Nigerian man comes out to his mom; she learns to cope

The Church in Ogan-Ama [St. Agnes' Anglican Church Ogan-Ama, Okrika, Rivers State, Nigeria youtube
Homophobia is a common attitude among Nigerian Christians. It’s a hateful attitude that’s encouraged by Christian leaders’ preaching against homosexuality. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)
Adebayo, a gay Nigerian, recently came out to his mother, expecting a stereotypically hostile African mother’s response. Instead what he got surprised him.

Adebayo (not his real name) told that he came out to his mother while they were together at church.

“When it happened, I wasn’t scared, because I’d always wanted to, but minutes later I got this surge of fear coursing through me.”

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Photo courtesy of Anglicans Ablaze)
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, is a strong supporter of Nigeria’s anti-gay law, which provides for up to 14 years in prison for same-sex relationships. (Photo courtesy of Anglicans Ablaze)

Many Nigerian Christians are homophobic, mostly due to ignorance, scriptural misinterpretations, and the large number of Christian leaders who preach against homosexuality.

It was in the middle of a homophobic sermon that Adebayo, fondly known as Bayo, came out to his mother: He said:

“We were at church and the topic of marriage between a man and a woman, as usual, veered into the topic of homosexuality. I felt like I was choking. I was mad at what I was hearing, and I decided to tell my mom.”

His mother at first did not seem to react in any particular way. But she seemed shocked when he told her again on their way home.

Bayo’s mother, who is a Christian, seemed surprisingly at ease with his coming out, even though she was slightly shocked, curious and with lots of questions. He said:

“She’s a Christian with values that would not make it so easy to change her perception of the gay idea.

 “She took it well, I’d say. She wasn’t angry. Just shocked, had lots of questions. Still, does. She even asked up to the point of, ‘How do they have sex?’ ”

Bayo is optimistic that his mother will someday come to a full understanding that being gay is normal, just like heterosexuality. His mother is now planning on speaking to a doctor about the issue, he said.

 “I’m still hoping for the best,” he added.


Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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