Why LGBTQ+ Nigerians fear heading home for Christmas

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12/14/2023

Christmas can be a fraught time for LGBTQ+ people, some of whom might be estranged from their families while others dread festive gatherings with intolerant relatives. But LGBTQ+ Nigerians who celebrate Christmas face a double whammy of social stigma and a legal ban on gay sex in the deeply religious country, where many reject homosexuality as a corrupting Western import. Some Nigerians decide to go back into the closet for the duration of the festive season, hiding their true identity when they visit their families. “Going back home during the festive season, I wasn’t open with my siblings,” said Ernest, a 25-year-old gay man living in the southern city of Port Harcourt. He asked for his surname not to be used for personal safety reasons.

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