Severe laws and hatred continue to obstruct the fight for Nigeria’s LGBT+ equality

The Bisi Alimi Foundation has surveyed 450 LGBT+ Nigerians in an effort to measure the scope of stigma and discrimination against LGBT+ people there. The Foundation, founded and named for the first Nigerian to openly declare his sexuality on Nigerian national TV, seeks to improve the lives of LGBT+ people in Nigeria through research, training, sensitization and advocacy. The survey captures the experiences of people like Habibah, a Nigerian lesbian, who was forced by her family to marry a man who raped her on their wedding night, and Somadina, who was told she would die early because she calls herself queer.

The report provides valuable insight into the lives of Nigeria’s most vulnerable and shows the consequences that result from stigma and discrimination. 55% of respondents stated they were physically attacked or threatened with violence at home or work in the past decade, while 54% are victims of cyber-bulling.

Ultimately, 71 % of respondents believed the abuse they experienced was due to their gender identity or sexuality. Widespread acts of violence often go unreported because of police discrimination, which when combined with family rejection and community exclusion adds to mental stress for people who must hide their orientation or gender identity. Nigeria has the highest HIV prevalence rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, and LGBT+ discrimination in the country’s health care system also has serious consequences.

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