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Qtalk advice about police extortion, privacy, and telling your partner you have HIV

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. (Thirteenth in a series)

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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 man brutally attacked by peeping neighbors who they see him watching gay porn

Confidence, a 23-year-old gay man living in Port Harcourt, said he was attacked and brutally beaten by neighbors after they saw him watching gay porn in his house.

In his support request he wrote:

This world is indeed a very wicked place. I was watching gay porn in my room and did not know that my neighbors were peeping through the door. I don’t know why they did that, but before I knew it, they hit on my door asking me to open it. When I did, I saw a group of area boys who immediately jumped on me and started hitting me. Now they took everything from my room including all my electronics. I want them to pay for what they have done to me.

In response to Confidence’s support request, the counselor made him understand that what they did to him was a clear violation of his right to privacy and other human rights, hence the issue can be taken up legally if he chooses to do so. He was then linked to a human rights organization in his state for further legal advice and support. The case has also been reported to the nearest police station and the organization is following up.

Police arrests gay man after a friend mentioned him in an ongoing investigation

Shedrack, a 30-year old Bayelsa based gay man was arrested and detained for days after his friend mentioned him in an ongoing queer-related police investigation.

In his support request he wrote:

I have been dealing with the trauma after I was arrested for something I know nothing about. My friend called me to come to follow him to the market where he wanted to get some new electronics for his apartment. I didn’t know that it was a trap. The police made him lure me to the station where they arrested me with claims that I am gay and was practicing homosexuality. Up till now, I do not even know what they said my friend did and how the issue even concerned me. I was made to pay N80,000 naira [approximately $195 USD] which is my rent money. I am just broken.

The counselor sympathized with Shedrack and made him understand that what they did to him was completely wrong and illegal. The counselor said that in fact what he experienced was extortion and is a criminal offense regardless of who is involved.

Shedrack said he did not want to proceed with taking any legal action because of the fear that it will cause him further damage and possibility lead to the loss of his current job. Shedrack is still in therapy.

Boyfriend finds out about his lover’s HIV status, now wants them to be just friends

Rowland, a 28-year old gay man is depressed after his boyfriend of eight months found out about his HIV status and now wants them to be just friends instead of lovers.

Help me. It feels like my world is coming to an end. My boyfriend just found out that I am living with HIV and has since changed. When I confronted him about it, he said that he wanted us to be just friends and needed time to process things. But I am so worried that I might lose him. He has been acting really cold since then. I don’t really know how to deal with the situation.

In a response to Rowland’s request, the counselor made him understand his boyfriend’s reaction was practically normal. The counselor told him that information like that is a big deal to most people most times due to misinformation about the disease. The counselor also made him understand that his boyfriend still clearly values their relationship which is seemingly why he did not ask for a breakup right away.

The counselor asked him to give his boyfriend all the time he needed but also recommended he should continue to stay in touch with him without pushing anything. The counselor said he should wait patiently to see if he comes around but made him understand he should also be emotionally ready to expect anything as nothing can be guaranteed.

Get more information about living with HIV and how you can protect yourself and your partners from catching or transmitting the virus here.

Police arrest gay man after finding pictures of gay couples on phone

Goodluck, a Benin State-based Nigerian gay man is currently depressed and in a financial mess after police found photos of gay couples on his phone and then arrested him. He had to pay N45,000 naira [approximately $110 USD] to get himself released.

In his support request, he wrote:

I really do not know how to stop being angry. I was arrested days ago after a group of police officers in Benin arrested me. They looked through my phone and saw photos of gay couples that I had downloaded to be posted on a queer Facebook page that I run. After almost an hour of back and forth questions, they took me to the police station. There I was made to transfer 40K of my school fees money to them before I was asked to go. This is very painful. I did not do anything to warrant this sort of treatment.

In a response to Goodluck’s request, the counselor sympathized with him and made him understand that what the police did was a clear violation of his right to privacy, and then the money they collected from him is illegal and in fact, extortion. He was also informed that it was no crime for one to save up such photographs on one’s phone. Upon Goodluck’s consent, the counselor reached out to a human rights organization in Benin who is currently looking into the issue. The organization was also able to support him with the N45,000 he lost so that he could pay for his school fees.

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