#EndSARS: Some of the Reactions to the Homophobia in the Movement as Pamela Adie asks, “When Will Queer Lives Matter?”

#EndSARS: Some of the Reactions to the Homophobia in the Movement as Pamela Adie asks, “When Will Queer Lives Matter?”

There has been a lot of contention following the attempts to make the struggles of the Nigerian LGBT community more visible in the ongoing #EndSARS movement. Following the harassment that has been going on of queer protesters, the Feminist Coalition tweeted their support of the LGBTQ community, a move that garnered a lot of backlash and prompted them to take down the tweet and put out a more generic statement.

And this mood that got many queer Nigerians feeling both disillusionment and anger.

Activist Pamela Adie took to social media to express her disappointment in the movement that refuses to recognize queer lives.

“This whole thing about people saying that LGBT people are somehow not a part of this End SARS movement – you know, our voices, our stories, our own struggles need to take a backseat because it’s not time … is very disappointing,” she said. “Every time there is a struggle against oppression in Nigeria, somebody somewhere will get up and say, ‘Yes, this is a struggle but it does not include the LGBT people. Your time has not come.’ And it’s really sickening to be honest. Because my question is always, ‘When will it be time? When is it going to be time for LGBT people, for us and our lives and our experiences and our struggles – when is it going to be time for all of those things that affects our lives to matter?

“When?”

She went on to criticize the action that the Feminist Coalition took when they deleted the tweet they made that recognized their solidarity with LGBTQ Nigerians as part of the #EndSARS struggle.

“The thing about being an ally is that it’s not a hobby,” she said. “It’s not something that you pick in the morning and drop in the evening. The whole point of being an ally is that you are there when it’s rough, you are there when it’s hard, you are there when the heat is too much, you are sacrificing something to be an ally. If you are only speaking when things are comfortable, you are not an ally. … Being an ally is more than just saying that you’re an ally.”

She also called out the hypocrisy of the #EndSARS movement. “You say you are fighting oppression, but you are telling LGBT people to keep quiet because their oppression does not matter now. When will their oppression matter? And if we are fighting oppression, are we really [doing that] if we are not fighting for everybody to be free?”

“If we are going to win, everybody has to win,” she declared.

She ended the video on a note of encouragement for Nigerian LGBT people who are undoubtedly going through the pain and disappointment of the homophobic intent to reject our narratives from the movement. “Please, my dear queer young Nigerians, you are part of this struggle just as everybody else is. Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not part of this struggle.

“You are!

“Don’t let anybody tell you that you should take a backseat and don’t wait for anybody to endorse your struggle. Or to say, ‘Okay, it’s time.’ It will never be time. If we are going to end oppression, we need to end it for everybody at the same time.

‘So, keep showing up. Keep tweeting. Keep raising your voices. Keep doing what you need to do to matter. Because you matter!”

 

The Minority Report host, Chiedozie Dike, also took to Twitter to criticize the hypocrisy of the #EndSARS movement. “To say that we cannot hold simultaneous conversations as to how we are treated in this country, to say we can’t consider the specific ways police brutality affects different groups because our focus, ironically, is to end police brutality… I have to laugh at the disingenuousness.”

He reiterated what most queer people have been saying: “No one is hijacking your protests. You just don’t think same-sex attracted people should have the same protections you crave, or a place in the fight for self-determination. This is a fight for all of our lives, not some! And #QueerNigerianLivesMatter.”

 

Twitter user, @Lestrange_Noir, also shared his story of harassment during the protests, simply because “I wore shorts and walked like a woman (whatever that means)”. He talked about being “paranoid and started hyperventilating. I had to hide in a corner for a bit so I won’t get noticed.”

And irony, this, seeing as the whole point of the protests is to have all Nigerians noticed for their pain and oppression.

@Lestrange_Noir went on to share that “the events of the last few days concerning the intersection between police brutality and queer lives have shown us that Nigerians are united in homophobia and that doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon. If this is where you draw the line as a queer person supporting this movement, your decision is valid. Nigeria has shown over and over again that our lives don’t matter.”

But he encouraged those who are still committed to the movement to “fight for the queer folks coming after us. Fight that they may walk on the road without fear of the police. Fight that they may have a system that can defend them from human rights abuse regardless of sexual orientation or gender presentation.”

Through all this, may we always remember that Queer Nigerian Lives Matter.

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  1. Mandy
    October 20, 10:48 Reply

    The one that truly pains me are the gay men who add their voices to the ridiculous reasoning that the movement is not for us and that we’re hijacking it. It’s so sad how much trauma we’ve internalized that we can not imagine our lives unless being viewed through heterosexual lens.

  2. Olutayo
    October 20, 10:54 Reply

    This is our fight too. We are not fighting for straight people We’re fighting for ourselves. I don’t care if they’re unwilling to make space for me. I’ll simply create my own space. Queer people didn’t go out into the field thinking the hets would open their arms and welcome us. We are there to demand justice for ourselves. We’re allowed to do that and we won’t take permission from anyone.

  3. Saucebutton
    October 21, 06:45 Reply

    This whole work has revamped my mind. It’s crazy how one has been so used to the injustice that you can’t imagine life outside of such. Thanks, PP.

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