Ever Wondered What It’s Like To Be A Gay Porn Star In Nigeria?

Ever Wondered What It’s Like To Be A Gay Porn Star In Nigeria?

This piece was originally published on Dazed Digital

In a country where homophobia is still deeply enshrined in law, gay adult actors are finding ways to navigate the risks of their work.

 

On most mornings, you’ll find Shaun sitting in his car stuck in heavy Lagos traffic, trying to make his way to his day job at an HR consultancy firm. “It’s the same routine daily, going to work and heading back,” he says.

At the weekends, he focuses on his side hustle: making amateur sex videos. His weekends typically involve locating a hotel that doesn’t have CCTV cameras, contacting potential partners, recording sex videos on his phone and then editing them before uploading them online. These videos, with their poor sound and basic editing, typically garner thousands of views within an hour of being uploaded and are loved by a relatively small but engaged audience within the Nigerian queer community.

He’s quick to point out that he is far from the first person to start making amateur porn in Nigeria; he was inspired by those who came before him. “I got on Twitter and saw a lot of people making videos. I like being seen, so I decided to join the bandwagon,” he explains. “At first, I did the videos because I wanted attention and more followers, but then, after a while, I figured I could make some money out of it, so here I am now.”

Shaun is one of the most popular amateur porn stars in Nigeria – his Twitter page where he uploads previews of his sex videos has more than 31,000 followers – and despite the legislation in Nigeria which explicitly bans sex between two men, people like Shaun are making a living from creating sex videos and uploading them to porn sites on the internet.

How much a performer makes depends on how large their audience is. While some do it for free as a hobby of sorts or are still making plans to monetise it, other performers make about 150,000 to 200,000 Naira per month, which is about £315 to £425. In the “poverty capital of the world”, that is a lot. “I don’t make as much as most people think I do,” Shaun says pointedly before continuing, “I make just enough. About the same amount I make from my regular job.”

Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, signed by President Jonathan Goodluck in January 2014, punishes sex between men with up to fourteen years’ imprisonment and, for married individuals, death by stoning in up to 12 Northern states in Nigeria that have adopted Sharia Law. Nigerian society is highly conservative and topics like sex, sex work, and porn are considered taboo. The punishment for being caught making these videos isn’t just the 14 years imprisonment; you’ll also be ostracised from society.

However, this doesn’t stop these amateur porn stars. It just makes it harder for them to do their jobs.

“Acting in gay porn is hard for queer guys in Nigeria because it is not legalised,” Chrissy, an amateur porn star, says. Chrissy explains the problem of getting a location – you can’t film in your house because you can’t even trust your address with the partner you’re filming with. Information such as where you live and where you work and occasionally even your government names are too sensitive to be shared with other performers, as you stand to lose a lot if they, for some reason, decide to be vindictive and use that information against you.

Hotels are risky because the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act infringes upon the right to privacy for queer people. In 2017, 57 men were arrested in a hotel in Nigeria for reportedly engaging in homosexual sex. Currently, 47 out of those 57 men – who have been in police custody on and off over the past year – are on trial. While this case will be making history as the first of its kind to make its way to the court, it isn’t the first time that suspected queer Nigerians have been arrested at hotels over suspicion of engaging in homosexual sex, sometimes with the hotel staff calling the police.

If the realities of being queer in Nigeria are harsh, for the average queer person who is creating porn videos, they are even harsher. However, within the Nigerian queer community, these porn stars aren’t just accepted but are also respected and admired. When asked about how he gets treated by members of the queer community, especially those who don’t make porn, Shaun says: “It actually doesn’t affect how they treat me. Most of the time, I get better treatment as a result of them realising who I am and what I do.”

Justin, who occasionally stars in porn videos, agrees, adding: “Some people are obviously judgy, but for the most part, a lot of queer people like it. They treat me nicer after they realise I’m the person in those videos they wank to – some even seem jealous!”

As well as helping to pay the bills, Justin explains that, for him, acting in porn is fun and gives him a semblance of normality, despite the risks attached. “Am I scared? That’s a funny question because I’m terrified,” Justin says. “But I am always terrified – I’m gay and I live in Lagos of all places. When I’m on Grindr, I’m scared. When I go on a first date, I am scared because I don’t know if the person is going to turn out to be a policeman and arrest me. But I can’t let the fact that I’m scared prevent me from using Grindr and going on dates. Likewise, I like making videos. Yes, it is scary, but omo, this life na one – we have to find a way to live our lives.”

