Outing a queer person without their consent especially in a country like Nigeria is one of the worst things you could do to a queer person. To the four people we spoke to in this story, they know too well that it is like to feel the fear of being outed before you feel ready and how it leaves you exposed to violence.
Mine is kind of funny. You know how Twitter shows you your contacts that are available on the app? My brother saw my Twitter profile when he signed up for it. He started seeing my tweets talking about men and penis. He came up to me when I returned home from uni and asked me if this wasn’t my Twitter. I couldn’t even think, I said yes. Then he told our parents. My parents still look at me with disgust.
My sister outed me. She caught me watching lesbian porn one day. Before I could say ‘Flash’ she had run to my mother. My mother on her part wasted no time descending on me. It was brutal. My family have spoken about it now and moved past the homophobia but that day, God I wanted to die.
A course mate of mine found my Twitter where even though I was using my name, I was using my photo and other identifiable things and I was very open about my sexuality. They told everyone in school, it was so awful. People started making very obscene jokes about me, people were very mean. It affected me and because I stopped going to classes often, it affected my grades for a long time. At some point, I just said fuck it and moved on with my life.
There was a boy I was talking to at some point but after a while, I lost interest. I had made the mistake of telling him I was bisexual before and when I told him I didn’t want to sleep with him, he went out of his way to tell everyone I was a lesbian. People were looking at me weird, some even came up to ask me. Luckily, I didn’t care about it all and kept telling them ‘yes’. Eventually, it became stale gossip.
I got outed by someone I went to have sex with. When we met, things were going as expected. Then they went outside and came back with someone and started threatening me. They took my shoes, money, and took incriminating photos. They used the photos to blackmail for a long time. One day, I refused to budge and they sent it to my mother. My mother isn’t very open or progressive but seeing her child that vulnerable and hearing how I was blackmailed changed something her. She has accepted my sexuality now but I hate that it happened that way.
When I was in my teens, I was very religious and when I started going through puberty and realizing I wasn’t straight. I made the mistake of turning to our music director in the choir. He and I were close and he tried to be very fatherly towards us. The moment I said it, he started looking at me differently and I immediately regretted saying anything. A few days later, my mum called me to her room and asked me why I wanted to disgrace her by being choosing homosexuality. I was destroyed. I never looked at him the same and left the choir and church as soon as I could.
- Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.
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