Seun Kuti's article 'Why I Think The Gay Community Should Come Out' condemns Nigeria's recent anti-gay laws

I’m writing to condemn the recent anti-gay bill signed into law by our President Jonathan Goodluck. This law – which contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison for anyone in a same-sex marriage or civil union, 10 years for anyone who attends a same-sex wedding, 10 years for anyone involved with an LGBT organization, and even 10 years for anyone who shows affection for someone of the same sex – should be cast out. Since the law was passed, police across Nigeria have begun arresting and torturing dozens of our fellow citizens suspected of being gay. Don’t forget that in some of our states, if you are found guilty of being gay, you could be stoned to death.

First of all, this law was unnecessary. There is not space in the existing constitution for gay marriage. Our constitution is very definitive of marriage as a union between man and woman. I see the signing in of this law for what it was: a cheap shot by an under-achieving government to discriminate against people because they are different.

The president of Nigeria has a PhD, so he should understand better than most the implications of the law. Even if he couldn’t stop the senate from passing the bill, he had the power to delay signing it as a way of protecting the gay community. The President has had the Petroleum Industry Bill in front of him for years, and he and our senators have stalled on the bill calling for harsher punishment for corruption. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s senate has just sanctioned pedophilia in our constitution (girls that are as young as 9 years old can continue to be married in if they are “physically developed enough” according to their parents or prospective husbands) – so this the ban on homosexuality can hardly be a so-called “moral” issue. This is simply a move for cheap political points. Meanwhile, people’s lives hang in the balance.

Today I am writing this not as a fight for “gay rights”, I am fighting for all rights. People should be allowed to express themselves freely and this includes their sexuality. I believe all gay people should come out and organize openly. I expect that society should allow them live their lives as they please.

It’s not a cultural thing – it’s a sexual thing. I have even heard people say it’s Western culture imposed on us and if the West doesn’t recognize polygamy we should not accept homosexuality. This is the kind of scary ignorance that this kind of law will foster. (I can say for a fact that the constitution of Nigeria does not recognize polygamy. We have customary laws that are non-binding, but our secular courts and national constitution does not allow polygamy even though it’s “our culture.”)

I believe in education as the answer to any problem and I know this law does not educate positively. It just criminalizes and institutionalizes hate towards the gay community.

Here’s a call to action: I believe the gay community should come out! They need to put love above fear. I also believe that gay people in Africa not just Nigeria who are being targeted like this should put pressure on the West by claiming asylum in their countries. I think we are about to see a new wave of sexual refugees!

Love over fear should be the way forward.

-Seun Kuti

Comments

  • Thomas Johnson

    SMH why don’t they just place everyone in jail everyone … you could be talking with your brother and end up in jail … stupid ass …

    • Tundey

      With the lawlessness in Nigeria, you’ll be lucky to end up in jail. More likely, a mob will gather and start a lynching. That’s what Nigerians have to look forward to in 2014, even if they don’t know it yet.

  • dancesexmusichiphop

    This is unbelievable. SMH

    • chris may

      Well said, Seun. You are in so many ways a chip off the old block. I knew Fela for twenty years and I never once heard him make an anti-gay remark.

    • TFX

      it is so clear that the ultimate destination of this world is destruction. just like science has predicted that the earth is on a collision path with the sun. thanks to a continent like africa that is slowing down this imminent disaster. and it takes brave men like johnathan to slow this journey down. but it wont be for long that africa will be overwhelmed with this agents of doom. Homosexuals have a right to exist but they must realize that they are also agents of this imminent disaster. after them will come the era AnimalSexuals (what ever) this are human beigns who are sexually attracted to animals like Goats, Cows and chimpanzes . they will also have a right to exist becos the only way this journey can be made faster is if this agents of doom are allowed to exercise there freedom to exist. Safe Journey All

    • bettathinktwice

      You have a very vivid imagination – maybe try writing science fiction, or childrens books. If you are trying to make an argument in the real world however, would you care to provide any evidence for your imaginative musings?

