The first gay church in Nigeria is conspicuously named House of Rainbow – most likely because the colours of the rainbow is same as that of the LGBTIQ movement.
Homosexuality is a topic that sparks heavy controversy in Nigeria.
Majority of the population is vociferously against it while acts of homosexuality will offer you a 14-year jail sentence in accordance to Nigerian law.
The man behind the House of Rainbow movement is Rowland Olajide Macaulay, a reverend who sees himself as an activist.
On Monday, House of Rainbow marked its 10-year anniversary in faraway London, away from the grasp of Nigeria’s anti-homosexuality law.
Here are 15 things you should know about Macaulay’s movement, which is described as “Nigeria’s first gay church”.
- Although it was founded in Nigeria, there is no record of a physical church structure for House of Rainbow on Nigerian soil.
- It was founded in September 2006 by Macaulay, Nigeria’s first openly gay pastor.
- In Nigeria, Macaulay ran the church from his home in Jakande Estate, Isolo, Lagos and a “worship space” in Ojodu Berger, Lagos.
- 32 people were in attendance at the first meeting which took place at Ikeja Capital City Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
- On December 31, 2006, House Of Rainbow hosted the largest number of LGBT people of faith gathering in Lagos for the New Year’s eve celebration. Over 200 people attended.
- The Nigerian house of assembly invited Macaulay in 2007 to speak on the same sex prohibition bill but he never got the chance to address the chamber.
- He fled the country after national newspaper publications emerged about his church in 2008. Following the release of the articles, Macaulay received numerous death threats.
- Macaulay once considered committing suicide because of his homophobic family members.
- Macaulay was married to a woman in 1991 and got a divorce in 1994.
- The House of Rainbow church is located in London, UK.
- There are currently 13 active groups with 17 volunteer local leaders, 11 cities and in 7 countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Lesotho, Burundi, Zambia, and the United Kingdom.
- House of Rainbow has two groups dedicated to LGBTIQ Muslims in Nigeria and Ghana respectively.
- The religious organisation has performed over 10 same sex weddings or blessings in the past 10 years in Europe and Africa.
- House Of Rainbow has printed and distributed over 10,000 copies of pocket Ddevotional for LGBT Christians.
- House Of Rainbow now includes fellowships to LGBTIQ Christians and Muslims