SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.22 issue2Livelihoods and legal struggles amidst a pandemic: The human rights implications of the measures adopted to prevent, contain and manage COVID-19 in MalawiCOVID-19 and the inclusion of learners with disabilities in basic education in South Africa: A critical analysis author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


SOGUNRO, Ayodele. An analysis of political homophobia, elitism and social exclusion in the colonial origins of anti-gay laws in Nigeria. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2022, vol.22, n.2, pp.493-519. ISSN 1996-2096.

Critical Legal Studies suggests that any serious legal advocacy must critically engage with the social and political subtext of the law in order to yield positive outcomes. This suggestion is equally applicable to advocacy for sexual and gender minorities in contexts such as Nigeria. Based on this premise, this article employs theories of political homophobia, elite power and social exclusion to analyse the social and political context surrounding the evolution of criminalising laws during the colonial phase of Nigeria's history. The article proceeds to show that political homophobia, through laws that criminalised same-sex relationships, was a strategic tool utilised under the colonial administration to protect colonial interests and maintain the legitimacy of colonisation. This strategy was a colonial imperative regardless of whether or not the local population may have agreed to or participated in the process. The outcome of, and incentive for, this process of political homophobia included the social exclusion of a large majority of the population for the benefit of an elite class. It is argued that an understanding of the rationale behind the colonial evolution of anti-gay laws can provide an insight into the entrenchment of political homophobia in Nigeria and similar legal systems in Africa and challenge the rhetoric that these laws reflect African values.

Keywords : colonial laws; LGBT advocacy; political homophobia; sexual orientation and gender identity; social exclusion.

        · text in English     · English ( pdf )


Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License