A recent telephone survey of 1,000 Nigerians found that young adults are more knowing and accepting of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people, but that a large majority of Nigerians remains hostile to LGB people, their rights and their relationships.
The survey was conducted in response to Nigeria’s “Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Law” of 2014. The law outlaws same-sex marriages, denies the right of association and advocacy to gay Nigerians, and provides for 10 years in prison for “public show of same-sex amorous relationship.” Because the law does not mention transgender people, the survey did not include questions about them and the headline of this article does not use the abbreviation “LGBT.”
Among the survey’s findings:
- A large majority of adult Nigerians (87 percent) expressed support for the “Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Law.” That is down from 96 percent in 2010 and 92 percent in 2013.
- Only 17 percent of adult Nigerians know of someone who is lesbian, gay, or bisexual, but 30 percent of those age 18 to 25 say they are acquainted with an LGB person or know of an LGB celebrity.
- A large majority of Nigerians (90 percent) believe that people are not born LGB.
In the abstract, only 11 percent of Nigerians said they were willing to accept a family member who was lesbian, gay, or bisexual. But among those who said they were acquainted with an LGB person or knew of an LGB celebrity, that figure was higher — as much as 30 percent.
- A similar percentage (30 percent) of Nigerians said that LGB people should have access to healthcare, housing, and education.
The survey was conducted in April and May, with NOI Polls contacting a randomly selected population of 1,000 telephone-owning Nigerians age 18 and up in six geo-political zones. The margin of error for the survey results was +/-3 percent. Interviews were conducted in the interviewee’s choice of languages: English, Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo, or Yoruba.
The survey was prepared for the Bisi Alimi Foundation and The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs), Nigeria-based organization fighting AIDS and working for LGBTI rights, with support from the LGBTI media advocacy organization GLAAD.
These are excerpts from the press release announcing the results of the survey:
Study: Acceptance of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people slowly increasing in Nigeria
New poll finds familiarity helps build understanding and acceptance of LGBT people
LAGOS – A new poll conducted by NOI Polls in partnership with Bisi Alimi Foundation and The Initiative for Equal Rights in Nigeria, has mapped awareness, perception, and acceptance of lesbian, gay, and bisexual, people and same-sex relationships among the Nigerian population. While considerable opposition remains for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and their relationships, the poll found that acceptance has grown over previous polls. The findings also suggest that many Nigerians are unwilling to reject lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in their families. …
“It is good to see that 30% of Nigerians think that access to healthcare, housing and education is a right that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people should have,” said Bibi Bakare-Yusef, Publisher at Cassava Republic Press. “That’s a significant number that already recognizes the inalienable rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to social protections. We must continue to push for social acceptance and legislative justice for all, including sexual minorities.”
“This poll tells us that Nigerians are not inherently homophobic, but that in the absence of accurate information around gender and sexuality, people are left to believe myths and misinformation,” said Bisi Alimi, founder of the Bisi Alimi Foundation. “The trend in this survey has shown that with a conducive environment to provide unrestrictive and unbiased information about gender and sexuality in Nigeria, we will be able to create a platform for discussion and dialogue where views can be shared and opinions expressed without fear.”
“This survey reflects a massive gap in knowledge about sexuality and human rights,” said Olumide Makanjuola, Executive Director of The Initiative for Equal Rights. “This lack of knowledge explains why LGBT people continue to experiences human rights violations. We therefore need to provide holistic education and information on sexuality and human rights. This must be a joint effort between the Nigerian government and the civil society organizations in Nigeria.”
Nigeria passed the “Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act” late 2013 which was signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on January 7th, 2014. The law, which condemns same-sex couples who marry to 14 years imprisonment, was widely supported by members of the general public in Nigeria. Opponents of the law have complained that the law allows members of law enforcement agencies to trample on the human rights of alleged culprits before found guilty. …
About the Bisi Alimi Foundation: The Bisi Alimi Foundation is a non for profit organization to provide unbiased information, education, training and development projects with a focus on sexuality and gender in Nigeria. The aim of the foundation is to build a wealth of knowledge through education, training and community engagement as a means of reducing homophobia in Nigeria.
About The Initiative for Equal Rights: The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) is a Nigeria-based registered non-profit organization that works to protect and promote the human rights of sexual minorities nationally and regionally. It was founded in 2005 as a response to the discrimination and marginalization of sexual minorities observed in HIV prevention and human rights work.
About GLAAD: As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural acceptance. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. GLAAD’s Global Voices program partners with international LGBT advocates to advance acceptance for LGBT people globally. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information, see a brief overview of the report, “A Closer Look at Nigeria: Attitudes on lesbian, gay and bisexual people” (pdf) or the full report, “Perception of Nigerians on LGB Rights Poll Report” (also pdf).
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