Olumide Makanjuola, the Nigerian LGBT rights activist, has published a book on the lives of gay men titled ‘Love Offers No Safety’.
‘Love Offers No Safety’ explores how queer men living in Nigeria navigate family dynamics, friendships, romance, and societal expectations.
Speaking on the project, Makanjuola said the purpose of the book is to create a “free and equal” society for gay men to love and be loved.
Makanjuola said the book, which is a collection of different stories, also reflects on how the LGBTQ community “need to treat each other well”.
“The story is personal and it was important to me that we can create a society where people can be free and equal,” he said.
“I wanted to tell a story that can change how people see each other, how a mother sees her gay son, how a sister sees her gay brother or how a friend sees their gay friend and understand that they can create an environment for people to be, to share love and be loved.
“I also relate with many of the stories in the books as a queer man, so having the contributors share with us to share with the public is a great honor. More importantly, these experiences matter and someone has to share them so that others don’t feel alone.
“The stories that you will find in this book cuts across family, friendship, sadness, love, and pain. This reflects our society and how we have treated each other and why we need to treat each other well.
“I have spent the last few years working to tell stories of LGBTIQ person because this is important. It is part of the ways in which we are going to change the society. Also, we have a culture of silence in Nigeria.
“Stories make the world smaller, and stories remain one of the ways we connect to each other. We are living in a society that is working so hard to erase LGBTIQ people existence.”
Speaking on how his family background shaped his outlook on life, Makanjuola said growing up, he was allowed to “have an independent mind”.
“My mum’s family are very free people, and they are very expressive about many things, and sometimes that could be bad, but in this case, it gave me freedom and alternatives,” he said.
“My environment was never a challenge to my imagination and this was because I had books, film and things that shaped my world view, brought others’ perspective beyond my immediate environment, and enabled me to think broadly.”
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