Black LGBTQ lawmakers from D.C. and Maryland joined activists in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Northwest Washington on Tuesday, September 12, to cond£mn last month’s arrest of more than 200 people at a same-sex wedding in Delta State.
It would be recalled that operatives of the Delta State Police Command on August 28, 2023, stormed a hotel in Ekpan, Warri, where the wedding was taking place and arrested the suspects.
“What we saw with the recent arrest and detention is not just a violation of people’s rights with this unjust arrest, but the parading of LGBTQIA+ folks before the media as if Nigerian law enforcement officials have actually accomplished some sort of a public safety measure,” said Maryland state Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery County), who is the first openly gay man of Afro-Latino descent elected to the Maryland General Assembly.
“Let’s be clear: LGBTQIA+ folks, queer Nigerians are not a thr£at to Nigerian identity or national security, but Boko Haram is,” he added. National Black Justice Coalition Public Policy and Programs Director Victoria Kirby York noted she is of Nigerian descent and said she has “not gone to Nigeria because I am frightened as a Black openly lesbian person that I may find myself detained.” “We are here today to demand that Nigeria releases these detainees and drop the charges,” she said.
“We are here today because we have heavy hearts addressing a pressing issue that demands our immediate attention,” said Martinez, who is also Afro-Latino and the first openly gay man to represent Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates. “Nigeria, a nation with immense potential and cultural richness is currently taking a stance to contradicts the principles of equality and human rights. We’re here to protest Nigeria’s anti LGBTQ policy, and urge for change,” added the Prince George’s County Democrat.
“We’re here to demand that Nigeria release all the detainees and drop all the charges because in a world that is increasingly recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion, Nigeria discriminatory laws against the LGBT community remain a stain on his reputation. These laws not only perpetuate prejudice, but also infringe upon the fundamental human rights of countless
Oriadha, who is bisexual, noted her father was born in Kenya. She dismissed the idea that homosexuality is a Western concept.
“The notion is that this is a white American imperialistic viewpoint and values that are trying to be imposed on these cultures is not true,” said Oriadha. “That notion alone ignores the existence, the
mere existence of their own people in their own communities,”
Parker, who is the first Black gay man elected to the D.C. City Council, in his remarks noted Nigeria is one of many countries in which anti-LGBTQ crackdowns are taking place. The Ward 5 council member also highlighted discrimination and v#olEnce based on gender identity and s£xual orientation also remain problems in D.C. and across the U.S. “We know, sadly, is that we’re today protesting Nigeria; but we can also protest Pakistan, we can go protest Jamaica and Haiti and a host of other countries
around the globe where Black queer people are being pros cuted or being k#lled,” said Parker.
“Even here in our own country, where Black trans people are being hunted on our streets, or have gone missing without even a notice, where there are bans on books, there are bans and our oppr ssive policies against our bodies, even here in the nation’s capital where