March 01, 2007

Nigeria's homophobic laws: what you can do

Peter Tatchell, that indefatigable icon of gay activism, reports that Nigeria is busy passing one of the world's most explicit and far-reaching anti-gay laws:
"The bill is primarily concerned with banning same-sex marriage, but its sub-clauses go much further. They will strip lesbian and gay Nigerians of their already limited civil rights. The bill outlaws almost every expression, affirmation and celebration of gay identity and sexuality, and prohibits the provision of sympathetic advice and welfare support to lesbians and gay men.
Violations will be punished with an automatic five year jail sentence.
The draconian measure will outlaw membership of a gay group, attending a gay meeting or protest, advocating gay equality, donating money to a gay organisation, hosting or visiting a gay website, the publication or possession of gay safer sex advice, renting or selling a property to a gay couple, expressions of same-sex love in letters or emails, attending a same-sex marriage or blessing ceremony, screening or watching a gay movie, taking or possessing photos of a gay couple, and publishing, selling or loaning a gay book or video.
Even mere socialising by two or more gay people could be interpreted as illegal."
He advises to:
- Email your protest to the Nigerian High Commissioner in London or the Nigerian top diplomat in your own country (for Australia and New Zealand, email the Nigerian High Commission in Canberra)
- Since Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth, please also email the Commonwealth Secretary-General (New Zealander Don McKinnon), urging him to press the Nigerian government to scrap the new anti-gay law.
- Remind both men that this homophobic bill enshrines severe, illegal discrimination and is a violation of Nigeria's commitment to uphold international human rights law.

This sort of thing requires some imaginative responses. So this is what you should do too: every time you get a Nigerian scam email, reply that the sender has deliberately contacted a gay person and offered large pots of money and is thus guilty of breaching Nigerian law.
As an addendum add a picture of yourself in a lewd pose, kissing a member of the same sex (or worse), and tell them you have forwarded it on to the Nigerian police with an outline of all the new laws they have broken. You may not get much more scam mail after that!

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