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.
By Mike Daemon
Gay man battles feelings of shame and regrets, seeks safe shelter
Abdul, a 22-year-old gay man in Southern Nigeria, is struggling with feelings of shame and abandonment after revealing his sexuality to an acquaintance.
In his Qtalk support request, Abdul [a pseudonym] wrote:
“I have been blackmailed at school in southeast Nigeria. Unfortunately I met a young guy in a religious environment who I didn’t like but suddenly a discussion came up about his past life. He told me everything he’s done in the past and how he regrets it.
“Unfortunately I told him I had romantic affairs with some senior boys in high school & some of the nasty things they made do which I stopped immediately after they left the school. It ended there and nothing happened, I didn’t profess any [attraction], didn’t touch him, didn’t even make attempt to. Suddenly the next morning he came along, greeted me and asked me for money. I told him I didn’t have any. He signaled to his friends to come over. They wanted to take my phone and my bag. I rushed to a security man and brought him into the case. It was a horrible. The adults believed every story told by these guys, who … wanted to exploit me based on the experience I shared with the boy. But my reputation was damaged. ”
Abdul left school and hopes to get a job, but that’s a problem.
“Right now I can’t go out in the city because these boys are cultists and I don’t know where it’s safe to go. I am just stuck here; not working and I can’t even go out there to look for [a job]”
In a response to his request, the counselor told Abdul that it was normal if a part of him regrets his decision to share his personal experiences with the blackmailer.
However, the counselor also mentioned that there was no need to dwell on those feelings since there was no way for him to have known beforehand if his secrets were going to be safe with the blackmailer. The counselor mentioned to him that it is usually wise to take some time to get to know people and for them to earn some trust before revealing sensitive personal information.
The counselor also acknowledged that it was normal for Abdul to nurture feelings of shame due to society’s negative perceptions about homosexuality and he might have internalized some of those beliefs. The counselor also helped Abdul see that this was due to ignorance and that homosexuality is a valid sexual orientation and that there’s nothing wrong with a person being gay.
Addressing his concerns about safety and the lack of a job, the counselor suggested relocation as an option and stated that this was something that should be considered first before seeking a job because he would need to be settled before he could hold down a job.
Abdul is still actively engaging with the counselor and together they are exploring his relocation options.
To download the Qtalk mobile app, click HERE.
To support the Qtalk project financially, click HERE.
Source: African Human Rights Media Network member Erasing 76 Crimes.