Clubhouse is being hijacked by homophobes setting traps for queer Nigerians

Kenyan gay and lesbian organisations demonstrate outside the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi, one holding a yellow sign that reads: 'Nigeria: LGBTI, We are together'

LGBT+ Nigerians say they are being targeted by homophobes on Clubhouse.

For Nigeria‘s embattled queer activists, Clubhouse offered them a vital lifeline, a “safe haven”, as one told Time, for the community to gather and speak freely.

The invite-only, drop-in audio chat app allows users to listen in on conversations. But LGBT+ members say after joining, they quickly encountered rampant homophobia.

They described how anti-queer Clubhouse users are hosting chatrooms that appear friendly. When an unsuspecting user logs-in, they are greeted not by the love and freedom they expected, but seething abuse and hatred.

One user, genderqueer 24-year-old Ada, told Time: “It’s made me feel closer, more connected, and less alone.”

It’s a “lot more personal”, they said, as they can “hear their voices, their laughter, and sometimes their pain”.

This makes it all the more devastating when users fall for homophobic traps.

In one instance, a chat room header read: “Abuja LGBTQ what’s up!”

But when a user logged-in, the moderators were religious conservatives who, according to a recording of the chat heard by Time, laughed with pride at how homophobic they were.

“It is going to pain you as I am saying that I am homophobic,” one moderator said, as others laughed.

Those affected are calling on Clubhouse to take action, with some users “exhausted” by the app failing to ensure “accountability”.

Users can report conversations they feel go against the app’s community guidelines. If done in real-time, Clubhouse keeps a temporary recording to help with its investigation.

But if a user reports a since-finished conversation, a recording isn’t kept.

All reports, the app says, are reviewed and investigated. Clubhouse admins can give warnings to reported accounts or ban them altogether.

Nevertheless, many homophobes are still seen on Clubhouse, users claimed, despite the app’s rules prohibiting “discrimination” and “harassment”.

Nigeria is among the most dangerous countries in the world for LGBT+ people with threats seemingly hurled from all angles.

Human rights bosses say homosexuality “is an inch higher” than incest. Police units brutally molest and torture them. Authorities compare them to a cult. Religious leaders call them a “virus“.

PinkNews reached out to Clubhouse for comment.