    • Gerry

      Seun, I like your piece. But just the stuff about Nigerian government sanctioning pedophilia, which is horrendous and for Pete’s sake barbaric. Also the stuffs about not doing anything about corruption and jumping quickly at signing anti gay law. However, the anti gay law is welcome. I do agree that the bit about criminalizing anyone who shows some kinda sympathy to gay people or perceived to be gay without proof is extremely dangerous. A lot of innocent people will be lynched for nothing, because some of our people promptly act before they even stop to think, especially some in the North.
      But Seun, gay practice is obnoxious, and should never be encouraged in Nigeria. No culture or religion round the world from immemorial approved of homosexual. It was only recently that the so called West who have decided throw away that aspect of their culture decided to embrace it, Very soon some of them will start to campaign that it should be made legal for people to openly having sexual intercourse with animals, afterall it is their choice and their right to live their life the way they want.
      Stealing should also be legalized, after all it is in some peoples nature to steal and they like it and feel is how they want to live their lives.
      My brother it should be abhorred.

    • bettathinktwice

      Who is campaigning to “openly having sexual intercourse with animals”, and where exactly?? How does stealing compare to consenting romance between two adults in your head?? It’s only recently that so called Africa has “decided” to adopt Christianity/Islam with it’s intolerant, patriarchic and homophobic views, and it has done absolutely nothing to improve the continent in any way.

    • Anonymous

      Fuck. You. Didn’t realize Nigeria, as familiar with systematic oppression as it is, is full of people who can’t seem to see how oppression on basis of class, religion (or lack thereof), sex, and race are INTRINSICALLY INTERTWINED with that on basis of sexual orientation.

      Your homophobia is what’s “obnoxious.”

      And your statement about no culture embracing sexual fluidity…

      I won’t call it a LIE, cuz lying would require you to actually KNOW that what you’re saying is bullshit…

      So I’ll just call it FALSE.

    • Concerned Nigerian

      I wonder what the hate and “fuck you ” messages are for. i dont support homo sexuality in any way, and im not interested in sleeping with a man. but i think Nigeria as a whole has more problems to look at than homo sexuality. and Nigerians are so quick to abuse and condemn people meanwhile they got so much rottenness in they themselves. for example, 90 percent of you saying seun is this and that, would not hesitate to ply a one way road, disobey traffic lights, steal money if youre put in seats of authority, to name a few disgusting living habits most of you posses, then when they say gay you start saying hell and d likes. what seuns is trying to say if you read between the lines is we have more pressing problems than taking a cheap shot at homosexuality.
      for example, when $20b (N3.4tr) goes missing in our dear country, the cbn governor voices out and gets sacked. and all i can see in print media around is him saying he tried to TRACE it. people are being slaughtered in North east like goats, the governor of Borno comes out to say he feels the boko haram insurgents are better equipped and motivated than our Nigerian army, next thing our dumb president that signed the gay law shit was saying he would remove the army for a month and maybe the governor would be able to live in the state house…..dead, uncharismatic utterance…….3 weeks latter children are slaughtered in cold blood in a boarding house, less than 2 weeks later Nigeria is celebrating centenary, which they crowned it by giving Abacha an award (insult on Nigeria and its citizens).
      My dear seun crucifiers, i think you all should either read between the lines and stop being hateful in this matter. NIGERIA should look more at its state of rottenness rather than giving gay people 14 year in prison. what happens to the people that steal your futures? you celebrate them with centenary awards and GON and all,meanwhile you are quick to condemn homosexuals to prison…#country of misplaced priorities.

    • Anonymous

      Fuck you too. It’s the egoic, ignorant condescention of the global LGBTQ community that has set the course for destruction. Don’t project the fuck-ups of your institutionally-imposed, fear-based homophobia on people which you’ve accepted your brainwash-training to refuse to understand.

    • DON

      Nice one my friend, It wont work for them!!!Forgive yourself SEUN!

    • Anonymous

      Can you PLEEEAAASSE school some of these fools!?

  • RickyboyH

    Bah, lock ‘em up and throw away the god damned keys. It’s a fucking mental illness this gay thing. That being said, they should seriously do something with that law allowing 9 year old girls to marry, that is even more deranged.

    • Marianne Jarnhäll Chukwuka

      Ofcourse something should be done about the awful fact that they let small girls marry! This doesn’t mean that we should stop fighting for human rights though!

