James Brown and Bobrisky risk six-month jail term as house of reps consider bill to ban cross-dressing


The house of representatives is considering a bill seeking to prohibit cross-dressing.

The proposed legislation, which seeks to amend the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2013, passed first reading at the lower legislative chamber yesterday.

The bill is sponsored by Muda Lawal, a lawmaker representing Toro federal constituency of Bauchi state.

The bill proposes to add two new sub-clauses to section 4 of the existing act.

The new sub-clauses read: “(1) Cross-dressing whether done publicly is prohibited; (2) A person shall be deemed to have committed the offence publicly where it is published or displayed publicly notwithstanding that it was committed privately or in any place that would have ordinarily been described as private.”

The proposed amendment, however, provided an exception that the clauses “shall not apply to cross-dressing in the course of a stage play or in any bona fide public entertainment”.

Section 5 of the bill also proposes sanctions for would-be violators of the aforementioned new clauses.

“A person engaged in cross-dressing is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for 6 months or to a fine of five hundred thousand naira,” it reads.

The bill defines cross-dressing to mean “the practice of wearing clothes usually worn by a person of the opposite sex”.

This implies that when passed into law, Bobrisky, whose real name is Idris Okuneye, and James Brown — both Nigerian cross-dressers — may face up to six months in jail if they continue with their current practice.