Originally published on harryitie.com

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“Help! My husband is gay!!!”

That is the message Sister Sade sent to our Church WhatsApp Group. The message is followed by a series of voice notes with Sister Sade in tears, wondering where she went wrong.

The thing is, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I mean, after Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, Sister Sade was in high spirits, praising God that the end was near for “the gays.”

Imagine the irony.

The truth is, I understand her fear. My husband is gay too, and I have known for over a year. I had gone through the same struggles. But I am here. I want to tell her badly that a gay husband is not exactly the end of the world.

I met my husband during school registration in 100 level, and we had an instant connection. He understood me well and we had similar likes. We would spend hours on the phone just talking about life and love and God, and when the time he asked me to marry him fifteen years later, I said yes. I couldn’t imagine myself with anyone else. No one knew me like Daniel, and even though it took us awhile to get married, it was worth it.

However, two years ago, my life changed completely. It was a Sunday morning and we were getting ready for church, when Daniel sat down on the bed with tears in his eyes.

“Dan, what is wrong?” I queried, panicked.

“I don’t think I want to go to church today, Amaka,” he said disconsolately.

“Are you alright? Do you want to rest?” I asked him. I was very scared.

“I am living a lie and I don’t want to anymore.”

“OK?”

“I am gay, Amaka.”

It felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks. Daniel. My best friend. Gay? I couldn’t reconcile the information. He was my confidant. My Number 1 cheerleader. He was always there for me. How did I miss it? How did I miss this?

We had a long conversation thereafter. We didn’t go to church. There was a lot to talk about. Daniel told me how he had always known but felt somehow that he was going to change. He told me of how he got beaten by his cousin after the said cousin saw his messages with one of his former boyfriends. He told me about the pressure to marry me from his family and how it was the hardest decisions he’d ever had to make.

“No one should be forced to live a lie, Amaka, and in my struggle, I have made you live a lie too. And for that, I am sorry.”

It has been two years since Daniel and I had that conversation in our bedroom. I didn’t leave him because I didn’t want to. He truly is my best friend, and now, we live like siblings under the same roof. In an ideal world, he would be out living his truth by now, but our world is far from ideal. Members of the LGBT community in Nigeria are oppressed on the daily; plus they risk a 14-year jail sentence. My husband is responsible, hard working, and constantly puts his family first. I will protect him with my life, even if it means staying in this marriage. Maybe someday, things will be better. Maybe someday, our society will be inclusive. Maybe someday, people like my husband will not be discriminated against, jailed and murdered for their sexuality.

Until then though, Daniel and I will remain in this marriage while we fight for the rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters. It is definitely not an ideal setting, but it’s the best we have got. And we have to make it work somehow, right?

I look back at my phone. Right now, Sister Agnes has sent Sister Sade 10 prayer points to set her husband free from the spirit of homosexuality.

Maybe I should call Sister Sade.

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