Award winning Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie slams anti-gay laws

Award winning Nigerian author and poet Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has spoken out about the further criminalization of homosexuality in her homeland – calling it a victimless crime

Award winning Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie slams anti-gay laws
20 February 2014

Nigerian author and poet Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has criticized legislative efforts to further suppress the LGBTI community in Nigeria in an opinion piece for News Wire Nigeria published yesterday.

The prize winning novelist and poet wrote that the so-called ‘Jail All The Gays Bill’ was an anti-democratic measure and that Nigerian society needed to be able to accept difference.

‘why would … anybody choose to be homosexual in a world that makes life so difficult for homosexuals?’ Adichie wrote.

‘The new law that criminalizes homosexuality is popular among Nigerians. But it shows a failure of our democracy, because the mark of a true democracy is not in the rule of its majority but in the protection of its minority – otherwise mob justice would be considered democratic.

‘The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems. Above all else, however, it is unjust. Even if this was not a country of abysmal electricity supply where university graduates are barely literate and people die of easily-treatable causes and [Islamic terror group] Boko Haram commits casual mass murders, this law would still be unjust.

‘We cannot be a just society unless we are able to accommodate benign difference, accept benign difference, live and let live. We may not understand homosexuality, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it.’

Adichie wrote that consensual sex between adult homosexuals was a victimless crime and thus should not be punished and that the bill that President Goodluck Jonathan had signed into law was so ill defined almost anybody could find it used against them.

‘A crime has victims. A crime harms society. On what basis is homosexuality a crime? Adults do no harm to society in how they love and whom they love,’ Adichie wrote.

‘This is a law that will not prevent crime, but will, instead, lead to crimes of violence: there are already, in different parts of Nigeria, attacks on people “suspected” of being gay. Ours is a society where men are openly affectionate with one another. Men hold hands. Men hug each other. Shall we now arrest friends who share a hotel room, or who walk side by side? How do we determine the clunky expressions in the law – “mutually beneficial,” “directly or indirectly?”’

Adichie noted that nationalist sentiment ran through many of the arguments made in favor of persecuting LGBTIs but said it was homophobia that was truly ‘unafrican.’

‘It is the passage of the law itself that is “unafrican.” It goes against the values of tolerance and “live and let live” that are part of many African cultures … and it is informed not by a home-grown debate but by a cynically borrowed one: we turned on CNN and heard western countries debating “same-sex marriage” and we decided that we, too, would pass a law banning same sex marriage,’ Adichie wrote.

‘Where, in Nigeria, whose constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, has any homosexual asked for same-sex marriage?

‘This is an unjust law. It should be repealed.’

Adichie is the most prominent Nigerian heterosexual ally to speak out against the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa and is the author of Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Petition launched for NBC to add Rachel Maddow as 2014 Olympics human rights reporter

Truth Wins Out: 'Adding her to NBC’s coverage won’t fly in the face of the Olympic spirit, but rather enhance it'
No thumbnail available

Nobody rains on Amsterdam's Gay Pride Parade!

Umbrellas and waterproof mascara were a'plenty as parade goers faced the expected storm with aplomb
No thumbnail available

Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman hints Daryl could be gay

Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman won’t rule out a gay subplot in a future season of AMC’s hit zombie apocalypse series, and character Daryl Dixon, played by actor Norman Reedus, could be the one to get it
No thumbnail available

NYPD looking for suspect in possible anti-gay crime

After being punched three times, the victim fell down sustaining injuries to his face
No thumbnail available

Scotland confirms it will legalize gay marriage

Scotland will be first part of UK to legalize same-sex marriage. UPDATE: Full reactions from LGBT campaigners, faith leaders and politicians
No thumbnail available

Fox's X-Factor edits Britney Spears' former duet partner coming out as gay

Don Philip's voice no longer what it was when he sang with Spears
No thumbnail available

New Zealand military to march in uniform for first time at Auckland Pride

LGBT members of New Zealand’s Defense Force will march in uniform in the Auckland Pride Parade this year in a historic first for the South Pacific nation
No thumbnail available

Concerns of 'lipstick lesbians' in the UK revealed

Stilettos, a new group for femme lesbians in the UK, reveals concerns of their members
Mamma Mia! Sweden's ABBA The Museum boasts record visitors

Mamma Mia! Sweden's ABBA The Museum boasts record visitors

Iconic pop band are still one of the best reasons to love Sweden
No thumbnail available

Lee Daniels reveals that test audiences loved Empire - until the gay kiss

Focus group using dial technology went from 10 to zero when Jamal and Michael locked lips