    • Marianne Jarnhäll Chukwuka

      How can you say that being gay is being mentally ill??? Where have you got that from??? I think you could need some more education RickyboyH…

    • Anonymous

      Fuck you. See you and your bigoted ignorant nonsense in the museum exhibit.

  • Christina Woelz

    Thank you Seun for being a voice of reason. Peace.

  • Cougar Shagbasula

    I just wish more of my fellow queers would come out sometimes. It’s nice out here, you know?

    • Anonymous

      Right HERE!! <3 Anarch@-Queer LIBERATION!!

  • Mr Teacher

    Bad sample of this continent

    • Anonymous

      Good sample of this WORLD.

  • SR

    Thanks a lot Seun. Really

  • Marianne Jarnhäll Chukwuka

    It makes me very happy to read this article. This statement of his is so important and so is the fight for human rights!

  • Merry

    You have spoken well Seun but you cannot compare the mordern country that practices homosexuality with the underdeveloping country like Nigeria and the rest of poor African Nation.They have almost %99.99 of all they need for protecting in terms of health matters and so on.What do we have in Nigeria ?
    My Late father work with the National Emmergency Management Agency NEMA,he died on duty December 16 2009 during a brutal accident in Ibadan express way at 11am in the morning,just for the people,he was helping doing his job clearing traffic.He was still breathing while they rushed him to Ikeja general hospital,left him and no one,i mean no one attended to him till 4pm late evening,he gave up the ghost,how much more with people with just headache,they died for no reasons,talkless of how many has died just for the cause of malaria and little things like that.How many have you helped to pay their fee for kidney transplant or any operation that required a quick attention,how many ???
    Now tell me introduction of homosexuality would only damage this poor country without even having the sense of continuity of what should be done on previous matters,
    Are you saying this because your late father is a Legend,he speak his mind which was right for everyone but i can see that what you saying is for your own interest and publicity but not for the people that matters.

    They will impose this stupidity on us for the sake of there own interest and to damage our cultures and valuesthey don’t even have one,just because you are a Black African doesn’t mean you don’t know your worth and your right to say NO,so sad but you still have to grow up !

    • DJSundayTowers

      My greatest sympathies to your lost, my friend. However you yourself are answering your own questions as there many people in your country that go without help. How is it that you with this same reasoning expect that gay people add to the already over populated state that you country can not take care of. You want gay people to procreate and add to the already burdensome problem that you have. This is not the way to solve the illness of AIDS that gay people are accuse of spreading. The HIV-1 came from Africa and was there already even before gay people contracted it. Do your research. Your government is just trying to to hide the truth and blame gay people as they have always been the scapegoats for the mistake that heterosexual society have made, but not this time. Tony aka DJ Sunday Towers God’s DJ

    • Anonymous

      HIV is a U.S.-based chemical weapons experiment tested out in Africa. Product of white supremacy and capitalism trying to pass the buck onto the LGBTQI with homophobia. Do you not see the overlap of oppression?!

    • Anonymous

      So gay people don’t matter? That’s a LOT of humans you’re belittling there…seemingly because you think that being gay is somehow more of a health risk than being poor. DO NOT conflate someone’s identity w/ health risks imposed by imperialist neglegence.

  • AJIBOLA WILLIAMS

    Seun or whatever your name is, your father that we all loved we never speak for this kind of rubbish thing. You need deliverance for supporting gay to live in this kind of poor country, I know u’re saying this for your selfish interest and I expect u to come out boldly and lead the protest for gay people so that you can be the 1st gay to throw into 14yrs in prison.

    • illustroking

      Fella…will never be proud of you seun for even thinking its normal for gay to be allowed in Nigeria….you definately let him down this time boy!

    • Lambo Baba

      Bola Williams… i give u thumbs up for for such a comment.. i believe if Fela was alive, he could av disown dis little brat of a son. i was just so disappointed for his motion..it is strange n derailing. the theory of nature and reproduction does nt state male n male or female n female. i strongly believe it is absurd n demonic if these is in reverse case. Seun may God save ur soul. Long long long, long time ago! African man not dey Fuuuck em fellow man. long time ago. na Oyinbo wan teach us to fuck another man. Long live Fela.

    • Anonymous

      Fuck you too.

