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Niyi Ademoroti: If You’re Homophobic, Own It!



Things we know for a fact: homophobia is a norm in Nigeria. Maybe it’s the religion – because, you know, we’re very religious – but we don’t abide gay people. It’s our 21st century culture, an inheritance from colonial rule. Our idea of love is a man and a woman, anything else is an abnormality.

Homophobia is so normal in our country that we have a law against same-sex acts, where people found guilty could spend 14 years of their lives in jail. We’re so homophobic that the popular phone brand, Infinix, perhaps aware of their target market – the uninitiated – took out an ad in the University of Port-Harcourt, asking that students to “Say no to Lesbianism, Homosexuality and Drug Abuse.”

(Ignore the lesbianism/homosexuality tautology, it’s hardly the most ridiculous thing about it – although it definitely is indicative of the ridiculousness.)

Why then do we continue to insist on refusing homophobia as a label?

I’m not homophobic. I don’t judge people. This will never look normal to me.

At least two tweets in similar configuration have been in heavy rotation on Twitter, gathering thousands of retweets. They both reference photos shared by black American men in relationships, men being in love and minding their own business.

Homophobia is defined as the dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people. Prejudice is preconceived judgement or opinion, basically close-mindedness, or the damage that results from it.

The easiest way to put into perspective why saying two people in a relationship – homosexual love – will never look normal is homophobia is to imagine the same is said of black people. Let’s imagine that what was said was, I’m not racist and I don’t judge people but this picture of black people in love will never look normal to me, or maybe, this picture depicting interracial love will never look normal to me. Because that is what the photos depict: love. And maybe what those people who say they’ll never find it normal think they mean when they say they don’t judge is that just seeing it is what irks them, not the idea of two men in love, after all, they won’t beat them up or deny them opportunities. But we can’t remove the physical manifestation of homosexual love from homosexuality. That’s what it is, “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions.”

To describe the mere existence of another as abnormal is prejudice. And prejudice against homosexual people is homophobia.

It’s important to clarify that your inability to see the normality in two people of the same gender being together is your fault alone. We may try to shoulder the blame on our society or the reality of things, how Nigeria is today, but the responsibility to begin to see it as normal is yours alone. And if you can’t, then simply own the homophobe label. It’s yours.

What the people who quote these tweets of homosexual love, announcing their failure to see it as normal, refuse to know is that: it is looking at the photos shared in the tweets, simply looking at them and opening the mind to seeing how random it is, how effortlessly human it is, how it’s just two people in a relationship, in love, that leads to them to begin to see it as normal.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Niyi Ademoroti is the Features Editor at BellaNaija and an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His writing has appeared in AGNI, Hobart and The Republic.


  1. Ada

    November 19, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Why are you reposting this article? It was largley ignored by commenters including myself probably because of all the fallacies this “nonconformist” article contains. But you’ve thrown a bone, so I’ll bite.

    “an inheritance from colonial rule. Our idea of love is a man and a woman, anything else is an abnormality.”

    Please do some research and stop regurgitating what faux intellectuals have been spewing in the name of faux pan-Africanism. Homosexuality, since the beginning of time, has been limited to a minority of the world’s population by and large. Whether in Africa or abroad. Because of this, it is often viewed as an abnormality. Don’t make it seem like the only reason Nigerians are “homophobic” (I use the term very loosely, in the manner that your are using it, which I will get to in a minute.)becuase of colonial rule. There are homophobic English and American people whose ancestors were the colonisers. Psychology and common human experience will tell you that human beings don’t exist in a vacuum. They are largely shaped by the society of the upbringing and living.

    Pray tell, how do you want people who are exposed to something they’re not conversant with to react? Of course it’s an abnormality. It is abnormal because it is not the predominant sexual behavior in society. Please note that I haven’t made any moral judgment to homosexuality. Even today, homosexuals are still a very tiny bit of the world’s population.

