On Tuesday, a tweet from @Cynerr framed as a question hit the internet. It’s about the idea of having a gay pride in Lagos, and the suggestion of wearing masks while the gays queer the freaking city with so much fabulousness. Also, there’s the alarming possibility that everyone would look like BDSM freaks but hey, it’s OK. Since Tuesday, the tweet has sparked conversations on Twitter and the reactions from Nigerians have ranged from shock to praise to dripping pessimism. That said, other have used words like ‘stupid’ and ‘suicidal.’
I support gay rights. But I think the planned gay pride in Lagos is stupid. It is like putting oneself in harm’s way.
I believe the Nigerian gay community knows how maniacally homophobic Nigerians are, why then should they deliberately do thing that will attract certain attack.
— Nicholas Ibekwe (@nicholasibekwe) January 23, 2019
Nicholas Ibekwe is a known investigative journalist who has written many human interest stories, but author Elnathan John dragged him on Twitter and it was merciless.
If it is not your body, leave it. If the persons who have been denied the right to live freely as full human beings want to put their bodies on the line, keep quiet. Or join them. But you cannot say I support gay rights and say your march is stupid. This is not support. https://t.co/X1f4bGcDAW
— The Writer Formerly Known As Elnathan (@elnathan_john) January 23, 2019
The warnings from straight people, and even from so-called straight allies, telling the LGBTQ community in Nigeria to be logical and sensible regarding the march shows how privilege can be blinding. Major social justice movements and the fight for liberation all happened on the back of protests and rallies. The Stonewall Riots was a catalyst for the gay rights movement in America and around the world. In Nigeria, LGBTQ people are still being oppressed and abused and marginalised, so much so that the the Public Relations Officer of the Zone 2 Police Command Dolapo Badmos recently reinforced homophobia by asking homosexuals to flee the country or face the law.
If a gay pride March is organized and I’m in Lagos and available, I’ll be attending.
— Ehi Enabs (@ehienabs) January 23, 2019
The gay march might not happen anytime soon. But when it does, I’d be the one in the front wearing three-inch boots and tight jeans and dancing to whatever protest pop anthem the DJ plays.