LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s snapshot of the current state of affairs for LGBT+ people, through the lens of international business. The Business Climate Score score is out of ten possible points, and is based on ten independently verifiable indicators of the legal, cultural and business context for LGBT+ people.

1.5
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1.
Are consensual homosexual acts between adults legal?
0
No
2.
Are marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples available?
0
No relationship recognition
3.
Is being LGBT+ punishable by death?
0.5
Not by law, but extrajudicial killings occur
4.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment prohibited?
0
No
5.
Can transgender people legally change their gender markers?
0
No
6.
Is sex reassignment surgery at birth for intersex children prohibited?
0
No
7.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the provision of goods and services prohibited?
0
No
8.
Is there a U.S. State Department warning against travel for LGBT+ individuals?
1
No
9.
Do companies sponsor Pride?
0
No
10.
Are there laws prohibiting freedom for assembly or speech for LGBT+ people (i.e. “anti-propoganda laws”, media gags, etc)?
0
Yes
Talking Points
  • The 2014 Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) caused an increase in prejudice and violence against LGBT+ people in Nigeria that makes it hard to justify expanding our business into the country.
  • SSMPA is rarely enforced, which makes condoning homophobia its main societal function. Repealing the law would be an important first step toward increasing the rights of LGBT+ Nigerians.
  • Though 87% of Nigerians reportedly support the SSMPA, that number has declined by 9% since 2010, when the public was polled about the law in its planning stages.
  • Additionally, more than 20% of Nigerians under age 26 would accept a relative who came out as LGB. Reforming the country’s homophobic laws would be action consistent with the direction of public opinion.
  • Given recent surveys that put Nigeria’s LGBT+ population at between 4 and 6% of the overall population, legalizing gay marriage and outlawing anti-LGBT+ discrimination would allow 6.9 to 10.4 million people to more fully participate in Nigeria’s social, cultural, political, and economic life.
Talking Points
Impact of LGBT+ Discrimination on Business and Talent
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    NO RISK
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    LOW RISK
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    MODERATE RISK
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    NOTABLE RISK
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    HIGH RISK
BRAND RISK
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    HIGH RISK
There is a high brand risk to operating in Nigeria: one poll puts anti-LGBT+ sentiment in the country at 87%.
CLIENT RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
Entrenched cultural and political homophobia create a notable risk that LGBT+ clients may feel alienated by business conducted in Nigeria.
TALENT RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
LGBT+ identified employees cannot be relocated to Nigeria offices due to a reasonable fear of imprisonment and violence. Because anti-LGBT+ actions can be based on the mere perception of homosexuality or support for LGBT+ rights, even heterosexual employees may be at risk of discrimination and prosecution.
MARKETING RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
It’s illegal to display same-sex affection in Nigeria, making it highly challenging to market to LGBT+ audiences there without breaking the law, or offending the majority of Nigerians who oppose LGBT+ rights.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • — It’s illegal to belong to or support an LGBT+ organization in Nigeria.
  • — In July 2017, police in Lagos arrested approximately 70 individuals, including 13 minors, at a hotel party where police stated homosexual activities took place. As of November, 27 adults and 13 minors were still awaiting trial on lesser charges under the Lagos State Penal Code.
  • — The hotel owner and two staff members, however, were charged under the SSMPA, the first time the government has done this. They are awaiting trial on charges of aiding and abetting homosexual activities in violation of Section 5(2) of the SSMPA. The offense carries a 10-year sentence if convicted.
  • — Still, there are about 10 LGBT+ advocacy organizations in or outside Nigeria working toward LGBT+ equality there. These include Advocacy for Justice and Equality, The Initiative for Equal Rights, the Bisi Alimi Foundation, Queer Alliance Nigeria, and International Center for Advocacy on Right to Health.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • — Nigerians widely believe that homosexuality is a foreign concept and a colonial import to Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • — In 2018, Theresa May apologized for colonial-era anti-LGBT+ laws in Commonwealth states; a Nigerian columnist responded by suggesting May is a lesbian.
  • — Though some 87% of Nigerians support the ban on same-sex marriage in Nigeria, 30% think that LGBT+ Nigerians deserve access to public services, and 8% say they should be allowed to organize. That is, all provisions of the SSMPA lack equal popular support.
  • — LGBT+ Nigerians and their supporters say that homophobic violence and discrimination rose in the country in the wake of the SSMPA’s passage, because the law acts as a legal endorsement of anti-LGBT+ sentiment.

 

Local Leaders Advocating for LGBT+ Equality

Out Leadership encourages you and your firm to engage in safe and cautious discussion with local leaders around LGBT+ equality and to leverage your firm’s influence to support their work. Below are key leaders who are advocating for LGBT+ equality in Nigeria:

Olumide Makinjuola Executive Director, The Initiative for Equal Rights

Ifeanyi Orazulike Executive Director, International Center for Advocacy on Rights to Health

Bisi Alimi Executive Director, Bisi Alimi Foundation

Williams Rashidi Founder and Director of Queer Alliance Nigeria