Let’s Talk About The Nigerian Gay Culture Called TB

Let’s Talk About The Nigerian Gay Culture Called TB

Recently, in a gay Facebook group I belong to, the conversation about the gay slang “TB” was awakened after a number of members brought up recent first time chats they’d had with chykers and the revulsion they had for the fact that some of these chykers always came at them with the “Hello, I’m John, are you TB?” line.

Now, of course these updates drew the mockery of some members…

…and the ire of others.

And before long, opinions were split on the validity of using “TB” as a way to identify oneself in the Nigerian gay community. Sides were taken with those opposing the “TB” tag labeled elitists and the supporters tagged, well, local.

Following yet another post from a member of the group censuring the elitists, one filled with a diverse range of comments, I decided to bring it up to Kito Diaries, so we may learn from y’all. The post is below, followed by the comments, after which you may sound off in the comments section.


CHAD posted:

“Dear gays,

I understand you discriminate against the ones you refer to as ‘TB’ for reasons best known to you. I reckon it feeds your ravenous self-righteous ego. Well, shame on you!

It’s sad that you delude yourselves that you are better than these ones because apparently, you possess a doctorate on homosexuality (i.e. a strong sense of awareness and self-acceptance). Truth is, you’re not. “Last-last”, we all like cocks. Whether you want to love the cock or not, love yourself for liking cocks or not, is totally up to you.

People should not be judged because of how they feel about themselves until it affects others. You hate yourself, fine! I can feel sorry for you, but never better than you.

Anaghi enwe osu n’ebe osu no (An outcast doesn’t point a finger at another and yell: YOU OUTCAST). The world has already labeled us, we would be doing ourselves a great disservice to further divide ourselves with more labels. As IBK, BLOOM and ZION said this evening, we are all fighting for recognition and acceptance, what really is there to feel self-righteous for?

For some time now, some of us have been clamouring for labels to be thrown out so we can finally put an end to world issues like racism, homophobia, gender discrimination. We are fighting because of the labels. Let us finish this fight for acceptance without laying the foundation for future issues and more segregation.

If we say we care about education and mass enlightenment, draw ndi TB into your light, or just avoid them. Don’t mock them, don’t hate. End TB-phobia!

Yours sincerely, CHAD.”

And then some of the comments:

BAIN: I personally don’t have a problem with people that refer to themselves as “TBs” but most times, they have serious issues that I’ve been dragged through hell dealing with and I’d never want to deal with. All these issues border on Internalized Homophobia. I can’t deal. This TB thing is very personal for me.

TONI: Bless you dear. I’ve been watching them ridiculing and making scorn of those that use “TB” as if they can comfortably and courageously call or label themselves gays/homosexuals out there when in the midst of their homophobic straight folks or family. The TB shaming is unbecoming, tiring and quite distasteful.

BAIN: Not to exclude myself from the “They”, Yes, I’m very gay to homophobes and family. Now restructure your point.

TONI: I ain’t restructuring nothing. If you’re gay to every damn person, that’s cool, I’ve noted that.

BAIN: We hurt a TB’s feelings.

NONNY: Before you all acquired your self-acclaimed knowledge, at a point, I know you all did refer to yourselves as TB or SAGBA. Even the thirty-something-year-old guys here. So leave those people that still refer to themselves as TB. They will stop using the term when they deem fit. We have enough people to drag out there and not ourselves.

BAIN: “You all”??? Such generalizations. Irksome!

NONNY: Yes. I said you all. I generalized it.

BAIN: You would know. You’ve lived with all of us. Sabinus!

FRANCIS: Great, he went and resurrected SAGBA that sounds like a Yoruba low budget film.

BOND: I always called myself gay. I learnt of the word “TB” and “Sagba” and “French” here. That said, I don’t take offense when people say TB, but I have noticed that most of those who use TB can be quite – for the lack of a better word – razz.

