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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Police Threaten Nigerian Gay Teen With Torture For Looking Feminine

Kandywandy - 18:43:00
A 19-year-old gay Nigerian was stopped on the street and threatened with an anal probe test by police, just because he looked feminine. Delle told GSN his story today as Nigerian activists mark
International Human Rights Day (10 December) by calling for a free and equal country.
The gay teen lives in Lagos, the Nigerian capital, and is not out to his family.
He told us: ‘I was heading to the bank one day in October to get some money for my dad in Mainland Lagos [one of the city’s key districts].
‘There were four police and they stopped me in the street. They said I was feminine and so they immediately suspected I was gay. I don’t dress feminine but from my voice and my mannerisms I am.
‘They ordered me to give them my phone and they went through my phone and my texts. I had nothing incriminating on it. But they said I and my cohorts are the ones damaging the country.’
Nigeria has some of the most draconian laws in the world against homosexuality and, away from Lagos, the north of the country has the death penalty for gay sex.
‘They said they would take me to the station and I would have to defend myself and that they would give me [an anal probe] test to prove I haven’t been penetrated.’
Examining someone’s anus to determine if they have had anal sex is completely discredited by doctors as proving nothing. It is considered invasive and a form of torture by human rights experts. It is, however, widely used, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.
Luckily Delle knew his legal rights.
‘I realized they have nothing on me. They have no right to try to intimidate me. After some time, they let me go,’ he said.
But his story is not uncommon in Nigeria where police harassment and mob justice of LGBTIs is widespread and largely unreported.
For Delle, the impact of homophobia in the country is far greater than this incident. As a gay man he is technically a criminal and would face even worse persecution if his sexuality was know beyond a small group of gay friends.
‘It is so difficult trying to be something you are not, he told us. ‘Especially for someone like me, I am really physically out but have to try to pretend to be straight and blend in. I have no other choice.
‘If my family knew, I don’t think they would accept me. They keep making coy statements, like “I just hope you have a girlfriend”. Coming out would be the end of me in the family.
‘Nigerians are still very much homophobic. If there is ever a chance for us to have our freedom, it is very slim. It is a very sad life we have here.
‘I would really want to leave this country. I have so many things I want to do for myself but because of the situation in my country, I can’t be myself and have to miss those opportunities.
‘I want a boyfriend and a relationship and who I can be myself with. I can’t keep up with pretending any more. At least I want to get out of the clutches of my parents and be my own man.’
And he has a message to the international LGBTI community and our supporters.
‘We just pray people in your country will help us. We want change. With you guys over there with your acceptance and the support of your governments, we hope you can send that love to us in Nigeria.’
Nigerians are asking people around the world to use the #FreeAndEqualNaija today to highlight their support.


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