i am Naija through and through. Naija born. i am queer or same-gender-loving. i am an artist, filmmaker, performer and organizer. i am gender non-conforming.
i am free and the light!

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peace seyi!

Posts tagged same sex marriage


May 16, 2013
@ 2:35 am
8,898 notes


Here is the thing I can’t stop thinking about with what’s happened here in Minnesota over the course of the past week: the display of support in the Twin Cities was staggering.  The level of f*cks not given to those who might be offended by this acknowledgement of equal rights under the law was amazing.

But mostly, mostly.  I think about a queer kid, riding in the back of her parents’ car seeing the city lit up like this.  Maybe she hasn’t come out yet, maybe she’s been bullied, at home, at school, for being who she is.  I can only imagine what seeing this would mean.  And then I get teary and proud all over again.  

Way to go, Minnesota.  Who’s next?

(via harlemheartbeatvillagesoul)


Mar 29, 2013
@ 2:57 pm
44 notes

soy tortillero y capitan: "Marriage Equality" »


As part of a great thread about “marriage equality” on facebook, Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis provided an amazing and powerful list of resources for further reading. With his permission I thought I’d pass it along to others who might be interested. (Feel free to share)

This is what Joseph…

I have compiled a list of recommended readings for anyone who is interested. 
There are lots and lots of others, especially scholarly articles from academic journals and books, but these are some of my favorite ones that can be accessed free of charge

by Queers for Economic Justice

by the Audre Lorde Project (2000)

by Richard Kim and Lisa Duggan (2005)

by the April Working Group / Queers for Economic Justice (2006)

by Tamara K. Nopper (2012)

by Lisa Duggan (2004)

by Kenyon Farrow (2011)

by Kenyon Farrow (2005)

by Marlon M. Bailey, Priya Kandaswamy and Matt Richardson (2004)

Martha Jane Kaufman & Katie Miles (2009)

by Terry Boggis (2012)

by John D’Emilio (2006)

by Rosa Gaia (2011)

by Heather Tirado Gilligan (2011)

by Scot Nakagawa (2013)

(a really cool radio documentary)
by Lisa Dettmer


May 18, 2012
@ 2:25 pm
70 notes


Michael Eric Dyson on President Obama’s stand on same sex marriage 

If you want to get into his BREAKDOWN… skip to 3:54. HE GOES INNNN!



Dec 9, 2011
@ 9:11 pm
22 notes

Queer Alliance Nigeria Statement Same Sex Marriage Ban

lets stand in solidarity with queer africans, queer folks and all the oppressed world wide.


Statement on Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Distinguish Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Members of the Press,
 My Fathers and Mothers,
Fellow Nigerians,
I stand before you today to appeal to your conscience not to promote discrimination and hate towards some Nigerian citizens who for the dilemma of their sexuality cannot speak for themselves. My name is Rashidi Williams, the Executive Director of Queer Alliance Nigeria. Queer Alliance works to promote the well-being and advocate for the rights of sexual minorities in Nigeria. I am proud to identify as a gay man of African and Nigerian descent.
At this point in the history of our country, it is important to note that we are going through a period in which the decisive support for the rule of law, principles of freedom, artistic and intellectual expression, association, religious liberty, dignity of the Human Person, freedom from discrimination of all sorts, an open society and the respect, protection and fulfillment of the rights of all Nigerians have become an absolute necessity.
According to the World Health Organization; sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. Sexuality is also influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, cultural, ethical, legal, political, historical and religious and spiritual factor. It therefore suffices to say that homosexuality is inherent in a particular percentage of the citizenry of our country.

Sexuality is a core component of what makes us human beings. Same Sex attraction as we know is not a matter of choice. No one will willing choose to belong to a marginalized group within any particular society. It is already a trial to survive the hardship of our nations let alone the discrimination we face as sexual minorities. We believe that our sexuality is God-given and that it should not be a basis for discrimination against us.

