On the 7th of January in the year 2014, Nigerian president, Goodluck Ebele Johnathan signed into law the same-sex marriage prohibition act which prevented gay people from getting married and put them in danger of serving 14 years in prison. It can be argued that, the signing of the anti gay act, enhanced the dangers people of the LGBT community face everyday.
While Nigeria doesn’t have an official death sentence for gay people yet, openly gay and femme people are being attacked, assaulted and dehumanized everyday which has made the question arise, is it necessary to come out as gay while living in Nigeria? is hiding who you are and your sexuality some form of self preservation?
There has been cases where security officials have joined in the attack of gay people, gay people aren’t seen as people worth protecting, there are seen as something that needs to be expelled from the society. Sometimes, gay people are even hunted and killed, an example is the book by Chinelo Okparanta ‘under the udala tree’ where people of the LGBT where hunted and burnt alive, and to survive a lot have to live their life in secrecy.
But is a life where you can live your truth a life at all? a life where you can expressly be who you are? a life where you cant openly love who you love, a life where you are made to feel like some freak of nature, is that a life at all?
A lot of people have been force into a life full of lies, there have been stories of gay men getting married to women, they play into society’s script of love and relationship, while hiding their selves and their loves in the dark.
Either ways gay people don’t win in Nigeria, its either you choose a life of misery or death. it hard being in a society that doesn’t allow you to be. But in the mist of all this depressing reality, there is still a thriving LGBT community which provides a save haven for people in this harsh environment, they provide a solid support system and play the role of a family for those that have been abandoned, but be careful when looking for a community you can be safe being yourself, there are people who pose to the pro LGBT so as to lure gay people and harm them.