Interview with Nigerian German writer, Olumide Popoola

SOGI Nigeria has published an interview with Nigerian / German writer and performance poet, Olumide  Popoola in which she speaks of identity and on organising around queer issues in Nigeria.

How does your identity play a part in your writing?
I think my life, not just my personal one but what I see on the perimeters of my horizon(s), is reflected in the characters I create. Themes that interest or disturb me in real life find their way into the story. What I can personally imagine possible, permeates the work.
What was the coming out process like for you? How did your family react?
Only my father had trouble with it at first, initially disowning me for a while. But we reconciled and he was then genuinely fine with it (he passed a few years back). Funny is that his reasoning for accepting me was the fact that I am half German. That made it somehow OK.
What’s your opinion on the current state of queer issues in Nigeria, especially the pending anti-gay legislation? How can we work on improving the situation?
Awareness. It takes a lot of brave people to stand up and say things, contest homophobic attitudes in public. Recently a straight Nigerian man stated on facebook that he wanted to de-friend all homophobes, as he was tired with their un-informed and ignorant views. The vendetta was endless and painful to follow. He had incredibly well scripted arguments, based on thorough research and quotes from the bible to defy the common same-sex un-African and un-Christian claims. Yet the hatred was potent. Again, in the end his own acceptance was explained on the fact that he no longer lived in Nigeria, which was an untrue claim.
I think that a lot of organizing and lobbying is happening continent-wide and hopefully it’s a matter of time for more and more people to speak up and defy homophobic views. Networking and being supportive in the way that we can is important. Listening and following the lead of local activists and which direction they are taking in addressing the issue..  Continue reading here

From “Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spiritual”