STORY: Welcome to my world! I’m Nigerian, 33, Christian born and bred in the city of Lagos, where life is comfortable, at least for the rich or average straight person. My parents were not rich, but we five kids were given the best in life, in terms of education, food, and shelter.I didn’t lack for anything…except LOVE.
My dad was a violent person, though he was widely regarded as simply being a disciplinarian. As a child, I was beaten at the slightest provocation. My mum was the actual disciplinarian; she insisted that you be on your A-game.
I found physical comfort in the company of three people, two male cousins and our maid, each of whom exposed me to sex at a tender age. By age 12, I was fully sexually active.
The cousins separately induced me to give them blow jobs starting at a young age. My first exposure to semen came when I was about 7 y.o. when one of them came all over my face, a taste I would never forget. They were 18 and 10, respectfully, when our sexual interaction began. Neither ever found out the other was having sex with me.
The maid and I frequently had sex, and, by age 12, I was fully sexually active. She had me play with her clitoris until she climaxed and then told me to screw her. The sex with her was intense.
My first encounter outside of these three was with a man I will call “D,” who stalked me for six months before I finally succumbed. I never knew his age, but he was much older than me, around 36. I believe this is why I’m drawn to older-looking men, even to this day. D and I had sex in 2006 when I was 21 y.o. It wasn’t as ideal as I’d pictured it would be. I was expecting the sex to be blissful, whereas it felt more like rape.
As I explored my sexuality, Nigeria was moving in an even more homophobic direction than previously, enacting into its Constitution a law stipulating that any man caught naked with another man would be sentenced to 14 years in prison. Of course, in a place where corruption is rife, this rule only applied to the masses, those who didn’t have connections, like a well-placed godfather or political backing. In reality, in Nigerian society, so many men hide their attraction to other men but secretly explore their sexuality. Even married ones…those are actually the best partners because they are especially discreet about any gay affairs they’re conducting.
It’s fairly common in Nigeria for men having sex with other men to be “set up” (called kito in the local language), where someone lures a victim to a place and exposes him, often robbing him of his personal belongings in the process. I was a victim of this practice, not realizing until it was too late that I was dealing with someone of low character. To cut to the chase, my phone, cash, and other belongings were taken from me. Fortunately, I wasn’t beaten or raped. Among those who experience kito, most guys end up being raped and must live with the agony of being unable to do or say anything about it, except to confide about it with friends they trust.
Gay life in Nigeria isn’t easy. But, you learn to deal with it, unless you’re lucky and can move to another country where you can be openly gay. So many gay friends would be willing to leave at any cost, but can’t. So, they remain, in fear for their lives, and must deal with pressure from their families to get married.
I managed to emigrate to the US in 2018. Since my dad is a U.S. citizen, it was a straightforward process for me. Before I moved, though I had connected with @bammer47 on Instagram, the co-founder of BAMMER.co, and developed an ongoing correspondence which has continued since I settled in this country. While texting Mike, as I told him, I felt it necessary to wipe my phone clean of all our text chats on a daily basis, lest my phone would end up in the hands of the authorities.
Gay men in Nigeria are extremely discrete and protective of their secret, given how their society treats them if they are exposed. I wish there was something I could do to help bring my fellow gay countrymen here, too, so they could live openly gay lives, but, unfortunately, I can’t. If you know a gay Nigerian and he isn’t openly forthcoming, give him time to learn that he can trust you and you’ll enjoy his company.
After 11 months in Texas, I am so grateful to have left Nigeria and that I don’t have to look over my shoulder anymore. Yet, given my upbringing and years of fear, I am still not fully open about being gay. Coming out is definitely an extended process for me.