US support of gay rights in Africa may have done more harm than good Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/us-support-of-gay-rights-in-africa-may-have-done-more-harm-than-good-20151221-glsbz0.html#ixzz3vEt8RhRI Follow us: @theage on Twitter | theageAustralia on Facebook


Norimitsu Onishi | The Age | December 23, 2015

Lagos: Suspicious neighbours and landlords pry into their private lives. Blackmailers hunt for victims on the social media sites they use to meet other men. Police officers routinely stop them to search for incriminating images and chats on their phones.

After an anti-gay law went into effect last year, many gay Nigerians say they have been subjected to new levels of harassment, even violence.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Initiative for Equal Rights, a gay rights group in Lagos, Nigeria, in October.Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Initiative for Equal Rights, a gay rights group in Lagos, Nigeria, in October. Photo: New York Times

 

They blame the law, authorities and broad social intolerance for their troubles. But they also blame an unwavering supporter whose commitment to their cause has been unquestioned and overt across Africa: the US government.

“The US 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 safety reasons. “There’s more resistance now. It’s triggered people’s defence mechanism.”

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