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Police violence targeting LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria: Advancing solutions for a 21st century challenge


Abstract and Figures

The Government of Nigeria passed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) in 2014, emboldening the human rights violations of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians by state and nonstate actors. Nigerian police enforce morality laws that criminalize same-sex relations, but their role as perpetrators of violence has not been well studied. Using six-year (2014 to 2019) administrative data, this article investigates the prevalence and typology of police violence and abuse of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians. Since SSMPA, violence against LGBTIQ+ Nigerians has risen by 214 percent. Survivors frequently report arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention, invasion of privacy, physical assault and battery, and blackmail/extortion. This study is the first to present serial, cross-sectional findings of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians' experience with the police. Available administrative reports and data were synthesized to produce a general picture of the situation on the ground. Findings point to actionable social and policy recommendations that can be taken to promote police accountability and improve police-LGBTIQ+ community relations.
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Greenwich Social Work Review
2020, Vol 1, No 1, 36-49 ISSN: 2633-4313
Contact: 36 © Greenwich Social Work Review
Police violence targeting LGBTIQ+ people in
Nigeria: Advancing solutions for a 21st century
Sulaimon Abiodun Olawale Giwa1,2, Carmen H. Logie3, Karun K. Karki4, Olumide
F. Makanjuola5 and Chinonye Edmund Obiagwu6
1 School of Social Work & Department of Sociology (Police Studies), Memorial University of
Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
2 Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New
Brunswick, Canada
3 Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4 School of Social Work and Human Services, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British
Columbia, Canada
5 Sexual Health and Rights Advocate, Nigeria
6 Legal Defence and Assistance Project (Human Rights Lawyer), Nigeria
Received 19 April 2020
Accepted for publication 18 June 2020
Published 30 June 2020
The Government of Nigeria passed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) in 2014, emboldening the
human rights violations of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians by state and nonstate actors. Nigerian police enforce morality laws
that criminalize same-sex relations, but their role as perpetrators of violence has not been well studied. Using six-
year (2014 to 2019) administrative data, this article investigates the prevalence and typology of police violence
and abuse of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians. Since SSMPA, violence against LGBTIQ+ Nigerians has risen by 214 percent.
Survivors frequently report arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention, invasion of privacy, physical assault and
battery, and blackmail/extortion. This study is the first to present serial, cross-sectional findings of LGBTIQ+
Nigerians’ experience with the police. Available administrative reports and data were synthesized to produce a
general picture of the situation on the ground. Findings point to actionable social and policy recommendations
that can be taken to promote police accountability and improve police-LGBTIQ+ community relations.
Keywords: Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act; LGBTIQ+; police violence and abuse; human rights; Nigeria
1. Introduction
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/gender diverse,
intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people live in contexts of
danger and precarity in many global regions. In 70 countries
across the world, same-sex sexual practices are criminalized;
in 44 of these countries, legal constraints are applied to both
men and women (Mendos, 2019). These countries include 31
of 54 African countries, of which 24 criminalize same-sex
practices for both men and women and 7 between men only
(Mendos, 2019). In many of these countries, LGBTIQ+
people’s human rights are repeatedly violated with no recourse
to justice (Kennedy et al., 2013; Poteat et al., 2011; Zahn et
al., 2016). Punishments range from flogging (Sudan) to life
imprisonment (Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) and the death
penalty (Sudan, the southern part of Somalia and 12 Nigerian
states; Mendos, 2019). Eleven countries in Africa have
‘morality’ laws that prohibit public expressions of sexual and
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
gender diversity, including provision of information for
LGBTIQ+ people (Mendos, 2019). In 19 African countries,
the right to develop and register LGBTIQ+ agencies and non-
governmental organizations is restricted (Mendos, 2019).
These regulations limit civil society’s participation and ability
to advocate for LGBTIQ+ rights and services.
Human-rights violations of LGBTIQ+ people in sub-
Saharan Africa are rooted in perceptions that same-sex
identities and gender diversity are foreign or Western
influences, therefore ‘un-African’. This thinking persists
despite anthropological evidence that same-sex relationships
have existed since precolonial times in Africa. Murray and
Roscoe (1998, p. 6), for example, have argued that same-sex
practices have been a ‘consistent and logical feature of African
societies and belief systems’. As African societies emerged
from European colonial rule, the inclusive views they once
held gave way to discriminatory and punitive responses to
sexual orientation and gender diversity. Precolonial social
acceptance was undermined through colonial laws fuelling
discriminatory practices that today continue to undermine
and eraseLGBTIQ+ Africans from memory, imagination
and nation building. Former colonial powers introduced most
of the current laws criminalizing same-sex practices in African
contexts, yet they have removed these laws in their own
countries, labelling them as discriminatory. Semugoma,
Nemande and Baral (2012) describe this as ‘the irony of
homophobia in Africa’. For example, in the Nigerian Criminal
Code any act of same-sex practices is outlawed including oral
and penetrative sex; these are described as ‘carnal knowledge
against the order of nature’ and ‘acts of gross indecency’ (The
Federation of Nigeria, 1916).
Many reasons are given for the denial of LGBTIQ+ human
rights in many parts of Africa. These include religion; concern
with preserving the traditional (heteronormative) family unit;
fear of HIV transmission; protecting children from imagined
child abuse; and the perception that LGBTIQ+ Africans will
receive preferential treatment (Human Rights Watch, 2016;
Sexual Minorities Uganda, 2014). This perception is grounded
in the idea that extending equal rights to LGBTIQ+ Africans
would normalize non-heterosexual orientations and in turn
result in ‘special’ or ‘additional’ rights and privileges. No
scientific evidence substantiates claims that recognition and
protection of LGBTIQ+ rights would have negative societal
impacts. The contrary is true: human-rights violations among
LGBTIQ+ people compromise health. For instance, an article
focused on the immediate effects of the passage of the Same-
Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA) reported an
increased fear of seeking health care, and avoidance of health
care and HIV prevention and treatment services among men
who have sex with men in Nigeria (Schwartz et al., 2015).
This article presents exploratory research on the role that
the police may play in constraining LGBTIQ+ people’s sexual
and gender rights. As part of the state apparatus designed to
uphold the rule of law, police may act in ways that restrict and
infringe on the rights of LGBTIQ+ people (Zahn et al., 2016).
International non-governmental organizations have
consistently reported the problem of police violations of
LGBTIQ+ people’s rights (Human Rights Watch, 2016);
however, knowledge is lacking on the prevalence and forms
of police violence and abuse. This case study about police
violence against LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria draws on a
human rightsbased framework to illustrate this argument.
Nigeria is an appropriate case study due to its hostile legal and
social environment: same-sex sexuality and gender non-
conformity are criminalized, either by imprisonment in states
without Sharia law, or by death penalty in states under Sharia
law (Amnesty International, 2013; Carroll and Mendos,
2. Human rights-based conceptual framework
In certain global contexts, LGBTIQ+ people are denied
their basic rights to participate fully in everyday life (Mendos,
2019). The inequality and marginalization they experience
keep them in a position of disadvantage (Dentato, 2018). At
the core of the global human rightsbased framework
captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(UDHR) is the belief that all human beings are born free and
equal in dignity and in rights (UDHR, 1948). The framework
employs a two-pronged objective for populations that are
marginalized or excluded, vulnerable and discriminated
against. First, rights holders are empowered to claim and
exercise their inalienable rights (UNDG Human Rights
Working Group, 2003). Second, official authorities are held
accountable to promote and protect the human rights of all
citizens, without discrimination on the basis of a prohibited
ground (e.g. sexual orientation or gender identity; UNDG
Human Rights Working Group, 2003).
