Nele's Thoughts

(not so) Dearest Linda Ikeji

I have read and heard the news. Nice headline, very well schemed story, it is most definitely a honey pot, tonnes of homophobes (and co) will be sure to swarm around in a snap. Well done (?)

It is not news what you and a depressingly large number of the Nigerian media do as regards the lives of queer Nigerians. There is something tasty about it; queerness, and its related materials (which frankly doesn’t concern you in the way that you engage with it) although its form is otherwise unappealing to you, there is prospect in there for you to misguide, capitalize, and just be a ridiculously terrible person, just as there is for you to get your act straight, and try of course to be less of a terrible person.

The Nigerian media has for years treated Nigerian Queer persons with a disheartening hand of sensationalism, subjective reportage, lack of empathy (expected from people who strive to some degree for justice and social accountability). Just as the queer community has been able to slowly tear that fabric apart, it doesn’t mean that we want to continue to live with it. That LGBT persons are not seen in most parts of the world as humans first, a deplorable affair around here, but with what they identify with, doesn’t make it alright. It doesn’t mean that we are fabulous and unconcerned about it, it all still boils down to your lack of introspection, your cosmic insensitivity, driven by capitalistic gains, traffic to your raunchy blog posts, and despicable reports, and of course the need to pander to the general hatred of Nigerian Queer persons. Nobody is asking you not to talk about us, but we demand, I demand, that you tells us right! That you handle our stories with objectivity, and truth. That you stop utilizing our undeserving place in our deeply flawed society for your works that seek to endanger and hurt, complicate, and indict, misinform and perfectly perform your flawed persons.

You know how easy it would have been to just take out the essence of the story, one which is clearly not ambiguous about its endeavour to inspire, to help other people going through mental health issues to look on the bright side. You know how easy this couldn’t be one of your outing schemes, you know how easy it is to have just been human enough to identify another person as human, because guess what?

People trust you!

People look up to you for nuanced education on the matters you try to delve into, especially ones as delicate as ours. It is not enough to stash this as one of your failings, it is not enough to let it slide, because we are not all that you are implying. Our stories are worthy to be told properly. We demand that you see us as humans, and you can start doing this by being one yourself.


Nele’s Thoughts is a column run by Nigerian Writer Nele Anju. Click here for more posts.

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