On January 13th, 2014, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan (pictured) signed a bill criminalizing homosexuality in his country. But this is about more than just marriage and public displays of affection: the law goes as far as banning all gatherings of homosexuals, threatening those who support “the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organisations, processions or meetings” with a lengthy prison sentence. Over 30 people have been arrested since the bill was passed on Monday (ABC News), facing the possibility of fourteen years in prison.
Unfortunately, Africa already has a difficult relationship with homosexuality. It is illegal in “at least 36 of Africa’s 55 countries” (The Economist), a prohibition often justified with dubiously selective interpretations of the Bible, which, if you’ve seen that scene from West Wing or have over ten working brain cells, you’ll know is completely unjustifiable itself.
So far, so calm and collected. But don’t get us wrong. We are really, really angry. Aside from preventing sexual health education from reaching homosexuals – thereby stopping the effort to deal with HIV/AIDS dead in its tracks – the law is a good way to spread hatred and self-loathing, encourage LGBTQ youth suicides, perpetuate damaging stereotypes and give utterly inexcusable prejudice a legal backing.
The signing of this bill has confirmed suspicions that the world is like a lobotomized puppy chasing its tail, and will never really learn. I hate to break it to you, Nigeria, but political corruption, widespread poverty and civil war are not the consequences of peaceful same-sex love.
I know for a fact that there are supporters of this legislation studying at the University of Exeter. If you know their identities and whereabouts, do not hesitate to throw rotten eggs and/or portraits of Oscar Wilde at their faces.
I, for one, will be spending the next few days Photoshopping Goodluck Jonathan’s face into homosexual pornography.
Apparently, Nigeria set a trend for the week, because a few days ago UKIP councillor David Silvester blamed Britain’s recent flooding on the legalisation of same-sex marriage. This news isn’t quiiiite as heavy as that about Nigeria’s new law, but it is similarly based on religious superstition and crackpot bigotry. On the plus side, Silvester’s claims have given rise to fantastically funny Twitter account @UkipWeather:
“A lingering look between 2 men at a gym in York has sparked concerns from residents living near the River Ouse”.
“Council gritters are on high alert after a man in Peterborough went into a pub and ordered a glass of white wine”.
Luckily, UKIP refused to accept Silvester’s ridiculous views as their own, and have suspended him from the party. I suppose every cloud has a silver lining.