Nigeria Hub




Nigerian Woman Disowns Gay Cat

According to the Nigerian newspaper Leadership, an unnamed woman in Lafia, Nasarawa determined that her cat was gay due to his attempts to mount other male cats despite the availability of females. While possible that she had a fey feline, cats will mount other males to assert dominance much like dogs do and is not sexual in nature.

CatRegardless, the woman said that he was engaged in "unnatural sexual behavior" that was "a contradiction of the laws of nature." Yes, a cat behaving naturally was unnatural.

She also offered the cat up to give away, saying, “Anybody interested in this gay cat can have it because I have no further use of it.”

When writers for Leadership showed up to investigate, the locals were reported to be cracking jokes about it.


Goldie Hawn Regrets Handshake with 'Hateful' Nigerian President

Tweet_hawn

Yesterday, actress Goldie Hawn tweeted a photo from the World Economic Forum at Davos in which she shook the hand of Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan.

Said Hawn in the tweet: "Met the wonderful President of Nigeria".

Hawn was quickly informed of the heinous anti-gay oppression Jonathan has inflicted on the country's gay and lesbians population with his signing of a new law criminalizing gay unions and gay organizations. Dozens have been arrested across the country and are facing trials in Shariah Courts, where homosexuality is a possible death sentence.

The tweet has been removed amid a flurry of responses from Hawn expressing her regret and embarrassment over the photo.


Goldie Hawn 'Met the Wonderful President of Nigeria' Today

Hawn

I wonder if they discussed the situation in Bauchi...


Mob Throws Stones into Shariah Court in Nigeria Demanding Conviction of 7 Suspected Gay Men

More ugliness out of Nigeria, via the AP:

BauchiThousands of protesters massed outside the Shariah court in Nigeria's northern city of Bauchi, throwing stones into the building to demand the speedy convictions of seven men arrested for belonging to gay organizations.

Security officials shot into the air to halt the protest and the judge quickly halted the trial. He ordered the seven be returned to the safety of the prison.

This is the same court which convicted a man last week and sentenced him to 20 lashes.

Dozens more arrests have been reported across the nation.


U.S. Ambassador: HIV/AIDS Funding to Nigeria Won't Be Withdrawn in Face of Anti-Gay Law

Financial aid on HIV/AIDS to Nigeria will not change because of the new oppressive anti-gay law recently signed by President Goodluck Jonathan, according to U.S. Ambassador James Entwistle, the Leadership reports:

EntwistleFielding questions from newsmen on whether the US would withdraw its financial aid on HIV/AIDS, the US ambassador said “absolutely not. But we have to look at it very carefully and make sure that everything we do is in compliance with the new law.”

He continued “As you know, we put millions of dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS. And again, I am not a lawyer; I read the Bill and it seems to me that it may put some restrictions on what we can do to help fight HIV/AIDS in this country. These are the issues we are looking at as we look at the bill.”

Speaking further on the law, he said “the issue of same sex marriage is very controversial all over the world, including my country where 17 states out of 50 have considered it. Some are saying it is not legal. From the issue that we see, and I am speaking as a friend of Nigeria as I read the bill because I am not a lawyer, it looks to me that it puts significant restrictions on the Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Expression and in my opinion especially in advanced democracies, once government begins to say something in these areas, freedom no longer applies. It seems to me that such is a very worrisome precedent.”

According to reports, dozens of suspected gay people have been arrested across Nigeria since the law was signed. Meanwhile, no updates from the U.S. State Department on this since John Kerry's statement of 'concern' shortly after the signing took place.

Olumide Femi Makanjuola, Executive Director at The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER), discussed the Nigerian law in a piece on CNN, specifically mentioning how HIV/AIDS organizations will suffer:

The law also acts against the principle of public health. With rates of HIV infection and AIDS running at 3.7% for the general population, and 17.2% among gay men, criminalizing organizations providing intervention for this population puts all Nigerians in jeopardy.


Amid Increasing Persecution of Gays in Africa, Author Binyavanga Wainaina Comes Out

Wainaina

BY TRISTAN MCCONNELL / GlobalPost

NAIROBI — Binyavanga Wainaina has a hangover. Last night friends gathered for his birthday party, which turned into a coming out party, because Wainaina, one of Africa’s most powerful modern literary voices, had just published an article entitled, “I am a homosexual, Mum.”

