A posed posed portrait of Ishmel (not his real name) who is gay. In December 2013 he was taken from his home by a vigilante group aligned to Bauchi City Sharia Courts who suspected him of being gay. They slapped him and beat him with electric cables. He was held in prison for over 40 days. He made several appearances at the Sharia Court. He was lashed 15 times with a horse whip, but then acquitted of committing homosexual acts as there were no witnesses to the crime. Sodomy is punishable by death under Sharia Law but requires four witnesses. Since Nigeria’s president signed a harsh law criminalizing homosexuality throughout the country, arrests of gay people have multiplied, advocates have been forced to go underground, some people fearful of the law have sought asylum overseas and news media demands for a crackdown have flourished. Three young men were recently flogged 20 times in a northern Nigerian court room for being gay. Some consider them lucky. The penalty for gay sex under local Islamic law is death by stoning. Nigeria, April 2014.   While many countries around the world are legally recognizing same-sex relationships, individuals in nearly 80 countries face criminal sanctions for private consensual relations with another adult of the same sex. Violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender expression is even more widespread. Africa is becoming the worst continent for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Inter-sex (LGBTQI) individuals. More than two thirds of African countries have laws criminalizing consensual same-sex acts. In some, homosexuality is punishable by death. In Nigeria new homophobic laws introduced in 2013 led to dramatic increase in attacks. Under Sharia Law, homosexuality is punishable by death, up to 50 lashes and six months in prison for woman; for men elsewhere, up to 14 years in prison. Same sex acts are illegal in Uganda. A discriminatory law was passed then struck down and homophobic attacks rose tenfold af

Ishmel /

“When I was a small boy I faced many challenges in my life and I will call it a misery to my life. I was a young ghetto gay child. I grew up in a community which they hate me. In my street some of them wish death on me. I even sent away from my parents. They said they don’t want to see me again. Some of my friends quit their friendship that is between us. So I face many problems in such a way that I can’t feed up myself nobody show care about me there is a time that my friend visit me he came to my house while I am sweeping the floor. I saw some of my street people they entered into my house that they want to investige that the hard rumors that I am a gay boy. My mother denied the allegation that they want to put on me. They start beating us. They take us to prison. They don’t give us food. And they embarrass us in front of public. I spent almost one month in prison with not enough food, no taking bath, not even seeing sunlight. The first day that I was taken to prison. I spent three days without eating food and they put me in a place where I can’t move more than four feet. And the most embarrassing thing I will urinate and sleep there on the floor without any mattress and every morning they assemble us in public. They will ask us to remove our clothes and pour cold water on us and start beating us. Sometime I even lose control. After that they took us back to cage, our cell room. Before they start giving us food we spent four days in a place where you can’t see anybody, no light, in a very deep darkness. And after I release I face many problems with my relatives and my friends.. My parents sent me away from there and said they don’t give me shelter again. They abandon me. Some of my relatives yet are not talking to me. Some they even said I am not their brother. My sisters are not even talking to me now. And now I am not with my parents because everybody hates me so I have to leave there to struggle and survive. They are not paying any school fees for me now. Sometimes I even think that I should leave the world because of the terrible condition that I found myself in. I need help from the whole world, to forge ahead with my studies. I need my parents to give me back the love they showed to me when I was a small boy because I can’t live without them, but the condition that I found myself in make me to live without them, so I need their love back.”

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