Love Offers No Safety — phenomenal and thought-provoking prose that has been given wholesale to the Nigerian community. The anthology resiliently gathers the voices of 25 queer men in Nigeria, giving them a much-awaited podium for the expressions of their identity and concerns.
The rapid yet strategic stifling of queer rights in Nigeria, using the front of a cultural ideology of identity to marginalise an entire community of individuals, spurred Olumide Makanjuola — one of Nigeria’s activists and storyteller, along with award-winning novelist and queer rights advocate Jude Dibia, to team up to enhance the voices in these stories.
Enunciating the drive behind the book project, Dibia emphasizes the effect of homophobia on queer men, “Social isolation and its effect on queer individuals and communities is an issue that’s swiftly brushed over when addressing the impact of homophobia in societies like ours. Many queer men are forced into a state of loneliness as they learn to quench their identity to protect the feelings of others.”
Makanjuola complements this view, tabling the social burdens these marginalized individuals face daily, “Loneliness is something that I worry about for many queer men, especially in a society like ours where queer men have limited family and social support to be themselves and have to carry the burden of being a man and perform the responsibility of a man.”
Scheduled for release on August 29th 2023, the book revolves around the expressive first-hand accounts of the experiences and feelings of Nigerian queer men who have set up protective worlds for themselves and against each other as they bring to the world stories of love, heartbreak, rejection, struggles, and tenderness that have enveloped them.
Love Offers No Safety doesn’t stop at baring the emotions of these men to the world but also challenges the fixed ideologies of the Nigerian populace on ‘who a man is and how he is expected to act’, breaking traditional barriers that have fostered damaging limitations on the freedom to be, live and understand one another.
In the words of Tunji, a 45-year-old Lagosian who has always wanted to know what it would feel like to be truly accepted regardless of his identity, into a community he has always called home but has never truly felt like home, “One day, I’ll be able to walk into a gay-friendly restaurant boldly and freely… without fear of a mob waiting outside to attack me.’ Mdua, a 29-year-old resident of Benue goes further to attack the wrong ideology behind people’s homophobia in Nigeria. In his words, “People need to understand that no one brought homosexuality into Nigeria. The notion that being gay is Western is false.” Mdue goes further to elucidate how what the Nigerian people have taken up as a crisis, had been in existence even before the encroachment of colonizers on African soil.
Love Offers No Safety is published by a leading publisher — Cassava Republic Press — and cover design by celebrated independent British illustrator, Jamie Keenan. The book will be available in Nigeria from the 29th of August and pre-order requests can be made via https://cassavarepublic.biz/product/love-offers-no-safety/
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