A lesbian living in Nigeria shares her views on the anti-gay marriage bill via electronic correspondence. I have copied and pasted the interview.
1. When did you first hear about the bill? I heard about the bill a few days before it was passed into law. I know the Nigerian stance on homosexuality so I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. I actually thought it was a re-evaluation of the law because prior to this, a sentence of 10 years or so was given to anyone found guilty of the “act”.
2. In your own words, what is the aim of this bill? To me, I don’t think there is an aim to the bill maybe to the government it might help curb homosexuality. Nigeria is a hypocritical nation where everyone denounces the idea of same-sex relationship in the open but go about their business. I read somewhere that over 90% of Nigerians who took a survey agreed for the bill to be passed, questions that come to mind is where was the survey taken and is it possible for Africa’s most populous country, that consists of various ideologies and thought be that homophobic.
3. Did it elicit strong reactions from your friends and family? What were some of them?
Ahh yes it did and it still does, most of them are praising the Federal government for standing their ground and not being influenced by human rights groups or the US government to back down. My mum actually gave me a paper to read on it and asked on my take on it.
4. Has this bill made you feel oppressed or less deserving? To be honest, it hasn’t. I only feel sad for my country that of all the issues rocking its stability (in the midst of fuel subsidy removal, terrorism and religious clashes) it chose to pick on this.
5. Do you think the Nigerian authorities will effectively implement this bill? Do you think the police might abuse their powers? It’s too early to tell, although I don’t think it would be effectively implemented, considering its track record of accountability. As for the police they have a mind of their own, especially when there is a fine involved.
6. Do you think religious convictions should have their place in law?
I think the church shouldn’t have a say in matters regarding the state…
7. Has this bill affected social activities/gatherings among lesbians where you live/hangout? Not really, although everyone is being a little extra careful. Nigerians are very traditional if i may say, the idea of PDA even with heterosexual couple is hardly seen.
8. How do feel about campaigns and rights groups trying to overturn the bill? Do you feel they will be successful? I think it’s a great idea that campaigns try to voice out their discernment on this outrageous issue. However, I do not think it will go a long way.
9. Have you witnessed or experienced any homophobic abuse or treatment since the out lash of this bill? No answer
10. If this bill is not overturned, in what ways do you think it will affect the chances of you building a life in Nigeria? If this bill is over-turned, I think it’ll be beautiful to see people feel free to express love for each-other. But to me, that wouldn’t eradicate homophobia. People will always be negative about the chosen life-style, sometimes it feels like staying in the closet and living a lie is much better…