Nigeria: Where being openly gay comes at a steep price

Published: August 13, 2012

ABUJA, Nigeria — There are no gay bars in this city and few, if any, people have heard of gay pride.

Politicians and the press are openly hostile toward homosexuals, regularly calling them “barbaric” and “repulsive.”

None of this, however, stops Ifeanyi Kelly Orazulike, an openly gay rights activist. Here in Africa’s most populous country, he is one of just dozens of openly gay men, he says.

His openness comes at a steep price.

“I have attacks,” he told GlobalPost in his office, the location of which is a closely guarded secret. “I’ve been beaten up — gotten my head broken. I’ve gotten death threats.”

Nigeria is perhaps among the worst places in the world to live if you are gay. And, if Nigerian lawmakers get their way, it might get worse.

President Goodluck Jonathan will soon consider signing legislation — passed by the Nigerian House of Representatives last year — that would restrict “expression, assembly, or organization based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to the United States Embassy in Nigeria.

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