In a country where we have only had one man come out on national television, public declarations of sexuality are a hot topic. A conversation that has surfaced again now that a new season of Big Brother has started, one specifically targeted at Nigerians. One of the housemates, Miyonse has proven himself quite the playboy in the one week they have been in the house, aggressively pursuing relationships and sexual dalliances with several female housemates. Despite this very visible ‘attraction’ to women, there seems to be a consensus among fans and watchers of the show that Miyonse is actually gay. They have no concrete evidence, no past sexual partners, no ‘suspicious’ intimacy with other male housemates; other than the fact that he fits a type.
This isn’t the first time a housemate’s sexuality has overshadowed their time in the Big Brother house. Ebuka, the current show host had his time in the house marred by rumours, and Uti Nwachukwu has had rumours from his time on Big Brother follow him for nearly a decade. Neither of these men publicly identify as gay or bisexual and have come out to refute these rumours, in Uti’s case repeatedly, which seems to fuel them even more.
This begs the question, does fame invalidate a person’s right to some privacy? And also, at what point does it become paramount to ‘out’ a person?
The answer to the first should be obvious. Big Brother was a contractual obligation to give us access to every aspect of their lives for 90 days. After that, their right to privacy is something we should respect.
The answer to the second is trickier. There are questions to be answered. There are some instances where it is paramount when other people’s health/lives are compromised by a person’s sexual activities/proclivities.
Then there are trickier instances. When Venture capitalist Peter Thiel was outed by American web gossip rag Gawker, they suggested they did it because Thiel openly supported organisations that sought to persecute LGBT people and had business dealings with countries that persecuted LGBT people. They argued that because he was insulated by his wealth and privilege he couldn’t see the damage he was causing and outing him would force him to stop or change. They believed their cause was noble, even though their methods weren’t.
It did neither and instead led to their downfall.
So, can we please let Miyonse enjoy his time at the Big Brother house and not let our collective need for drama make an intelligent young man’s life any harder than it needs to be.