Tuesday, May 19, 2009



We are gathered here today to mark the International Day Against
Homophobia. And we are not just gathered to speak, but also to
resonate faithfully from the rooftops the unheard words and the
unspoken truth of the voiceless and the faceless.

In Nigeria there is a strong current of homophobia- disapproval of
person with same sex orientation which is expressed in stigma and
discrimination. The origin of homophobia is not always clearly
understood and it is too complex. It may boil down from the
misconceptions about what sexuality is all about.

In Nigeria there have been may reported cases of gross abuse of the
fundamental human rights of sexual minorities and of which have its
root in homophobia. Individuals and organization working with same sex
oriented persons have on so many occasions have to intervene in such
state and non state homophobic actions perpetuated against sexual

Homophobia forces mast same sex oriented persons to hide their
sexuality and also sometimes deny it to themselves- known as
internalized homophobia internalized homophobia. Even those sexual minorities that do not directly suffer from homophobia can and do suffer from homophobia, since they are likely to suppress aspects of their behavior to conform to society's demands.

Racism, anti-semitism and homophobia are synonymous and also other forms of bigotry. This is because it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people and deny them their humanity, dignity and their rights. It sets the stage for further discrimination , repression and also violence that spreads to all in order to victimize he sexual minority group.

The contents of the bill on the prohibition of same sex marriage and the criminalization of same sex oriented person are a hall mark of homophobia. Its content are hatred, ostracization, marginalization and what have you. The work of human rights activist are hampered by homophobia putting their security at risk whether they are same sex oriented or not

This day therefore calls on the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and other stakeholders to look into issues affecting same sex oriented persons- especially that of the rights and security and well being. It is the duty of the state to protect and preserve the rights of its citizens whether they are same sex oriented or not.

Confronting homophobia is confronting HIV/AIDS in the sexual minority community. This is a national issue because homophobia makes it les likely for HIV/STI's prevention messages relating to sexual minorities that are not readily available at all in most cases.

As organizations and individuals working in this regard , we are therefore calling on the government to put into place measures that protect the its sexual minorities citizens from violence, stigma and discrimination irrespective of sexuality. Everyone fundamental human rights should be respected because human rights is non- negotiable.