Nigeria is a multicultural society, a melting pot of different beliefs, faiths, creed. But we can all agree that we are due our human rights, including Bobrisky.
Bobrisky, who’s real name is Idris Okuneye was in the news ever so recently when her birthday celebration was cut short thanks to the ‘friendly’ Nigerian Police Force.
This incident brought to the fore certain conversations about LGBTQ rights in Nigeria and how it could be better/worse.
According to the Nigerian Police, storming Bobrisky’s party was due to ‘sensitive information’ that they were privy to. This sounds like a load of malarkey and you have to ask, just how sensitive a piece of information could it be that will warrant the deployment of, based on some reports, a 100 men to break up one birthday party?
Was a known terrorist in attendance? Was the party a front for a large scale plan to assassinate the governor? These are highly unlikely, so it makes no sense to me that such ‘precious’ resources was deployed to something like that.
Nigeria has one of the more intolerant laws towards the LGBT community with a 2013 law prohibiting gay marriage and gay sex. The law prescribes a jail term of 14 years for anyone caught indulging in a homosexual relationship or caught aiding and abetting someone in such relationship.
With this in mind, can we say the police/Govt. was right to break up the party? I think not. Looking at the laws, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere where it states that being gay or trans in itself is a crime. What seems to be the crime is engaging in sexual acts with someone of the same sex.
Now there might be a conversation to be had about whether that law makes any sense or not, but what this means to me is that there aren’t any reasonable grounds to deploy the police on Bobrisky’s case.
Now that we’ve dealt with the matter of whether the Govt and police is right/wrong (they are wrong) the next question is: how much should we care?
For me this is where things get a little tricky. What this means for the average Nigerian gay person or trans person is that the law does not protect them or help them in any way and that can be viewed as concerning. What does it say about our leaders? It says that they are a bunch of people with incredible double standards especially with all the talk of some of these leaders being engaged in homosexual acts themselves. You can make the argument that as Nigerians we should push for a change in the law and start protecting members of the LGBTQ community.
With that said, how about Bobrisky the individual? The thing is, Bobrisky has never actually identified as being gay or trans. We’ve seen the likes of Bisi Alimi and Dominique Oputa actually own being gay and using their platforms to represent the community in Nigeria. While Bobrisky has claimed he has a bae and has talked about getting breasts and butts, she’s never tried to act as a represtative of the community. There’s no visible partner that she wants to be with that the laws are preventing, there’s no normality to a lifestyle that people can identify with, there’s really nothing to hold on to.
And with some of the antics online which point towards a morally questionable individual (gay or straight, stealing someone’s husband is never a good thing) is Bobrisky worth fighting for?
You can perhaps say that regardless of what you think about it, we should always fight when someone’s human rights have been infringed and that’s a good point but, as a representative of the LGBTQ community, I think it is fair to say that Bobrisky might not be the best rallying point.
Odds are she would not be arrested, will continue boldly going about life and continue courting controversy, so for all the noise being made now, it might all turn out to be a storm in a teacup.
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