LGBTIQ+ people’s lives flourish in global regions where
their right to life, security and protection by the state is
safeguarded (Mendos, 2019). However, LGBTIQ+ people’s
human rights are not recognized or protected everywhere.
Thus, they are at risk for discrimination, abuse, poor health
and death (Marks, 2006). The Yogyakarta Principles (2007),
a benchmark for the international protection of human rights
in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, upholds
UDHR principles by reaffirming the duty of individual states
to ensure that LGBTIQ+ people are protected against
violence or bodily harm from both state and nonstate actors.
A human rightsbased approach may result in social
justice for the most vulnerable and marginalized members of
society (Ife, 2012; Reichert, 2007), including LGBTIQ+
people in Nigeria. It would promote the use of legal
mechanisms for rights protections and ensure access to
essential services free from discrimination (e.g. freedom from
police violence and abuse). Finally, it would reinforce the
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
concept that LGBTIQ+ people are citizens who should be
recognized and treated as such (Broberg and Sano, 2018).
3. Contextualizing police violence and abuse in Nigeria
Before Nigeria was colonized by Britain in 1861,
traditional, Indigenous policing was common throughout the
region. It embraced informal social control and restorative
justice values, rooted in religious and social structures
(Arisukwu, 2012; Ikuteyijo and Rotimi, 2012). Traditional
rulers were involved in the day-to-day resolution of crimes
and dispute settlement (Zumve, 2012); transgressors were
required to make amends to their victims and the community,
based on established norms. This system of crime control
allowed for law and order to be maintained, without much
violence taking place.
However, when Britain expanded its colonial powers
across Nigeria, it replaced traditional policing methods with
Western systems of policing (Tamuno, 1970). It became
commonplace for police to use violent force against Nigerians
to silence dissent or resistance to British colonial rule.
Compliance and defensive weapons were means to subjugate
and otherwise incapacitateor even killthose who
contested colonial labour exploitation. The Women’s Riot of
December 1929 to January 1930, where the military and police
were deployed, resulted in the death of 55 women; more than
50 other women were seriously injured (Alemika and
Chukwuma, 2000). In the Enugu colliery strike in 1949, 21
miners were killed, and 50 others wounded (Alemika and
Chukwuma, 2000). A similar pattern of events unfolded
during the Tiv Riots of 1960the same year that Nigeria
gained its independence from Britainwherein 19 civilians
were killed and 83 injured (Alemika and Chukwuma, 2000).
The strategy of using violent repression marked the police
relationship with the public; this has continued to the present
Contemporary police violence against the general
population in Nigeria is widespread and well documented
(Alemika and Chukwuma, 2000). Political and socioeconomic
instability in the country, coupled with institutional
management problems internal to the police force, has long
been argued to foster a climate of lawlessness, corruption,
intimidation, confrontation with the public, and harassment
(Karimu, 2014). Under successive military regimes, Nigerian
police have enforced authoritarian directives that have
stymied the development and functioning of democratic
institutions (Arisukwu, 2012). The lack of sustained
government investment in the police force has further
contributed to a situation where police personnel are ill
equipped to meet public safety priorities and the emerging
needs of local communities (Ikuteyijo and Rotimi, 2012),
giving rise to vigilante groups such as the Bakassi Boys
(disbanded by the federal government in 2002). Such groups,
unlike rogue individuals and mobs, have been emboldened by
the ineffectiveness of the police in curbing crime (Taft and
Haken, 2015) and have used more violence. According to
Karimu (2014, p. 82), ‘No government agency in Nigeria
except the defunct National Electric Power Authority has been
so severely criticized as the Nigeria police for not living to its
responsibilities and expectations’.
Nigerian police have been found to routinely engage in
behaviours that undermine the rule of law (Alemika and
Chukwuma, 2000). In extortion-related confrontations at
roadblocks meant to combat crime, ordinary citizens have
reportedly been beaten, sexually assaulted, and/or killed for
not paying bribes to the police (Human Rights Watch, 2005,
2010). LGBTIQ+ people have also been targeted in LGBTIQ+
spaces such as at parties organized by LGBTIQ+ members or
on social networking and online dating applications like
Grindr, Manjam or 2go, in order to intimidate or extort money
from them (Okereke, 2019). These abuses have often acted as
foils for the police to extort even more money from the
families of those in custody (Human Rights Watch, 2005,
2010). The corrupt system of ‘returns’, in which junior
officers pay their superiors some of the money collected from
bribes and extortions, fosters a culture of impunity that
incentivizes these abuses to continue with disregard for any
form of accountability (Human Rights Watch, 2005, 2010).
4. Sociolegal contexts of police brutality and abuse of
LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria
Internationally, the development of LGBTIQ+ advocacy
may be traced to specific incidents that sparked a movement
for LGBTIQ+ rights, such as the Stonewall rebellion in New
York City (Carter, 2004). Compared to these, the current
struggle for LGBTIQ+ human rights in Nigeria may be argued
to stem from provisions in the penal code and SSMPA
criminalizing consensual same-sex relations in the country.
Sections 214, 215, and 217 of Nigeria’s Criminal Code Act
(The Federation of Nigeria, 1916) permit the state to penalize
sexual practices between persons of the same sex. More
recently, the Nigerian government passed the Same-Sex
Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA), which came into effect
in January 2014 (Refworld, 2019). The Act imposes far-
reaching restraints on LGBTIQ+ people’s lives in Nigeria
(Adebanjo, 2015; Adeoye, 2019; Sogunro, 2017). Along with
barring same-sex marriage or civil union, cohabitation
between same-sex partners, and direct or indirect public
display of same-sex relationships, it prohibits the registration
and lawful assembly of LGBTIQ+ groups, organizations,
clubs and societies. Supporters and human rights defenders
also face severe punishment that can include up to 10 years in
prison (Refworld, 2019). According to the international non-
governmental organization Human Rights Watch (2016),
public violence and police abuse of LGBTIQ+ people in
Nigeria have increased since the passage of SSMPA. Its
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
punitive laws promote a climate of fear and anxiety among the
general population, which contributes to a cycle of
misconceptions and stigma leading to aggression and
violence, as well as conveying to LGBTIQ+ Nigerians that
their lives are disposable (Bass and Lee, 2015).
The police are the enforcement arm of the state when it
comes to constraining LGBTIQ+ people’s rights. In Nigeria,
they play an important role in upholding state-sanctioned
decrees that legitimize violence (Human Rights Watch, 2016).
Nigeria’s Constitution guarantees the human rights of all its
citizens and makes no specific reference to sexual orientation
and gender identity. However, SSMPA can result in increased
violence against LGBTIQ+ people (Schwartz et al., 2015).
Indeed, while police as an institution are at the nexus of
enforcing discriminatory laws against LGBTIQ+ people, they
simultaneously have the responsibility to protect and serve
marginalized and vulnerable populations, ostensibly including
LGBTIQ people (United Nations Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights, 2018). Such denial of rights
protection results in LGBTIQ+ Nigerians having no recourse
to justice.
