5 Ways To Resist As An LGBT Person In Nigeria
In the past few days, the media has been awash with stories of sexual violence across Nigeria, specifically sexual violence against women. These realities are not new realities in Nigeria. We have always had sexual assault and violence in Nigeria. The difference now is that we have social media and more people are speaking up.
Another thing that is not new in Nigeria is sexual assault and violence against LGBTQ people in Nigeria solely because of our sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We have been at the receiving end of all kinds of violence against our persons for years and almost nothing has changed in a system that consistently tries to oppress us.
They cannot break our spirit. Here are some ways you can resist:
- Stay Knowledgeable - How many times have you heard the phrase "14 years" being thrown at people like they're throwing away pure water sachets? Too many times. The purpose is to cause fear and silence us. Because many have never read the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, we don't know that it prescribes 14 years for marrying a person of the same sex only, or that being/identifying as LGBTQ is not a criminal offense in Nigeria and no one can charge you to court simply for being LGBTQ. Staying knowledgeable about the laws and your rights is a great defense against anyone who might try to intimidate you. Read the law here.
- Know The History of LGBT Rights in Nigeria - Many of us are not aware of how the movement started in Nigeria, or that there is even a movement in Nigeria. But we do have a movement that started as far back as 2004. The Initiative for Equal Rights is putting together a great compilation of our history and you can access/follow it for free on their IG page.
- Donate - The truth is that if we want to actualize having equal rights in Nigeria, we have to support ourselves, financially and otherwise. No movement really grows from external support alone. Support does not only have to be financial. It can only be by volunteering your time and skills to organizations doing the work. So, do the needful.
- Get Involved - Community is important; being around people of like-minds can help cushion some of the isolation and loneliness we sometimes experience as LGBT people living in Nigeria. Getting involved and attending not just parties, but empowerment workshops, movie nights/premiere's, symposiums, and other social events can help us stay connected and improve our mental health. Plus, we're more likely to act when we know that there are others like us who are also taking action and resisting.
- Make your voice heard - This could be as simple as joining a Twitter conversation using "#EndHomophbiaInNigeria" to speak up about homophobia and other violations against our persons, or it could be as simple as wearing a t-shirt, or speaking up against homophobia in conversations with your friends, family, or colleagues. Of course, this may not be easy for everyone, so do what you're most comfortable doing but by all means, do something.
To recap, the 5 ways you can resist as an LGBTQ person in Nigeria are by knowing exactly what the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act criminalizes so that no can take advantage of your ignorance or treat you unfairly. Know your history - this is so important because it gives the sense that you are part of something much bigger than yourself; and you are. Donate your time, skills, and money to support organizations; buy our merchandise to help us sustain the fight. Show up at social events, not just parties. This can help build your social network and possible business opportunities. Lastly, speak up and make your voice heard. When we join our voices together, we have more impact.
If you have enjoyed reading this, do not hesitate to share widely so your friends and followers can get in on how we can all join our voices to resist.
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Till next time, stay safe and keep resisting.
From Pamela and the team at EH Online Store.