Here is everything you need to know about coming out in Nigeria as an LGBTQ member. There have been numerous incidents where a member came out, and unfortunately, what he encountered wasn’t envisioned. Some ended up in paradise, while the majority of others end up in prison and nightmares. Before you take that giant step, go through this article.
What does coming out mean?
Coming out is when someone tells another person about his sexuality or gender identity. To many, it is an everyday process. Since you will have to say to every tom and dick that comes into your life that you are gay, it isn’t a one-time event. Unless perhaps you are a celebrity who came out through the media. In that case, everyone knows.
Why should you come out?
Fact is, it is very hard hiding who you are. It is depressing and exhausting. The internal struggle is bound to affect numerous areas of your life if not properly managed. When and how you come out is entirely your decision. There are several reasons why you should come out.
- You get to be yourself without fear
- Living openly the way you want
- Being a role model to those yet to come out
- You can help educate others and break down stereotypes
Things to consider before coming out
- People might treat you differently because of your sexuality
- Others might find it hard understanding you
- Religious condemnation
However, remember that there is always support and help out there for you. The first place to seek help is this platform.
When should you come out?
When you come, is entirely your decision to make. If you don’t feel ready, don’t do it. There is no pressure at all. Furthermore, who you open up to is completely up to you. Start with the people you love, trust, and all open-minded. If they are real friends, they will love you irrespective of your sexuality. However, be ready for a negative reaction. If they are religious, you might hear a comment such as:
- “it is demonic.”
- “it is a sin.”
- “You can change.”
- “You can pray it away.”
It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They need time to process it and love you for who you are.
Coming out to your parents/guardians
Coming out to your parents or guardians can be the most difficult. It is because you are utterly oblivious of their reaction. Remember, take your time, and do this when you feel you are ready. There is no rush.
What if you live in a homophobic country like Nigeria?
If you live in a homophobic country like Nigeria, coming out might seem very scary. So, it is paramount you consider the consequences before going ahead. As an openly gay man, finding a job might be a hurdle. Making friends will become so hard that you feel like an outcast. You immediately become an object of disgust, discrimination, and abomination.
Coming out is one act that changes your life forever. Either for better or for worse. Come out only when it is SAFE to do so. Come out, when you know you can handle the consequences of doing so. When you come out, you become an inspiration to all members of the LGBTQ community. You become an icon to reckon with.
Have you come out as gay? Are you thinking about coming out? Share your story!