First of all, let’s start by seeing that the Nigerian government banning Twitter during Pride month is possibly peak homophobia. Twitter has been a digital safe space for queer Nigerians and has provided them with a community, which is commendable considering how much the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act fractured the queer community and social life.
Today, as we wait for further news on the Twitter ban in Nigeria, we’re celebrating Pride Month by speaking to five Nigerians about how Twitter has helped changed their lives.
I realized I was non-binary through Twitter. I thought I was just a very fem gay boy for a long time. It was when I joined Twitter and met people that I learned what it means to be cis or trans. Twitter walked me through my transition, the name change, moving to a new apartment, and everything else. I probably never would’ve known what it is like to be comfortable in my skin.
I met my partner on Twitter and best friends on Twitter. I didn’t have a community in any way for a long time until I discovered the queer side of Twitter. It’s funny but straight people don’t realize how essential having a community is to a person’s quality of life. Twitter gave me a community.
I got sexually assaulted almost two years ago by someone who wanted to ‘cure me of lesbianism’. I didn’t know what to do because if I told my family, they would just blame me. So I tweeted about it and a girl who works for an NGO DMed me. She gave me directions on how to get medical help and sent me money. When I explained that it was a case of corrective rape, she helped me make security plans and eventually to transfer to a different university.
In 2019, I got fired from my job because my boss discovered I was gay by seeing my Twitter account. When I shared that on Twitter, people surrounded me and showered me with love. Someone also gave me connections with a company to join as their intern which I did, now I’m a full staff. That was only possible because of Twitter.
I came out to my parents late last year and I thought they would be supportive. However, they weren’t and became bullies. They bullied me and even called a pastor to come and pray for me. I asked someone to create and share a GoFundMe page for me on Twitter. They did, and that was how I got enough money to leave my parents home and enough to survive on till I found my feet.
- Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.