Nigerian Gay Leader Speaks Out About Repression in His Country
CHICAGO In early June the Gay Liberation Network will be the proud sponsor of the Chicago leg of a national tour by one of Nigeria’s most prominent gay activists, Mr. Davis Mac-Iyalla. As founder of Changing Attitude Nigeria (www.changingattitude.org.uk), Mac-Iyalla has been in the forefront of efforts to prevent further anti-gay legislation in his country and win equal rights for gay Anglicans, the country’s largest Christian denomination.
Highlighting Mac-Iyalla’s tour will be a 6:30 PM, Friday, June 1 appearance on GLN’s cable television show (Channel 21 in Chicago) with host Bob Schwartz, and a 7 PM, Friday, June 8 community forum hosted by GLN at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 621 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago. Mac-Iyalla will also be appearing on a number of other shows including Chicago Public Radio’s “Worldview” program, the Feast of Fools podcast, WHPK-FM, and will have interviews with some of Chicago’s major LGBT print press.
Recently Nigerian LGBT people have weathered one of the world’s most sustained and vicious hate campaigns. First there was a proposed anti-gay law that not only would have banned equal marriage rights, but also would have prohibited gays from forming their own organizations and assembling together for any reason, including protests for equal rights. Homosexuality is already punishable by 10 years imprisonment in Nigeria, and while the new law has been at least temporarily shelved, it easily could be reintroduced again.
More recently, the leader of Nigeria’s Anglican Church, Bishop Peter Akinola, has led an aggressive drive to split the worldwide, 77 million person Anglican / Episcopalian denomination over the issue of equal rights for gays within the church, attempting to bully the American church into rescinding the consecration of openly gay V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.
To promote the schism, Akinola recently traveled to Virginia to ordain the leader of a local church there as “bishop” of an anti-gay faction within the American church. As author and blogger Wayne Besen observed, it says something about Akinola’s anti-gay fanaticism that he would travel to the `United States for the sole purpose of leading an anti-gay crusade while at the same time 50% of his countrymen are livomg in abject poverty, earning less than $1 a day, and 200 people died in recent election violence. Mac-Iyalla himself was recently forced to flee Nigeria thanks to repeated death threats brought on by the hate campaign led by Christian and Muslim leaders in the country.