Sexual orientation describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to the opposite sex, the same sex, both, or neither, and the genders that accompany them. By the convention of organized researchers, these attractions are subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality. The current consensus among scholars is that sexual orientation is not a choice. Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the opposite sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex.
It is therefore important to note that this bill aims to punish people for what is essentially not their making. It is like punishing a black person for being black, punishing a left-handed child because he or she cannot write with the right hand or punishing a baby girl for being born a girl. This you will all agree with me is unfair and inhuman.
Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws stands before you today to highlight how this bill affects us as citizens.
1-Criminalizing same sex relationships makes us refugees; it turns us into asylum seekers in other countries. This also affects our beloved country as emigration causes brain drain. Many talented Nigerians are living in diaspora openly as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals. We contribute positively to the development of our country of residence but we are afraid to come live and contribute to the development of our motherland because of fear of victimization. We visit home with trepidation because at home we have to live a life full of lies and deny who we are for us to be accepted. Why do we want to keep subjecting our citizens to such psychological and emotional torture?
2-Some Nigerian Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Intersex living in diaspora are married to same sex partners or planning to do so. Section 1(3) of this bill states that a valid same sex marriage entered into abroad would not be valid in Nigeria. This is indeed unfair because consensual adult relationship should not be punished, love is tender, a beautiful thing that should be celebrated, not condemned or criminalized.
3-We as Nigerian LGBTIs living in diaspora do not want to be isolated from our family members and childhood friends. Many of us grew up in Nigeria and are happy to call Nigeria our motherland. However, because of the misconception surrounding our sexual orientation, and the criminalization of thereof, we are estranged from our loved ones. Families have been broken, friendship links cut off, and hate fostered; all because of ignorance and misunderstanding. Let us love not hate.
4- Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, transsexuals and Intersex are normal people and are an integral part of any society. We are your family members, neighbors, community members, church members, mosques members, leaders of your religious affiliations and yes honorable members and senators of the national assembly. Be careful who you hate because it could be someone you love.
5-Also Sexual repression breeds marital infidelity. Many lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexual and intersex live in the closets. They live double lives, pretending to be heterosexual at home and at work while slowly dying inside and meeting in the dark with same sex partners to have a minute of peace with their real self. Many have been forced to marry opposite sex partners to keep up appearances while engaging in same sex extra marital affairs. This double life is dangerous and unfair to all concerned and the society at large. Lesbians, gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Intersex needs to live their lives without fear of being stoned to death or portrayed as criminals. Why punish us for loving? Love is tender, harmless and knows no gender.