Queering the Nigerian Cinema and Politics of Gay Culture

  • Stephen Ogheneruro Okpadah
Keywords: Gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer, LGBT, Nigerian cinema.


The advocacy for gayism and lesbianism in Nigeria is informed by transnational cultural processes, transculturalism, interculturalism, multiculturalism and globalisation. Although critical dimensions on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) are becoming recurrent subjects in Nigerian scholarship, scholarly works on LGBT, sexual identity and Nigerian cinema remain scarce. Perhaps, this is because of indigenous Nigerian cultural processes. While Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian novelist cum socio-political activist, campaigns against marginalisation and subjugation of gays and lesbians and for their integration into the Nigerian cultural system, numerous African socio-cultural and political activists hold a view that is dialectical to Adichie’s. The position of the members of the anti-gay group was further strengthened with the institution of stringent laws against gay practice in Nigeria by the President Goodluck Jonathan led government in 2014. In recent times, the gay, bisexual, transgender and lesbian cultures have been a source of raw material for filmmakers. Some of the thematic preoccupations of films have bordered on questions such as: what does it mean to be gay? Why are gays marginalised? Are gays socially constructed? What is the future of the advocacy for gay and lesbian liberation in Nigeria? Although most Nigerian film narratives are destructive critiques of the gay culture, the purpose of this research is not to cast aspersion on the moral dimension of LGBT. Rather, I argue that films on LGBT create spaces and maps for a critical exploration of the gay question. While the paper investigates the politics of gay culture in Nigerian cinema, I also posit that gays and lesbians are socio-culturally rather than biologically constructed. This research adopts literary and content analysis methods to engage Moses Ebere’s Men in Love with reference to other home videos on the gay and lesbian motifs.


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eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502