      Also, the oppressive institutional power-structure which puts in your mind the “authority” to cast hatred on fellow human beings, is the EXACT SAME OPPRESSIVE SYSTEM which constantly widens the class gap to preserve the privilege of the ruling class.

      Wake up and read.

      It’s all white supremacist dogmatic religious indoctrination that has you dehumanizing other humans as if some are more deserving of peace, freedom, justice or respect than others.

  • Franklin Cummings

    Oyibo teach us to carry shit! Make you no let dem use you to promote shit. Try find a better cause.

  • Anna

    Oh, Seun. This is not an issue of wanting to discriminate anyone for no good reason. It’s just a big middle finger to the west.

    Goodluck was just trying to send a “We are independent, I hope you realise that message” to the west. The govt is basically saying to the west (and UK in particular) “Oh, you want to threaten African countries who do not legalize it? Okayyy. It was neutral before now it’s illegal. WHAT YOU GON’ DO?”

    • bettathinktwice

      So basically you’re saying Goodluck is acting childish and reactionary, and that’s supposed to be a good thing? Care to enlighten us about the “good reasons” for a state to discriminate against a group of its citizens?

    • Tundey

      So when Nigerians start killing their own brothers and sisters in the streets of Lagos, you think people in UK will shed tears for us? Have you heard the Yoruba proverb about covering your abdomen with your hat because you are upset at your head? If Nigeria and other developing countries want to show up the west, how about we get our acts together and move forward? Instead we want to put people in jail for being gay as if a single gay person in UK or US will cry for us.

    • Anonymous

      Tudney: We DO. A lot of us. Global oppression demands global solidarity. Time to teach and learn.

    • Anonymous

      You’re saying (lemme get this right) that in order to combat perceived oppression and send a message of independence, this “Goodluck” character has decided to do an even BETTER job of oppressing his people, strangling their independence and putting an African face on fascism?

      BAAAhahahahahaha…

      Ironically that sounds pretty fuckin’ “Western-influenced” to me

    • Anna

      Banange people, I didn’t say that what Goodluck Jonathan or the Senate did was right. I’m just trying to help people understand the reason why it happened the way it did at the time it did. You might have noticed the quotes around some of the words I wrote.

      We can sit around and hate the parliament for their foolish decision or we can try to understand why it happened and try to change people’s opinions about things like this through trying to dig deeper than the surface and ask WHY.

      Why is it that the majority of Nigerians I have met agree with the law? I do not hate anyone even though they may hate another person. Instead I try to understand them and reach them at where they are at. Why was it at such a time when there was absolutely no need for such a bill as this that this happened? I’m just tryna answer the question, “why”, that’s all.

      Peace, y’all!

  • Ijeoma

    Thank you Seun for being an ally!

  • Tundey

    I don’t think I have ever listened to any of Seun Kuti’s songs but I couldn’t agree more with him on this issue.

  • Crackstevens

    Wow, reading some of these comments are baffling, truly baffling. Whilst I commend Seun sentiment, It think his rationale is flawed. It’s obvious that Nigerians and to a larger part Africans are so caged by their doctrines of masculinity and religious beliefs that homosexuality is not a topic they are ready for discourse on.

    It saddens me, that we put so little value of the lives of our own. Rather than open lines of understanding we embrace a “Salem-esque” which hunt. Something akin to what the Nazis did to the Jews and the Caucasians did to us Negros not to long ago. treated us as subordinates and denied us rights as human beings.

    I use this exaggeration because it is accurate. First fact, is that you are born gay, it is not a mental illness, it’s not a curse, it is not fashionable and it’s not a western ideology.

    From the beginning of time sexual relationships have often crossed lines. The same people who put pressure on us to repeal the laws were the same people whose forefathers made Nigeria and all other colonies ban sodomy to begin with. (Including the colonial powers themselves)

    In the north of Nigeria the “Yan daudu” a subculture of men who dress and act like women has been part of our culture for centuries. So forgive me but the argument of a middle finger to the west it rather redundant.

    More-over the question is not of hetrosexuality vs homosexuality, as these matters should be revered as issues of privacy. After all we dont seek fit to discuss what happens behind closed doors. The issue is, and will forever remain about human rights.

