1 Jun 2023

I had not fully come out. The reasons were very understandable: the Nigerian government had passed a law criminalising LGBTQ+ people with 10 years' imprisonment for any amorous same-sex relationships or even public displays of affection. I didn't even know what to call myself then or have the opportunity to be with a community. What is a community? Did that word even exist in my vocabulary?

I had survived three conversion therapies, living far away from the main city of Lagos in a very religious family. In all this isolation, fear, and void, that which I never had a language for, community, found me. Through Uyaiedu Ikpe Etim, a brilliant filmmaker and friend, I met others like me. It’s hard to articulate the joy that followed from having the freedom in that space to be myself.

Most queer individuals in Nigeria are not as lucky as I was to find that sense of belonging. When being out comes with the threat of state and non-state sanctioned violence, how can you ensure people feel safe and can flourish as themselves?

To answer that, we are building a community of young queer persons united not by our oppression and dehumanisation, but by our mutual humanity and our right to express our shared joy and strength as a harmonious community.

In Igbo, Obodo loosely translates to “village”, implying a people who have existed together since time immemorial having helped each other in times of great hardship and shared joy in periods of triumph. We have chosen this name as an ideal: hoping and working toward a future where all queer individuals in Nigeria feel such a sense of belonging. Obodo is a message to all queer persons in Nigeria that no matter where you may be or where you are from, you are not alone, you are not a mistake, and there is a family out here waiting for you.

Obodo is a city on a hill, shining in all the colours of the rainbow and calling out to all queer persons to Please Come Home.

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