When Nigeria’s president Buhari gave a seemingly innocuous statement calling the Orlando shooting a ‘criminal’ and ‘cowardly’ act of terrorism, he must have forgot that some of his own laws are an attack against the decent, democratic and peaceful LGBT people who live in Nigeria.
President Buhari (PMB), in his statement, extended his heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the shooting. At no point in this sympathetic brief did he mention that terrorising gay people is especially bad.
Maybe one of his aides forgot to tell him that the shooting took place in a gay club.
Maybe one of his aides forgot to tell him that the shooting took place in a gay club. Brushing aside such an important element makes me want to believe that there is a plan to whitewash our culture of ‘the gays’.
Recently, a group of concerned Nigerians got together to ban the show I Am Cait from DStv. The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) ordered it off the air, effectively censoring it for all African viewers. This is the second transgender show the NBC has banned in less than a year because it has received too many complaints from citizens.
I almost exploded this morning when my friend said that the attacks in Orlando were all the more reason to stay in the closet.
The first was I am Jazz, in October 2015. DSTV regularly advertises the use of its parental control function which viewers can use to block unwanted content, however, the NBC showed they do not believe that transgender-themed TV shows should be on TV at all.
Now PMB, who has never condemned an act of mob violence against gay people in Nigeria feels sorry for gay people in America but conveniently leaves out that they are gay?
LGBT people in Nigeria are always looking for tolerance whether we like to accept it or not because it is not easy to be who you are. Before that there is a long list of rules to live by and people to please. I almost exploded this morning when my friend said that the attacks in Orlando were all the more reason to stay in the closet. I was saying it was the reason to come out.
Over the weekend, I read that Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s daughter got married to her partner and she had to give up her status as a priest in South Africa. Her father has always supported her. I wanted to send that piece to a friend who’s family is struggling with their sexual identity but I knew they would say that Mpho Tutu van Furth could do it because she had her father’s support. My point then was that if she was unafraid of potentially embarrassing the world’s most famous Anglican bishop, of tainting his name, so to speak, then nobody should be afraid of ‘dragging their family’s name through the mud’.
It is dangerous to be invisible.
So, I was spitting at my friend this morning: society is made of individuals who have the ability to influence and shape ideals. Yes, we need laws to help queer people feel safer but the attitudes of people help influence and steer those changes. In that case, it is dangerous to be invisible. You and your issues will be non-existent! The elevator came so I had to hush but oh, how I want to slap people who say that it’s nobody’s business who they fuck or who they love – that straight people don’t need to come out, so why should they?
People, your president, who most times when a domestic attack takes place, does not say a peep, wrote a whole letter to an entire other country condemning the attacks and condoling their families but conveniently left out, what to me is at the heart of this attack – that it happened at a gay club! To gay people and their friends! To people who were celebrating the lives that so many people despise in a space that they felt safe.
Last week, it was reported that former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan who signed the notorious Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Law suggested that it might be time for Nigeria to revisit that law because everyone deserved to enjoy human rights. If the former president were really serious about this, he should give that speech in Nigeria and not on some European TV. I suspect that Buhari’s omission of ‘the gays’ has something to do with this. I cannot deride the president for showing sympathy but he is wrong to pretend that his government has not created a breeding grown for the persecution of LGBT people.
LBGT people value their kin because they are an essential support system.
I was in a gay club in New York City two months ago. I went alone to have one drink and I ended up staying until 5am. I’m sure that if I lived in NYC some of the people I met that night would have become my buddies. LBGT people value their kin because they are an essential support system and this support needs to be expanded because we don’t live in a vacuum.
That is why it is so important – where you feel it is safe to, and when you are comfortable and ready – to be out. I am working on it. Our visibility is more radical than you think. It is a statement of pride that needs to be repeated until we are no longer just tolerated.
Dear PMB, some people are gay, get over it!