    “Homophobia is defined as the dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people. Prejudice is preconceived judgement or opinion, basically close-mindedness, or the damage that results from it.”

    I quite agree with the first half of the above definition. But humor me, Niyi, and tell me how “I’m not homophobic,neither do I judge how others live their live (sic) but this will never look normal to me” equates to an intense dislike or disdain for homosexuals. Your premise is that you’ve put human beings in a very narrow and simplistic vacuum. That because he doesn’t see homosexuality as normal, suddenly equates to him hating the individual who is homosexual. Surely you know human beings are not that one dimensional. One can disagree with an opinion and still respect the person holding such opinion.

    Don’t let the West bring that faux intellectualism down to Nigeria because that’s exactly what it is. It’s clear you think that way because to you, anyone who does not see homosexuality as abnormal is “close-minded” Please bear in mind that one can know all the facts and history surrounding homosexuals and homosexuality and still consider it as abnormal.

    “To describe the mere existence of another as abnormal is prejudice. And prejudice against homosexual people is homophobia.”

    What books have you been reading Niyi? I could see why this would be an issue if your sexuality is the center point of your existence. But newsflash, Your sexuality DOES NOT define you, and equating a disapproval of the so-called normalcy of homosexuality to prejudice is awfully simplistic and asinine.

    So much more to pick in this articule but I don’t want to bore anyone so I’ll summarize it this way:

    I’m not denying that there are indeed homophobic people in Nigeria. What I am really trying to stress is that there are also people in Nigeria and the world at large who look at homosexuality as abnormal and leave it there.
    Yes, it may surprise you to know that they don’t go around throwing homophobic slurs, have good relations with homosexuals, and agree that they (homosexuals)too have and deserve fundamental human rights. I’m trying to point out is that your conclusion that a disapproval of homosexuality equates to homophobia is so so so wrong.

    • Fleur

      November 20, 2018 at 1:00 am

      Why do gays always lead in every Space with their Sexuality? who wants to know? Imagine if I went to the bank to deposit Money and I lead the Conversation with” I’m heterosexual.” or I go to a job interview and rather than indicate what Skills I bring I mention my Sexuality. This is how you sound-
      Employer- Ms. X Tell us about your interest in this company
      Employee- I prefer to have sex with men.
      Gay people, that is how you sound each time you force conversation about your sexuality onsomeone. Wait until you are discriminated against before inundating the world with your bedroom preferences. I mean only your God cares about this for real.

    • Peter

      May 29, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      You are very ignorant

  2. Saywhatnow

    November 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    I don’t get how..people who don’t find being gay normal,have got to be called homophobic, homophobic means having a strong dislike or phobia for gays,so if I say I can never see it as normal, doesn’t mean I have a “strong dislike for them or have a phobia for them” the way I see it now if you don’t Approve of homosexuality, you are termed homophobic, gross error. I don’t Agree.

  3. REX

    November 19, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    How can you compare homosexuality to racism? You must be sick! People who write articles defending this sickening act should be prosecuted. I can’t understand why two men would rather screw each other, just the same way I can’t understand why some men are sexually attracted to children. Am I a hater for not understanding a peadophile’s attraction to a child? Mind you, they can’t help falling in love with children.

    Should we also understand and excuse bestiality? Do we also have to understand Female Genital Mutilation? If something doesn’t make sense, it’s pointless trying to understand it.

    Don’t make me feel guilty for not understanding homosexuality. I’m not a hater – it doesn’t make sense, period

  4. Nunulicious

    November 19, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    We know this strategy. Niyi, how much were you paid for this. Sponsorship of a book? Attending a course abroad? We know una type.

    • Elle

      November 19, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      I tell you. Sellouts. The article was deliberately ignored the first time, and this yeye BN reposted it.

  5. Manny

    November 20, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Dude, you like to make up things e.g. “It’s our 21st century culture, an inheritance from colonial rule.” Oh please

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