Blackmail, parents, threats – Qtalk helps LGBTQ+ Nigerians

LGBTIQ+ Nigerians benefit from the support provided by volunteer counselors via the Qtalk app. (Seventh in a series)


From the African Human Rights Media Network


 

By Mike Daemon

Qtalk users’ names have been changed in the following writeups, contributed by the counselors who provide advice to LGBTQ+ Nigerians via the free Qtalk app:

Parents of lesbian threaten to withdraw their support for studies

Becky, a 22-year-old Nigerian lesbian, is depressed because her parents have threatened to withdraw their support for her studies abroad if she does not let them meet her lover.

In her request for support, she wrote:

“I am 22, and I am a lesbian. I am in a deep mess. My family just discovered that I am a lesbian and now they are saying that they are no longer going to support my university education abroad. I already have the admission and everything has been finalized. They have seized my passport until I let them meet my lover. Please, what do I do?”

In a response to her request, the counselor stated that her parents might perhaps just be curious and may have some questions to help bring them some clarity.

The counselor suggested that her lover might want to bring along a friend when she visits, just in case things get out of hand.

University expels gay guy, labels him a cultist

A Nigerian gay man, John, has been expelled from the university after the school received a report that he was gay and allegedly was recruiting other men into what the school labeled as a “homosexual secret society”.

In his request for support, John wrote:

“I just received the most heartbreaking news this year. My school issued me a letter informing me that I have been expelled for leading a ‘homosexual secret cult’. There was a guy who happened to be on the same Whatsapp group as me. He has been asking me out but I refused. I don’t know, but I think he reported me to the school and I was expelled. Now I am just at home, I don’t even know how to tell my parents.”

John’s counselor informed him that there was no way that the issue would be tackled without his parents getting to know about it, and that no one could predict how they would choose to handle the issue. John could consider explaining the situation to them; since they have spent so much money on his education already, they might decide to take legal action against the school, especially since the school expelled him without solid proof against him.

The counselor also reminded John that things could get out of hand and not end the way that he expects it to, but it wouldn’t do so much damage than it has already has if he allows his family to know.

Trans woman becomes scared after receiving threatening messages

A Nigerian trans lady, Mary, reached out about her fears triggered by threatening messages she received on social media and via text. The person sending the messages threatened to find her and kill her because of her gender identity.

In Mary’s request for support she wrote:

“These messages are scary. I struggle to sleep at night. How can people hate you so much all because you decide to live your truth and be yourself? Being trans in Nigeria is really not easy. They want to kill me because of it”

In a response to her help request, the counselor informed Mary that whoever it is that was threatening her was clearly violating her rights. She could decide to report the issue to either the police or a pro-trans rights organization in the country.

Mary opted to report the case to a trans rights group that now is taking up the issue and proving Mary with necessary support.

Police men rape trans man in cell after being arrested

Emeniru, a Nigerian trans man, was raped by two policemen at the police station after he was arrested after a party.

In his request for support, he wrote:

“I don’t know either I should just keep crying or kill myself. I have been dealing with the trauma after I was raped by 2 policemen at Enugu after I was arrested coming back from a night party. I know their names and station. How do I get justice, please? They humiliated me and called me names after they finished.”

Emeniru’s counselor empathized with him and made clear that rape is a crime, regardless of the person’s sexuality or gender.

The counselor also explored the possibility of Emeniru taking legal action against the police officers.

After several sessions, the counselor gained Emeniru’s trust and helped him to work through his feelings about the experience. The conversations are still ongoing.

Lesbian woman blackmailed by staff to sustain employment

Favor, a 30-year old lesbian woman in Ibadan, is confused about what to do about a female employee who has been threatening her and refusing to accept that she was fired.

In her request for support, Favor wrote:

“God should forgive me. Because I might hurt somebody. I employed a lady to work with me. She is lesbian as well. We became friends and shared a lot. Now she is no longer working well and is always rude to me. I have asked her to go since she is now disrespectful, but she is saying that she will tell everybody that I am a lesbian. Please, how can I deal with this situation?”

Favor’s counselor quickly informed her that she was being blackmailed and it was a crime to do so. The counselor also acknowledged that the issue could become challenging to deal with, and then referred her to an LGBTQ+-friendly lawyer for further advice.

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