Good for Uche Maduagwu!
Nigerian actor Uche Maduagwu came out as “proudly gay” on Thursday, January 28. The actor is known for appearing in some Nollywood (the Nigerian film industry) movies. The actor is most known, however, for his social media presence. On Instagram, he regularly mocks or trolls other public figures like politicians, pastors, and other actors. And it was through that social media spotlight that Maduagwu came out to the public.
On Instagram, the actor shared a picture of himself next to the text, “Proudly Gay.” He then captioned the post with the words, “Appreciate others and #share only love we need to respect peoples choices not to judge them so lets practice jesus kind of love.”
Unfortunately, Nigeria is still largely plagued with both Christian-based and Muslim-based homophobia. The country still has laws against same-sex sexual activity for both men and women. In southern Nigeria, and under some secular criminal laws in the north, being caught having gay sex can lead to up to 14 years in prison. Plus, the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act criminalizes all forms of same-sex unions and same-sex marriage.
That said, law enforcement and prosecutors are sporadic in how they handle gay sex charges. Though, that doesn’t stop everyday citizens from having anti-gay mentalities.
“Let me unfollow him,” wrote an Instagram commenter after Uche Maduagwu came out.
“Jesus is coming soon,” wrote another.
“What the hell has happened to Nigeria?” typed a third.
Though, the response wasn’t all homophobia and hate. There were messages of love and acceptance too.
“Thank you for coming out real,” wrote one support Instagram user. “We don’t need to judge anyone with their lifestyle.”
Another also responded by saying, “Sending all the love and positivity.”
Then earlier today, Uche Maduagwu released a second video encouraging other gay men to come out.
“Don’t let anybody intimidate you,” he said. “Come out. Show you’re identity. You are who you are, boy. You are who you are. Don’t let anybody intimidate you. I be gay… and I’m proud.”