The denial of human-rights protection promoted by
SSMPA thus leaves the Nigerian police in a precarious
position: the fundamental rights of some citizens are respected
and upheld, while those of LGBTIQ+ people are denied. This
situation is ironic because of the disconnect between police
primary responsibilities as described on paperto serve
‘mankind [sic]; to safeguard lives and properties; to protect the
innocent against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful
against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional
rights of all men [sic] to liberty, equality and justice’
(Premium Times, n.d., ‘Primary Responsibilities of a Police
Officer’)—and the way it is practised in real life. In failing to
extend protection from discrimination to LGBTIQ+ people, as
guaranteed by the Constitution to all Nigerians, the ability of
the police to foster a positive relationship with the LGBTIQ+
community is undermined.
5. Methodology
Prior to SSMPA coming into effect in January 2014, to our
knowledge there had been no systematic effort to collect
statistical data on the human-rights violations experienced by
LGBTIQ+ people by the Nigeria Police Force. Likely sources
of datathe Nigeria Police Force and the Ministry of Police
Affairsdo not collect this type of information. In both cases,
the ability of state actors to recognize the negative
consequences of SSMPA and other anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation
is undermined by a lack of data, without which it is difficult to
establish a starting point from which to track progress over
Since SSMPA’s enactment, the organization Initiative for
Equal Rights (TIERS), in collaboration with several
LGBTIQ+ human-rights organizations, has documented
reports of violence. These reports (dating from 2014 to 2019)
and the figures and tables generated by the authors constitute
our data sources for this research. Sources for the reports
included survivors, friends and/or eyewitnesses, TIERS
community-based paralegals, media reports and 24-hour call-
in hotline numbers. In 2015, TIERS published a report on
human-rights violations for the period December 2014 to
November 2015 (TIERS, 2015). They published similar
reports for the periods December 2015 to November 2016 and
December 2016 to November 2017, respectively (TIERS,
2016, 2017). The most recent reports, published in 2018 and
2019, covered the periods December 2017 to November 2018
and December 2018 to November 2019, respectively (TIERS,
2018, 2019).
The human-rights unit at TIERS authenticated and
completed status reports on all reported cases. The intake
documentation tool featured a questionnaire section on the
survivor’s sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and
social identitywere they out, not out, or actively part of any
known LGBTIQ+ community/organization in Nigeria. Intake
case managers also asked survivors if they believed they had
been violated because of their real or perceived sexuality or
gender identity/expression, and gathered additional data like
screenshots, photos, affidavits, medical forms and police
complaint forms, if available. Survivors were informed that
case data would be featured in TIERS’s annual report, which
would not include their personal information without their
consent. TIERS also have a status section to track ongoing
Summative qualitative content analysis was employed to
make sense of the data (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005). Keyword
frequency counts or manifest content were incorporated and
then broadened inductively to include an analysis of latent
meanings or themes (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005). First, each
report was read in its entirety to develop a deeper
understanding of the phenomenon of interest. Next,
administrative data contained in the reports were closely
examined to identify, group, and quantify words for content
usage. This process was manually facilitated with the aid of
coloured markers, organizing data into meaningful patterns
(Givens, 2008). Using Word document functions, the resulting
data were captured in figures and a table, including relative
and absolute figures. Finally, the data were interpreted against
the context of SSMPA’s impacts on LGBTIQ+ rights in
6. Findings and discussion
As Figure 1 shows, between SSMPA’s introduction in
2014 and 2019, the frequency and number of reported
instances of violence and human-rights violations against
LGBTIQ+ people by state actors, nonstate actors, and state
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
and nonstate actors combined has steadily increased. In
general, reports of LGBTIQ+ violence and human right
violations increased 214 percent. (An exception was 2016,
which saw a drop in the number of reported cases from the
previous year, from 172 to 151.) Men were more likely than
women to report having experienced violence and violations
of their human rights. There were 129, 228, 265 and 344
reported violations against men in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019
respectively. (These figures are higher than reported
violations for the same years, perhaps because they take into
consideration the total number of people violated and not just
the total number of violations.) In the same years 28, 19, 21
and 53 reported violations were against women. No
breakdowns for reported violations by gender were available
for the years 2014 and 2015.
It is important to note that because of actual or perceived
threats of violence, these numbers may underestimate true
prevalence. Survivors may have decided not to report their
case for fear of retaliation or further abuse by police (Angeles
and Roberton, 2020; Dario et al., 2020; Giwa and Jackman,
2020; Herek, 1989; Hodge and Sexton, 2018; Human Rights
Watch, 2016; Mallory, Hasenbush and Sears, 2015; Miles-
Johnson, 2013; Nyanzi, 2014). Nonetheless, the data suggest
a possible relationship between SSMPA and the spike in
LGBTIQ+ violence and human-rights violations, but causality
cannot be inferred, as no earlier data exist for comparison. As
discussed previously, Nigeria has had anti-LGBTIQ+ laws as
part of its social fabric since 1916.
How the frequency and prevalence of historical violence
compares with current figures is unknown. Community-level
stigma and discrimination towards LGBTIQ+ people have,
according to Adebanjo (2015), persisted for a long time and
could be seen to contribute to mistreatment of LGBTIQ+
Nigerians. The observed increase in LGBTIQ+ violence and
human-rights violations may thus reflect rising community-
level stigma, or it may reflect the synergistic effect of the law
on community attitudes and behaviours. This deserves
additional, rigorously designed research attention.
Figure 1. Prevalence of reported LGBTIQ+ violence and human-rights violations in Nigeria, 2014-2019
Figure 2 illustrates the reported violations by state actors,
nonstate actors, and state and nonstate actors combined. This
figure demonstrates that nonstate actors accounted for most
reported perpetrations of violence against LGBTIQ+ people.
From 2014 to 2018, the reported number of violations among
state actors was stable except for 2017, when the average
decreased by 27 percent. However, in 2019, there was a 100
percent increase in the average over the previous five years.
These findings suggest that Nigeria remains a dangerous place
for the safety and inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people.
By contrast, reported violations rose by 57 percent among
nonstate actors between 2014 and 2015 (from 79 to 124). This
was followed by a decline of 15 percent between 2015 and
2016 (from 124 to 106) and an increase of 58 percent between
2016 and 2017 (from 106 to 168). There was an additional
slight increase of 1.2 percent between 2017 and 2018 (from
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
168 to 170). This was followed by a substantial increase of 44
percent between 2018 and 2019 (from 170 to 244). The rise in
reported violence perpetrated towards LGBTIQ+ people by
nonstate actorssuch as individual persons, mobs and
vigilante groupscan be situated in the larger context of
criminalization of LGBTIQ+ identities, expressions and
organizations. For reasons discussed earlier, the existing
culture of violence in Nigeria also makes it easier for
LGBTIQ+ people’s rights to be violated. Pervasive violence
may produce a climate of impunity for nonstate actors, who
can perpetrate violence towards LGBTIQ+ people while being
perceived by the state and police as fulfilling the community’s
wish to constrain sexual and gender diversity (Adebanjo,
When individual citizens and mobs violate the human
rights of LGBTIQ+ people and their actions are ignored or
overlooked by the police, LGBTIQ+ people are silenced from
speaking out about their abuse. For example, in a research
report based on 73 interviews with LGBT people, Human
Rights Watch (2016) found that LGBT Nigerians feared
reporting their abuse to police since doing so could elevate
their risk for further harm. Violence by community and police
therefore further constrain sexual and human rights by
rendering LGBTIQ+ people unable to seek justice.
As can be seen in Table 1, the top-reported forms of
violence and human-rights violations by nonstate actors (i.e.
individuals, mobs and private groups implicated in the
violation of LGBTIQ+ human rights) were physical assault
and battery; blackmail and extortion; harassment
(unspecified); stigma and discrimination; and defamation.
