Gay celebrities in Nigeria: 10 queer stars who are out and proud
Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and can attract a prison sentence of up to 14 years. Additionally, Nigeria is a largely religious country, with Islam prevalent in many Northern states and Christianity in most Southern states. Therefore, there aren’t many gay celebrities in Nigeria who come out publicly.
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While many Nigerian celebrities are rumoured to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, only a few have come out publicly. Coming out could mean risking their livelihood, social ties or physical safety. Despite the risks, they chose to live their lives as their true selves.
Gay celebrities in Nigeria
Only a few public figures in Nigeria have come out as members of the LGBTQ+ community. Here are 10 queer stars who are out and proud.
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Temmie Ovwasa is a visual artist, poet, singer and songwriter known as YBNL princess. Temmie is openly gay and revealed that she knew about her sexuality from age 5. Her debut album, E Be Like Say Dem Swear For Me, is hailed as the first openly queer album in Nigeria.
Temmie has revealed that she doesn't want to have children in future. She considers herself “heterophobic” and wouldn’t be happy if her child turned out heterosexual. She is a radical feminist and is outspoken against sexual abuse, especially against children.
Jide Macaulay is one of the most controversial celebrities who are gay in Nigeria since he is also a priest. In 2019, he caused some public debate after he declared that he would like to get married to his boyfriend. He was in a particularly tough position because of the SSMPA law, which got a lot of religious support from both Christian and Muslim factions in the country.
Reverend Macaulay is ordained by the Anglican Church of England. He founded House of Rainbow, the first Christian church that caters to the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria. He is an LGBTQ+ activist and has coined multiple mnemonics for ‘GAY’, including ‘God Accepts You’ and ‘God Admires You’.
Bobrisky is Nigeria’s most famous transgender personality. She is an entrepreneur, an LGBTQ+ activist, a beauty influencer and social media personality. Bobrisky regularly encourages other transgender young people, advising them on how to be their most authentic selves.
She is very outspoken about her lifestyle, often making her a target for conservative Nigerians. Bobrisky officially declared her pronouns as “she/her” in 2019 and deleted all her pre-transition photos from her Instagram page. She also revealed that she undergoes liposuction surgeries in Dubai as part of her transition to attain a flawless female figure.
Pamela Adie is a filmmaker, screenwriter, activist and public speaker. She is a passionate LGBTQ+ activist. In 2019, she wrote, produced and directed the LGBTQ+ documentary, Under the Rainbow, based on her life. She also executive produced the first gay film in Nigeria, Ìfé, in 2020.
Although Pamela Adie is one of the most vocal openly gay celebrities in Nigeria, she was once married to a man. However, she revealed in an interview that she knew it was a mistake only 24 hours into her marriage. Adie went to therapy with her ex-husband, but nothing could fix her feelings. However, she said that everything finally made sense when she came out to herself.
Akudo Nzubechi Oguaghamba
Akudo is an LGBTQ+ activist, founder, and Executive Director of Women’s Health and Equal Rights Initiative (WHER). She is on the leadership committees of other human rights organisations, including the Solidarity Alliance for Human Rights (SAHR).
Speaking in a talk, Akudo Oguaghamba revealed how she struggled to figure out her sexuality alone, as finding other queer women in Nigeria was difficult. In 2016, she was at the forefront of the campaign against the SSMPA law, wich prohibits homosexual marriage.
Regina George Grause
Regina George is a Nigerian athlete who sprints in the 400-metre category. She was born in Chicago, United States, to a Nigerian father and a Venezuelan mother. After representing the United States in the 2010 World Junior Championships, she chose to represent Nigeria. She has bagged 1 bronze, 3 silver and 2 gold medals for Nigeria in individual and relay 400m races.
The 31-year-old sprinter is out and proud. She was in a relationship with American high jump champion Inika McPherson, which they announced on social media in 2014. Their couple photos have since been taken down, and Regina George has remained tight-lipped on her romantic life.
Adebisi (Bisi) Alimi
Born Ademola Iyandade Ojo Kazeem, Adebisi Alimi is an icon among gay actors in Nigeria. He was the first ever Nigerian celebrity to come out as gay on live television. Although he revealed that he did not regret the move, it changed the course of his life and greatly impacted his acting career. Adebisi is now an HIV and LGBTQ+ activist and a sexual rights advocate.
In 2014, his university threatened to expose his sexuality by publishing a photo of him with his then-boyfriend. In response, he went on the talk show New Dawn with Funmi and outed himself to the whole country. Following the announcement, he was harassed by the police and attacked in his home. He fled to the United Kingdom and has not returned to Nigeria since.
Chike Frankie Edozien
Chike Frankie Edozien is a Nigerian-American journalist and author. Born in Nigeria in 1970, he started his journalism career in Port Harcourt. He studied for his journalism degree in New York and had an illustrious career with top American news agencies like ABC News and the New York Post. But his career was not without its challenges, as he is an openly gay man.
Chike Edozien chronicled his experience as a gay celebrity in Nigeria in his memoir, Lives of Great Men. The book also talks about the experiences of LGBTQ+ men and women all over Africa and the diaspora. Although he is outspoken about his sexuality, he keeps his romantic life private.
Bolu is a model and LGBTQ+ activist, but he is most popularly known as the son of politician Doyin Okupe. He runs an online store where he sells LGBTQ-themed merchandise. He also joined OnlyFans in 2019, making him the first among Nigerian gay celebrities to openly do so.
Bolu came out as gay on Instagram in 2021. He received both support and backlash, but his father was his loudest critic. Doyin condemned his son’s sexual orientation, saying it goes against his Christian faith. Doyin was the presidential aide when the SSMPA was signed into law.
Despite his father's strong disapproval, Bolu continues to be outspoken about his sexuality. In an interview in 2021, Doyin stated that he believes that his son’s sexuality is a result of living in Europe. However, Bolu insists that he knew he was gay at age 10, and it had nothing to do with living in Europe. He hopes to have children of his own in future.
Ayodele is a Nigerian journalist and author. She identifies as queer and non-binary and is open to both ‘she’ and ‘they’ pronouns. Ayodele’s writing focuses mainly on African feminism and its various forms, LGBTQ+ representation in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, and Yoruba spirituality.
Additionally, Ayodele Olofintuade is an outspoken feminist and activist. Through her literature, she has highlighted important topics in Nigeria, such as child trafficking, marginalisation and economic inequality. However, she prefers to keep her personal life private.
Recently, some public figures have come out to support gay celebrities in Nigeria. However, public opinion and the law are still against the LGBTQ+ community, so celebrities often stay in the closet. Even so, some public figures have been brave enough to come out, even with all the associated risks.
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