HomeWest Africa

Here’s how to raise a family as an LGBTQ+ person living in Nigeria

Being gay in Nigeria is hard, but some LGBTQ+ Nigerians are still eager to start a family.  If you are among them, you should  find the information below helpful.

Two gay dads with their kids. (File photo)

  1. Ensure you and your partner are on the same page on this topic. Ask them about their fears, concerns, and expectations about starting a family in a society such as Nigeria, where doing so is unconventional.
  2. Do not assume anything about your partner. Ensure that you have conversations about every aspect of what you both expect from the kind of family you both want and build a navigating process for every part of the lives that you both intend to build.
  3. When choosing a place to raise your family, consider urban areas, because they can be somewhat safer for queer families since people tend to mind their business more in the cities than in rural areas. It also allows for more privacy and security. This might also mean that you and your partner might have to work for a while to save and prepare for the lives you hope to live.
  4. Before choosing a school for your wards, be sure to home-school them about the uniqueness of your family type and values (as appropriate for their age). When they begin attending school, follow up with them to correct harmful ideas and attitudes as soon as they arise.
  5. Have an open conversation with your children about the uniqueness of your queer family while pointing out the cool parts of your uniqueness. This makes them not feel odd and builds their confidence.
  6. Schedule play dates with children of other queer parents who share the same values and morals as you and your partner. This will help your children build a sense of belonging, since many straight parents may not be comfortable with their kids mingling with yours. (This is Nigeria, after all.)
  7. If possible, turn to the LGBTQ+ community for service providers such as babysitters, pediatricians, tutors/teachers, and home maintenance workers. This will further ensure the safety of your family. In cases where these services are not available within the community, endeavor to use trusted individuals who are well vetted and recommended by trusted friends and families.
  8. You and your partner should have a well-detailed will ,stating who gets the kids in case of eventualities and which of your family members are entitled to what to ensure some level of financial securities for your family in case of anything. If you have a trusted member of your family who is not homophobic, let them know the status of your relationship with your partner. But in the absence of such a family member, engage a lawyer.

This information was put together and first shared on Instagram by Women’s Health & Equal Rights Initiative (WHER).