FOREWORD: This next ally is a friend whose opinions of societal shortcomings are intelligent and whose passion is inspiring. Asking him to weigh in with something to mark the Ally Week was not even debatable.

Here is what Azaya has to say from the perspective of an LGBT Ally.


I have always wondered why President Goodluck Jonathan assented to that infamous anti-gay law.

For many people, it was obviously a desperate attempt to drum up widespread support for his administration, which was losing public approval fast.

In retrospect, it will be considered a failed attempt but considering that this same man was famous for saying his political ambition is not worth the life of a single Nigerian, isn’t it curious that he has, by signing that law, put the lives of millions of Nigerians in danger for his political ambition? So much for political integrity.

One unintended consequence of that law has been that the gay rights debate suddenly became much more direct and forceful in the consciousness of many Nigerians, at least in the cyber circles.

Many Queer Nigerians have had to now confront what it means to be gay in this highly homophobic society, and reading She Called Me Woman gave me an insight into the minds of many Queer women in Nigeria.

My copy of ‘She Called Me Woman’

This book, for me, was very important in the sense that the voices were authentically Nigerian. For a straight guy who is a vocal LGBT rights supporter in Nigeria, I can only speak from a position of empathy. I can never speak from a position of firsthand experience and actual feelings of what it is to be Queer in Nigeria.

The stories as narrated by actual Queer people were surprisingly unsurprising.

There were a lot of sadness, persecution, despair and violence in the stories which, although sad and heartbreaking, were hardly unexpected. I know the country I live in.

I went into the book with only one curiosity: I wanted to see how Queer relationships work. I wanted to hear the actual participants tell it in their own words. And surprisingly, the stories were so…ordinary.

There really isn’t anything special about Queer relationships. They’re as normal and as boring as straight relationships. Love, betrayal, heartbreak, cheating, sometimes spousal violence, drama, rigid gender roles etc. The whole works.

Nothing extraordinary.

Which is why, at some point, I had to pause and wonder why people persecute Queer people so much. These are ordinary people like me and you. They’re nothing special. Some of them are great. Some are smart and funny. Some are lovely. Some are quite the idiots too.

Just like every other person.

I have always been wary of speaking about persecuted minorities in a too-positive light. It is very easy to argue for minority rights by highlighting how lovely, talented and extraordinary these people are.

No. Queer people are just people. Some are talented. Some are not. Some are lovely. Some are idiots. Just like the rest of us. They do not have to be extraordinary to be accepted in society. They can be ordinary too. Ordinary is not such a bad thing to be.

I see it play out in many aspects of our societies that even activists fall for it. From immigration debates to feminism, activists like to paint the discriminated demographic as extra-special people that we can lose out on their awesomeness and talent if we reject them. This can put minorities in an unrealistic pedestal where they have to constantly perform for public acceptance.

Why can’t they just be normal people?

Why must they be special before we can recognise their humanity and right to live like full human beings in society?

The more I read the stories, the more I wondered just why anybody would be so hateful and violent towards another group of people. What harm exactly are these people causing us?

Why are we so hateful?

Written by Azaya

You may follow Azaya on twitter @AkoritaIsaiah

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  1. christie
    October 17, 07:09 Reply

    have anyone seen the post about Nicki Minaj’s ex safaree on lindaikeji blog

  2. julian_woodhouse
    October 17, 09:54 Reply

    Loool… It could just be pro-LGBTQ bants on one hand ….. but if those lips sucked dick though??????. Also, our esteemed Pink Panther, wilst thou ever give us the deserved like and dislike button for the comment section?

  3. Nele
    October 17, 12:30 Reply

    This is Immensely beautiful, succinct, and echoes the thoughts of many. We don’t have to be extra whatever, yet we live in a society that doesn’t understand our humanity and expect us to recompense that through a constant expectation of flawlessness. Thank you Azaya.

  4. Malik
    October 17, 12:38 Reply

    Such a beautiful piece. Wow.

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