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. (Fourteenth 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 actor says he is tired of staying in the closet
Fidelis, a 28-year old up-and-coming Nigerian gay actor says he is emotionally exhausted from trying to hide his sexuality and wants to come out.
In his support request, he wrote:
This hiding thing sef tire me. I think I’ll like to come out of the closet. It is just so exhausting trying to be who you are not. I am just so tired, I just want some helpful information on how to do this.
In a response to Fidelis’s support request, the counselor acknowledged that it could be indeed emotionally draining trying to hide one’s sexual orientation and pretending to be someone you are not. Whilst pointing out that living authentically was more freeing, the counselor also made him understand that there is no standard formula for coming out, adding that everyone’s situation is unique and the outcome is largely unpredictable. The counselor also explored the risks and the possible damage that it could do to his personality and his career since homosexuality is currently criminalized in the country and many people’s overall perception of homosexuality is negative.
In conclusion, the counselor shared some links to helpful online resources about coming out as gay. Fidelis expressed gratitude and voluntarily exited the session.
Lesbian seeks information about where to access safe abortion
Mercy, a 22-year Nigerian lesbian is pregnant and is currently looking for a facility where she can access safe abortion services.
In her support request, she wrote:
How do I get rid of my pregnancy safely? I got sexually involved with a guy for money, we did not use protection and after 2 months, I discovered that I was pregnant. I can’t have a baby now because of my studies and parents. Please can you direct me to where I can do this quietly?
In a response to Mercy’s support request, the counselor thanked her for reaching out, and after series of extensive conversations about her situation and seeking clarity to be sure that she was indeed clearly informed about her decisions, she was put in touch with a lesbian group in her area who are now providing further support.
Gay man is shocked to find out his long-term lover is bi and dating a woman
Oscar, a Nigerian gay man is completely shocked and hurt that his boyfriend, with whom he thought was in a committed relationship, is actually bisexual and secretly nurturing a relationship with a woman.
This is wickedness and my heart is heavy. I just discovered that my boyfriend is bi and secretly having an affair with a woman. I found this out after the lady called while he was sleeping. He saved her number as babe with a lot of love emoji’s. This is so sad. I confronted him and he opened up. I feel used and so deeply hurt by this discovery.
In a response to Oscar’s support request, the counselor sympathized with him and acknowledged that dealing with a cheating partner can bring about feelings of betrayal and disappointment. The counselor proceeded to help him weigh his options and carefully look into making informed decisions. In the end, Oscar felt he could no longer trust his partner, and so decided that it was healthy that they both take a break away from each other.
Gay man loses valuables to blackmailer, faces threats
Chukwudi, a 24-year old Nigerian gay man is seeking help after a blackmailer whom he had hooked up with stole some of his belongings and now threatening him.
In his support request he wrote:
I am in an absolute mess. A guy I connected with online came to visit me and then, after I left the house to get him a drink, he left with my laptop, clippers, and apple watch. When I tried reaching him, he said that he wasn’t done and that he was going to come back for me. I was shocked. Please, I’ll like to get my items back. What do I do?
In a response to Chukwudi’s support request, the counselor who is a legal practitioner informed him that since this was a case of stealing, he could file a report with the police if he wanted to. He also reminded him that things could backfire, and suggested that a pro-LGBT human rights organization will be best suitable to deal with his case. With Chukwudi’s permission, he was referred to an LGBT group in his area that has now taken up the case and has since been working with him to get the perpetrator.
Trans woman worried she might be HIV-positive after being exposed
Beatrice, a 30-year old trans woman says she is scared that she might have contracted HIV after the condom broke during sex with her HIV-positive boyfriend.
In her support request, she wrote:
Is it possible that I may have contracted HIV because the condom my boyfriend wore during sex broke and he came into me? I am scared that I have been infected since my boyfriend is HIV-positive.
In a response to Beatrice’s support request, the counselor addressed her fears by informing her that even though there’s a possibility that she might have contracted HIV during the intercourse, the chances of her not contracting it was still there depending on a lot of factors such as her boyfriend’s viral load, and if he was on ART and for how long. The counselor added that there was absolutely no need for her to panic because the only way for her to know was to be patient for at least three months before getting tested. The counselor also added that in the 72 hours after exposure, there is a chance to get on PEP, a medicine that prevents a person from getting HIV after they have been exposed.
She was grateful for the information and accepted to get started with PEP. She was then referred to a facility where she was able to access the medication, and then exited the session.