Who is Afraid of Gays and Lesbians? : Power and Politics of Queer Visibility in Kingsley Iruoegbu’s Law58


While most countries in Europe, America and Asia are taking a more critical look at their homophobic positions and granting recognition and acceptance to homosexuals, most African countries are clamping down more aggressively on the rights of gay, lesbian and bisexual peoples. Nigeria is reputed to be one of the most homophobic countries in Africa. This is evident in its prohibition of same -sex erotic not only by traditional and religious institutions but also by official legislative criminalisation of non-heterosexual activities. This homophobic legislation is a product of a politically powerful heterosexual majority that seeks to deny and unacknowledge the presence of persons of other sexual orientations outside mainstream heterosexuality. While homosexuality and bisexuality attract different jail terms in Nigeria, they also attract death by stoning in some northern states of the country where the Shari’a law is in operation. The resultant tension created between these traditional, religious and official legislations of a politically, religiously and culturally powerful sexual majority and a closeted and emerging queer ethnicity in this country has, therefore, become the focus of a few filmmakers. This study examines one of the few queer-themed movies -Kingsley Iroegbu’s Law 58- to reveal the challenges faced by Nigerian gays, lesbians and bisexuals who are seeking recognition and visibility towards deconstructing dominant heterosexual myths and shibboleths. It concludes that Nollywood is a site to understand the pressure being faced by these sexual minorities in a predominantly heterosexual Nigerian society.

Author Information
Tunji Azeez, Lagos State University, Nigeria

Paper Information
Conference: FilmAsia2015
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory

This paper is part of the FilmAsia2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon