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Gay, homeless and depressed: The journey of a Nigerian man

Gay, homeless and depressed: The journey of a Nigerian man

Police raid led to Tobechukwu’s arrest and eviction 

LGBTQ+ Nigerians benefit from the support provided by volunteer counselors via the Qtalk app, which is supported by this site and by the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation.


Tobechukwu,  a 29-year-old gay man from Nigeria, is grappling with depression after a traumatic incident that left him homeless. He is identified here with a pseudonym for his safety.

The incident

Tobechukwu’s life took a drastic turn one night when police raided a party — the type of  place that tends to be one of the rare safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria. For Tobechukwu, the raid was a harrowing experience, resulting in his arrest and subsequent eviction from his home. Feeling isolated and desperate, Tobechukwu turned to the online Qtalk service for counseling support.

“I don’t know where to turn anymore. That night, everything was taken from me. I’m scared, I’m homeless, and I feel like there’s no way out. I just need someone to listen.”
— Tobechukwu’s initial message to the Qtalk counselor.

Seeking help

The counselor provided a safe, non-judgmental environment for Tobechukwu to share his story. Listening with empathy and understanding, the counselor reassured him that seeking help was a brave and crucial first step. Through active listening, the counselor encouraged Tobechukwu to open up about the events of that night and the impact it had on his life.

The raid and its aftermath

Tobechukwu recounted the fear and chaos of the police raid. Detained and humiliated, he was released only to find himself homeless, as his landlord had evicted him upon learning of his arrest. This incident added to the stigma and discrimination he already faced as a gay man in Nigeria, intensifying his feelings of isolation and despair.

Counseling and support

Through the Qtalk app, Tobechukwu was able to receive support and counseling. The counselor utilized several techniques to help Tobechukwu manage his situation, including:

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  • Providing a safe space: Allowing Tobechukwu to express his emotions without interruption, validating his feelings and acknowledging his pain.
  • Safety and shelter: Discussing options for immediate safety and finding temporary shelter.
  • Building a support network: Emphasizing the importance of connecting with supportive individuals and local LGBTQ+ organizations.

A glimmer of hope

By the end of his interaction with the counselor, Tobechukwu felt a slight sense of relief, having been heard and understood for the first time since the incident. The counselor scheduled a follow-up session and provided resources for immediate support, encouraging Tobechukwu to reach out whenever he felt overwhelmed.


Tobechukwu’s journey highlights the urgent need for greater support and protection for LGBTQ+ individuals in Nigeria. His experience underscores the profound impact of trauma and discrimination, as well as the critical role of empathetic counseling in fostering healing and recovery. As Tobechukwu takes steps towards a brighter future, his story serves as a powerful reminder of the strength found in seeking help and the profound difference it can make.

To support the Qtalk project financially, click HERE.

Source: African Human Rights Media Network member

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