• Silvie Vale
Within global contemporary discourses, sexuality is perceived as a main indicator to measure equality, human rights violations, and civil and political rights. Additionally, special attention and efforts have been made in promoting non-discrimination principles on the basis of sexual orientation. However, despite global efforts to end discrimination, various countries in the world still criminalize homosexuality. Nigeria is one of these countries.
In Nigeria, same sex sexual activities are forbidden under criminal law. More recently, in 2014, was also implemented the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013 (SSMPA), which explicitly bans marriage between same sex couples and expands criminal sanctions for those who support, help or witness same sex marriages. Additionally, under the SSMPA, the establishment of and support for gay organisations is also prohibited.
In the light of the increasing understanding of homosexuality as part of human rights discourses on the one hand, and the contrasting prohibitive framework in Nigeria on the other, by employing the ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ approach developed by Carol Bacchi, and a theoretical framework developed within feminist studies and Foucault’s understanding of power, this thesis considers and examines the way homosexuality is problematised in the SSMPA. It also considers the various aspects that shape the ‘problem’ of homosexuality in the latter and analyses the different effects that result from that problematisation. It further considers and addresses possible ways of disrupting that problematisation in order to shape the ‘problem’ differently.
This research reveals that the driving factor that underlies the ‘problem’ of homosexuality in the SSMPA is a ‘heterosexual imperative’ that works as a regulatory mechanism by which the idea of a ‘natural’ gender binary - ‘man/woman’- is maintained. The SSMPA, then delegitimizes homosexuality, and same sex marriage and unions, which sustains ideals of sexual essentialism and heteronormativity.
Publication date28 May 2016
ID: 234316092