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

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