Correspondingly, the top-reported violations by state actors
(i.e. police, judiciary and other agents who act on behalf of the
government or its agencies) were arbitrary arrest and unlawful
detention; invasion of privacy; physical assault and battery;
and blackmail and extortion.
Figure 2. Reported violence and human-rights violations by state, nonstate, and state and nonstate actors
against LGBTIQ+ persons in Nigeria, 2014 to 2019.
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
State Actors Nonstate Actors State Actors and Nonstate Actors
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
Table 1. Violence and Human-Rights Violations Against LGBTIQ+ People in Nigeria, 2014 to 2019.
Type of violation
Perpetrated by
Perpetrated by
Perpetrated by
arrest & detention
Attempted murder,
murder &
Breach of
invasion of privacy
Denial of fair trial/
Deprivation of liberty,
peaceful assembly
Discrimination &
Forceful eviction
Hate speech & crime
(table continues)
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
Table 1. (cont’d.)
Type of violation
Perpetrated by
Perpetrated by
Perpetrated by
Perpetrated by
Mob attack
Physical harassment,
assault & battery
Police brutality
Rape, attempted rape
Sexual harassment,
Threat to life
Verbal abuse
Wrongful dismissal
Note: Percentages are for the year specified. They have been rounded off and may not add up to 100%. ‘All actors’ comprises state and nonstate actors acting together.
For 2014 and 2015, available data from TIERS did not specify whether reported violence and human-rights violations were committed by state actors, nonstate actors,
or both. Only the raw totals were provided for the reported top violations.
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
Although most violence and human-rights violations by
state and nonstate actors were carried out independently of
each other (except for 2014, for which data are unavailable)
both groups acting together were also implicated in the abuse
of LGBTIQ+ people. Figure 2 shows that in 2015 there were
10 reported cases of violations by state and nonstate actors in
unison. This figure rose to 16 in 2016, an increase of 60
percent. It dropped, however, in 2017 to 10, a decline of 38
percent. Then, in 2018, it plummeted again to 4, a decline of
60 percent. However, there was an increase from 4 to 12 in
2019, marking a historic growth of 200 percent.
We suspect that the Public Complaint Rapid Response
Unit News Bulletin from the Inspector General of Police in
2016 may have had an effect on the behaviours of police
officers (Abimboye, 2016) and could help to explain the
observed decline between 2017 and 2018. The Bulletin
cautioned officers against illegal mobile phone checks and
stressed severe disciplinary actions where it was proven that
an officer engaged in such behaviour. The change in officers’
behaviour, in turn, may have influenced the actions of
individual citizens and mobs during the same periods, such
that they engaged less in violence and human-rights violations
of LGBTIQ+ people. In this way, the intervention by the
Inspector General of Police is a potential indication of the
power of police leadership to shape the conduct of police
membersand by extension the general publicin respecting
the constitutional rights of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians.
Nonetheless, based on the figure from 2019, it appears that
police leadership continues to struggle with bringing the
behaviour of police members in line with human-rights
standards and practices. The lack of consistency in this regard
could promote harmful social norms that advocate and
rationalize community violence against LGBTIQ+ people
(Human Rights Watch, 2016). Thus, LGBTIQ+ people may
not feel safe to reach out to the police for help when their
human rights are being violated (Human Rights Watch, 2016).
Further research is required with both police officers and
LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria to understand the dynamics of
the police leadership and the changes in reporting.
7. Policy and social action responses to police
violence targeting LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria
Policy drives much of the violence and sexual and human-
rights constraints experienced by LGBTIQ+ people (Beyrer,
2014). An immediate policy action that could be taken by the
Nigerian government, of course, would be to abolish the
SSMPA law. The removal of sections 214, 215 and 217 from
the Criminal Code Act, which criminalize same-sex sexual
practices, could follow. Finally, LGBTIQ+-specific rights
have not existed for over a century (The Federation of Nigeria,
1916). Laws need to be passed to protect LGBTIQ+ people
from discrimination. They need to be enacted so that persons,
including state and nonstate actors, could be prosecuted for
violating LGBTIQ+ people’s rights. Similar progressive
policies respecting the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people exist
in countries such as South Africa, which after becoming the
first African country to prohibit discrimination based on
sexual orientation and gender identity in its Constitution
(Mendos, 2019), celebrated its 30th annual Johannesburg
Pride parade in October 2019. South Africa was also the fifth
country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage (Masci,
Sciupac and Lipka, 2019) and to allow adoption by same-sex
couples (Thoreson, 2008). These LGBTIQ+-inclusive non-
discrimination policies affirm and protect the equal rights of
non-heterosexual people to life, liberty and security of the
Policies can also specifically address police practices. The
government could issue an explicit directive to police
commissioners and senior officers, prohibiting all forms of
extortion, bribery, torture in police custody, violations of
privacy and corruption in the name of SSMPA. Such a
directive could instruct police officials to implement a hate-
crime recording and monitoring framework for reported acts
of violence against LGBTIQ+ people and require them to
investigate such cases without delay. Furthermore, as
measures of accountability the Ministry of Police Affairs
could share reports of police-reported LGBTIQ+ hate crimes
and investigations received from the Nigeria Police Force to
the police affairs, human rights and justice committees of the
National Assembly. While implementing policies does not
ensure changes in practice, it is a start. It could be buttressed
by trainings from community-based LGBTIQ+ and human-
rights groups and supported internally by police personnel
who champion LGBTIQ+ rights and human rights more
Training and professional development opportunities
informed by stigma-reduction strategies could be provided to
legislators and policymakers, to prevent against further
enactment of punitive sexual-orientation and gender-identity
discrimination laws (Human Rights Watch, 2016). Topics in
such trainings might include LGBTIQ+ identities and
terminologies; the harmful impacts of stigma and
discrimination; the state of LGBTIQ+ rights in Nigeria and
around the world; and inclusive policies that promote the
rights and well-being of LGBTIQ+ people. In addition, the
trainings should be interactive and include in-person
professional workshops, case studies and role-plays or
simulations. These have been found to be more effective than
lecture-style trainings, because they emphasize adult learning
principles (Della, 2004; Morgan et al., 2000; Israel et al.,
2014). Trainings must include staff at the Ministry of Police
Affairs as well as police officers and cadets, to sensitize them
to the realities of LGBTIQ+ people. One study (Israel et al.,
2014) found that police who participated in a five-hour
training on LGBTQ issues increased their knowledge of the
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
challenges faced by LGBTQ people and reported improved
confidence using LGBTQ-affirming tactics (i.e. strategies
used in response to hate-motivated incidents directed at
someone who is LGBTQ). The Nigeria Police Force and the
Ministry of Police Affairs must envisage a new relationship
with the country’s LGBTIQ+ community. Through diverse
public engagement and promotional activities, they must seek
ways to gain the trust of LGBTIQ+ people and encourage
them to report acts of violence by state and nonstate actors,
with assurance that they will be taken seriously.
On the social action front, LGBTIQ+ organizations in
Nigeria recognize that the struggle for civil rights and equality
under the law in that country are connected to those of the
broader international community. Within the limits of legal
restrictions and much in the way seen in other countries where
LGBTIQ+ rights are protected by law, they make consistent
attempts to document the experiences of LGBTIQ+ people in
Nigeria, bring global attention to their situation and encourage
pressure from regional and international communities on the
Nigerian government to enact laws that protect the human
rights of LGBTIQ+ people (Adebanjo, 2015).
