A Nigerian man publicly came out as gay via an Instagram poll and then people sent him death threats.
27-year-old Daniel ‘Yomi Asaya was born in Benin City in Nigeria but moved to the UK in 2014.
He works as a consultant and director for House of Rainbow – an ‘inclusive, welcoming and affirming religious community to all people including sexual minorities and marginalized people.’
But until recently, he wasn’t completely out as gay to all of his friends and family.
This is because homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, punishable by death in some areas, or up to 14 years imprisonment.
For many years, Daniel believed his homosexuality was a ‘demon’ or ‘disease’ inside of him.
He was raised in a Christian home and specifically remembers crying in his room after every church service ‘for God to change’ him.
When he moved to the UK, he said he finally got the ‘liberty’ that he deserved as a ‘human being’.
He added: ‘There was no longer a law that will send me to jail for being me without causing harm to anyone.’
Daniel lived out and proud to most friends in the UK, but still concealed his sexuality to people in Nigeria.
Last week, his friend sent him a message saying they ‘defended’ his honor after someone called Daniel gay.
The friend argued Daniel couldn’t be gay because he’s had a girlfriend before in Nigeria.
Then Daniel decided enough was enough.
On why he decided to come out now, Daniel told Gay Star News: ‘I was tired of living a lie and I wanted people around me to start loving me for me and not their own idea of who I was.’
So he took to Instagram with an Instagram poll, embedded into his Instagram story.
He wrote in the post: ‘Let’s address the elephant in the kitchen, shall we? Lol.
‘Tell me what you think – Do you think Daniel is: Straight or Gay.’
After the vote, he wrote ‘True’ next to the gay result and used the hash tag ‘Now You Know’.
Coming out to family
He then sent a screenshot of the poll to a group chat with his family back in Nigeria. Alongside the screenshot, he wrote a long message explaining his decision to come out as gay.
Daniel wrote: ‘Hello everyone, just wanted to let you all know that I’ve just come out as gay on my Instagram, which means this information is now public.
‘You probably may have suspected all along but my sexuality is something I’ve been struggling with since childhood (way before I came to this country) … certainly has been the reason I’ve been isolating myself from the family/church.
‘[I] finally decided to accept who I am and would appreciate some level of sensitivity, as well as supportive comments that are non-judgmental. No calls for now please. Love, Dan.’
He wrote in a later tweet that his mom ‘has been crying’, his dad ‘isn’t having it’ and his siblings are begging him to reconsider his decision for the sake of the family’s reputation.
Daniel then started posting screenshots of the reaction from other family and friends.
One of the screenshots said: ‘Daniel, are you out of your crazy mind? Just keep that rubbish away abroad because you will not live to see another day here in Nigeria. Shame on you.
But most of the other screenshots were positive messages of support.
One said: ‘Just wanted to let you know that I’m proud of you living your truth!’ Another said: ‘Well done mate! Some of us don’t even have the balls yet, but well done.’
Hopeful about the future
Daniel’s coming out story made its way onto anti-gay Nigerian online blogs.
He said there was a huge disparity in reactions from people in the UK and people in Nigeria.
He said: ‘[I] received so much love from friends and strangers here in the UK – especially on Twitter and Instagram.
‘While a lot of hate and death threats have come from some Nigerians ever since my story broke on social media,’ he said.
Daniel said he’s hopeful his family will come around to the revelation of his sexuality.
He said his family was initially ‘devastated’ but have been ‘very supportive over time’. He added: ‘They’ve reached out to ensure my safety and wellness.’
When asked if he hopes to have a close relationship with his family, he said: ‘Yes, but I know this might take some time.
‘[It] took me over two decades to come to terms with my sexuality and [it] would be selfish of me to expect them to accept me in two days.
‘They would have to go on their own journey, just like I did,’ he said.