Nigeria’s constitution guarantees every citizen their fundamental human rights. The Chapter IV of the constitution gives a list of these rights. Notable is the Right to the Dignity of the Human Person, The Right to Freedom from Discrimination and The Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association. Our signatory to international covenants and treaties (notably Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women etc.), recognizes the fact that we know and acknowledge that sexual orientation and gender identity is and should be a protected clause in the context of human rights. It is also means that as people and a country, there is sexual diversity amongst us.

The Right to Freedom from Discrimination has been interpreted internationally to include freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While the constitution endorse the Right to Freedom from Discrimination, discriminatory and repressive laws found in the Penal And Criminal Codes of the nation gives a breeding ground for the perpetration of hate crimes and violations of human rights on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in the country. This bill which is coming on the heels of penalizing legislation will further make life difficult for sexual minorities.

Distinguish Senators, in Nigeria violence against sexual minorities are frequent and occur on a daily basis, mostly under-reported. People with same sex orientation are being attacked by members of the society, using the discriminatory laws that exist in our statue books and religious texts to fuel their acts. These people go unpunished for these dastardly acts. This bill will escalate the tension that we are already experiencing as a result of our sexuality. Discriminatory laws found in the penal and Criminal Codes also prevent sexual minorities from seeking redress because state actors, especially law enforcement agencies use these laws to further abuse and violate their human rights. The killing of Innua Yakubu, a student of the Government College, Jigawa in 2002.  Innua Yakubu was tagged gay by his classmates. This is a vivid example of the daily horrific experiences that sexual minorities in Nigeria go through. 

May we also call the attention of the distinguished Senate of our country know that there is no place or evidence in Nigeria today that supports or affirms that persons with same sex orientations are getting married.  We believe that what this bill seeks to penalize is non-existence and therefore means that the bill to prohibit same sex marriage is null and void.

Our beloved country has committed herself to numerous Human Right treaties and convention under international laws of the United Nations and Human Rights Commission which expands on the understanding of sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity. We need these signatories to show in the protection of the lives of citizens of this great country that identify as same sex oriented persons. As citizens of Nigeria, we have contributed to the development of the nation, albeit in the closet of our humanity because of the laws present in the statues books of Nigeria.  We cannot stand or sit by any longer and watch our lives and dreams shattered all because of our sexual orientation and gender identity; a dilemma that we cannot overcome.

The last three word of the first verse of the National Anthem reads ‘Freedom, Peace and Unity’ for all its citizens. The proposed bill is a tear off this part of Nigeria that guarantees freedom to all its citizens as enshrined in the1999 Constitution. Our quest for development as a nation, meet the challenges of the Millennium Development Goals and attain vision 202020 in the light of the current transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan Administration cannot be realized if we continue to have discriminatory and repressive laws in the statues books of Nigeria or legislate to make abuse and violation on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity possible. It takes away our rights as sexual minorities to contribute to the development of our country. Freedom enshrined in the respect for the rights of every Nigerian is essential to the development and growth that we all yearn for as a country. Furthermore, sexuality, sexual health and sexual rights are related to almost all the Millennium Development Goals of which we are still struggling to achieve as a country. This bill makes that largely impossible.

Initiatives to promote rights and an open society where everyone can sit at the table irrespective of their status, inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity and proffer solutions to the myriads of problems facing the country should be keen on the minds of everyone, now that Nigeria seeks to be among the 20 best economies of the world in the nearest future.  In this light, this bill is totally unnecessary and we as citizens of Nigeria urge the Senate and other bodies, to open up possibilities of discussing human sexuality in an open atmosphere rather than debating to further criminalize people with this orientation where it is already illegal and criminal. 

In conclusion, we also as citizens of Nigeria pledge to our dearly beloved nation that we shall continue to be faithful, loyal and honest regardless of the seasons, peace or tribulations, we shall serve Nigeria with all our strength and uphold the dignity and honour for all rightful citizens, Help us God. Thanks for your attention and we are indeed better off as a country without this bill.

Queer Alliance in the light of the proposed bill therefore urges the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:

·         Recognize the importance of sexuality and sexual rights in the lives of all Nigerians and the role of sexuality in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

·         Take measures to protect the rights of every Nigeria irrespective of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

·         Repeal, amend or review laws relating to sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity that are discriminatory and repressive in the statues books of Nigeria

·         Legislate to protect from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!


