#RepealSSMPA: WHICH WAY, QUEER NIGERIA?

#RepealSSMPA: WHICH WAY, QUEER NIGERIA?

I just realized that if it actually comes down to Nigerian Queer people taking to the streets to gain our freedom, then we are UTTERLY FUCKED!

Like for Real.

Like we seriously take pride in our suffered existence than in a small possibility of our freedom.

The past few days have been rife with news about the hunger strike Victor Emmanuel went on and his protest at the National Assembly to demand for the repeal of the SSMPA. Getting on Twitter, I read the tweet where he said that he hadn’t eaten for two days and would be returning to the National Assembly (I understand now that he has ended his protest), and every comment I saw under that tweet was disheartening. I mean, this is Twitter, literally the safest space in Nigeria, even more so because a majority of queer Nigerians use burner accounts to say or post whatever they please and not be afraid of real life consequences (I mean it works for porn and explicit content). So imagine my shock and dismay when I encountered the overwhelming negativity and pessimism that came from these people – and these are the ones who even bothered to have an opinion. Don’t get me started on the marked silence of the others who I know would have an opinion about every other trending topic on Twitter. The worst were the ones attacking Victor Emmanuel with claims that he is seeking attention for asylum.

Like WTF!!!

I get that we can’t all be as brave as Emmanuel and that we have lives to protect – but for how long will we continue to accept this narrative and continue to live this life full of fear and resignation? A friend of mine who is one of the most self-aware gay men I know commented, “Nigeria is not worth dying for.” I agree, but was Emmanuel “dying” for Nigeria or for our rights? The very same person that took placards to the streets to champion the EndSARS movement now has no energy for a cause that directly affects him – even on social media sef and not on the streets!

So I recently started making semi-explicit posts with the pictures of random shirtless, muscled men or homosexual couples on my Facebook story from time to time, and at other times, I let my love for animated mermen take my space. And I am constantly encouraged to carry on with these story updates by the number of people who slide into my DM for info on the models whose pictures I post, to express their thirst for the unobtainable or simply to admire my merfolks, asking for me to send the images to them.

But then, I made a post with the petition to #EndHomophobiaInNigeria with a very touching video of a young advocate standing up ALONE for our rights – our rights which have been trampled on over and over again, an abuse that has put some of us in early graves and others scarred by the horrors we have to deal with every other day.

And I got no reactions to this. How can something as important as our combined wellbeing, freedom and safety be something you ignore? Absolutely no one was in my DM to even express curiosity or concern over what is happening or to talk about how they can contribute to it, how they can get the link or video to repost in solidarity. I was getting 3 likes and 3 views, as opposed to 500+ views and tons of love reactions I’d normally get with the posts of the shirtless models.

Like seriously, Dear Nigerian Queer People, is the desire of the photo of a semi-naked man more pressing than your freedom?

Take every meaningless “you Tops and these Bottoms” post to a random “TB” group on Facebook, and see them in their numbers emerging from every nook and cranny to come and exalt their shared exuberance and opinions on these topics that rarely contribute anything to our continued existence.

But then take a post about advocacy, something like what I posted on my story, and it’d be a special time of the year for crickets.

Really?!

How do we think the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act will actually get repealed? Do we imagine that someday, our legislators will just sit and decide to “let my people go”? Is the plan to sit and wait for an American president like Joe Biden to come and pressure our government to do right by us? Or to wait till another election year for a president we can have faith in to broach the topic of our equality? Or do we imagine that the NGOs will come together to arrange a small something that they’ll drop in the pockets of the people who will effect the correction of the law?

If these are the solutions we have been working with whenever we think about the SSMPA getting repealed, then I hope to God that they are valid and imminent, because it is apparent from this mess that the future – our future – cannot rely on us.

The way I see it, we have a responsibility to this community to work on breaking down the strongholds of internalized homophobia and resignation to suffering that we are plagued with in this community.

We need to teach each other the preciousness of self love and acceptance in ourselves and the appreciation of courage and bravery in others.

We need to impress upon ourselves what our lives will be like if we gain the freedom to be who we are meant to be, living like our counterparts in the first world countries.

