Coming out Queer with a Green Passport

Great post on BellaNaija – a young Nigerian, Z, tells her very positive “coming out gender queer” story. A story which addresses the complexity of sexuality, sexual orientation and gender variance.

Honestly, it can be a little unnerving to be so open about who I am, but it’s important to me to be visible because then other queer Nigerians can come across something I wrote or performed and know that they are not alone. There’s a lot of rampant homophobia in the Naija community, and knowing that there are other Nigerians like me has given me immense comfort and strength, which I hope others can share in. Hopefully, people’s attitudes towards LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) individuals, especially in the Naija community, will become more accepting and less negative. As it stands now, I can’t even envision myself going back to my motherland and living openly as I do now, for fear of what repercussions that might have. I like being alive and not in a prison, thank you very much. Hearing accounts of what’s being done to LGBTQ folk in Africa (eg, in Uganda and Malawi) hurts my heart, to be honest- to know that some of my people would gladly see me dead is a chilling thought.

I’ve chosen to be open and honest about who I am, instead of hiding aspects of my identity in order to make other people comfortable. I was born in Umuahia and raised in Aba. My preferred pronouns are she/he/they. I have an addiction to orange Nutri-C. I’m a drag king. I wear eye-liner. I bind my chest and wear men’s clothes. I prefer pounded yam to eba or amala. I prefer to not date men. I am not ashamed to be who I am, regardless of whether others approve of it. I am blessed and loved, and I eat my roasted plantain with salted palm oil and pepper.

The post received 97 comments and its uplifting to see most were positive, these two were particularly supportive

Z I’m proud of you for being so out there. You’re giving other people the courage to come out of their holes and be themselves. I see from the comments that some people are actually trying to understand and accept all this and your article is the first step on their journey so it is not in vain. As for the others that leave insulting comments that denounce or try to force their beliefs on you, I hope they know that they are not setting any stores for themselves in heaven.

Love it everytime I see you featured online. Never understood the level of courage people can have especially online where there is so much hatred and like to purvey willful ignorance. I almost jumped for joy when I saw that Kele from Bloc Party had come out earlier this year. Have you ever seen or heard of the work of Rikki Beadle Blair? He’s explored the roots of homophobia in Jamaica right back to where it came from: the colonial masters.

Continue reading Z’s story here