RAY: SMH. You guys, these are just labels! It’s not that deep! Yes, some act razz because they don’t know better. Family background/statuses and all that are to be blamed for that. You feel you can’t roll with them, fine. Find your kind of people. We gays but we still have our differences.

TOBI: I have never gotten the point anyway. I mean, it’s all good and fun to poke fun at the use of the word, to make jokes about it, but when people come here to seriously ridicule others for using it, I just shake my head and move on. I suppose it makes them feel cool, enlightened and superior *shrugs*

KENNEDY: I hate the word, just like I hate the term “queer”. Never used them, and never will. Come and beat me, I’m in my room.

VHAGAR: All of this anti-woke wokeness, what side of the bed have you all been waking up on? Abegi! Elitists be dragging elitists because they don’t subscribe to a vestige of their elitism. Today is “drag the people that don’t like the word TB day”? This shit has become tiring. “Ooh! Let’s drag the draggers and see where it leads!” Call me when one of you publishes your nudes or something.

DELLE: Okay, where do I begin to address this? IBK said something about this yesterday but I was too exhausted to type, I let it go.

Because I don’t know what others have in mind when they refute that word, I can only speak for myself. I hate the TB word because…

> It doesn’t fully represent the word it was apparently coined to cover – homosexuality (gay). It all centres on roles, what one does in bed. Speaking of which, it isn’t even encompassing enough; what happened to the “V”? Or do versatiles not matter? If we are going to go with that word, it should be adjusted to TVB, TBV whatever… Or it will keep being controversial.

> Then again, the cold hard truth remains that those who use this term, are mostly the Internally Homophobic guys. Are you aware, all you TB advocates, that a lot of queer men would rather be called “TB”, not because it’s slang for gay and as such can be used in public where no one would understand, but because to them, the word “gay” is more damning than TB? Yes, a lot of guys I’ve come across tell me, “I’m not gay. I’m TB. This is just a game, person must marry na.”

Can you imagine what you expect me to be associated with? I have nothing against the people who use it for the main purpose it was established (even though my first point still stands firm on this one), but the fact that there’s been a warped mentality concerning that word, the fact that the demographic who have taken to that word are, and I’m not sorry about this, people who I’ll rather not be associated with, the TB word would still repulse me to hell and back.

I don’t feel like I’m bigger than those who use it. I don’t feel like I’m of a higher class. I’m not denigrating anyone. But I sure as hell know that the very sensible ones, those who are totally understanding of who they are, would not want to have an affiliation with such a tainted term.

EGGSY: If not for Jesus, I would have said, “God bless you.”

BRADLEY: This is just the only explanation that matters. Everyone should be taking copious notes.

UCHE: This. Is. A. Shutdown. To. All. This. Mess!!! Beautiful, DELLE. Just beautiful!

DEVIANTUS: I remember growing up just as the term “sagba” was becoming archaic. I didn’t like the word at all. I didn’t care for it one bit. It was so ratchet. Then it was “TB”. It was a word that allowed gay people have a conversation in public. Then it became so damningly ratchet, I couldn’t but flinch whenever I heard the word.

However, this isn’t a conversation about class superiority or the likes. No, this is about pointing out the obvious, that these terms are a generational lingo that helped propel the gay community to where it is today. You can debate just how non-inclusive the term is all day while belittling the social impact the term has, and that would be very erroneous.

Whether you like it or not, it served its purpose. Ten years ago, using the term “gay” bordered on committing social harakiri. However, with how far the community has come, it has become fashionable to be gay.

God damn the ratchet TBs, right? Wrong! We are all a marginalised community, and while I understand where some of us are coming from, we should also not forget the etymology of the term itself. And maybe, just maybe, we could be a little more accommodating.

Gay, Bi, Side, TB, Sagba, French, Italian, “A Gay” – whatever, we all bleed red when mobbed.


And that’s it for all the drama. What about you guys, what do y’all think? Sound off below.

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  1. Rehoboth
    January 22, 06:55 Reply

    We always tend to leave substance and chase shadows.

