Blackmailed with nudes, Nigerian lesbians find safety outside the closet


After swapping nude photos with Blessing on WhatsApp, Chioma set out to meet her prospective lover but was accosted on the road by a man in military uniform who accused her of “lesbianism”. The man told Chioma he was going to strip her naked and take her to the Nigerian police, as instructed by Blessing’s father, a senior army official, as same-sex relations are a crime punishable by up to 14 years in jail in the west African nation. “I started begging him and asking him what he could do to help me because I didn’t want to go to prison,” said Chioma, a student in her early 20s, who declined to have her real name published. But the man took her to a hotel where he raped her.

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