Dec 9, 2011
@ 9:07 pm
13 notes

Nigeria Senate bans gay marriage

homophobia at its best.  punishing and criminliazing queer people their allies and anyone else who would want to support them.  this bill is rediculous, only about oppression, and fear when it is already illegal to be gay in nigeria. why the move to ban same sex marriages or queer marriages and public display of affection now? is there not enough there is poverty, wide spread corruption people go without in an oil rich country, rolling black outs, environmental pollution, war, etc. and this just doesnt go for nigeria other global nations including the u.s. too.  its a move to advert attention from real issues in the world and the fact people are mobilizing against their oppressors/government and winning.  scapegoating and diversion tactic from the real enemy.

we need to continue standing up, working together as queers and allies in the face of blatant hate.the world has had enough already.





Nigeria Senate approves bill banning gay marriage, groups in Africa’s most populous nation

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria’s Senate voted Tuesday to criminalize gay marriage, gay advocacy groups and same-sex public displays of affection, the latest legislation targeting a minority already facing discrimination in Africa’s most populous nation.

The bill, now much more wide-ranging than its initial draft, must be passed by Nigeria’s House of Representatives and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan before becoming law. However, public opinion and lawmakers’ calls Tuesday for even harsher penalties show the widespread support for the measure in the deeply religious nation


 S“Such elements in society should be killed,” said Sen. Baba-Ahmed Yusuf Datti of the opposition party Congress for Progressive Change, drawing some murmurs of support from the gallery.

Gay sex has been banned in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people, since colonial rule by the British. Gays and lesbians face open discrimination and abuse in a country divided by Christians and Muslims who almost uniformly oppose homosexuality. In the areas in Nigeria’s north where Islamic Shariah law has been enforced for about a decade, gays and lesbians can face death by stoning.

Under the proposed law, couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. That’s an increase over the bill’s initial penalties, which lawmakers proposed during a debate Tuesday televised live from the National Assembly in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

Other additions to the bill include making it illegal to register gay clubs or organizations, as well as criminalizing the “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly.” Those who violate those laws would face 10-year imprisonment as well.

The increased penalties immediately drew criticism from human rights observers.

“The bill will expand Nigeria’s already draconian punishments for consensual same-sex conduct and set a precedent that would threaten all Nigerians’ rights to privacy, equality, free expression, association and to be free from discrimination,” said Erwin van der Borght, the director of Amnesty International’s Africa program.

Yet across the African continent, many countries already have made homosexuality punishable by jail sentences. Ugandan legislators introduced a bill that would impose the death penalty for some gays and lesbians, though it has not been passed into law two years later. Even in South Africa, the one country where gays can marry, lesbians have been brutally attacked and murdered.

Nigeria’s proposed law has drawn the interest of European Union countries, some of which already offer Nigeria’s sexual minorities asylum based on gender identity. The British government recently threatened to cut aid to African countries that violate the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. However, British aid remains quite small in oil-rich Nigeria, one of the top crude suppliers to the U.S.

A spokesman for the British High Commission in Nigeria declined to comment Tuesday, saying officials wanted to study the new version of the bill first.

The bill also could target human rights and HIV-prevention programs run by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Nigeria, which has the world’s third-largest population of people living with HIV and AIDS. A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman declined to comment.

International opinion didn’t seem to trouble lawmakers, who at times laughed at each other during the debate. One senator worried the bill would hinder the tradition of Nigeria’s Igbo ethnic group in the southeast to have infertile wives “marry” other women to carry their husbands’ children. Another said gays suffer from a “mental illness.”

Senate President David Mark at one point started laughing when a senator proposed 40-year prison sentences for gay couples who marry.

“Forty years, that is just too much,” he said. “He won’t come out alive now.”

Before the vote, Mark did acknowledge the nation likely would face criticism. However, the lawmaker said Nigeria would not bow to international pressure on any legislation.

