Black LGBTQ lawmakers from Washington, D.C. and Maryland, along with activists, are protesting the arrest of over 100 gay suspects arrested at a same-sex wedding in Nigeria.
KanyiDaily had reported how Delta State Police Command arrested the suspects on August 28th during a gay wedding at Teebulus Hotel in Ekpan, Warri.
On Tuesday, September 12, Black LGBTQ lawmakers joined activists in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Northwest Washington to condemn the arrest.
Maryland state Del. Gabriel Acevero, the first openly gay man of Afro-Latino descent elected to the Maryland General Assembly, said that the arrest did not only violated people’s rights but also unjustly portrayed LGBTQIA+ individuals as threats to Nigerian identity and national security.
He said, “What we saw with the recent arrest and detention is not just a violation of people’s rights with this unjust arrest, but the parading of LGBTQIA+ folks before the media as if Nigerian law enforcement officials have actually accomplished some sort of a public safety measure.
“Let’s be clear: LGBTQIA+ folks, queer Nigerians are not a threat to Nigerian identity or national security, but Boko Haram is,” Acevero added.
Victoria Kirby York, National Black Justice Coalition Public Policy and Programs Director, shared her concerns as someone of Nigerian descent and a Black openly lesbian person who has refrained from visiting Nigeria due to fear of detainment.
She said, “We are here today to demand that Nigeria releases these detainees and drop the charges.”
Delegate Carlo Martinez, the first openly gay Afro-Latino man to represent Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates, expressed the need for change in Nigeria’s anti-LGBTQ policies and called for the immediate release of detainees.
Martinez said, “We are here today because we have heavy hearts addressing a pressing issue that demands our immediate attention.
“Nigeria, a nation with immense potential and cultural richness is currently taking a stance to contradicts the principles of equality and human rights.”
“We’re here to protest Nigeria’s anti LGBTQ policy, and urge for change,” added the Prince George’s County Democrat.
“We’re here to demand that Nigeria release all the detainees and drop all the charges because in a world that is increasingly recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion, Nigeria discriminatory laws against the LGBT community remain a stain on his reputation.
“These laws not only perpetuate prejudice, but also infringe upon the fundamental human rights of countless individuals.”
Oriana Oriadha, who is bisexual, refuted the misconception that homosexuality is a Western concept and emphasized the existence of LGBTQ+ individuals within their own communities in Nigeria.
“The notion is that this is a white American imperialistic viewpoint and values that are trying to be imposed on these cultures is not true. That notion alone ignores the existence, the mere existence of their own people in their own communities,” said Oriadha.
Parker, who is the first Black gay man elected to the D.C. City Council, in his remarks noted Nigeria is one of many countries in which anti-LGBTQ crackdowns are taking place.
The Ward 5 council member also highlighted discrimination and violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation also remain problems in D.C. and across the U.S.
“We know, sadly, is that we’re today protesting Nigeria; but we can also protest Pakistan, we can go protest Jamaica and Haiti and a host of other countries around the globe where Black queer people are being prosecuted or being killed,” said Parker.
“Even here in our own country, where Black trans people are being hunted on our streets, or have gone missing without even a notice, where there are bans on books, there are bans and our oppressive policies against our bodies, even here in the nation’s capital where we have work to do.”
Watch the video below:
KanyiDaily had also reported how Kano State Hisbah Police arrested 19 youths for attending a gay wedding in the state.