Self-described transgender socialite, Bobrisky, (legally known as Idris Olarenwaju) had her birthday celebrations disrupted by the Nigerian police.
Backdrop: The Police said that it ordered the blockade of the venues of the Bobrisky’s 28th birthday party to prevent “breach of public peace”. The trans female celebrity expressed her disappointment with the incident.
Why it matters
- The Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, recently remarked on August 24 that Bobrisky is a “national disgrace” and vowed that he would be dealt with if caught on the streets.
- Bobrisky’s appearance in a movie titled ‘Bobrisky in Love’ caused the National Film and Video Censors Board to set up a review panel in May, to determine whether the movie should be disapproved or not.
- The Nigerian Government took a stern position against gay liberties in January 2014 when the administration of Goodluck Jonathan enacted the anti-gay law.
Ever since the passage of this law, there has been several allegations that the police has weaponised the law against LGBT persons. Bobrisky has once been arrested by the police herself.
Significant progress: There is a growing acceptance of LGBT people and their rights in Nigeria. According to a 2017 NOI Polls survey, at least 39% of Nigerians think that LGBT people should be given equal access to public services — representing an increase of 9% of people who share the views from 2015. Likewise, a recent survey by LGBT rights advocacy organization, TIERS, showed that 40% of Nigerians in 2019 are open to accepting a LGBT family member compared to 17% in 2017. There has also been a reduction in support of the anti-gay law among Nigerians by 15% from 2015 to 2019. Although a majority (75%) of Nigerians still support the anti-gay law.
Recommended read: But who have I hurt if I were gay? by Chude Jideonwo