“Anybody can write to us, but our values are our values,” Mark said. “If there is any country that does not want to give us aid or assistance, just because we hold on very firmly to our values, that country can (keep) their assistance. No country has a right to interfere in the way we make our own laws.”


Associated Press writer Yinka Ibukun in Lagos, Nigeria contributed to this report.


Nov 30, 2011
@ 1:27 am
5 notes

Open Letter to LGBT Nigerians and Diaspora: Stand Fast, Change is Coming


First off, Nigeria’s new Same Gender Marriage Prohibition bill that has just passed through the senate is not just cruel, it is impractical.

The government is not thinking beyond the sentence itself. 10-14 years imprisonment of all LGBT Nigerias, and supporting organizations and allies? If the government were to move ahead with prosecutions, there really would be no space in the prisons to hold us all.

But this bill isn’t just about targeting LGBT people, is it? There’s already existing language in the constitution prohibiting same sex relationships (with harsh prison punishments, and under Sharia Law, death).

And as for marriage? Who’s trying to get married? Outside of the major cities, LGBT Nigerians live in fear and isolation. They can barely meet each other without being stalked for blackmail, let alone plan gay weddings.

Don’t let the name of this new bill mislead you from the senate’s real intent: quelling the uprising against oppression that they sense happening all across Africa, and the world. From Egypt to Libya to Wall Street, people’s attitudes are changing, their perspective shifting to a new world — corrupt laws are being broken, and hearts are being won. So now, Nigeria’s government is using fear as a tactic to silence anyone (in this case, in Nigeria) from “daring” to raise the issue of discrimination and maltreatment of an entire group of people.

Despite push-back from a lone senator on the redundancy of this bill, there are debates already happening in Nigeria as to how to expand the reach of the bill to criminalize anyone who supports LGBT people; this includes individuals or organizations that engage in activities that express (or directly relate to providing)  support of Nigeria’s large, yet mainly underground queer community.

Here’s the goal: to be able to prosecute human rights organizations who have been long time advocates for LGBT and gender equality in Nigeria. By signing a witch-hunt into law, the bigots in power are attempting to strip LGBT Nigerians of their allies as well, and that is what is most troubling. It is one thing to persecute a group of people — it’s morally reprehensible to cut them off completely from their support networks, and blackmail them by threatening the livelihood of their families and friends who would stand up for them.

Yet, despite the unspeakable cruelty of such a strategy, this blatant human rights violation by the Nigerian senate is just a sign that our corrupt leaders in power — political opportunists disguised as “cultural guardians” — are afraid. 

Yes — they are afraid, of our voices, of our power, of our resiliency. They are afraid of a younger generation of citizens, activists, and diaspora, and our collective belief in a more progressive Nigeria. They are afraid of our growing influence as we gather allies not just from the west, but from our fellow countrymen. They don’t want to see it happen — our liberation — but they will. They want to maintain the status quo — even to our country’s detriment — but they will not succeed. Stand fast, change is coming.

Nigerian LGBT activists — both in the country and outside of it — are standing up and fighting tirelessly for our liberation. They are bravely sharing their stories, organizing political protests to engage Nigeria’s policy makers, building inter-organization coalitions to provide support West Africa’s LGBT youth, advocating for the safety of Nigerian lesbians from sexual assault, and doing much more in their various capacities.

Do not let the applause from naysayers deafen your senses to the stampede of Nigerian activists — both straight and gay — marching onward despite resistance. Do not let the western media’s romanticized pity stories manipulate you into thinking that you are alone. You most certainly are not, and will never be — not while Diaspora and allies around the world are watching. Remember that, and do not abandon hope for fear.

Today, the Nigerian senate drew a line in the sand and seemingly pushed us back, but as sure as the sun rises, we stand on the right side of progress; it is they that are ostracizing themselves from an inevitable future — a Nigeria that doesn’t make scapegoats of its citizens for the sake of snubbing western threats, a Nigeria that doesn’t condone sexual violence against women as punishment for not conforming to gender roles, a Nigeria that is free of discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, a Nigeria that we can all be proud of.

Remember this day in history: Tuesday November 29th, 2011. The senate rang a bell when they passed that bill. Now, let us answer, resolved. Let us prepare our spirits for battle. Let us make sure that change heeds their call.


