Homophobia has been passed down from generation to generation using unfounded claims and myths. Last week, we covered 5 myths that stand in the way of queer liberation ranging from the doubtful claim that sexual orientation is a choice to the unfounded lie that paedophiles are part of the queer community.
Here are a few more myths which form the basis for queer discrimination in Nigeria.
Myth 1: Queer people are more promiscuous
The idea of the rampaging, predatory same-sex individual has been propagated and reinforced by the way the media portrays queer people.
However, research shows that this idea is fundamentally flawed. There is nothing particularly remarkable about the sex life of a queer person in comparison to that of a heterosexual. In other words, the average queer person is just as inclined to a stable, monogamous relationship as the average heterosexual. Similarly, both heterosexual and queer people can have casual relationships.
Myth 2: Discriminating against homosexuality is a Christian obligation
While there is still an ongoing debate about what the bible actually says about same-sex sexuality, owing to different interpretations of certain verses, what is not contestable is the bible’s teachings about love.
Thus, using God and faith to enforce fear, discomfort or oppression, in any form, against other people, regardless of sexuality, is, in fact, the opposite of Christianity and should not be tolerated.
As Pope Francis declared in a recent tweet, “God has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want His name to be used to terrorise people. We call upon everyone to stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism.”
God has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want His name to be used to terrorize people. We call upon everyone to stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism. #HumanFraternity
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 22, 2020
Myth 3: Depriving queer people of their human rights is justified on the grounds of religion, culture or tradition
The Nigerian constitution states that a citizen, without discrimination, is entitled to “…the right to life, …the right to dignity of human persons…the right private and family life… the right to freedom of expression… the right to freedom of movement…the right to freedom of association and assembly…the right to freedom from discrimination…”
As a country, Nigeria has a legal duty to protect these basic rights of everyone, including queer citizens. But, the government has instead put into law the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which not only obstructs the right to freedom of queer citizens but has created a climate where queer people are harassed, tortured, sometimes even killed.
While religion and cultural beliefs are open to a variety of interpretations and can evolve over time, human rights are universal and fundamental. Interestingly, the constitution also entitles every Nigerian to the freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief, therefore, there is no justification for using the religious or cultural beliefs of some to create laws that directly interfere with the rights of others.
Myth 4: Queer people are trying to force their lifestyle on heterosexuals
This is yet another propaganda used by anti-LGBT to silence queer voices. They claim that queer people are trying to rub their lifestyle in the faces of everyone.
Queer people are not asking to be celebrated. On the contrary, they are asking to peacefully co-exist. They only want to be able to enjoy the basic rights that every human being is entitled to and to be able to live without fear of being imprisoned or attacked for living their life in the way that is natural to them.
These are some more myths that we need to disabuse ourselves of in order to create a safe environment for queer Nigerians.