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Seeking defeat of Nigerian ‘Jail the Gays’ bill

Video "LGBT Rights are Human Rights: Say NO to Nigeria's 'Jail the Gays' Bill" promotes the calendar advocacy project. (To see the video, click on the image.)
Video “LGBT Rights are Human Rights: Say NO to Nigeria’s ‘Jail the Gays’ Bill” promotes the calendar advocacy project. (To see the video, click on the image.)

Opponents of Nigeria’s “Jail the Gays” bill are preparing gifts for that nation’s  lawmakers: 1,0000 “advocacy calendars” that display the humanity of Nigerian LGBTs and urge rejection of the country’s anti-gay bill.

The activist group Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws explains:

Nigerian lawmakers are fond of saying there are no gay Nigerians and they won’t hesitate to send same-sex lovers to jail. With this project, we have put a face on Nigerian LGBTs and also given a voice to Nigerian LGBTs to pass across our message. We are saying… Enough is Enough, No to ‘Jail the Gays’ bill. We exist, we are Nigerians, we are gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, intersex, queers and we are proud. Stop the discrimination, stop trying to send us to jail for our sexual orientation.

Their plan is to present the calendars to the Nigerian president, all 469 members of Nigerian National Assembly, the 36 state governors and as many Nigerian ambassadors as possible.

“For every calendar sold a heart hears and a mind is changed,” they say.

To support the project by buying a calendar by credit card or Pay Pal account, go to the group’s Indiegogo page.

The wall calendars and desk top calendars show pictures of our protest rallies outside Nigerian embassies in London and New York. The calendar also has a special message for each month, creating awareness on the negative effect of the ‘Jail the Gays’ bill and bringing attention to how it violates Nigerian constitution and the many international treaties Nigeria has ratified.

The bill would provide a 14-year prison sentence for people who enter into “a same-sex marriage contract, or civil union” and a 10-year sentence for anyone convicted of participating in a same-sex wedding ceremony.

It would provide a 10-year sentence for anyone “who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria.” Here’s the background of the bill, as described by Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws:

Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition bill criminalizing same-sex marriage and stipulating 14 years imprisonment for anyone who engages in same-sex relationships was unanimously passed by Senators. It has passed through the second reading in the Nigerian House of Representatives. The House Speaker has referred the bill to the Committee of the Whole House for final consideration. …

This is the third time a Bill prohibiting same-sex marriage is introduced by the Nigerian parliament. The proposed law is titled ”Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill, 2011”,  however, it goes well beyond the title to criminalize every Nigerian person(s), individual and group who may be suspected of any trace, exhibition, association and/or characteristic of same-sex relationship, friendship, association or gesture.

LGBT rights are Human Rights. Fundamental Human Rights of sexual minorities are violated daily because of criminalization of same-sex relationship and societal prejudice. The homophobic bill violates fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution and various human rights regional and international laws and agreements that Nigeria has ratified.

Also, the bill would lead to political and social harassment of people for their actual or imputed sexual orientation. It would also stifle freedom of expression and association through the proposed ban on organizations that support lesbians and gay rights.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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