What it was like to attend Nigeria’s first-ever Pride event.

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07/04/2022

There aren’t many spaces in Lagos where queer people can congregate safely, watch drag performances, listen to queer artists perform, or watch a voguing competition. In 2014, the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) was signed into law by then Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The law prescribes a 14-year prison term for anyone caught having sex with a member of the same sex in most of Nigeria, with an exception for the Muslim majority north, where it is punishable by death by stoning under the Sharia Law. The law also criminalises queer social gatherings and civil rights groups advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. And while there historically haven’t been many legal persecutions, the law has emboldened homophobes who prefer to take the laws into their hands to lynch suspected queer people and groups. These actions have successfully eroded many queer safe spaces into non-existence, and have effectively made things like a Pride celebration in Nigeria seem like a far-off dream. However, for Olaide Kayode Timleyin, a producer and founder of Queercity Media, this was a dream he was determined to make a reality.

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