A gay Nigerian former priest has received an award in recognition of his work supporting LGBTI African refugees.
John Adewoye is a lifeline for many across the continent, one fractured in its support of LGBTI people, one where 32 of the 52 countries in Africa class homosexuality as illegal.
And one where Adewoye has created countless support groups for LGBTI people. He has received the Unsung Heroes Award from the Black LGBTIQ Migrant Project (BLMP) and AfroNYC, according to NoStringsNG.
Who was John Adewoye?
Born 30 July 1959, in the village of Oro, of the Nigerian state Kwara. Since his humble beginnings, he has advanced the case of LGBTI equality across the world.
Notably, he founded the US-based organization, the Center for Integration & Courageous Living, in 2006.
Also, through the charity, he provides LGBTI African immigrants with the support that enables them to move to the US.
Moreover, Adewoye is a former Roman Catholic priest who is now happily married to his Nigerian partner.
In addition, in a chat with NoStringsNG after Adewoye received the award, he said: ‘The award is a source of morale boosting to all LGBTIQ to be more committed in actively supporting the cause of LGBTIQ rights.’
The award was organized as part of the 2019 Pride Celebration, marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion.
LGBTI rights in Nigeria
Africa is a kaleidoscopic clash of color, cultures, and languages that cannot simply be shaded red or blue.
But in Nigeria, LGBTI citizens face little to no support from the government, as federal laws outlaw homosexuality.
Furthermore, penal codes impose death under Shari’a law, while states that do not subscribe to the law instead impose a 14 year prison sentence.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not specifically protect LGBT rights, but it does contain various provisions guaranteeing all citizens equal rights.
There is no enacted legislation protecting against discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. None of the political parties in Nigeria has formally endorsed LGBT rights.