Local efforts from groups such as TIERS are also paving
the way towards a more inclusive society that supports the
liberation and visibility of LGBTIQ+ people in Nigeria. For
example, as part of its capacity-building initiative, TIERS
offers sensitization and empowerment skills training to
institutional stakeholders and community members to enhance
their knowledge about LGBTIQ+ people. The declining
support for SSMPA may be directly related to this effort87
percent of Nigerians polled by NOIPolls in 2015 showed
support for SSMPA, compared to 92 percent in 2013 (Bisi
Alimi Foundation, TIERS and GLAAD, 2015).
Coalition building and broad-based mobilization with non-
LGBTIQ+-focused groups, including the 334 community-
based and non-governmental organizations affiliated with the
Human Rights Agenda Network (HRAN) based in Nigeria
(HRAN, 2019), are also integral to advancing LGBTIQ+
human rights. Such alliances can help to build solidarity and
catalyse respect for LGBTIQ+ people’s human rights by
collectivizing shared struggles (Beyrer, 2012). These
organizations could include HIV organizations providing
prevention and care services to the general population (e.g.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation Nigeria); women’s
organizations and others advocating gender equality (e.g.
Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative);
and disability organizations and advocacy groups promoting
the political and social rights of people with disabilities (e.g.
Centre for Citizens with Disabilities). Because some of these
collaborators may already be engaged in collaborative work
involving police leadership and/or have experience working
successfully with police on a common goal serving the public
interest, they could leverage existing relationships to advance
human rights for LGBTIQ+ Nigerians. Such advocacy could
result in the creation of a police-LGBTIQ+ liaison committee,
for example, similar to those operating in countries like
Canada (Kirkup, 2013), to help bridge the divide between the
police and members of LGBTIQ+ communities and foster
social engagement in shared activities.
A helpful starting place for building respectful and
equitable relationships can be practising cultural humility,
through self-reflection on one’s beliefs and cultural identities
(Tervalon and Murray-Garcia, 1998). Cultural humility
practices include self-awareness, openness to learning and
embracing complexity (Bennett and Gates, 2019). Dialogues
rooted in cultural humility can help people to engage in self-
reflection and self-critique on their own assumptions, biases
and values regarding LGBTIQ+ issues. Such dialogues could
then highlight the negative impacts of stigma and
discrimination on LGBTIQ+ people, their families and
Nigerian society to change stigmatizing attitudes and to
recognize LGBTIQ+ rights as human rights. There are more
than 250 ethnic tribes in Nigeria (Adedini et al., 2015), so no
two dialogues can be the same. However, dialogues in
community forums that allow individuals, groups and families
to share their experiences and learn from one another can help
to drive social change to improve the human rights of
LGBTIQ+ people (McAllister, 2015). As well, in this
approach, there should be a collaborative effort towards
alliance building with religious, social and cultural
commentators who are not necessarily members of the
LGBTIQ+ community but who have a broad-base, national
appeal in speaking against the stigma and discrimination of
LGBTIQ+ people (McAllister, 2015).
As the above strategies for social action to advance human
rights suggest, changing people’s negative attitudes,
behaviours and underlying values and biases against
LGBTIQ+ persons will require a sustained, amplified and
multifaceted effort. Human rights advocacy could leverage
international collaborations with LGBTIQ+ groups and
activists in other global contexts. International collaborators
could also engage in practices of cultural humility when
seeking to work with Nigerian LGBTIQ+ groups, which
would involve acknowledging the historical roots of
LGBTIQ+ stigma in Nigeriaand other former coloniesin
British colonial practices. Cultural humility for international
collaborators working with LGBTIQ+ Nigerians could
integrate Bennett and Gates’s (2019) recommendations to
explore power differences, resource needs, considerations of
diversity and of the whole person (beyond stigma) and to build
ongoing, respectful relationships that maximizes local
strengths, expertise and existing advocacy.
8. Limitations
Study limitations are worth noting. Our research relied on
available administrative data from TIERS and partner
Greenwich Social Work Review, 1(1) Giwa et al
organizations covering six reporting periods between January
2014 and November 2019. The data set is cross-sectional,
precluding understanding of causality, and we are limited in
variables to assess, as labels were predefined. Qualitative data
to enhance deeper understanding of the issue are also lacking.
The Nigeria Police Force is key to the safety of LGBTIQ+
people but is often overlooked in the process of finding
solutions to violence perpetrated by police officers. Research
could explore officers’ views of internal and external changes
needed to improve their relationships with, and perceptions of,
police service quality for LGBTIQ+ people. In addition,
ongoing grassroots activism challenging dominant norms of
sexual orientation and gender identity has been helpful in
slowly shifting societal attitudes towards LGBTIQ+ people in
Nigeria (Bisi Alimi Foundation, TIERS and GLAAD, 2015).
However, this change has not trickled down into all public
institutions. Little progress has been made in the delivery of
justice and in advancing equality for LGBTIQ+ people under
the law. Thus, another possible research direction is to explore
barriers to grassroots LGBTIQ+ organizations activism
effecting policy change and policing reforms in Nigeria.
9. Conclusions
The current research synthesized serial cross-sectional
data to produce a general picture of the experience of
LGBTIQ+ Nigerians with the police. The presented data
showed that, since the introduction of SSMPA, human-rights
violations and abuse rose by 214 percent. The police are
involved in several actions that compromise the safety and
well-being of LGBTIQ+ Nigerians. Arbitrary arrest and
unlawful detention, invasion of privacy, physical assault and
battery and blackmail and extortion were the top human-rights
violations and abuses reported among police state actors.
These findings have important implications for policing in a
democratic state such as Nigeria. Police legitimacythat is,
citizens’ trust in the policerisks being eroded when sworn
officers participate in and perpetrate violence against
LGBTIQ+ members of society. Their actions, though
encouraged by the SSMPA and other existing discriminatory
laws, undermine the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ+
Nigerians to a life free of violence and abuse as stipulated in
the aforementioned legal regimes. Additionally, the unequal
application of the rule of law means that LGBTIQ+ Nigerians
are exposed to human-rights violations and abuse with no
recourse to justice or support from the police. Addressing this
issue is paramount to ensuring the safety and well-being of
LGBTIQ+ Nigerians and to promoting a climate that support
survivors to come forward in reporting their abuse to the
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... In Nigeria, while there is a growing body of literature on policing victimless crimes or controversial laws governing culturally-sensitive topics such as drug addiction, prostitution, same-sex marriage, and abortion (Giwa et al. 2020), empirical studies on policing suicide remain underdeveloped. On controversial laws, the Nigerian government passed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) in 2014, stipulating a prison term of 14 years for offenders. ...
... On controversial laws, the Nigerian government passed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) in 2014, stipulating a prison term of 14 years for offenders. However, this law has been viewed as contravening human rights and an attempt to force all Nigerians to align with compulsory heteronormativity and sex and gender binary (Ajayi-Lowo 2018), while the police have been accused of engaging in violence and extortion in their enforcement of the law (Giwa et al. 2020). Also, despite the enabling laws banning the sale and use of illicit drugs, engaging in induced pregnancy abortion, and prostitution, and with their potential to cause fatal harm and death, evidence from studies and reports suggest continuous growth in the prevalence of the crimes (Bankole et al. 2015, Giwa et al. 2020. ...
