The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) joins individuals, organizations, friends and family of Gay, Lesbian, bisexual, Trans and intersex persons the world over in celebrating the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
As a unique occasion marked annually on the 17th of May, the celebration of this day continues to create visibility on the unjust violence meted out on the LGBTI community and the need for the recognition of human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex people. This year focuses on LGBTI youth globally and the need to fight for visibility, respect and equality.
In Nigeria, LGBTI youth are exposed to various challenges, which in most cases leave them as victims of a prejudiced society without having a clear understanding of why such hate exists. The LGBTI youth’s exposure to homophobia occurs in every aspect of their lives as these kinds of stigma begin from schools and extend to the mainstream society, bullying and violence that often result in lifelong trauma, self-harm, and in some cases suicide. Such withdrawal can further impact on the youth’s access to basic amenities that are privileged to them e.g. access to education and healthcare services.
Currently in Nigeria it illegal to engage in consensual same sex relationship or provide services to LGBTI persons according to the same sex Marriage prohibition Law, 2013. Since the promulgation of this law, TIERs and other human rights and sexual health organizations working on LGBTI issues have recorded over 105 human rights violation cases involving at least seven persons in each of the cases documented. Based on records, 90% of cases documented were reported by LGBTI youth. Recently, in Ibadan 21 young students who were celebrating one of their friends’ birthday were locked up in police custody for over five days.
The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) would like to use this medium and occasion to emphasize on the need to stand up against inequality and violence against LGBTI persons in Nigeria and across the world. We believe that all human are born free and equal and deserve human rights protection as guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity expression.
We call on policymakers, concerned Nigerians, persons of the media, the National human rights commission and all other human rights organizations to support in raising their voices in condemnation of the unjust treatment of LGBTI persons and the prohibitive discriminatory laws that deprive LGBTI persons their fundamental human rights.
As part of this year’s IDAHOT celebration, TIERs will be launching a micro site, www.whereloveisacrime.org, an alternative platform for LGBT voices to be heard as we continue to struggle for recognition, promotion and protection of our rights in Nigeria, this site also give the opportunity for LGBTI persons in Nigeria to share their experiences.
The site will also be open and available for resource download for personal or research purposes as content would include notable instruments or laws that are promulgated, articles and speeches that have been made by State and Non-state actors/stakeholders in Nigeria.