Meet 7 Activists Fighting to Improve LGBTQ+ Rights Across Africa

Only 22 out of 54 African countries have legalized LGBTQ+ unions, while others implement harsh penalties for homosexuality, including death. Seven brave voices share stories of how they’re changing that

7/29/2021 7:32:00 AM

Only 22 out of 54 African countries have legalized LGBTQ+ unions, while others implement harsh penalties for homosexuality, including death. Seven brave voices share stories of how they’re changing that

Only 22 out of 54 African countries have legalized LGBTQ+ unions, while others implement harsh penalties for homosexuality, including death. Here, seven brave voices share stories of how they’re changing that.

On discovering queer activism“When I returned to Kenya from the U.K. in 2006, I was working in the media and felt I needed to use my position to highlight LGBTQ+ stories objectively. I cofounded the—Kenya’s first LGBTQ+ festival. I’m also currently on the board of Amnesty International Kenya.”

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On being a journalist telling queer stories“I worked at the BBC World Service Africa for six years, which was a dream come true. However, the story I worked on that resonated the most was after I left the BBC full-time when Kenya’s High Courtseeking to overturn a law banning gay sex, in May 2019. I wrote about how there was much to be proud of in the fight for equality despite this setback.”

On the Kenyan queer scene“The fact we have a growing community inside and outside Nairobi, compared to when I was younger, makes me happy. Queer individuals are proudly holding their heads high. We have visibility in the media, but we still face sociocultural and religious stigma and violence—yet, we still push on.” headtopics.com

On the impact of his book,Invisible“It helped so many queer Kenyans come to terms with their sexuality. I hope it hasn’t just helped queer people, but improved knowledge of queerness in Africa in general.”Freddie JacobActivist Jacob, who is based in Nigeria’s Delta State, is at the center of two battles: homophobia and misogyny. For a long time, she felt alone as a queer person until she found her community on Twitter. Since then, she has fought the systemic oppression of both women and queer folks.

On discovering LGBTQ+ activism“It was hard navigating life as a ‘sinner’ and ‘outcast,’ but I’ve always been vocal about feminism and LGBTQ+ activism, long before my voice was amplified through online platforms. Marginalized people and those who challenge society and

, just like I did, are my inspiration. I can’t stay silent amid oppression and violence.”On the change embracing the Nigerian queer community“Every day in Nigeria, the queer community challenges the; hashtags are tweeted, awareness is raised. With this community’s love, organization, and support, I believe change is coming.”

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