LGBTQ+ Nigerians benefit from the support provided by volunteer counselors via the Qtalk app. (Eleventh in a series)
By Mike Daemon
Qtalk users’ names have been changed in the following writeups, which were contributed by the counselors who provide advice to LGBTQ+ Nigerians via the free Qtalk app:
Gay youth struggles with depression after mother’s hurtful words
Tola, an HIV-positive homeless gay teenager said he’s unable to get over her mother’s last words after she asked him to leave the house. In his support request, he wrote:
I can’t seem to forget my mother’s last hurtful words to me. She’s known about my status for quite some time and has been struggling to cope with me being gay and HIV-positive at the same time. She recently asked me to leave the house that I was bringing her shame. The most painful part of everything is what she asked me. She asked, “Who will accept you now?” I feel completely rejected, abandoned, and almost good for nothing. Her words have affected my self-esteem. I am just so tired of everything.
In a response to his support request, the counselor helped him to realize that a lot of people are ignorant about homosexuality and HIV, and thus express discriminatory attitudes towards persons who are living with the illness. He was also made to understand that being HIV-positive doesn’t mean that a person is bad, or to be blamed and that what matters is that the individual is able to stay on medication so as to live a normal life. As he remained in counseling, the counselor was able to connect him to a support group where he is able to connect and share his experiences with others going through a similar situation.
Trans woman evicted from home by the landlord, struggles to resettle
Victoria, a Nigerian trans woman who was evicted from her home, is having a hard time finding a place to stay after the safe house where she stayed was raided and shut down. In her support request, she wrote:
Please help me, I don’t have anywhere to go, I need a place to stay. I have been going from places to places since I left the safe house that was attacked and locked by community youths in the area.
In a response to the request, the counselor was able to link her up with a trans group who are trying to provide her with temporary safe shelter.
Gay man escapes death after sustaining an injury
Chidi, a young Nigerian gay man who escaped a torturous and dehumanizing experience from his family, is traumatized and needed medical attention. In his support request, he wrote:
I can’t believe what my family did to me just because they found out that I am gay. Imagine my own father tying me up and burning me with electric iron and forcing me to reveal my gay partners. I had to leave home. I am currently staying with a friend who is a security guard at a church. Please help me, I need urgent medical attention.
In a response to the request, the counselor condemned the actions of Chidi’s parents. He said that his parents were ignorant about issues related to homosexuality and perhaps thought the best way to deal with it, was through the use of violence.
Seeing that Chidi needed urgent medical attention, the counsellor linked him up with an LGBT organization in his area, who paid for his medical treatment, and then also provided an emergency safe shelter. Chidi is currently receiving psychosocial support via the organization.
Bisexual woman wants to divorce, but…
Bianca, a Nigerian bisexual woman who married a man just to please her family, is contemplating divorce. In a support request, she wrote:
I am in the middle of something that has been weighing me down now. I have been married for 4 years to a man I do not love and I have a daughter, but I have been unhappy all this while. Thought I would love him, but I am no longer happy because I think my heart is with a woman I love so much. I am tired of the secret, I want to leave.
In response, the counselor mentioned that it was everyone’s right to pursue happiness. The counselor also acknowledged that in her case, many people will be disappointed and hurt; however, it was important to do what brings one happiness. However, she was also encouraged to look deeply into the possible consequences of her actions to know if she was actually ready emotionally and otherwise to deal with things should in case she chooses to leave her marriage.
Cross-dresser beaten and robbed by hoodlums, seeks justice
Patrick, a Benin-based crossdresser who was beaten and robbed by hoodlums in her area, says she’s ready and willing to seek justice but does not know how to proceed. In a support request, she wrote:
I am in a very bad place now emotionally and otherwise. I don’t think I deserve what happened to me just because I cross-dress. A week ago, I was ambushed by four guys in my area who beat and robbed me. I am ready to take up a case against them. Can you help me?
In a response to Patrick, the counselor who is a lawyer sympathized with him and acknowledged that what they did to him was indeed criminal and that he could proceed with taking legal action against them if he desired since he said that he was familiar with them. He was eventually linked to an NGO that is now working with him to ensure justice is achieved.
To download the Qtalk mobile app, click HERE.
To support the Qtalk project financially, click HERE.