It seems that other people share Justin’s philosophy because, for Shaun at least, it’s surprisingly easy to get partners willing to shoot a scene or two. He has built a sizeable audience, and hardly runs out of options when it comes to partners to shoot with. ‘‘Most of my partners come from Twitter,” he says. “A lot of people DM me asking to feature in my videos.’’

But this doesn’t mean these porn stars aren’t careful. Kelvin, also an amateur porn star, has a very detailed process to weed out potential homophobes masquerading as queer men – a dangerous phenomenon that is quite common in the Nigerian queer community and is referred to as ”to be kitoed”.

“My process is very tuff!” he says enthusiastically. “I can’t just sleep with anyone because it is Lagos! This is Nigeria! There are a lot of set-up guys. So I make sure I screen them.” Kelvin explains that his process involves evaluating a prospective partner’s social media to find out what mutuals they share – a simple hack that is used to figure out if the partner is queer or merely masquerading to be one, which is usually an indication of nefarious intentions – and if they have done any videos with other performers. This is followed by reaching out to those performers to confirm that said partner is indeed queer before even asking the potential partner for their sexual health history and results from a doctor. It is a long process but a necessary one.

Getting a partner to film with might be the easy part. Filming, however, is a bit trickier. Hiring a professional pornographer isn’t just risky, it is also expensive. Luckily for these porn stars, we live in a time where anyone with a smartphone and a determination can be their very own pornographer.

“After I get a partner to make a video, I have to get a place to keep my smartphone so it can record well,” Sugar explains. “Occasionally, I can have two people, one will be recording while the other does the work on me.”

One thing is clear – the Nigerian queer porn scene is growing. Performers like Shaun who currently have a following of tens of thousands and make as much money from porn as they do from their regular jobs are making plans to break into the international porn industry. At the same time, performers like Chrissy who are just starting out are actively making plans to monetise their content and grow their following and audience.

Although the Nigerian government is still aggressively suppressing its queer citizens both by systematically erasing them and upholding inhumane legislation, the Nigerian queer community is surviving and even thriving. Just like the internet is empowering Nigeria’s queer youth to push for liberation, it’s providing performers a platform to destigmatise gay sex in a country where it is considered unnatural and criminalised, as well as an opportunity to make a living from it.

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  1. Ken
    February 27, 07:45 Reply

    Am I the only one that feeks like this is a disaster waiting to happen

    • trystham
      February 27, 09:13 Reply

      Nope. No sir. You are not the only one.

  2. Higwe
    February 27, 10:21 Reply

    Do these performers get tested though ?

    I grazed through the article so my apologies if I missed it , but while vetting the potential performers to fish out the homophobes , does he also make the selected go through adequate medical tests ?

    Knowing how deleterious the Nigeria Heath Care system is – is this even okay ?

    The rate of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are growing exponentially in the gay communities esp in Africa.

    Why we celebrate these men for their audacity , I’m hoping they can also be tasked with responsibility esp towards disease control .

    ************
    Seen some of the clips and they weren’t particularly well choreographed, but these are tyro stages so I understand …what is troubling is that all the fucking(s) I watched, were unprotected.

    I do know having sex without condoms in pornography has always been a thing , but this is Nigeria where 90 percent of her citizens don’t even have health insurance more so a well documented health status .

    I don’t know why I feel this could spell disaster in multiple languages….but I won’t shoot anyone trying to make a living…so I wish them the best of luck .

    • Nimdee
      February 28, 09:15 Reply

      My thoughts exactly, most of em were RAW and I was wondering, do they get tested, are they on prep{which by the way only covers HIV how about other STDs or infections terminal ailments} the ripple effect though.

      • Gif
        February 29, 17:20 Reply

        What’s the link to the page and how come I’ve never cime across it???‍♂️

      • Obi
        March 03, 04:51 Reply

        Unless you have insurance, Prep is even more expensive than antiretroviral drugs, and seeing how reckless many of these folks are, this is why RAW is always the option to go for.

        • Tman
          March 03, 10:46 Reply

          PreP can be gotten free and without any costs whatsoever. Just visit the national population council at Yaba. It’s queer-friendly as well, and you even get free HIV/STDs tests.

          If you are like me that prefers condom-less sex, being on PreP and knowing your partners’ statuses are very vital.

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