    Locking people up for association, for love, to alleviate ourselves of achieving some form of moral high ground sounds like genocide to me. Anyone, even of a straight orientation can suffer the consequences of this law and imprisoned. It is now carte blanche to send all forms of opposition to prison. If you think that is not the case then sadly you’re as naive as those who think homosexuals run around soliciting everyone they see.

    14 years can’t make you change the colour of your skin, people can’t be reformed if there isnt a system in order to be reformed. Sorry for my insolence but Nigerian prisons have never struck me as a beacon for reform. Especial reform from one’s self.

    Seun is right, these practices have been used in the past to oppress the smallest minorities to gain popularity, Mali, Uganda and Kenya have all tried this tactic as it plays to the masculinity of Africans and their egos.

    Ultimately if you believe in fairness, freedom and that the only being who is able to judge is God. Then locking people up for their sexual orientation is wrong and against every act of human rights possible.

    This is an introverted middle finger which takes us back to the stone ages as a society.

    All neigh sayers quoting Fela, don’t have a clue what the man stood for. Fela fought against the institution. Fought for the right to have an opposing view. Against accepting what the corrupt government says as fact. So he indeed would have been proud of his son.

    I am proud of his son, because this is a fight for human rights EXACTLY what Fela stood for.

    Sit there and commentate from your armchairs. Sentencing people to jail and death (which it might as well be, if you have ever been to Nigerian prison) and ultimately, the God who makes us, makes this land and us, human beings to be as we are is surely disappointed in how we have misinterpreted his word across religions and used them as a shield to point the finger and condemn each other.

    Trust me they used the bible too to oppress Black people during slavery.

    We allow pheodophilia, yet we punish CONCENTING adults the right to be themselves and love each other. Well done Nigeria, well done

  • TDH

    Interesting piece and very timely

  • DJSundayTowers

    Well the truth at last from a Nigerian that is not gay. My praises to you young man. This is not of you, but of God speaking through you.There will be more of you testifying before the plague comes upon your country. This is what God has put into my mind as I write this. They are in contempt of God’s love, and they are doing it for the demon Mammon, in whom they worship.

    Tony aka DJ Sunday Towers God’s DJ

    • bettathinktwice

      If god is putting things in your mind you should probably get your head checked. Or at least ask him (I assume it’s a guy, right?) to try make some sense next time.

    • Anonymous

      Why did it need to be a non-gay person for you to celebrate the truth?

      Hmmmmmmm….

      ANYWAY: I love when people do allyship as much as the next, but this seemed a little straight-saviour-y to me. To come out is one’s own decision to make, with MANY personal risks (which straights have NEVER had to consider) factored in. Even in the U.S., where the “gay influence” supposedly comes from. And those from (in this case straight) privilege, although righteous, have no place telling the marginalized what they “should” do. At least his heart’s in the right place, though… :)

  • Anne Richards

    Well said Seun and good on you for speaking out!!

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  • Yemisi Ilesanmi

    Thank you, Seun, for standing up for human rights. LGBT rights are human rights. Sexual orientation include heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality. These are not matter of culture but of nature, and it is present in every society, including Africa.

    Non harmful, consensual acts of two or more consenting adults should never be criminalized. Every Nigerian deserves to enjoy the same right as other Nigerians, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals.

    Ignorance begets fear, fear begets hate and hate begets violence. Goodluck Jonathan should hide his head in shame for signing such an ignorant, draconian law. Maybe, just maybe, he would grow the backbone to undo this hate he already unleashed on sexual minority in Nigeria.

  • andy

    Seun is a bastard, I believed fela wuld never support dis gay talk, talkless of ur grandfather who is a Reverend,u re a son of Elli.

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  • Francis510

    Even looking at you Seun, you dont even resemble FELA. You must be a bastard. Only femi and his sister that, look like fela. I dont blame you, when you suppose tobe lynch. I beleived you are a gay. Fuck you idiot and stupid bastard.

    • crankyreader

      well you might be interested to know that Femi supports gay rights too, and says that Fela would not have supported this law.

  • HateGay

    Seun didn’t say he is not gay. He is one and is championing for their rights to homosexualism. Gays throws money on individuals that can influence the opinion of the youth. Seun and few others were the spot in Nigeria. What his gay sponsors want is that once he’s arrested and thrown into prison for 14 years, his fans will cry and protest against the Nigerian government.

