BEING GAY IN NIGERIA
Olamipo is a male in his early 20s, he had joined a closed group on Facebook, made friends with someone and after a year they decided to meet up. He arrived at the arranged meeting place to meet the shock of his life. He found a crowd of people waiting. And they did not look of the friendly disposition.They beat him, stripped him naked, and threatened to drown him in a nearby canal.He pleaded for his life and till this day cannot recall the face of the lone Voice who said “No kill am, leave am, make him go tell others wey be like am of him experience today. e go teach dem lesson”. That’s the only reason he is alive today. Ola was gay and Lonely and was looking for a Lover instead he almost met his death.
Another 33-year-old man who asked to be known as Vincent, spoke to Reuters described his experience on a night out in Lagos, when he and his male partner were caught cuddling in their car by the police.
“They Angrily stripped us naked and made us lie on the floor, stamping on my back, my butt, my head, with their boots,” said Vincent. One of them said shooting us would be a waste of Bullet and that we deserved a death worse than being shot!.
These are two real life examples of the life of Gay people living in Nigeria. A country where the outlawing of gay sex is supported by nine in ten people.This narrations come as a shock given that recent polls had shown a slight improvement of Nigerians Disposition to Gay people.
A 2017 survey by NOI Polls compared attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Nigeria against a 2015 poll.
It found a 7 percent increase in acceptance of LGBT people, and a 9 percent rise to 39 percent of those surveyed who think that LGBT people should be allowed equal access to public services such as healthcare, education and housing.
“These changes might look small, but let us acknowledge the progress,” said Olumide Makanjuola, executive director of The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS), a charity working to protect the rights of sexual minorities in Nigeria, which commissioned the survey.
“The fact that there is a small differential is important to acknowledge. Nigeria is not an easy place to have such conversations.”
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill in 2014 criminalising same-sex relationships in Nigeria, despite pressure from Western governments to preserve the rights of gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups with penalties of up to 14 years in prison.
Last week, 54 people went on trial on charges connected to allegations that they were celebrating a gay wedding.
Acts of gay sex are illegal in 32 countries across Africa and persecution of gay people is rife across the continent.
Many African political and religious leaders argue that decriminalising homosexuality would be akin to promoting it and that it goes against their traditions and culture. So it should remain a taboo in the country.
A 2016 report by Human Rights Watch on the impact of Nigeria’s anti-gay law said “the heated public debate and heightened media interest in the law have made homosexuality more visible and LGBT people even more vulnerable.”
Vincent and Olamipo are like thousands of others walking our streets seeking any kind of Normalcy akin to what Heterosexuals enjoy. The ability to go to Movies with a Lover, go to public places and feel like you won’t be mobbed. As Vincent said ‘Nigeria is not ready yet for acceptance of LGBT like the way we dream it, maybe oneday. If i live long enough to see it.