There’s some distressing news coming out of Nigeria today as Associated Press has reported that dozens of gay men are being arrested simply for being gay.
Nigerian police are operating off lists of over 100 gay men that they’ve attained in order to execute their new “Jail the Gays” law. The draconian law promises stiff jail time of up to 10 years for pretty much anyone who is known to be gay and supports or participates in pro gay groups, organizations, or meeting places. Anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or civil union can face up to 14 years.
An AIDS counselor who spoke on the condition of anonymity with the Press said that a total of 38 were arrested, and the current antigay legal frenzy was brought on by rumors that the U.S. had paid millions to gay activists to promote gay marriage in Nigeria.
Though the rumors are unfounded, the truth in Nigeria is most likely closer to the opposite.
As the disturbing Oscar-hopeful documentary God Loves Uganda frighteningly demonstrated, the virulently homophobic attitudes that are popping up in countries like Nigeria and Uganda aren’t coming from thin air, but from a concentrated effort by right-wing conservative churches to export their homophobia via the teachings of Christian missionaries.
Sadly, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan seems to condone the law itself and the homophobic behavior that is sweeping his nation. “Nigerians are pleased with it,” his spokesman Reuben Abati told AP. “… it is a law that is a reflection of the beliefs and orientation of Nigerian people.”