  2. Lorde
    January 22, 07:04 Reply

    ?….. pls what is SAGBA, I swear I’ve never heard that one

  3. OJ
    January 22, 07:10 Reply

    A gay Facebook group? Please tell me about it.

    And concerning this matter, Delle totally bared my mind!

  4. Henry
    January 22, 08:01 Reply

    A gay what’sapp group. Wow, please tell me about it

  5. Higwe
    January 22, 08:48 Reply

    Humans will sha find a way to divide themselves ,just to make themselves feel superior. Before we hand out a ledger of our inscribed judgement ,let’s first of all find out the history and ethnography behind the word TB.
    TB basically means Top, Bottom ,boys.
    There was a time in Nigeria when the crackdown of gay association was intense, and people devised a way to hook up. Asking someone if they were TB, was an easy way to decode if they shared your affiliation without giving much away ,and so began the pandemonium ,the spread of the word “TB”
    These days gay people are much bolder and much more assertive and thus ,the crackdown of the word . But just like everything in life , some people are always late to the party ,should we disengage from people that share our cause , simply because they failed to catch on?
    I don’t think so.
    I actually belong to one of those groups on facebook, and the Admin is Mike Dameon .Trust me, no one is nobler, kinder, more loyal and more courageous ,than he is (in my opinion) .He’s taken this fight to a whole other level, with constant publications of highly publicized articles , intermittently seeking for employment for aggrieved members of the community, and providing relief for the sick and kitoed, sometimes monetary and other times recommendation of professionals.
    If such a person, is ok being addressed as a TB, I don’t know what the hell the buzz is all about!
    Internally homophobic people exist on every spectrum of life, the identity one chooses to go by should never be the basis of assignment, that in itself is discriminatory and against everything we’re fighting for.
    And please this is strictly my opinion, you have every right to drop yours, but kindly not on my reply box. thanks.

    • emmanuel
      January 22, 10:59 Reply

      you and Della or what’s his name totally hit the point .. like really, I strongly support your opinion.
      people just like to make matters outrageous.. well kudos FAM .. kisses

  6. Evans
    January 22, 08:48 Reply

    SAGBA is the Yoruba word for gay guys… Not really common tho.

  7. Kenny
    January 22, 09:53 Reply

    What Delle said!!!

    How can one join the Facebook group? ?

  8. Nwokedimma
    January 22, 10:13 Reply

    I prefer using the word “coloured”
    Is he coloured?
    Are they all coloured?

  9. Tiercel de Claron
    January 22, 10:57 Reply


    They leave the substance and go about chasing shadows,as usual.

    You guys have time,trying to teach the unteachables

  10. Tiercel de Claron
    January 22, 10:57 Reply


    They leave the substance and go about chasing shadows,as usual.

    You guys have time,trying to teach the unteachables

  11. Deji
    January 22, 18:33 Reply

    I totally agree with Deviantus on this. I personally find the word TB funny and weird. What am I not whatsapp group. Admin, add me???????

  12. Michael
    January 22, 21:36 Reply

    Rainbow. Ever heard of that one? Its another acronym that has been created.

  13. Noble Charles Samuel
    January 23, 07:55 Reply

    Ever hear of Happy People(HP)? I don’t know what the heck is with TB terminology for the gay community in Nigeria.

    Use any word that works for you. Nigeria is not safe for our community, so we need to devise terms to further identify community members.

    TB, Sagba, HP, Coloured, Achakamba, Rainbow etc, whatever works for you and which ever terms one is comfortable with should not be a problem.

    We have more pertinent issues affecting our community. We have more struggles with acceptance and inclusion in our society. Let’s deal with that than talking which gay terminology is perfect or right.

  14. Shadow
    August 06, 17:11 Reply

    It was nice reading your comments and I think you guys are fun….am straight dude but have Lotta gay friends ,and you guys are sweet people…..now I know the full meaning of TB

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