My Father Wants To Kill Me Because I Am Queer

May 7, 2021

As told to Mariam

I put a call out for women to tell me the things that affect their mental health most. In Ada’s* message, she said her parents found out she is queer. I was curious about how that played out and I asked more questions. Here’s what she told me:

queer

I am the first daughter of my Igbo family. This means I am expected to act a certain way and live a certain life as my parents’ daughter. They hate that I prefer wearing a T-shirt and jeans to the things other girls wear so my mum buys dresses for me often. She also makes sure I wear makeup before leaving the house because according to her, it makes me more womanly and more likely to find a husband. Even now that I am 26, they still insist on knowing the exact places I’m headed when I leave the house. It’s been difficult to break free from them especially because I am queer. 

I have always known I liked girls. When I was about 14 years old, my mum had this friend she visited often, who had a daughter called Nkem*. Most times, I went with my mum to her friend’s house so I could see Nkem. She was so beautiful. She was a year younger than me so we bonded fast. We would watch movies, play video games or just talk when there was no light. I found myself drawn to her in a way I didn’t understand. I guess she felt the same way but we both didn’t know how to say it. One day, when I was at her house playing video games, as usual, she kissed me and I liked it. After the kiss, we just stayed there, leaning on the bed frame, holding hands. That was the day I confirmed I was queer. 

Before then, I thought it was a phase that I would get over. I knew I liked some of the girls in my class in secondary school but I stayed away from them, hoping the feelings would go away. I started dating guys to distract myself but the relationships never lasted. I would kiss them but I didn’t want to do anything else with them. When my friends talked about having sex with their boyfriends and I couldn’t relate because it wasn’t something I even desired. 

I kept forcing myself to like guys until I got into the university. I thought I had a problem because conversations with guys were always awkward. Trying to get intimate with them was even worse — it didn’t feel right. But talking to girls was easy. In my first year, I had a crush on a girl that lived in my hostel but she was three years ahead of me. I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world but I never told her because I was scared of how she would take it. 

In my second year, I met Isoken*. I liked her and she liked me too. We would always hang out together and if we weren’t able to, we would be texting each other. I knew what we had was love so I brought it up one day and we talked about it. That’s how we started dating. Sex with her was epic — I finally understood what my friends were always gushing about. But we also had our issues. She’s from a religious home and was committed to going to church. Whenever we kissed or had sex, it was bittersweet for her because even though she liked it, she felt like she was sinning against God. One day, she loves me and another day she’s sad because she thinks God is angry with her. I understood it because I was a worker in my church at the time but I had gotten to a point where I knew nothing was wrong with me. I would tell her this but it wasn’t enough. 

We had to end our relationship after eight months because she couldn’t deal with guilt anymore. I cried for weeks because we had both decided to stay away from each other so we could heal. It felt like hell but eventually, I got over it and was able to be friends with her. I continued dating other women after her until I graduated from university. 

Since I returned home from school, my parents have been asking me for a boyfriend. My mum said she has never seen me with a boy before and my dad agreed. I told them I was too busy to sustain a relationship. This excuse worked until sometime during the lockdown. My dad noticed that I had not been wearing the dresses my mum bought me. He asked my siblings if they knew what was going on with me. It was funny to me because they are just clothes. However, one day, I had just returned home when my dad cornered me in the kitchen. He said, “I know you are a lesbian.” Before I could respond, he grabbed my phone. Then he said, “Open it before I slap you.” I did. He went through my pictures. He read my messages with women I was flirting with and some groups I was in with other queer people. He called me a disgrace to our family. He followed me around for the rest of the day calling me names. 

The next day, he asked me to pray with some bible verses against the spirit of homosexuality. I pretended to so we could move on but that wasn’t the end of the harassment. A few weeks later, my father grabbed my phone again and went through my messages. He slapped me and kept insulting me until it was time to eat. Another time, he used a koboko to flog me, while threatening to kill me, “aka m ka m ga e ji gbuo gi ma obu na I choro I kwusi I bi ndu ndi okpo ntu.” That’s when I knew that I was living with a psychopath.

What scares me most is how my father doesn’t care about how I feel or what anyone else thinks of how he treats me. I have always been the perfect child — the one with good grades and a calm demeanour. He doesn’t think of that when he is hurting me. He calls me an abomination whenever he gets the chance. On some days, he wants me to go for deliverance to cast the demon out. On other days, he is convinced he can cast it out himself. My siblings can’t do much for me except console me after his rage has subsided but when he’s there, they have to act like they hate who I am too. 

