Homophobia and perceptions about homosexuality among students of a tertiary institution in Nigeria
AbstractThe term ‘LGBT’ is intended to emphasize a diversity of "sexuality and gender identity-based cultures”. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) adolescents face challenges growing up healthy in a culture that is often unaccepting. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria.2 Discrimination by reason of sexual orientation, termed homophobia, embraces prejudices against LGBT individuals. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of homophobia, explore the perception about homosexuality and associations between sociodemographic factors and homophobia among undergraduate students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted among 500 students of OAU using a multistage sampling technique. They completed a semi structured Socio-demographic Data Schedule and a homophobic scale developed by Wright, Adams and Bernatto assess the cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of homophobia. Univariate analysis was used to determine the prevalence of homophobia and this was expressed in percentages. Association at bivariate level was assessed using chi-square and Pearson’s correlation coefficient. About half of the respondents were between the ages of 21 and 25 years. There were slightly more females (56%) than males. most of the respondents (97.8%) were aware of homosexuality, fewer (64.3%) believed it was common while fewer still (36.8%) knew any gay or bisexual persons. Thirty-five (7.2%) respondents believed that homosexuality was acceptable. However, 359 (74.7%) believed that homosexuality was immoral, 326 (67.8%) would feel uncomfortable with a GLB roommate and 23 (4.9%) had actually damaged property belonging to GLB persons. Two hundred and forty-nine (54.5%) respondents had high overall levels of homophobia. Female respondents had significantly lower levels of total homophobia compared to male respondents. Respondents attracted exclusively to the opposite sex were more likely to demonstrate behavioural aggression compared to those attracted to same or both sexes. Although many are aware of same sex sexuality in Nigeria, the restrictive confines of law and social norms make stigmatization and discrimination rife and these may impact negatively on the wellbeing of LGBT individuals.
Keywords: LGBT, Homophobia, Homosexuality, Perception