... However, this law has been viewed as contravening human rights and an attempt to force all Nigerians to align with compulsory heteronormativity and sex and gender binary (Ajayi-Lowo 2018), while the police have been accused of engaging in violence and extortion in their enforcement of the law (Giwa et al. 2020). Also, despite the enabling laws banning the sale and use of illicit drugs, engaging in induced pregnancy abortion, and prostitution, and with their potential to cause fatal harm and death, evidence from studies and reports suggest continuous growth in the prevalence of the crimes (Bankole et al. 2015, Giwa et al. 2020. For example, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that Nigeria's 14.4% drug use prevalence is significantly higher than the global average. ...
The global calls for the decriminalisation of suicide have been intense, leading to several countries repealing laws against suicide and suicidal behaviour. However, this opened up a gap in knowledge on suicide policing in countries that maintained statutes penalising suicide. Drawing from the case of Nigeria, one of the countries where attempted suicide attracts prison sentences, this study explored the opinions and experiences of police officers as regards the criminalisation of suicide and enforcement of anti-suicide laws. Sixty-four (64) suicide investigating police officers in six zonal commands of the Nigeria Police Force were engaged in a qualitative study under an interpretative paradigm. Participants reported negative perceptions of anti-suicide laws and policing of suicide through communities’ display of lack of belief, low level of trust, lukewarm or negative attitudes, uncooperative postures, and low level of support. The study sample held that the anti-suicide laws are not effective in the country as evidenced by the low rate of apprehensions and convictions, despite increasing figures of suicide mortality. The study findings highlighted the need for the Nigerian government to consider the decriminalisation of attempted suicide and be more responsive to socioeconomic factors driving the increase in suicide in the country.
... likely to be SGM (ORAM 2013)that is, individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ). This is, in large part, due to South Africa's constitutional guarantees of nondiscrimination based on gender and sexual orientation (ORAM 2013), which attract SGM people from at least 30 African countries, many of which criminalize same-sex sexual behavior and expose SGM individuals to human rights violations (Mendos 2019;Giwa et al. 2020). ...
... For example, SGM migrants have experienced severe and prolonged trauma, including harassment, physical and sexual assault, corrective rape, forced conversion therapy, and public shaming (Shidlo and Ahola 2013;Alessi, Kahn, and Chatterji 2016;Hopkinson et al. 2017). Seeking support from family and police commonly have led to further abuse, intensifying feelings of helplessness (Alessi, Kahn, and Van Der Horn 2017;Giwa et al. 2020). As a result, SGM migrants frequently arrive in host countries struggling with depression, anxiety, and stressor-related disorders (Piwowarczyk, Fernandez, and Sharma 2017;Alessi et al. 2018;Fox, Griffin, and Pachankis 2020). ...
Full-text available
Objectives: HIV prevalence among sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals in South Africa is among the highest in the world; however, SGM migrants, an especially vulnerable subgroup of both the SGM and migrant populations, have frequently been overlooked in the country's robust public health response. This qualitative study, guided by syndemics theory, explored the processes by which SGM migrants in South Africa are exposed to HIV risk and those that may reduce this risk. Design: We conducted 6 focus groups with a total of 30 SGM migrants living in Cape Town. Participants were men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, and transgender women. Transcripts were analyzed using grounded theory. Results: Participants identified a number of interrelated factors (insecure immigration status, financial and housing instability, food insecurity, stigma and discrimination, and lack of social support) contributing to HIV risk. While some took PrEP or HIV medication, adherence could be affected by structural and psychosocial barriers. Conclusion: Interventions that respond to the syndemic impacts on HIV outcomes are needed to reduce disease burden among SGM migrants in South Africa.
... Several studies also demonstrate the impacts of the SSMPA on post-secondary students in Nigeria, wherein LGBTQ+ students are subjected to bullying, extortion, othering, corrective rape, blackmail, and other forms of violence (Alimi et al., 2017;Mapayi et al., 2016;Sekoni et al., 2016;Okanlawon, 2017;. Giwa et al. (2020) use both human rights and sociolegal frameworks to contextualize the police abuse and violence against LGBTQ+ people in Nigeria. Like Schwartz et al. (2016), the authors affirm the increased level of police violence or what might be further understood as state-sanctioned violence towards LGBTQ+ people. ...
Since the enactment of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) of 2014 in Nigeria, several studies have employed either rights-based or socio-legal frameworks to conceptualize the impacts of the SSMPA on members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community in Nigeria. However, limited scholarly attention has been given to this discourse from a political economy perspective. This paper delves into the role of neoliberalism as a political rationality in shaping the enactment of the SSMPA and perpetuating homophobic narratives, with its central argument being that the SSMPA was enacted in Nigeria in light of local and global trends and international pressures. Using a Critical Social Theory paradigm and a Political Economy framework, this paper examines the historical context of neoliberalism in Nigeria and the series of local and international events leading up to the SSMPA. Furthermore, this paper uses a content analysis method to analyze the language of the SSMPA and the Arksey and O’Malley methodological approach to scoping review, along with Braun and Clarke’s approach to thematic analysis, to explore the health impacts of the SSMPA on the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria. Consequently, the findings of this study reveal that neoliberal political homophobia emerged due to the efflorescence of religiosity and further serve as a distractor from social inequities. In addition, thematic synthesis revealed four health inequities produced by the SSMPA: a) stigma and discrimination; b) fear/avoidance of healthcare; c) physical and sexual violence; d) poor mental health. This paper concludes by suggesting some strategies to improve LGBTQ+ lives in Nigeria, including repealing the SSMPA, structural decolonization of sexualities, and an active state. Keywords: political economy, neoliberalism, health inequities, homophobia, Nigeria, SSMPA
... Also, the African continent is witnessing a rise in the number of countries further criminalising sexual minorities and increasing homo-and bi-phobic expressions (Ukah, 2021). Against this legal and socio-cultural background, there is assumption that partners in an intimate relationship with a bisexual spouse, may capitalise on legislative and policy gaps to exert violent and abuse acts, since the formal lines of authorities to address such incidences are not open to the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations (Giwa et al., 2020;Human Rights Watch, 2003;Wirtz et al., 2020). ...
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is considered a serious public health concern among couples, regardless of the sexual orientation. However, there is a dearth of data about the determining factors of IPV among couples with mixed-romantic orientations, and not much is known about the role that intra-psychic factors play in the relationship between psychological factors and IPV. Therefore, the study set out to examine the mediating role of emotional suppression in the relationship between psychological factors and IPV among couples with mixed-romantic orientations in Nigeria. The study adopted a correlational research design. A total of 241 respondents (61.4% identified as heterosexual and 38.6% as bisexual) in mixed-romantic orientation marriages, were engaged using respondents-driven sampling. Outcomes revealed that emotional suppression (indirectly) mediated the relationship between depressive symptoms [c’-path analysis; b = .029, t(240) = 108, p = <.01; bootstrap =.0573-1715], anxiety [c’-path analysis; b = .027, t(240) = −0.044, p = <.05; bootstrap = .108-.004], stress [c’-path analysis; b = 0.019, t(240) = 0.057, p = <.001; bootstrap = .0247-.0992] and IPV among couples with mixed-romantic orientations. It was concluded that emotional suppression directly and indirectly mediated the relationship between psychological factors and IPV. Recommendations and limitations are discussed.
... However, beyond engendering self-love and stimulating psychological communality online, these Instagram users are also very pragmatic. Queer-identifying individuals are subjected to and contend with discriminatory practices that span healthcare, job and career opportunities, and wholesome representation in the public space [70][71][72]. Within these spaces, these individuals are denied their agency as opportunities which normally should be publicly available are denied them based on their (oftentimes perceived) sexual identities. ...