Oct 1, 2011
@ 1:10 pm
8 notes

Senate to ban gay marriages in Nigeria »


The senate, on Tuesday, took a strong stand against same sex marriage in Nigeria in an all-in-favour debate on a bill prohibiting same sex marriage in Nigeria.

The bill, sponsored by Domingo Obende (ACN Edo State), is the first none executive bill to be discussed by the senate. It was first read at the senate on 13 July this year.

Debate over same sex marriage is growing across the world. While some countries have legalised it, others are considering adopting it and few conservatives have taken similar strong stands against it.

“We as a country need to act very fast for this trend not to find its way into our country,” said Obende. “Same sex marriage cannot be allowed on moral and religious grounds. The Muslim religion forbids it. Christianity forbids it and the African traditional religion forbids it. It should not be allowed because it will lead to a breakdown of the society.”

All senators that debated the bill at the Tuesday plenary accepted Obende’s line of argument. “It is morally and spiritually wrong and unacceptable,” said Oluremi Tinubu (ACN Lagos State).

Same sex marriage is loathed in most African countries and gay parties engage secretly for fear of being lynched if discovered. It is regarded as both spiritual and moral abomination.

Nigeria, however, has a sizeable number of gay couples, although not legally joined.

Penal Codes in Nigeria already prohibit same sex marriages or carnal knowledge against natural order in Nigeria. Homosexuality can land men up to 14 years in prison in the South and capital punishment for men in areas under Sharia Islamic Law.

In the past, proposals to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage and severely punish convicts were promoted twice but failed each time.

[read more]

(Source: , via actionchick)


Aug 6, 2010
@ 3:47 pm
2 notes

Convincing straight Nigerian men that Queers are ok

I remember memorial weekend 2010 in a dorm room in Connecticut having an argument about the existence of Queers in Nigeria.  Arguing with two Yoruba men that being queer is the anti-thesis to traditional Yoruba religion and being an Nigerian.

 I was in a room with my eldest sister, her son, my Yoruba father and his friends and peers.  These two men had just flown from Nigeria to see their daughter at this exclusive & elitist high school that was bigger than a college campus.  There were both Christians’ who were tolerant and understanding or indigenous Yoruba spirituality.  I did not know one was a lawyer who is invited around the world to set up law institutes and train new lawyers, etc.  The other uncle was a doctor.

 They asked me about my studies and I told them I was in graduate school.  My uncle the lawyer says in Yoruba to my father there is nothing wrong with me getting married as I finish my 2nd degree and move onto my 3rd one.  What caught my eye besides them expecting me to marry a man was that he used the gender she when talking about the person I could marry.  His mixing up his pronoun caught me

  My attention was hooked because my partner has just broken up with me a couple of days before.  S/he is gender queer, a Naija_boi and we had planned a future involving children and I thought this would be the person I would actually marry.  So I was in the mist of a break up and my heart broken when they chose self over us and over me. 

 When I answered I didn’t want an husband I was willing to keep it at that.  When they pushed further I told them the issue is the womyn/ boi I wanted to marry just broke up with me.  For me it was the first time I admitted to myself I wanted to marry my Naija_boi.  So instead of being in a place of not being triggered and have this conversation about Queerness or choose not too, I engaged in a conversation with them because I couldn’t have one with my ex-partner.

 I choose to engage in am homophobic conversation about Queers.  The out come and the time surprised me.

I am glad my Nigerian father was in the room when this conversation happened.  When I came out to him in 1997 he called me an abomination.  He even kicked me out of his house and threatened violence when I came to visit him.  How do you kick someone out with no place to stay especially when they don’t like in that town.  Anyways many arguments, disownment, curses, violence, etc later he was present to this conversation with other Nigerian men.  He also did not make a ruckus or speak up during this conversation.