We need to unlearn the mentalities that were formed by the “TB” way of life, a mindset we learned from the previous generation who didn’t have to face the antigay law and who constituted the lawmakers that imprisoned us.

We must all step into the light of our true identity as Gay Men and Women free of shame and apology!

It is time to show visibility like never before and to close our ranks with self-sufficient thoughts, disregarding the “this is just a game”, “I cannot marry my fellow man” and “I don’t want to go to hell” attitude we carry about every day, fight the hate like our lives depend on it (because it does) and let Love lead.

Written by Wiffey

Previous Some Ghanaian Lawmakers Want to Criminalize LGBTQ+ Advocacy
Next #RepealSSMPA: A Kito Story In Threads

About author

You might also like

Our Stories 18 Comments

When Monday Came To Bite Me In The Ass

Everything was going fine. Just fine. I had ordered Chinese with two stewed snails and he had gone for basic fried rice and chicken. Damn, he looked better in person

Our Stories 15 Comments

OFFICIALLY MISSING YOU

Teddy opened the door and stepped into the apartment. I had not seen her in fourteen days and it’d been rough. I took a glance at her while clearing the

The Happenings 7 Comments

#LiveLoveAfrica: There’s Another Side To The Story Of Africa And Homosexuality

So, as an activist, zealously working to promote the rights of the LGBT, Kenny Badmus and his team at isanyoneinafrica.com have been talking to some straight men and women who

7 Comments

  1. Rudy
    March 23, 09:15 Reply

    BAM!
    You channeled my exact thoughts in this post.

    I signed the petition on change.com and forwarded the link to a few friends of mine but it was met with laughter and pessimistic views about how “Emmanuel was going to die out of the said hunger strike he professed since he was in Nigeria”.

    I get those sentiments but history will tell us it always took just one person to stand up against the system and turn the tides of oppression towards freedom & justice.
    Sideyeing Rosa Parks 🙄
    During her time, racial injustice was the order of the day but she will be damned to have not done a thing to create an awareness, something Emmanuel has managed to do.
    This guy deserves a freaking “Standing Ovation”!

    We have been so oppressed to the point that we recoil towards any move to unburden those shackles be it a simple like or share of a thread on social media in support of our right to equality.

    It seems as queer people we can fight in all the battles towards equality in the world BUT for our OWN.

    Change Begins From Within, My Fellow Queers.

  2. Carlos
    March 23, 10:30 Reply

    Thank you for this Wiffey
    We all must embrace advocacy and fight for what is ours

    • Fred
      March 23, 13:40 Reply

      And if we can’t champion advocacy, we should at least support it.

  3. BAY
    March 23, 14:22 Reply

    i am in awe of Victor. i was berated seeing that part of seeking for Asylum, Gosh!!!
    It is time to wake up and be on the top of our games. The more we keep mute, the more we are oppressed.

    Victor is Golden.

  4. Pezaro
    March 23, 14:38 Reply

    Why do I think a female protester would command more attention? 🤔🤔 A group of female protesters would do wonders tbh.

  5. Saucebutton
    March 25, 08:04 Reply

    Thank you Wiffey for this epistle of truth. It’s high time we wake up.
    Another thing of concern is this whole Crossdressing thingy as social media influencers.

  6. Flexsterous
    March 25, 20:12 Reply

    I am sorry ,but all this talk of standing up for change and fighting for our rights doesn’t work in our country where absolutely no laws work, and we all know it.

    You claim to understand where the pessimism comes from but you don’t seem to actually do .

    The end SARS protests which was a nationwide protest, where Nigerians of all ethnicities came together to push for change and reforms, but Nigerians were slaughtered mercilessly at lekki toll gate and up till now we are yet to be told who gave the orders for that massacre.

    And you think a protest of a bunch of people who Nigerians deem perveted, sick, possessed, evil ,will gain any traction? Seriously, you honestly believe that? Then you have more faith in this country than I can ever muster.

    The places where these changes have been successful are places where the rule of law and basic human rights and dignities are respected, not in this shithole of a country

Leave a Reply