Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill in 2014 criminalizing same-sex relationships in Nigeria, regardless of pressure from Western governments to uphold 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 fourteen years in prison. The regulation has led to a growth in extortion and violence against LGBT people and imposed restrictions on nongovernmental organizations providing essential services to LGBT people in Nigeria.
The wearing of tattoos, dreadlocks hairstyle, sagging trousers and the painting of hair have become a style among young men and women. Harassment, beatings, public shaming, anti-gay laws, and knowing that brazenly homosexual people are forced to flee are some of the reasons why most Nigerians choose to cover their sexuality.
Regardless of the SSMPA, the Federal Government has said homosexuality is booming in the country, as a new generation of Nigerians are showing more tolerance towards sexual diversity.
Nigerian youths are now publicly clamoring for the legalization of gay marriage and are boldly taking the campaign to the National Assembly to push for it as an essential human right. Additionally, numerous online communities have emerged within the LGBT community in Nigeria, allowing people of the same sexual orientation to share ideas, experiences, and ultimately meet one another.
It is pertinent to state here that no one has yet been convicted of homosexuality in Nigeria. This is a pointer to the partial acceptance of LGBT in the country.
Victory over homosexuality and same-sex marriage appears is in sight as European and American nations are taking turns to pass legislation that seeks to legalize the activity. In 2016, hundreds of same-sex couples in Chile headed to registry offices to celebrate civil unions, which became legal for the first time in the country.
Many African political and religious leaders argue that decriminalizing homosexuality might be corresponding to promoting it and that it goes contrary to their traditions and culture.
Writer, Investigative journalist, and Social media expert.