Yunus / Nigeria
“I was awaken by the beating of drums. The noise grew and I heard chanting. I held my breath and struggled to hear the words. They were chanting “Bring him out, we will kill him to appease God.” And then I heard them shouting my name. They had come for me. I escaped that night, but some of my friends weren’t too lucky. One was beaten and thrown with his leg broken, into the river. Another had all his teeth smashed out. In the state of Bauchi and other part of my country mob attacks of Gay are common. They say we Gay make God angry, cause drought, volcanoes, earthquakes, and misfortune. They are ignorant. They think we chose to be gay. They don’t believe someone is born gay. They don’t know we can’t change ourselves. And why should we?”
Yunus (not his real name) says he has been imprisoned and tortured because of his sexual orientation – he is Gay. He does his best to support other young gay men who have suffered persecution through his small group Hope Alive Initiative. Since Nigeria’s former-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. The penalty for gay sex under local Islamic law, in place in some northern states of Nigeria, is death by stoning.