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Study Shows Acceptance of LGBTs in Nigeria Slowly Rising

Study Shows Acceptance of LGBTs in Nigeria Slowly Rising

Study Shows Acceptance of LGBTs in Nigeria Slowly Rising

New poll finds familiarity helps build understanding and acceptance of LGBT people.

Photo courtesy of GLAAD

Over the past few years, Nigeria has been making headlines as the severity of its anti-LGBT laws have been steadily increasing. Today, homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison on a federal level, and by death in the 12 northern states governed by Shari'a law. Yet despite outward signs of growing intolerance, a new study released by GLAAD reveals that acceptance is actually slowly on the rise. 

In 2012, 96% of Nigerians polled were opposed to the recognition of same-sex marriages, a figure that has since dropped to 87%. While still alarmingly high, it reveals quite a dramatic rise in tolerance. The new survey also shows that 90% of Nigerians do not believe LGBT people are born that way, and that only 11% would be willing to accept an LGBT family member. However, over half of the respondents who believe that LGBT is how some people are born reported to know someone who is gay, lesbian or bisexual. That fact attests to the power of personal connections in combatting homophobia. 

In response to the findings, Bisi Alimi, founder of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, said: 

"This poll tells us that Nigerians are not inherently homophobic, but that in the absence of accurate information around gender and sexuality, people are left to believe myths and misinformation. The trend in this survey has shown that with a conducive environment to provide unrestrictive and unbiased information about gender and sexuality in Nigeria, we will be able to create a platform for discussion and dialogue where views can be shared and opinions expressed without fear."

Olumide Makanjuola, Executive Director of The Initiative for Equal Rights, added: 

“This survey reflects a massive gap in knowledge about sexuality and human rights. This lack of knowledge explains why LGBT people continue to experiences human rights violations. We therefore need to provide holistic education and information on sexuality and human rights. This must be a joint effort between the Nigerian government and the civil society organizations in Nigeria."

For the full report, visit GLAAD's website

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