On a continent where secrecy defines the gay experience and where a majority of countries outlaw homosexuality, coming out is a rare step for a public figure. Wainana’s piece, first published on Saturday, is being shared widely across social networks. “My dear @BinyavangaW writes a piece that springs open the prison doors of the heart,” tweeted Nigerian-born writer Teju Cole.

The timing of Wainaina’s coming out was a mixture of the personal and the political, and anything but accidental.

“Of course my friends knew, but I had been toying with how useful it would be to make a public statement for close to eight months,” Wainaina told GlobalPost on Monday, as his declaration of homosexuality picked up traffic on Africa Is A Country and Chimurenga Chronic, the two African websites where it was first published.

Last year Wainaina — perhaps best known abroad as the author of the satirical essay "How to Write About Africa" — returned home to live in Kenya after a prolonged period of international nomadism and began to feel “a certain falsity in the way I lived my life,” he said.

Wainaina struggled with the relative ease of being clandestinely gay while surrounded by his artist friends in cosmopolitan Nairobi, while elsewhere in Africa homosexuals faced increasing oppression.

Last month he went to a close gay friend’s memorial in the western town of Kisumu and learned that the friend's Christian family had been rejected by the church due to their son’s sexual orientation. Yet the young man’s parents had accepted their son’s homosexuality and even welcomed “half the queens in Kisumu” into their home to celebrate his life, Wainaina said.

Added to that were oppressive new anti-gay laws in Uganda and Nigeria. Ugandan parliamentarians passed a law in late December making “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life imprisonment. An early draft proposed the death sentence. (President Museveni rejected the bill this week). Nigeria’s president last week signed a law imposing 14-year jail terms for homosexual acts.

“There was the anti-gay bill in Uganda first, but the Nigeria one! Nigeria is a country I go to — I was there three times last year — it is a place I love, it’s like a second home to me,” said Wainaina.

“It’s hard to imagine any more repressive law of any kind anywhere in the world. It’s just the most terrible thing,” he said.

And yet Wainaina does not believe the war for gay rights is being lost in Africa, even if some battles are.

“It seems like doom and gloom but my feeling is that the law is a reaction to a thing that they know has traction,” he said. “And that’s a good thing. There’s no way to put that s--t back in the box.”

Wainaina has little time for the trite argument that homosexuality is “un-African.”

“The idea that there is no such thing as gay in African culture is a mixture of an inherited Victorian puritanism via the first churches, mixed with sloganeering and fear,” he said.

B_wainainaWainaina had been mulling his coming out for the better part of 2013. He said that on New Year’s Day this year he was “one tweet away from just saying it.” Instead, he chose to write his coming out in a short essay styled as a “lost chapter” from his 2011 memoir "One Day I Will Write About This Place," which won a coveted recommendation from Oprah Winfrey.

He wrote the essay during a couple of feverish late-night hours on the eve of his 43rd birthday,  Jan. 18. “I was very giddy the whole time writing it, very happy,” he said.

The result is heartfelt, raw and honest.

“Nobody, nobody, ever in my life has heard this,” Wainaina writes. “Never, mum. I did not trust you, mum. And. I. Pulled air hard and balled it down into my navel, and let it out slow and firm, clean and without bumps out of my mouth, loud and clear over a shoulder, into her ear. ‘I am a homosexual, mum.’”

Openly declaring his sexual orientation is both brave and potentially powerful, given Wainana’s reach. He has taught at Bard College in New York State, was awarded the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing, and won acclaim for his brilliant "How To Write About Africa.” His smart brevity has earned Wainaina a growing Twitter following, and last year Foreign Policy included him in its annual Twitterati 100.

Wainana believes his honesty will be embraced in his home and in other African countries. “People who live in societies where you are being lied to a lot value truth,” he said.

Wainaina is set to become a still-louder voice for gay rights, a struggle that he sees as part of a wider defiance, an effort to break apart “the very, very hardwired restrictions that were imposed in 1885” by colonialists and which “are very alive in every facet of African life.”

“I want to be part of a generation of people in Kenya and Africa who change [Africa] to be accountable to itself,” he said.

(top image wikimedia commons nightstream - Writer Binyavanga Wainaina at the 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival.)


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