June is the month when the Queer community gets to celebrate the joy of their existence worldwide. From marches to pride parades, balls, e.t.c, it’s a celebration of the lives of people existing loudly and proudly as their most authentic selves. We spoke to these five Nigerians about what celebrating pride month in Nigeria meant to them.
I think of pride month as independence day for LGBTQ+ people. They’re free to express themselves, marry, and live a life free from danger. But since it doesn’t apply to me here in Nigeria, I decided to look at it as me celebrating coming to terms with my sexual orientation and gender identity. I struggled with it, so pride month is my independence.
I celebrated by watching LGBTQ+ series, mostly animated, because they’re more authentic. Most non-animated series/movies gave off “let’s just add LGBTQ+ characters so it won’t look like we’re bigots” and the characters barely have personalities outside their identity.
I wish I’d gone to the parties and events people hosted and attended a pride parade or drag show. But I’m an introvert and still live with my mom.
To me, Pride is a celebration. It’s happiness despite everything happening — holding onto your community, checking up on each other. Having a month means something about me, my identity and my community. It makes me so happy.
I celebrated by publishing queer love letters throughout the month. Every one of those letters brought me immense joy. I had a pride picnic with queer people in my school, which was the highlight of my entire month. I also read queer books at home.
I would have loved to attend the queer parties and events, but I can’t come out at night, as I live with my parents. I’m bitter about that and blame this useless government for not ending the strike so I could celebrate pride properly with my friends. If everything had gone to plan, I might have attended several pride parties this year, gotten a new partner, and enjoyed my life.
Pride month for me is just a time to hang out with my queer friends and family. It’s very wholesome, I feel seen, and I don’t have to pretend I’m heterosexual. I don’t get to be in spaces like this often, so it’s always amazing. I celebrated Pride Month by going to random queer spaces looking like my gayest self — places that make me happy, and I didn’t have to bond over trauma.
Pride Month celebrates how far we’ve come as a community. Even though I can’t openly celebrate because of the homophobia, I post about queer history and culture worldwide on my Whatsapp status. If I could, I’d march the streets wearing all kinds of rainbow merch. One day, one day.
For me, pride month is the one time in my life when I find myself rid of fear. There’s something about seeing myself among queer people happy and celebrating that makes me feel like life is worth something.
I spent this month attending as many events as possible, sitting with my chosen family, watching movies and documentaries, and having dinner. I used to think I hated going out, but I don’t. I just needed to be in the presence of people to whom I didn’t have to explain myself.
I know we’re not where many countries are regarding the rights of LGBTQ+ people, but seeing people in other countries celebrate gives me hope that one day that could be us.