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As Ban Looms, Gay Nigerians Enjoy A Night Out

6a00d8341c730253ef017c33704433970b-800wiNigeria's House of Representatives is currently reviewing a Senate-approved law that would expand laws against homosexuality there to include not only a ban on same-sex marriage, but also one on any LGBT gathering, including night clubs. As the law is debated in corridors of power as well as on Nigeria's streets, BBC News traveled to an underground gay club in Lagos, Nigeria's capital, to get a sense of what it's like to be gay in the African country.

From that report:

"A friend invited me here a few months ago," one chatty spectator says excitedly. "I love this place because it makes me feel at home."

This gathering of members of the gay and lesbian community in Lagos is held regularly, albeit discreetly, but it could soon be illegal.

The vast majority of gay Nigerians may not be interested in this kind of event but they still have to hide their sexuality in this conservative society.

Despite the jovial atmosphere, there is heightened caution, and no-one is allowed to take any photos.

The thought of being identified as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in a country where the public still turns to mob justice haunts some here.

And that is a huge concern for Richard (not his real name): "If you don't become discreet and try to hide yourself, even the man on the street will want to also act on the bill because it has been passed."

"If you're walking on the street and he stones you, he knows the law would stand for him because the law is against you."

A number of foreign nations have condemned the potential Nigerian law, but proponents are using this international opposition to bolster their argument: homosexuality is a colonial creation being imported from abroad. Opponents, meanwhile, insist laws against sodomy and gay people are the real colonial remnants.

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  1. Another colonial creation is foreign aid. Britain and others have indicated that prosecution of LGBT citizens and visitors will be a human rights violation disqualifying the offending country from such aid. Nigeria receives $625 million in US foreign aid alone.

    Posted by: turing's ghost | Jan 2, 2013 12:26:32 PM


  2. my heart aches for them.

    note to the miserable self-styled "post-gays" who rattle off their list of White First-World Gay Problems: don't your complaints about The Scene seem rather petty and pathetic, now?

    Rail against "the scene" whilst elsewhere in the world oppressive governments are working hard to ensure that any "scene" is never sufficiently and solidly made.

    if you'd like to know your history, take a look around and see how our Past is currently someone else's Present.

    And may that galvanize you to become a force of positive change.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 2, 2013 12:52:19 PM


  3. @Turing's Ghost: US economic and military aid to Nigeria in 2010 was $460 million. Not exactly a pittance, but not as much as you said.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 2, 2013 1:07:00 PM


  4. I'm glad they have something positive going for them, but it sucks that they have to live in perpetual fear of brutality and murder. Trust me, I've lived 17 years of my life there, and it's as backward, homophobic, and hypocritical as countries come. Needless to say, I never want to go back. Sadly, as soon as I'm done with college, I'll have to. But please, don't cut aid to that country. As angry and disgusted with my fellow citizens as I am, I don't want to see so many people die from starvation. Majority of the aid gets embezzled, but the little that trickles to the masses is vital.

    Posted by: Deee! | Jan 2, 2013 2:34:54 PM


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