    This divide and rule tactics of the whites will now cause many gays to come out, not only fighting the government but also raping boys and girls forcing them to become homosexuals.

    Once everybody becomes homosexual, as they want, then the world population would reduce and man becomes the endangered animal.

    Hatred for gays is normal. Why should a sane man abandon the romance of a sweet girl with virginal, breast and soft skin; and madly go for another man with thick penis, dry bones and useless anus? Or why should a woman forgo the heavenly sex of a man and go for thee effortless brushing of another woman? Please, ask for God’s redirection.

    Me, a man, marrying another man, to live under the same roof? What a foolish nature is that? I have studied dogs, goats and even fowls, the go for the opposite sex. Why should i, with reasoning capacity, go for another man?

    Gays clamour for more education. They think heterosexuals are not educated. They are even researching into the past with the aid of anthropologists to support that Africans were homosexuals in precolonial era. Dahomeyan women warriors (the Amazons) were accused of being lesbians. They accuse the Igbo of having a law that supports homosexualism. In fact, there new gay bible (Queens Bible) claims that many people in their own satanic bible were homosexuals.

    Gays claims it is nature that they were born gay. They use the media to project their weakness and war against homophobic.

    Hate gays! Jail gays!! Kill gays!!!

    Up Nigeria.

  • DJ

    SEUN KUTI or Whoever the F**K you are call !…Answer me this few questions:
    What brought you to this world – F**King Dick & Dick? Do have Mom and Dad? Does it sound normal to you with this Dad & Dad, Mom & Mom? You shouldn’t be stone to death.. you should be send to f**king Hard Labor Campus for the rest of your life.
    Kudos!

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  • walata

    Seun Kuti is a musician he will not support the law
    and will not go against it dnt you know gay listen to his music and you
    expect him to support the law right inside him he support thats why he
    asked them to wait till Jesus come…..its all Marketing strategy… i pray ur new born baby will be 1 so u can cum out to say the truth but i dnt blame you are a musician and even the gay listen to your music so i dnt expect u to condemn them

  • ajokete

    Respect, omo baba!

  • Presley Presley Jr.

    Seun u are star. Unbelievable the level of ignorance in the continent.
    That in these days and age we are still justifying and supporting the marginalization of people based on their orientation.I strongly believe their is no justification for any form of discrimination biblically or culturally. WAKE UP AFRICA. We should be the pioneer of human equalities having suffered a lot and still continue to suffered from these inequalities ourselves. African still have loads of uncivilized, backward cultures. Cultures that so prevalence that people still believe some external powers to be responsible for their sicknesses,bad luck, for women being barren, failed marriages so on, a society where most relied on a pastor to act as their Conscience, Just little over 100 years ago ritual killings of twins was OUR culture as well. For the same people staunchly defending these uncivilised cultures, You lot would have be VERY PROUD of your ancestors that was gloriously, ritually killing of twins because in their uncivilised wisdom these innocents kids was evil and monster. Maybe some here would have blindly supported these killings in the name of the barbaric cultures. Maybe u might know any twins, tell them in their face that they were once consider to be evil and monsters that deserve to die just because they were born twins not single. History has shown no single African leaders has the welfare of their citizens in mind. Where is the morality of our leaders to passed these law against LGBT if they can’t protect child marriage, thereby legally empowering paedophilia in the society. Where is their morality if a senator was allowed to carry on after he married a 13 years old? Most here are parents that might have 13 years old. Think about the feeling that would run around ur ahead if u discovered ur girl at 13 sleeping around and add insult to injury getting married. I leave that the parents to answer. Save me the morality, evil talk. Now there is a new rage of “positive discrimination” African way against people with sickle cells. In their little wisdom they don’t see any need to be ranting loud about it. Most churches today during pre marital counselling are advising people to go for these blood test to determine their compatibilities instead of these churches leading a awareness campaign for government to build a better facilities to take of these people. Instead they are putting a rejection stamp on their heads.

  • DatBus

    Thank you for your intelligence and leadership Sean! Keep speaking Truth to power!!!

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