Dykeroad– Six years on

Posted on October 10, 2017

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Como Oct. 2017

Recently, I was planning a catching up with a former colleague and was thinking of how I would reply her when she asked me the standard, ‘What are you up to these days?’

My thoughts were focused on how to explain that I finally embraced my calling to do some pretty awesome gay shit. It is a cheeky answer on the surface but it really is the simplest way to put it.

I wrote my first blog post in October 2011 after I read about Nigeria’s attempt to widen the criminalization of same-gender love and expression; by introducing the Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Bill. I desperately wanted to do something about the situation but I was far away. I was not part of any networks and every Nigerian LGBT person I knew was in the closet. They were mad about the situation but were unwilling and unready to be vocal about it. No one I knew was ready to say that we were queer and Nigerian and that there was nothing wrong with us. That we deserved to be protected, and not discriminated against by the laws of our country.

I went online because I wanted to say something about being queer and Nigerian. I wanted to share my quirks and my ordinariness. I wanted to show that I laughed, cried, had ups and downs, sadly had to struggle with my identity and deal with unnecessary abuse from people who did not understand my difference. I wanted it to be on record that I came from this place called Nigeria and that while being queer came with its own unique set of differences, it did not prevent me from being equally human.

My life changed when I started blogging. I saw value in having an avenue for self-expression. Through blogging, I discovered many other LGBT* Nigerians and Africans who shared my desire for queer visibility at whatever levels could be attained. There was a place for my friends who had difficulty reconciling the expectations of a certain nationality with their sexualities. Most importantly, it was a space for self-affirmation.

While I have been inconsistent with blogging in the last three years, I never doubt the importance of keeping these pages alive, even if they are only for archival purposes. Dykeroad serves as a reminder of where my LGBT* and Queer activism started. Six years on and I have taken a job with an international organization who campaigns for the rights of people to be free of discrimination regardless of who they are and who they love.

I have never been prouder of myself for making the decision to continue asserting my beliefs and convictions, no matter how grim the situation looks for LGBT* people on the African continent.

It is important for me to take some time to reflect on where it all began– sitting in the study of my aunty’s house in Wolverhampton pretending that I was spending entire days applying for jobs. Meanwhile, I was struggling to understand WordPress and using Paint (big lol now that I have swankier tools!) to create a logo for the site. A few months later, I bought the domain name and made it official.

Today, I am sitting at Istanbul Ataturk Airport waiting for my connecting flight to Abuja. I spent the last two weeks in Milan thinking about how I can jump into our non-existent LGBT movement in Nigeria, that I am desperate to make a thing. I am usually hesitant to make proclamations of any kind. My MO is to keep my mouth shut and get to work but I am so excited and frightened. There is so much I don’t know about what is feasible but I have faith that there will be change in my lifetime.

I hope no danger, at least nothing too grim comes to me while I do this work because I really like being alive. As passionate as I am about this cause, I worry about how it will change me. I realize that having to hear of and deal with discrimination, acts of violence, and abuse against people who have done nothing but be who they are, will take a mental and emotional toll on me. I worry about which of me will survive all these liberations.

But, who knows? In another five years I could be writing an update that will contain positive news of progress in my country. Maybe I will have something to do with it.

I might have also given up and moved to a beautiful beach with an amazing woman. If I do that, please don’t hold it against me.

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