Even speaking up for LGBTI rights in Nigeria can get you into trouble
A group of brave Nigerians have taken to the streets of the capital Lagos to show their solidarity with the country’s LGBTI people.
The protesters hit the streets on the country’s National Day of Mourning to raise awareness about the homophobic violence and murders of LGBTI people. The National Day of Mourning commemorates the countless Nigerians who lost their lives to different kinds of violence.
The Bisi Alimi Foundation organized the march to remember LGBTI people. LGBTI activist, Bisi Alimi was forced to flee Nigeria after he came out as gay on national television in 2004.
Sending massive solidarity to staff and volunteers of @tbafoundations joining to protest in Lagos today. These people are bold, displaying #LGBT placard in solidarity with other victim of mob/jungle justice. pic.twitter.com/HsVUqs69WN
— Ashiwaju Bisi Alimi (@bisialimi) May 28, 2018
Same-sex activity is illegal in Nigeria, with stoning until death the punishment in 14 of the country’s northern states. In other parts of the country the punishment is up to 14 years in jail.
People at the rally either identified as LGBTI or were there as vocal allies of the communities.
The protesters held placards with messages of support for the LGBTI community, but also calling for the end of violence against the community.
Some of the signs read: ‘Our Silence is Not Golden Anymore on the Killings of LGBTI Nigerians’, ‘we also remember LGBT people in Nigeria killed for being who they are and ‘LGBTI people are being killed too. Why are we so silent?’
This is BOLD
Just speaking up for LGBTI rights in such a public way was very brave for the people at the rally.
‘This is so BOLD, your team deserves some ACCOLADES! My God joining a rally with LGBTI signs and not get mobbed is a well Development. How did you guys pull this off?’ Ima Rose wrote on Twitter.
This is AMAZING @bisialimi this is so BOLD, your team deserves some ACCOLADES! My God joining a rally with LGBTI signs and not get mobbed is a well Development. How did you guys pull this off? https://t.co/nWqwVfU4rP
— ImaRose Rekiya (@ImaRose_U) May 29, 2018
Police approached protesters on the day, but left them alone once they understood what the protest was about.
‘Some policemen came to ask that I explain what #LGBTI meant, I did then he ask “do you have permit to carry this signs” I said “I don’t need permit and that I know the law” the man left us alone,’ Rebecca E Rose said.