The U.S. support is making matters worse,” said Mike, 24, a university student studying biology in Minna, a town in central Nigeria who asked that his full name not be used for his safety. “There’s more resistance now. It’s triggered people’s defense mechanism.”
America’s money and public diplomacy have opened conversations and opportunities in societies where the subject was taboo just a few years ago. But they have also made gay men and lesbians more visible — and more vulnerable to harassment and violence, people on both sides of the gay rights issue contend. The American campaign has stirred misgivings among many African activists, who say they must rely on the West’s support despite often disagreeing with its strategies.
In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, the final passage of the 2014 law against homosexuality — which makes same-sex relationships punishable by 14 years in prison and makes it a crime to organize or participate in any type of gay meeting — is widely regarded by both supporters and opponents of gay rights as a reaction to American pressure on Nigeria and other African nations to embrace gay rights.
Shortly after Nigeria’s law went into effect, Animashaun Azeez, 24, a university student here, arranged to meet somebody he had chatted with on Manjama, a social network for gay people. The person showed up, along with three plainclothes officers.
Questions for discussion:
1) We have an enormous national debt of nearly 19 billion dollars, such that it seems excessive to spend 700 million dollars on this subject. With such tremendous debt, do you think we can really justify spending more than 300 or 400 million dollars to promote gay sex in other countries?
2) Do you think this program was flawed to begin with, because there were no metrics taken – e.g., comparing the number of gay sex acts before and after the program began to measure its success?
3) Do you think there should be a greater focus on gay sex in Islamic countries?
4) Do you think funds should also be spent to encourage transgenderism, to encourage Pakistani men who feel transgendered to go into women’s bathrooms, and to encourage cross-dressing members of the Taliban to shower with the ladies as disguised men do here in America?
This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.