Homophobia Affects ALL of Us
Yesterday a story broke on Twitter about a young man who was assaulted by the Nigerian police because he was “perceived” as gay. I have been unable to bring myself to feel sorry him.
Since the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA) passed, effectively legalising homophobia in Nigeria, gay people have been hunted, extorted, assaulted, killed, and laughed at. Laughed at when we talk about sexual assault, police brutality, lynchings, losing jobs, or being kicked out. Laughed at because “it’s not their problem”. Niyi Osundare’s Not My Business comes to mind.
The poster’s comment section is filled with sympathies and curses for the police and tagging popular human rights activists. But when a similar story broke not even a week ago, this time by a gay man, the only people sympathising with him were members of the community. It was not their business, they laughed and jeered. Perhaps this is the reason why I cannot feel sorry for him.
My heart is heavy. What they fail to understand is, you don’t have to be gay for homophobia to bare its teeth at you, you just have to “look like it” or “act like it” or “walk funny”. No one is free until we’re all free. We’re all one fashion choice or mannerism away from being termed gay and a violent attack.
Yesterday people talked about how the police shouldn’t be able to do that, no one mentioned decriminalising homosexuality. That’s not their business, they’re only interested in protecting themselves. Gay people deserve whatever comes to them. When will they realise that it can come to them too? When will they realise that none of us are safe?