Nigeria’s LGBTQ Community Fights Restrictive Cross-Dressing Bill

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5/19/22

Dressed in rainbow-colored vests, members of the LGBTQ community marched in a risky demonstration in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to protest a bill introduced by lawmakers in Nigeria’s lower house of parliament last month seeking to ban cross-dressing. The new measure calls for a punishment of six months in jail or a fine of about $1,200 for cross-dressers. A mob chattered as a transgender woman was beaten and stripped in Lagos weeks after the bill was introduced. This is an outcome LGBTQ activists feared and the reason they say they’re fighting back. Kayode Ani is a chair at the Queer Union for Economic and Social Transformation, or QUEST9ja. What laws like this do is that they basically encourage people to take violence into their own hands, just as we had after the SSMPA was passed — individuals forming vigilantes and going into people’s homes because they suspect that they’re queer, beat them, murder them.” The cross-dressing bill is an expanded version of Nigeria’s 2013 Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that punishes gay sex with up to 14 years in prison. The bill would allow comedians to cross-dress for entertainment purposes, but activists say it will worsen the existing violence against nonbinary or transgender people.

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