The conversation was fucking out of control I must say.  It went from them asking me if I tried reconciling my homosexuality  and being with a man, to them telling me we were deviants and not normal.  They blamed being gay on the President Babangida who was a military man and gay.  He wasn’t out about it but people knew his male lovers, who he brought homes for, etc in the 1980’s.  They also blamed it on the whites that this was not indigenous to the country.  You know they found all the ammunition they could find to say it wasn’t natural or African or Nigerian

 My favorite was gay say they are born this way and want rights.  Pretty soon people who practice beastiality will say that they are born this way and want rights to be able marry or be with their animal lovers.

That’s when I said this is disgusting and dehumanizing that you would compare of the same gender or gender expressions who are in love to people who hav sex with animals or dead people.  Along with saying you don’t really want to have this conversation.

I wish I had the presence of mind to say these animals do not give consent.

 I am glad I asked them how do you know you are straight?  Did you try being with a man to find out you weren’t gay?  To my surprise they both answered that they were with men and tried it.  One said he didn’t like it and the other stated it just wasn’t who he is.

 Im glad I said at the end people are born who they are and if society let us alone, there would be peace in the world. If people stopped trying to kill us or change us.  We would be fine.  If society had equal rights and human rights for all we would be chilling and content

My lesson was folks if people ask who are you and how do you know?  I am Queer because I am Queer.  That’s who I am just like there is air and we breath.  I am! Leave the rest of the bullshit, homophobic, transphobic and heterosexist conversation alone.  If you want to engage ask them how do they know they are straight?  Who I love is who  I love and choose to make love to.  I am not knocking who your wth so leave me be.

I write  this for all folks here and abroad afraid of things that are different, to be easy.  For folks afraid to come out to your parents, especially your immigrant parents to do it. The life and suffering you will spend in the closet and not being able to talk about your future Igbo wife or walk down the street holding her hand isn’t worth it.

I am not saying it is always easy to come out that there isn’t risk or violence possible.  I am saying its worth it to come, to be yourself, happy and comfortable trather than hiding your very being and essence.  Especially as privileged folks living in the U.S.  we have it considerably easier to come out than folks living in the countries we immigrated from in the developing world.  That’s another story to come of being Gender Queer and in Nigeria.

 Come out come out where ever you are.  Allies will come your way.  I just got the number and email for a Queer Nigerian brother doing workshops and organizing in Lagos, Nigeria, with other Queers mostly men.

Create a life for you. Be out and the universe will create and send people to support in making that dream come true.  So the lost of my Naijaboi caused me to convince one straight Christian Nigeria doctor to believe its o.k. for Queers to be and accepted by society.  So a good thing came out of the break up.

Holla at your Naijaboi Seyi. Peace


Aug 6, 2010
@ 3:42 pm

Colour me gay (Part II) Nigeria 2010


The executive director of The International Centre for Sexual Reproductive Rights, Dorothy Aken’Ova, told the News Agency of Nigeria earlier last year that given the right and safe atmosphere, a very large number of women in the country would prefer same-sex marriage because that is the only way they achieve sexual satisfaction, adding that many women pretend to be in heterosexual marriages while keeping lesbian partners.

Her group, she said, has 53 registered lesbians from various parts of the country, adding that many others identify with their activities but are not courageous to register. An official of Alliance Rights also said it has more than 2,000 registered homosexuals in the country.

No matter that Nigerian gays are actually getting bolder, they cannot afford to live openly just yet. “It is dangerous to be out,” Toyin said. “Anybody, from a motor park tout to frustrated men, who I turn down their advances could attack me. It would not be easy to be out in Nigeria, not in this century.”


Beyond just the risk, there is the reality. There were reports last year that a man in Lagos was attacked and killed by a gang claiming “they were ‘cleansing’” Lagos of homosexuals. There was yet another of a gang of boys in Port Harcourt that reportedly raped five lesbians saying that they were “‘curing’ them of homosexuality”. Muslim and Christian leaders have also found a rare consensus on this issue, and vocally too.

“This is a satanic attack on God’s Church,” Peter Akinola, head of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria once boldly declared, adding, “I cannot think of how a man in his senses would be having a sexual relationship with another man. Even in the world of animals, dogs, cows, lions, we don’t hear of such things.”

