Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws USA branch on Monday Dec 5, 2011 staged a protest rally at the Nigerian house in New York to protest the Anti same-sex marriage bill (Read the bill here http://www.scribd.com/doc/74807203/Nigeria-Same-Sex-Marriage-Bill-final) and demand for the repeal of all Anti same-sex laws. Nigerian LGBTI and straight supporters came out to join the protest; international supporters including the notable campaign group, AllOut also participated.
The protesters carried placards with different slogans; some of the banners’ slogans were “Proudly Gay, Proudly Nigerian!” “Some Nigerians are Gay, Get over it!” “Sodomy law is a colonial relic, repeal it now!” “Kiss Anti Same Sex marriage bill and Sodomy laws Goodbye!” and “Stop turning us into refugees, Repeal Sodomy laws Now!”.
The organizers had initially written to the embassy in DC for audience but got no response or acknowledgment of their letter from the ambassador. The protesters stood in front of Nigerian House at Kudirat Abiola’s corner, on the northeast corner of 2nd Avenue and 44th St. The rally attracted Nigerian Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and allies.
The Campaign group’s position paper on the bill http://wp.me/P1YdPM-I , report of the public hearing http://wp.me/p1YdPM-3 and 57 thousand petition signatures condemning the bill (Petition- http://www.allout.org/nigeria) were submitted by John Adewoye and Ifeanyi Orazulike, coordinators of the protest, to the delegated representative of the Nigerian high commissioner. The organizers made attempts to enter the consulate building but they were not allowed in to have an audience with the High commissioner. The group condemned the decision of the high commissioner not to grant the group an audience to officially submit the position paper and signatures.
The protesters spoke on the ill effects of the bill and how it violates human rights of Nigerian LGBTs. They emphasized the danger the bill poses to security of Nigerian gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, families and friends. The protesters also spoke on the negative effects the bill would have on the human right records of Nigeria.
A letter addressed to the Nigerian Senate president jointly written by Ifeanyi Orazulike and John Adewoye was read by Ifeanyi Orazulike on behalf of Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws. Full text of the letter reads-
Fellow Nigerians and allies,
The same-sex marriage prohibition bill, recently passed by the Nigerian Senate, puts Nigeria at odds with the numerous Human Rights Conventions it is a signatory to. For this and many other reasons, we the Nigerian LGBTQI in Diaspora demand that our President don’t sign this bill to law.
Under the bill, “same-sex marriage” IS DEFINED AS INCLUDING ALL SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS, AND TARGETS PEOPLE WHO “WITNESS”’ “AID” OR “ABET” SUCH RELATIONSHIPS. The bill imposes up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine on anyone who “witnesses”, “aids” or “abets” same-sex relationships and 14 years for those in such relationship. The bill also carries similar sentences for the establishment of gay clubs, and for any activity seen as supporting gay rights.
If passed this bill will further damage the troubled human rights image of the Nigerian government. It will adversely affect the foreign missions working to support underserved Nigerians, and it will become a blue print for persecution of innocent Nigerians on the ground of their suspected sexual orientation, as well as their families and allies.
Laws are made to bring about progress for a community, and not to exterminate a part of that community simply because they are different. The measure of every great democracy is how it treats its minority citizens. ALL Nigerians deserve the same rights and privileges guaranteed by the constitution. We the undersigned urge the Nigerian president to show respect for the diversity in our great democracy, and refuse to sign this bill.
Signed: Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws (USA Branch)
Protesters were given black T-shirts with the slogan ‘I am Not Illegal’ produced for the Nigerian LGBTIs Diaspora by AllOut. To dispel any doubt about nationality, Ifeanyi Orazulike displayed his Nigerian International passport before the press, and John Adewoye’s held up a placard that says “I am Nigerian, I am Gay and Real.” Other Nigerians present there had placards with their preferred messages.
John Adewoye sang some solo and led the group in chanting the popular LGBT protest slogan, “E he O ho Homophobia has got to go.” There were young student/professional Nigerian lesbians and a transgender person. One of them came with a Nigeria flag to add a nice home flavor to the gathering. There is a plan to follow up on future collaborations.
John Adewoye and Ifeanyi Orazulike thanked everyone present including allies, police and the press. The Nigerian citizens present waited for further deliberations on future collaboration. The gathering was a success.
John Adewoye firstname.lastname@example.org
Ifeanyi Orazuike email@example.com