Several black people shared their unique experiences of coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender with Buzzfeed. And 40-year-old Bisi from Nigeria is one of those who plucked up his courage to reveal who he is and how others reacted to his honesty.
My sexuality in such a setting is an admittance of a crime…
“One question I have had to deal with since my coming out is; ‘Would you ever do it again?’ To understand the concept of the question, it will be important to put my coming out into perspective. I came out in 2004 in Nigeria.
Nigeria 11 years ago was one of the countries with the buggery law; a left over of the brutal era of British colonialism. Owning up to my sexuality in such a setting is an admittance of a crime; that I have either committed buggery or I will be committing buggery, which in effect means 10 years imprisonment.
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I came out as I was climbing the ladder of my acting career. I was a theatre student in one of Nigeria’s leading universities, and had spent most of my life on the stage. Acting was my life, but I had no idea it could’ve been classified as my downfall.
When I finished acting school, I got cast for a television soap series and that meant a bigger space, bigger audience, bigger opportunity but also something I was not aware of; a bigger threat. With fame came the preying eye of the media on my personal life.
As the pressure mounted and the threat of being exposed increased, I had no choice but to own up and come out. The implication was not just the law, but the loss of my job, of my home, of every and any relationship with my family and many of my friends.
It was a very difficult time in my life. There was also the challenge my coming out posed to the collective expectation of black masculinity. I spent time answering gender sexualized questions. The beatings followed, then the assaults, the life threatening abuse and the never stopping police arrests.
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It was a very difficult time. As a black gay man, owning up to my sexuality and being out with it came with a price tag and one that has discouraged many other people to follow suit. ‘Would I do it again’ is a question many black gay men have asked me.
In the face of rejection, depression and loneliness, the answer might not be yes. However, when we take time to see the impact coming out has on the lives of many black LGBT people who unfortunately have limited role models in the media, then we realise that every time a famous LGBT person of colour comes out, a taboo is dead somewhere.”
Coming out of the closet, or simply coming out, is a figure of speech for lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, andasexual (LGBTQ+) people's self-disclosure of their sexual orientation (or lack thereof) and/or gender identity.