Though some of us will shout, It is a historical, cultural embarrassment and most especially un-African! Yes, we might think like that, we might hope that it is like that and remains like that. But, we aren’t isolar, in a highly globalized world with tons and tons of information on our palms, we just can,t wish it away and escape it. The Transgenders (Trans)and gays with lesbianism has come to stay in Nigeria. There is no pretence about this. In recent years, trans-gender people around the world have made tremendous strides toward achieving legal recognition. We are indirectly getting used to gays and cross-dressers like Bobriskky and Derelere in Nigeria. Are we getting used to the idea that some of us won’t act, think, dress alike or have the same sexuality?
Leading the pack , is Miss Sahara, she might be described as the supreme pontiff in the Nigeria LGTB community.According to Wikipedia, LGTB was defined as
“ LGBT, or GLBT, is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In use since the 1990s, the term is an adaptation of the initialism LGB, which was used to replace the term gay in reference to the LGBT community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s. She single handedly puts Nigeria on the LGTB map. “
Though living in the United Kingdom seeking asylum, (S)he has been quoted to have said that, what prompted her relocation is the high level of persecution and haunting experience that she experienced when she was in Nigeria, a highly religious country , with Mosques and Churches more popular than research and development facilities.
“… it was either staying in Nigeria, continue being bullied, harassed, beaten up, and succeed in killing myself, or moving away to a more open minded society to leave my dreams to my fullest potentials, so I took the latter,” she added.
Miss Sahhara, who used to be known as Clifford Oche when she was a man, said she faced persecution when she was in Nigeria.
“Being a woman and living in your true gender is not a lifestyle. There was no time of epiphany; it’s like someone asking you when you decided to be male or female, am sure your answer will be, since you were born,” She concluded .
Though, still an illegality in Nigeria, LGTB communities are frowned up, constitutionally, morally and spiritually, Nigerians have “no chills” for these sets of people. Seeing them as retards and never do well. In some quarters, especially the spiritual angle, they are viewed as possessed by the legion of demons, most spiritual leaders might use them as guinea pigs for “casting away demons “ and experimental exorcism. The bottom line is that they aren’t wanted, needed and to be communicated. It has been reported that parents have disowned their wards because of this “anomaly”. A situation that has pitched the West and Nigeria, especially during the time of Jonathan.
Locally, Miss Sahara seems to be the LGTB source of inspiration and globally, the Nigerian LGTB especially the Trans ( whom it is reported to be either hunted down or in extinct) look unto Kaitlyn Jenner, the global sensation and the primus interperes of the all.
The question remains, Do we have a thriving LGTB community in Nigeria ? Yes, we do, do underground and in a hush hush tone. They can be found in the university campuses, the high corporate world and also, those that couldn’t find a suitable soulmate, in terms of ladies are always poached on by the more experienced and veteran LGTB members. With a lot of goodies like connections, money and exotic trips abroad. Membership has been reported to swell by the day, considering the poverty ratio in the country and also over- exposure to the globalization factor. Today, they are beginning to come out, with Miss Sahara leading the pack.
Nigeria is not the loner here, a lot of countries, especially in Africa and Asia have no room for LGTB , maybe with exception of Thailand and possible Japan. According to The Trans Murder Monitoring Project reports
“… transgender homicides worldwide, recorded 1,731 murders of transgender people globally between 2007 and 2014. Many were of a shockingly brutal nature, sometimes involving torture and mutilation,”the report stated.
Whether we accept them or ignore them, the LGTB is getting more popular, and it has been alleged that some of them are in high places. Can the moralist and the puritans in our society put up with them or must Nigeria engage them? Time will tell. As it stands today, the majority of Nigerians still hates Caitlyn Jenner reality show, and wished that it is banned.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu