Although non-members of the LGBTQ+ community are harassed when profiled as “gay”, a lot of people believe that the QueerNigerianLivesMatter hashtag is unnecessary. Members of the LGBTQ+ community, like many Nigerians, are fighting for their right to exist. They are victims of police brutality. So, we spoke to some queer Nigerian protesters to tell us about how they’ve been treated at the protests.
It is the people that tell you that you are hijacking a movement that annoy me. Police brutality affects all of us. You hear stories of people being harassed for “looking gay”. No, they have no proof of these people’s sexuality, they just profile and stereotype them. Imagine how much danger actual gay people are in. The lives of queer Nigerians do matter. We need the world to know that during the fight to end police brutality, queer people showed up, and fought. People have threatened my life, threatened to rape me etc, but I would not stop.
Kunle; 21, Enugu
In Enugu, it was mostly uneventful. I was not kicked out of the protest or anything, but people made horrible comments about my poster. Whenever they made their comments, I replied with “Queer lives matter”.
Samantha; 20, Jos
I went protesting for the women and the queers. When I was writing on the placard, a friend of mine told me that it was not the place, but I did not listen. They were the reasons I came out to protest anyway. People kept giving my placard double-takes. It was weird; the subtle aggression.
Ayo; 21, Lagos
In Lekki, I guess the protection came from numbers. We were a lot, so people could not really physically attack us. The moment we started taking up space, expressing ourselves, they had a problem. It was like they were telling us we could exist, but not too much.
James; 22, online protester
The thing with being harassed as an online protester is that people have the privilege of hiding behind their screen. They have told me to die and threatened to come kill me. Just for demanding that my life is as important as everyone else’s.
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