A brief interview with a very brave Nigerian gay man.
By Chude Jideonwo
January 2, 2010 08:30PMT
Rashidi Williams was bold enough to speak about his sexuality in front of the National Assembly. Here is an excerpt from the interview he had with a NEXT reporter:
What was the reaction from the press and others that day at the National Assembly?
The reaction from the press was normal; interviews here and there. It was this coverage you get when there is a controversial issue going on. As for the lawmakers they were probably surprised at the enthusiasm that the hearing generated. It was an opportunity for them to learn at first hand certain things on sexuality.
What does it mean to be gay?
It depends. But in three words, it means Good As You.
What was your family's reaction to your disclosure?
My father now thinks that I am the worst of all his children. He gives me this spiritual threat all the time and certain favours I do get from him are no longer there. My mother is no different at all. As for my siblings, the attitude is; it's your life, live it.
How easy is it to be gay in Nigeria?
To be blunt it is not easy to be gay in Nigeria. You already belong to a minority group and upon that you are being marginalised.
Are you a Christian? If so, how do you reconcile this with the Bible that expressly prohibits it?
I would not say I go to church but just once in a blue. But I have been able to reconcile my spirituality with my sexuality. Need to say that I will not go to a church that is exclusive in its gospel. God knows my sexuality and my capabilities. Conservative Christians make the mistake of gathering of facts, doctrinal system and a list of rules for thinking. There is so much loss of what God has in store for his children as they walk through creation discovering his handiwork.
Tell us about yourself - your background?
I stopped working as a medical laboratory technologist and now direct an NGO that is concerned about LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) issues in Nigeria. I finished from Accra Polytechnic in 2008 and I am doing my Post Graduate Diploma in Science and Technology Management
You have a... boyfriend?
Yes I do. But he is not out.