Laws against homosexuality

In any case, it is illegal to be homosexual in Nigeria. Under Chapter 21 of Nigeria’s Criminal Code 1990 entitled “Offences Against Morality,” homosexual acts between men are illegal and may be punished by jail terms of up to 14 years. Furthermore, Sharia penal codes, as introduced in northern Nigeria since 1999, criminalise what is termed as “sodomy” (anal sex), which covers other types of non-conformist sexual behaviour or acts. In the 12 northern states that have adopted Sharia law, men convicted of homosexual conduct may be sentenced to death and women may be whipped or imprisoned.

In 2008, the members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill to outlaw same-sex marriage. The bill was passed in January 2009 and was referred to House committees for study and public consultation.

Domestic and international human rights organisations have decried the bill, saying it will worsen the climate of violence and intolerance towards homosexuals. These organisations include the Nigerian Bar Association, the Human Rights Institute, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on gay rights, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, amongst others.

Of course, there was also overwhelming support for the bill. In a March 25, 2009 editorial, for instance, the Daily Trust called on elected officials to ban “all forms of gay activism”, saying “(l)et their march on the National Assembly be the last gay assembly to be witnessed in Nigeria.”

NGOs to the rescue

The huge task that the growing number of sexual rights non-governmental organisations have set for themselves is one of making homosexuality a valid lifestyle in Nigeria, even if people don’t exactly embrace it.

“If I am to make a guess as to what gay people would aspire to,” said the novelist, Jude Dibia, whose first book, “Walking with Shadows” was groundbreaking for being sympathetic to its gay protagonist, “I would say it is the right to be seen as normal people, with a hope that society does not judge them based simply on their sexuality.”

The first step towards this is the dismantling of certain popular stereotypes. “There is no special sign that can be used to identify homosexuals,” Sewedo Akoro of TIPER informed me. “I know some men who are very effeminate but they are not gay and I know some men who are macho yet they are gay. There is no stereotypical way of identifying anyone who is lesbian, gay or bisexual.”

“I see homosexuality in the light of the fact that some people are righthanded; some others cannot help but be left handed,” Unoma Nguemo Azuah, a university professor of Literature in the United States of America, as well as a research specialist in the area of sexuality issues in Nigeria, said. “Whatever the case, no one deserves to be castigated, killed or tortured for who they are sexually, as long as they are two consenting adults and are not physically harming anybody else.”

Jerome Onipede, a personal counsellor and relationships coach, agreed with this somewhat, though he insists that being gay is a “problem”. “There are certainly people that are born gay irrespective of what others think,” he said. “Have you ever seen a girl of five years old flirt with all the men that come into her parent’s home that the parents always feel uncomfortable and have to keep telling her to stop disturbing all the uncles that come to the house? If you follow up on her as she grows, you will realise that she eventually starts to sleep around. Was she born that way? Yes! Was she created that way? No.”

Right to live

Mrs. Aken’Ova said at a press meeting a few months ago that “Research findings have shown that four per cent of the world population is gay.” This figure can be expanded to 10 per cent when it includes other sexual minorities including transgender and inter-sex. “These people, though in the minority, did not create themselves. They should, therefore, enjoy the right to live their lives,” she said.

Another member of INCRESE, Victor Ogbodo, said “if they are accepted by the public for what they are, there will be less marital problems because members of the opposite sex will have known before getting married to them,” he said.

Toyin prays for the acceptance. “It is forseeable in the future. And in some instances, some people don’t care. But the reality of remaining in the closet for the rest of my life is scary and depressing,” she said.

Mr. Onipede also said society should open its arms, if only to save homosexuals from themselves. “Their situation is real, so I believe they have rights whether we give them or not,” he said. “When we accept people with this condition even if we don’t want to have anything to do with their condition, maybe we may help as many as possible to get out of the condition.”

How I was made

Chinedu, however, sharply disagrees with this. “I have realised that God has given me power (love) to choose my destiny and his love is the reason why am able to do many things. I don’t justify this to anybody because it’s my personal relationship with him,” he said.