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The body and its portrayal are significant to the politics of gender identity and sexuality. As Instagram constitutes a public domain for self- and group-representation, I appropriate its affordances in the interrogation of queer visibility and digital visual activism within the Nigerian queer community. The central assumption is that the images and their accompanying texts are ideology-laden and consequently become entrenched in the battle for visibility against heteronormativity. I pay attention to six purposively selected queer Nigerian Instagram handles and cull ten representative images for analysis. I integrate the contextual affordances of hashtags and photo-tagging in my discussion of how Instagram contributes to and nourishes public queer discourses in a homophobic space like Nigeria. I conclude that these images as semiotic resources facilitate the decryption of queer marginality and mainstream queer narratives digitally.
... Police repression of male SWs is intensified by moral policing of gender and sexuality, which has been reported in other African countries in the context of sex work and lesbian (L), gay (G), bisexual (B) and transgender (T+) persons (e.g. Giwa et al., 2020). A recent study asserts that male SWs in Nairobi experience police violence differently from their female counterparts, and men are more often arrested and forced to pay bribes of money or sex (Aidsfonds-STI AIDS Netherlands, 2020). ...
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Kenyan sex worker-led organisations (SWLOs) often play a key role in the national HIV response. Accounts of these organisations frequently focus on their community-led approaches to promote sexual health. This paper addresses sensitisation, an underexplored but significant activity in the political agency of sex workers (SWs). Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in a male SWLO in Nairobi, we examine how male SWs strategically use their position in the national HIV response to create spaces of police sensitisation. Taking police sensitisation as a manifestation of community-led advocacy and a 'politics of small steps', we examine how SWs respond to, resist and remake the political landscape of police violence. The strategy supports SWs in changing existing power relationships between themselves and the police, albeit within the confines of a criminalising legal system. The analysis of sensitisation practices supports a reimagining of SWLOs that stresses their political agency in the production of new political spaces and expands the focus on African SWLOs beyond HIV work to their political activities, which advance SWs' health, rights and social justice. ARTICLE HISTORY
... Notably, in 1996, SA was the first to explicitly prohibit gender and sexual orientation discrimination in its constitution (Cock, 2003) and has been the only African country to legalize same-sex marriage (Pew Research Center, 2019). This cannot be fully understood without acknowlegding the context of Western homonationalist agendas (see Chávez, 2015;Giwa et al., 2020a;Puar, 2007), which juxtapose "gay-friendly" countries against the perception that other countries, where rights for LGBTQþ people are limited or nonexistent, are "backwards" and "oppressive." In doing so, the extensive histories of oppression and persecution in these "exceptional" Western countries (e.g., United States, Canada, the United Kingdom) lose their salience. ...
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how migrants in South Africa identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or with other diverse sexual orientations or gender identities (LGBTQ+) describe and understand their pre-migration family experiences and how family and other social relationships facilitated strength during post-migration. We conducted six focus groups, consisting of both morning and afternoon sessions, which included a total of 30 LGBTQ+ migrants (ages 21–42). The following themes were identified using grounded theory: managing family responses during pre-migration: concealing, avoiding, disclosing; the power of (even) one: support during post-migration; “love is a very big thing”: drawing strength from chosen family; and “pulling myself up”: drawing strength from self-reliance. Findings demonstrate that many participants reported experiencing negative responses from family, but some continued to rely on family support after arriving in South Africa. Further, participants often depended on newfound friendships for support as well as their own internal resources. This self-reliance was facilitated in part by participants’ understanding that they could not depend on their families or other people because of the negative responses faced in their countries of origin. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.
... Also sexual orientations create social barriers among members of the same community and hinder willingness to contribute or participate in community developmental efforts. Gays and lesbians are often discriminated against in Nigeria, making it impossible for them to have a sense of belonging and ready to make any positive contributions in their communities (Giwa et al., 2020). Apart from immigration status, in Africa and Nigeria in particular, ethnic and religious affiliations affect the willingness of people to see themselves as members of their community and participation in community operations. ...
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Community is a veritable ingredient for social change and development in a society. The potentials of individuals and groups in the community are a great source or resource for promoting unity, development and patriotism. The general objective of this study is to examine the influence of diversity in community composition, on the operation of community policing style in Nigeria. The study adopted qualitative research approach to collect and analyze data. In-depth interview is the instrument of data collection while content analysis is the method of data analysis. The study took place in Kwara State, North central Nigeria. Twenty community leaders and youth groups heads were purposefully selected through snowball sampling method. Where this great resource or human capital is adequately galvanized by the leaders and community heads, the community becomes formidable and capable of solving her social problems together. However, these benefits of community are hampered by other socio-cultural and economic variables in its members. Community on its own cannot achieve much until members are mobilized to support and partner with government in any developmental projects.
Same-sex relationship is a critical topic globally, especially as non-heterosexuals often get marginalized both overtly and covertly. Previous studies on same-sex sexualities in the African context have examined the discursive construction of non-heterosexuals, with little attention paid to the comparative reading of how gay people are discursively constructed in two contextually different African countries. Therefore, this study examines the usage patterns of three labels, gay, homosexual, homosexuality, that are commonly used to denote same-sex sexualities in selected Nigerian and South African newspapers. To do so, corpus-based critical discourse analysis is conducted to detect convergence and divergence of such usages since the countries have opposing laws on same-sex relationships. Similar semantic prosodies were found. However, differing prosodic features show that heteronomativity is mainly emphasized in the Nigerian corpus, while this is sometimes challenged in the South African corpus. The overall conclusion is that there could still be some homophobic tendencies in both the Nigerian and South African contexts as shown by the media representations.
Same-sex relationships have, over time, stirred serious debates worldwide. Studies on same-sex sexualities in the Nigerian context have focused on its representation in Nollywood movies and other arguments centred on ethics, culture and religion, with little attention paid to how queer people are framed by the Nigerian media. This study, therefore, explores agency and processes in the representation of gay people in news reports of selected Nigerian newspapers, in order to unearth how this social group is discursively constructed in the Nigerian context. Drawing on insights from Fairclough’s approach to critical discourse analysis and Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics, this study considers three popular Nigerian newspapers ( Vanguard, Nigerian Tribune and The Punch ) within three years (2013–2015, being the period of intense debate on the legalisation of the anti-gay bill in Nigeria). Results reveal that gay people are negatively evaluated as actors of negative material processes such as ‘murder’ and other violent actions, and goals of the actions of ‘arrests’ and ‘remands’, ideologically portraying them as criminals and dangerous. The study provides insight into the biased posturing of the Nigerian media on important social/national issues such as same-sex relationships.
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Although lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have achieved increased acceptance and access to social institutions in recent years, they have continued to be confronted with persistent homophobic attitudes, including from U.S. law enforcement personnel. Police culture often fosters these beliefs, and consequently results in the under-policing of LGBT citizens when victimized, but over-policing in places of leisure. This relationship is exacerbated when considering the intersectional effect of gender and sexual orientation, undoubtedly impacting legitimacy perceptions due to perceived (and actual) procedural injustice. Using original data collected at an LGBT festival in Arizona (N = 428), the current study examines the relationship between procedural justice and perceptions of police legitimacy among a historically marginalized population. Implications for theory and policy are discussed, with special attention given to contextualizing the findings within the current legitimacy crisis faced by American law enforcement.
