Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS
Posted by Mikola De Roo , February 28, 2014
Guest blog post by Charles King, President & CEO of Housing Works
A disturbing global trend has emerged in which certain governments have engaged in deliberate actions to restrict the rights of LGBT individuals and, in the worst cases, threaten imprisonment, violence, and other grave penalties. Most notably, the Nigerian and Ugandan governments have introduced bills that criminalize same-sex relationships and prescribe harsh prison sentences. In early 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria signed into law a bill that criminalizes gay marriage and same-sex relationships and can impose prison sentences on offenders of up to 14 years. An earlier draft of the bill promised the death sentence. In Uganda, a similar law targeting people in same-sex relationships and LGBT-affiliated organizations was signed into law by the Ugandan president just this week. This law promises life-imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality.”
The culture of intolerance fostered by these laws has given rise to a rash of arrests, imprisonments, mob beatings, public executions, and extortions, all on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, whether real or perceived. Also of grave concern is the resulting shutdown of lifesaving HIV services, particularly those targeting men who have sex with men (MSM). In fact, in response to this codified, government-sanctioned discrimination, Housing Works is already serving a number of gay Nigerians who have fled to the United States seeking asylum, including some of Nigeria’s best and bravest AIDS activists.
We here at Housing Works know that these atrocious laws cannot stand. Next Friday, March 7th, 2014, has been designated the Nigerian Global Day of Action. In support of our Nigerian LGBT friends and allies, Housing Works is co-sponsoring a New York City demonstration along with IGLHRC, All Out, amfAR, Immigration Equality, Queer Nation, ACT UP, GMHC, the Kato Foundation, and other organizations and allies, to demand that Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations U. Joy Ogwu speak out and urge President Jonathan and the Nigerian government to rescind this horrible law. The demonstration will take place on Friday, March 7, beginning at 11am EST, in front of the Consulate General of Nigeria on 2nd Avenue (between 44th and 45th Streets) in Manhattan.
A fact sheet on the details of the March 7 demonstration and why showing our support of Nigerian LGBT individuals is so important can be viewed and downloaded at the end of this blog post.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
• Join us at the 3/7 demonstration at the Consulate General of Nigeria and lend your voice and support! If you would like to participate in any way, contact Felicia Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Share the event info widely to your network by sending them this link.
• Share the event info link on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, using the hash tag #Istandfor9jaLGBT.
• Print out the 3/7 event fact sheet and post it in your office.
• Create a video featuring the phrase “I stand for LGBT Nigeria” and the 3/7 event info, upload it to YouTube, and share with your network.
• Donate to Housing Works. Your support literally makes all our advocacy work, which is not underwritten by programmatic grants or other institutional funding, possible.blog comments powered by Disqus
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