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Despite Nigeria’s Laws, LGBTQ Acceptance Is On The Rise

By in Huffington Post on May 18, 2017

By Curtis M. Wong

ABUJA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A tentative, growing acceptance of gay men and women in Nigeria offers a seed of hope, human rights campaigners said on Wednesday, in a country where the outlawing of gay sex is supported by nine in ten people, according to a new report.

A 2017 survey by NOI Polls compared attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Nigeria against a 2015 poll.

It found a 7 percent increase in acceptance of LGBT people, and a 9 percent rise to 39 percent of those surveyed who think that LGBT people should be allowed equal access to public services such as healthcare, education and housing.

“These changes might look small, but let us acknowledge the progress,” said Olumide Makanjuola, executive director of The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS), a charity working to protect the rights of sexual minorities in Nigeria, which commissioned the survey.

“The fact that there is a small differential is important to acknowledge. Nigeria is not an easy place to have such conversations.”

However, the poll showed a 4 percent increase to 90 percent of Nigerians who support the criminalisation of same-sex relationships, and no change in the proportion of Nigerians who believe that the country would be a better place with no LGBT people, also 90 percent.

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill in 2014 criminalising same-sex relationships in Nigeria, despite pressure from Western governments to preserve the rights of gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of gay rights groups with penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

Last week, 54 people went on trial on charges connected to allegations that they were celebrating a gay wedding.

Acts of gay sex are illegal in 32 countries across Africa and persecution of gay people […]    

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