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A 2017 compendium of laws relating to sexual orientation all around the world, with maps and charts. The 2017 edition (digital) contains thousands of hyperlinks to black letter laws and numerous primary and secondary sources around issues to do with criminalisation (various sorts), protection (issues such as hate crime, etc) and recognition (family structures, etc).
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The human rights-based approach to development cooperation has found recent support from both development cooperation actors and non-governmental organisations active in developing countries. We set out to define this approach, how it is applied, and to identify its central agents and principal components. Through examples we show how the approach works in practice, and we identify and discuss three human rights principles that play particularly important roles in its implementation: (i) participation and inclusion, (ii) non-discrimination and equality, and (iii) accountability. We show that in terms of implementation, the approach is related to the processes of empowerment, forms of advocacy, and the use of legal instruments in defence of groups of people who are poor, discriminated against or marginalised. We conclude that a human rights-based approach provides new avenues for providing help to vulnerable groups, but at the same time a poverty-oriented approach must continue to play an important role.
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In 1994, South Africa approved a constitution providing freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Other Southern African countries, including Botswana, Malawi, and Namibia, criminalize same-sex behavior. Men who have sex with men (MSM) have been shown to experience high levels of stigma and discrimination, increasing their vulnerability to negative health and other outcomes. This paper examines the relationship between criminalization of same-sex behavior and experiences of human rights abuses by MSM. It compares the extent to which MSM in peri-urban Cape Town experience human rights abuses with that of MSM in Gaborone, Botswana; Blantyre and Lilongwe, Malawi; and Windhoek, Namibia. In 2008, 737 MSM participated in a cross-sectional study using a structured survey collecting data regarding demographics, human rights, HIV status, and risk behavior. Participants accrued in each site were compared using bivariate and multivariate logistic regression. Encouragingly, the results indicate MSM in Cape Town were more likely to disclose their sexual orientation to family or healthcare workers and less likely to be blackmailed or feel afraid in their communities than MSM in Botswana, Malawi, or Namibia. However, South African MSM were not statistically significantly less likely experience a human rights abuse than their peers in cities in other study countries, showing that while legal protections may reduce experiences of certain abuses, legislative changes alone are insufficient for protecting MSM. A comprehensive approach with interventions at multiple levels in multiple sectors is needed to create the legal and social change necessary to address attitudes, discrimination, and violence affecting MSM.
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In January, 2014, the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act was signed into law in Nigeria, further criminalising same-sex sexual relationships. We aimed to assess the immediate effect of this prohibition act on stigma, discrimination, and engagement in HIV prevention and treatment services in men who have sex with men (MSM) in Nigeria. The TRUST cohort study uses respondent-driven sampling to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of engagement of MSM in HIV prevention and treatment services at a clinical site located with a community-based organisation trusted by the MSM community. TRUST is a prospective implementation research cohort of MSM (≥16 years) in Abuja, Nigeria. We compared HIV clinical outcomes and stigma, including fear and avoidance of health care, across baseline and quarterly visits before and after implementation of the the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. Outcomes assessed were measures of stigma and discrimination, loss to follow-up, antiretroviral therapy status, and viral load. We compared outcomes before and after the legislation with χ(2) statistics, and estimated incident stigma-related events and loss to follow-up with Poisson regression. Between March 19, 2013, and Aug 7, 2014, 707 MSM participated in baseline study procedures, contributing to 756 before legislation (prelaw) and 420 after legislation (postlaw) visits. Reported history of fear of seeking health care was significantly higher in postlaw visits than in prelaw visits (n=161 [38%] vs n=187 [25%]; p<0.0001), as was avoidance of health care (n=118 [28%] vs n=151 [20%]; p=0.001). In incidence analyses, of 192 MSM with follow-up data and no history of an event at baseline, reported fear of seeking health care was higher in the postlaw than the prelaw period (n=144; incidence rate ratio 2.57, 95% CI 1.29-5.10; p=0.007); loss to follow-up and incident healthcare avoidance were similar across periods. Of the 161 (89%) of 181 HIV-infected MSM with HIV viral loads available, those who had disclosed sexual behaviour with a health-care provider were more often virally suppressed at baseline than those with no previous disclosure (18 [29%] of 62 vs 13 [13%] of 99 men; p=0.013). These analyses represent individual-level, quantitative, real-time prospective data for the health-related effects resulting from the enactment of legislation further criminalising same-sex practices. The negative effects of HIV treatment and care in MSM reinforce the unintended consequences of such legislation on global goals of HIV eradication. Strategies to reach MSM less likely to engage in HIV testing and care in highly stigmatised environments are needed to reduce time to HIV diagnosis and treatment. National Institutes of Health.
Highlights • Intersectional identities matter in policing and public safety based on understanding LGBTQ2+ experiences. • Inclusive public safety planning requires empathetic understanding of intersectional LGBTQ2+ peoples’ voices and experiences. • LGBTQ2+ people perceive urban safety differently from cisgender heteronormative subjects due to their unique intersectional gendered identities. • Racialized LGBTQ2+ people under-report hate crimes to the police, perceived as perpetrators of harassment. • LGBTQ2+ survivors’ polyvocality and lived experiences can help police forces, environmental urban planners and psychologists develop more empathetic public safety program design.
It is well documented that colonization and subsequent repressive policies have wrought devastating changes in the lives of Aboriginal people in Australia. Social workers are an essential group for improving social justice and self-determination for Australian Aboriginal people. The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) acknowledges that Aboriginal people make a unique contribution to the life of the nation and mandates that social work educational programs provide culturally responsive content that acknowledges the value and contributions of Aboriginal people. Social work educators need to embed this content without reinforcing stereotypes or being tokenistic. This is a challenge when teaching about intersecting identities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) Aboriginal people. We outline the terms used in this space and propose that cultural humility is an acceptable framework to consider. We introduce key conceptual terms used in LGBTQI Aboriginal communities. Finally, we provide recommendations for engaging with LGBTQI Aboriginal peoples.
Despite the fact that LGBTQ individuals are at greater risk of victimization than the average citizen, the LGBTQ community’s relationship with law enforcement has been a turbulent one. Using a mixed-methods approach, including surveys, semi-structured interviews and observations of town hall meetings, and following the participatory action research framework, this study examines the interactions between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement, and the perceptions of police within the LGBTQ community. The current study demonstrates how members of the LGBTQ community continue to have negative experiences with police that adversely impact their perceptions of law enforcement. Moreover, the findings underline the importance of examining how multiple identities impact an individual’s experiences with and their perceptions of law enforcement. Expanding past research on this topic, this study offers an analysis based upon suggestions of the study’s participants of what steps must be taken in order to improve relations between these two groups.
Nigeria's Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act was signed into law in January 2014, leading to a hailstorm of reactions. This article examines the role that culture and morality play in shaping Nigerian society and law, focusing on the enduring victimization of the sexual minority. It examines the background to Nigeria's anti-gay law, noting the strong support of the Nigerian people for this law and the condemnation this action has received from human rights groups and the international community. The article discusses Nigeria's contravention of international human rights obligations as a result of its stance on same-sex relationships, noting the existence in the country, prior to this law, of previous laws criminalizing same-sex relationships. The article discusses the causative effects of this law on Nigeria's gay community and draws examples from other African countries to show that Nigeria is not alone in its homophobic stance. The protection of gay rights in South Africa as an exception is also discussed. The article postulates reasons why the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act should be repealed or why, at least, a compromise should be reached. It then concludes with suggestions on ways to uphold the rights of the sexual minority in Nigeria.