I have fallen into depression. I have bad dreams where he is beating me nonstop until I wake up. I am now under a form of house arrest. No one can come to visit me and I can’t go out unless I am supervised. They know I’m a strong-willed person and I could run away but where would I go? I am glad I have my phone and I can still talk to some of my queer friends. I made a burner account on Twitter that I log out of often because I realised my dad could be monitoring my main account. I delete texts as soon as they come in so he doesn’t find them. I try not to spend time on my phone when I am in front of my parents or answer any calls so they don’t get suspicious and ask questions. Every day feels just as painful as the one before. I don’t know how I am ever going to leave this hell. 

Subscribe here.

Mariam Sule

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

August 18, 2020

“Women hate women” is a statement people peddle to try and discredit all the ways women continue to help themselves day after day. Well, we got nine women to remind us, by telling us the various ways their female friends or even random women have been there for them. Buchi My roommates are basically like […]

April 27, 2021

Period poverty is when you cannot afford proper hygiene products during your period. Products like tampons, menstrual cups, sanitary pads, etc. These seven Nigerian women share times in their lives when they have experienced period poverty. Ade, 20 There was a time I had to used paper towels. Luckily, I happened to find an actual […]

August 31, 2020

As told to Eris Ekanem I had a conversation with a 24-year-old who suspects that her husband cheated on her with his cousin while they were still dating. She talks about the age difference between them, the disrespect she had to endure while dating him and the choice she had to make. There are so […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

June 17, 2021

While smart investing is a sure way to build and retain wealth, it can be a daunting prospect for beginners. In the same vein, it is a lot easier when you understand the various options in which you can invest and ultimately grow your wealth. Here are some options you can consider when taking the […]

June 17, 2021

The BBNaija Lockdown Reunion (2020’s edition of Big Brother Naija) show will air on the 17th of June 2021. Keeping with the tradition of the show, the reunion will be hosted by Ebuka Obi Uchendu and will feature some of the BBN: Lockdown housemates talking about memorable moments from their season while also hashing out […]

June 17, 2021

Union Bank has announced a nationwide campaign to give away 55 Million Naira to new and existing customers in its ‘Save & Win Palli’ promo. This is another way the Bank is offering Nigerians some relief (a.k.a. ‘palliative’) from the economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues. During the promo period […]

June 17, 2021

Everyone has those small, seemingly minor things that turn them off people, commonly called an “ick”. We spoke to seven men about what their unforgivable, weirdest ick is and they had some hilarious answers. Dave People who are too eager are my biggest icks. Maybe it’s my fear of commitment, but the more someone makes […]

Recommended Quizzes

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

More from Her

Acne
June 16, 2021

Dealing with acne is never easy. From random people recommending products to you to the self-esteem dip, everyone has their story. In this article, seven Nigerian women talk about living with acne.  Khloe, 22  I was 14 the first time I noticed acne on my face. It was my first year in university. I didn’t […]

June 16, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is a 25-year-old Nigerian woman who has travelled to over fifteen countries alone. She talks about how this love for travelling started, the way she’s stigmatised at airports and in hotels, and her dream to attend aviation school. What was growing up like? Life was good until […]

menstrual cups
June 15, 2021

As inflation happens and prices of products across the country increase, more Nigerian women are moving away from pads to more sustainable sanitary products. In this article, five Nigerian women talk about their experience using menstrual cups.  Elizabeth, 19 Sanitary pads never did it for me. Getting good sanitary pads was a real struggle for […]

June 11, 2021

How we start our day usually has a paramount effect on how the rest of our day goes. When you love a woman or want to move to a woman you like, it is important you send her beautiful messages to put her in the right mood. Here’s a list of helpful ways on how […]

June 11, 2021

We have written about some of the ways the Twitter ban affects Nigerians. Here’s a list of the ways the ban affects Nigerian women. It will affect their access to: 1. Learning opportunities Twitter has always been a source of information to many women. In an article published yesterday, some women talked about how they […]

June 10, 2021

Feminism is a diverse movement that aims to liberate women and other oppressed groups. Each feminist’s path is different from the next. In this article, I asked eight Nigerian women why they became feminists, and here’s what they had to say:  Kay, 26 I was a feminist even before I knew what the word meant. […]

consequences of teen pregnancies
June 10, 2021

I read a lot of books growing up about the consequences of teen pregnancies and it was always interesting to me how teenagers were treated without a care in such conversations. Nothing about how they feel or how it happened and how to prevent it — just age-old fear-mongering. In this article, four Nigerian women […]

Nigerian female lawyers
June 9, 2021

This week is one of those times where we, as a country, wonder if the constitution is simply a suggestion. Many lawyers have complained of studying and practising law in a lawless state. Like with most issues, women’s experiences take a unique form. In this article, nine Nigerian female lawyers talk about practising law in […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X