However, it is Bisi Alimi that seems to clearly state the manifesto for those who are gay and happy to be that way. “We don’t ask that they accept us,” he told this writer in a magazine interview after his famous NTA sitdown five years ago. “All we ask is that they let us be.”


Aug 6, 2010
@ 3:32 pm
7 notes

Nigeria: Homosexuals Storm National Assembly


Nigeria: Homosexuals Storm National Assembly

Tashikalmah Hallah

12 March 2009

Openly gay people yesterday stormed the National Assembly in Abuja seeking for legislation that will guarantee the protection of what they termed their right to determine their sexual orientation.

At a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Human Rights, Women Affairs and Justice, the homosexuals also decried moves by legislators to pass a bill that seeks to prohibit and criminalise same sex marriage.

The public hearing was for an “Act to prohibit marriage between persons of same gender, solemn-isation of same and for other matters related therewith.”

Speaking for Queer Alliance, a group in the forefront of agitation for the abolition of all forms of discrimination against homosexuality in Nigeria, a youth, Mr. Rashidi Williams said that homosexuality “which is a private decision does not in anyway impinge on the rights of others.”

"We are law abiding citizens and have not fallen into any problems with the laws. None of us would want to be discriminated against because of our sexuality that we have no control nor have we chosen. It is already a trial to survive the hardship of our nation let alone the discrimination we face as sexual minorities," he added.

Williams pleaded with lawmakers to look at homosexuals as God’s creations that shouldn’t be discriminated against, just as he urged the committee to discard the bill.

"We believe that we are created by God and do not wish to be discriminated against, we seek your help and appeal to you all to lay this bill aside. We ask that the House of Representatives and our lawmakers work with us to understand the concept of sexuality and sexual orientation through our experiences and not create laws that punish us needlessly."

Human Rights Watch in collaboration with Global Rights, all with headquarters in the USA also opposed the criminalisation of same sex marriage in Nigeria.

In a joint presentation, the duo likened the bill to one proposed by former Minister of Justice Mr. Bayo Ojo, which according to them would have punished with imprisonment not only “the registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, sustenance, procession or meetings” but any “public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and private.”

They argued that the present bill “appears to have a more limited purpose, but in fact perpetuates the same potential for serious human rights abuses.” They said the bill won’t serve any immediate purpose since Nigerians are not clamouring for it.

According to them, “marriage between persons of the same gender is not now legal in Nigeria, and there is no possibility of its recognition without specific state affirmation…Imposing criminal penalties on this particular form of marital relationship is redundant. It can only be construed as an effort to further stigmatise relationships between persons of same gender-and to provide additional grounds for official harassment, arrests and persecutions of anyone even suspected of such a relationship,” they added.

Groups like Sexual Minorities Against Aids in Nigeria (SMAAN), BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, Amnesty International and Changing Attitude Nigeria all spoke against passage of the bill.

However, an overwhelming number of people at the public hearing, especially religious bodies, supported the enactment of the bill.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in its presentation said it “strongly supports this bill and wants the members of the National Assembly to ensure that it is passed. Every country has its laws; there is nothing like a universal law and you see weird ways of life affecting our people negatively. Christians and Muslims are strongly against homosexuality.”

On its part, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) said “same sex marriage is out to foist on the world a false sense of the family which will bring disastrous consequences to mankind.”

It added that “same sex marriage apart from being ungodly, it is unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian. It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country. Outlawing it is to ensure the continued existence of this nation.”

Fellowship of Christian Patriots (FCP) for its part said “God in his infinite wisdom, made sex enjoyable in order to encourage indulgence in it, for the purpose of procreation and not merely for hedonistic pleasure.”

It added that bill was just like anti-suicide legislations: “Nobody accuses society of infringing the human rights of citizens when it outlaws suicide, which it does to protect the society from self-destroying itself.”

Meanwhile, a forum of civil societies and human right groups, the Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Right in Nigeria, has opposed any legislation by the National Assembly to prohibit and sanction people involved in same sex marriage.

Coordinator of the forum, Dorothy Aken’Ova, told journalists yesterday in Abuja that the bill before the House of Representatives, Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2008, is a distraction and an infringement on rights of individuals.