I can’t speak for every African country, but I can speak for mine. No matter how young you are, as a Nigerian, you must learn the rules. On the surface this looks like ‘culture’, but it’s deeper than your language, the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the hairstyles that distinguish one tribe from another, it’s the way you’re allowed to present yourself.
I was nine when I remember the adults sitting and talking about the anti-LGBT laws and imprisonment of queer people. They made jokes about them and kept saying, “That’s not how we do it here. We’re Africans, all that rubbish is for the whites.”
I watched as people made fun of anyone that wasn’t gender conforming, the jokes they made and the things they would say: “Look at that boy dressing like a girl, how can a boy have feminine features?” or “No one wants a tomboy as a wife.”
The fear of someone approaching my mother and scolding her for how I look or talk made me conform at such a young age.