Year in review: The past year brought encouraging moments for those who care about the human rights of LGBTQ people — celebrities expressing their support, a successful campaign to free three gay prisoners, a successful boycott, a star cricketer who learned a lesson about tolerance, and more.
Nigeria has harsh anti-gay laws, but the largely homophobic population is slowly becoming more tolerant. Surveys by the Nigerian LGBTQ advocacy group TIERs revealed growing acceptance of LGBT+ people, including family members who are gay.
Many Nigerian celebrities condemned anti-gay violence and supported LGBTQ people. These included:
In Uganda, popular presidential challenger Bobi Wine spoke up for “guarding the rights of all citizens … those who are like you and those that are not like you.”
In Cameroon, this blog and its supporters waged a successful campaign to free three imprisoned victims of the country’s homophobic laws.
Actor George Clooney, joined by Elton John and Jamie Lee Curtis, called for a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel and other luxurious hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. The combination of economic pressure and bad publicity led the Sultan to declare a moratorium on executions of gay men, lesbians and adulterers under Brunei’s harsh new expansion of its sharia law.
American lesbian soccer player Joanna Lohman traveled to Nigeria to train girls on how to combat sex trafficking through sports.
During an international match, star Caribbean cricketer Shannon Gabriel learned that anti-gay slurs are unacceptable. He had taunted England captain Joe Root by asking him, “Do you like boys?” To which Root replied, “Don’t use it as an insult. There is nothing wrong with being gay.” Gabriel made an apology, but was suspended for four matches.