group of people are looking forward to tying and killing gay people within the neighborhood. He also claimed that some of his friends told him that gay people can change, if people help them by talking and advising them out of it.”
“My family does not see me any longer as a human being. I am being constantly abused both verbally and physically, and my father is bent on making me change. Since the incident, he doesn’t let me breathe. He has been taking me to this particular church, where they’ve been revealing different things about me and my future, and he constantly preaches to me about immorality, citing my sexual orientation as the cause of my misfortunes and related it to even the reason why I failed my senior school exams.”
Joseph says he is about to run away from home, and is unsure what the future holds for him. His father is no longer talking about helping with his education. Joseph adds:
“I am just tired [from] the prayers, the abuses, and the hate I see in my family’s eyes. … It’s like am being constantly monitored. They are always bringing up the subject, and my father is always asking to know if I am praying about my ‘problem’ and constantly reminding me that hell awaits me if I do not change.
“There is no future for me anymore at home. I need help!”
Joseph regrets his actions, having now come to understand that you need to know people really well, including their attitudes to homosexuality, before disclosing your sexual orientation to them, regardless of their relationship to you. He says:
“I regret trusting my sister and my step mother, now they have succeeded in destroying my life, thinking that they are helping me.”
Joseph is seeking counseling, but because of Nigeria’s draconian law that criminalizes homosexuality, not much help is available.
For more information, listen to the latest No Strings podcast. It’s titled “My Father Is Torturing Me Because I Am Gay – Joseph, A Nigerian Gay Teenager Cries Out!”
If you are thinking about coming out or disclosing your sexual orientation to anyone, please click HERE.
Have you been harassed, assaulted, or abused [in Nigeria] as a result of your sexual orientation? Please, do not further increase the burden that you experience by suffering in silence: Share your story and experience. Doing this will further expose the horror and agony experienced by LGBTIQ persons in Nigeria. To do this, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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The No Strings podcasts, which can be streamed or downloaded, provide a voice for the LGBTIQ community in Nigeria; they are the first of their kind in Nigeria. They are presented in the form of a traditional radio program that chronicles the struggles, tells the stories, and reports on issues affecting the lives of LGBTIQ Nigerians.