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Unending weaponization of faith against LGBT persons in West Africa

Olaide Kayode Timileyin | 1:58pm

Religion, or i say spirituality isn’t new to the people of West Africa pre-colonial era. A known fact is that the indigenous tribes like the Yorubas have oral traditions traceable to the “creation of man”, a well coordinated and systematic way of spirituality, established mainly in ancestral and Orisa worship.

The Yoruba spirituality from West Africa depicts some of it’s divine and gracious figures in a forms which would have been threaten with fourteen years imprisonment if they dare exist on the streets of Nigeria as of today, examples of which are Olokun, Oya , and Esu. In as much as Esu’s masculine energy is often perceived, Esu  “is at once both male and female. his masculinity is depicted as visually and graphically overwhelming, his equally expressive femininity renders his enormous sexuality ambiguous, contrary, and genderless.”

Colonialism and Slavery, didn’t just cart away the people, it introduced us to a new faith, that which we could believe in while on a ship to the lord’s land. “Impacts of slavery and colonialism as ventured on modern societies include: unequal social relations [like homophobia, Patriarchy, etc] and racial inferiority; neo-colonial dependency; distorted economies as well as massive poverty, particularly of the colonies, especially in Africa.”

ISIWO, CATHOLIC CHURCH: HOMOSEXUALITY QueerCity

On this episode, deeper into the south west of Nigeria, To Meet Niyi, who would takes us through a journey that sees through the community of Isiwo, the Catholic Church and homosexuality, and leaves us with questions including “is homosexuality a no see, no hear, no say in the Catholic Church ? “ — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/queercity/message

In most Africa countries like Nigeria and as recently shown in Ghana, the faith of the people can determine the fate of some people, most especially if the fate of these people would favour the powers that be politically. In 2014, one of the excuses for the enactment of the Same Sex marriage prohibition Act in Nigeria is that our culture and faiths do not give space for homosexuality. In 2021, Ghanaian former procurement minister, Hon. Adwoa Safo said “ The issue of LGBT is an issue that when mentioned, it creates some controversy but [On the issue of our cultural acceptance and norms, these practices are also frowned upon. So, for me, these are two distinct clarities on the matter and that is what I strongly stand for]”.

While there are indigenous and cultural traces of Queerness in West Africa, the faith of it’s modern people seem to either seek to furtherly erase or truncate the fabric of the existence of this “accepting” and not “tolerating” history. With continuous demonization of all that seem to affiliate itself with indigenous faith, which could be blamed on the exact demonization of black sexuality during slavery by colonial masters, West African post-colonial majorly practiced religions have continued to use their faiths to police the existence of people and the sanctity of these region. 

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In Northern Nigeria, the ‘Yan Daudu’ community is a group of persons belonging to the Hausa subculture, whose men act like women and engage in sexual relationships with other men. Sadly, the same Northern Nigeria is currently a home to Punishment by Death in states that operate under the laws of the Muslim faith called Sharia. Mauritania has the harshest anti-homosexuality laws and the subject remains hush hush or taboo, as it similarly does in Niger and Guinea, all of which is credited to the same Sharia law.

Christian Bishops across this regions actively activate and crusade the weaponization of their own faith against sexual minorities in this region, even when most countries in this region are bound by constitutions enacted by unending number of treaties signed by this same region. The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) in an official statement in 2021 said “We, the Catholic Bishops of Ghana, write to condemn all those who support the practice of homosexuality in Ghana,”.

Queer religious activists in the past have physically sought to create safe spaces for the discuss of queerness and faith, but they have been met with the waterloo of violence that comes with the weaponization of the same faith. Rev. Jide Macaulay of House of Rainbow in this article title “Towards Full acceptance” narrated “As a person of faith, my focus was always reconciliation, first with God and then with the people who mattered most to me. It took me several years to come out to my close family members, friends and colleagues. Each step bears its own mark of pain and anguish. I was psychotic at one point. It was difficult for me to trust anyone. I was ill-treated from one African Christian community to another whenever it was discovered that I was gay. 

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The back and forth on the subject of sexuality in West Africa continues to suffer the cringes of faith, and it leaves one lost if one questions the subject of “if certain humans are morally viable to debate the validity of the existence of others, by nothing else but by the yardstick of faith which the constitution recognizes as a choice.

Timeless Queer Defiance and it's consequences in Nigeria With Chude QueerCity

"Defiance comes with consequences and I am comfortable with it". He speaks about gay rights in the Nigerian churches, at conferences and anywhere. On this episode of the Queercity podcast, we would be experiencing what the reality of speaking for LGBT+ rights in Nigeria is for Nigeria's own Chude Jideonwo. Chude is known for his active amplification of minorities issues with his big show #WithChude, where he has also created space to help bring Queer persons' narratives safely to the mainstream media.  Chude speaks of how empathy could be an approach to fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, and to furtherly engaging violently oppressive systems. Behind the scenes packing and Bisi Alimi's appearance on “The Dawn” in 2004,  and the interview with Faraphina magazine Timeless Queer Defiance and its consequences in Nigeria with @chude Jideonwo Join the community by conversation via #Queercitypodcast #7yearsLaterSSMPA #LGBTNigerianLivesMatter #LGBTpodcast #Queerlivesmatter  Credit Executive Producer: Queercity Media and Productions @Queercitymediaandproductions  Hosted and Produced by: Olaide Kayode Timileyin(QueerNerd) @OKTIMILEYIN  Guest: Chude Jideonwo Website: Queercitypodcast.com Upcoming event: bit.ly/PrideInLagos — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/queercity/message
  1. Timeless Queer Defiance and it's consequences in Nigeria With Chude
  2. Nigeria's Road To LGBTI+ Decriminalization with Azeenarh Mohammed
  3. Who killed 19 years old John in Lagos ?
  4. Getting Justice for Cameroonian Transwomen Shakira and Patricia amidst death threats with Hamlet.
  5. HIV stigmatization amongst Nigerian Gay men with Raldie Young
Categories
Community Talks

National Security Raids LGBT Ghanaians safe house

By OKTimileyin | 24.02.2021

The Ghanaian LGBT community in the past few weeks have been the victims of organized and targeted homophobia in the country, as each day comes by since the organization (LGBT rights Ghana) launched it’s safe space for Queer people in Accra, Ghana on the 31st of January 2021. It all started after pictures of the event was uploaded on the internet by LGBT Rights Ghana and the presence of the European Union, and Australian High commission was appreciated.

Homophobic lawyers like Moses Foh Amoaning keep crusading for the closure of the safe space, and it’s been a tough one for the queer community in Ghana. The country’s Catholic Church also express it distaste in the new community centre through it’s call for closure of the community centre.

According to LGBT Ghana’s most recent post on instagram, Ghana’s Traditional leaders visited the premises few day ago threatening to burn down the safe space, and sadly, the police won’t help save the space nor it’s queer inhabitants.

On Wednesday the 24th of February 2021, at around 11:13am , pictures and a video surfaced on LGBT rights Ghana twitter page with the caption

Yes! Our safe space has been raided by the police. We are all safe at the moment. It’s time to fight. #SayNoToDiscrimination#saynotohomophobia#Wewillgetthroughthis#TogetherWeBuild

images from twitter (@Lgbtrightsghana)

The above picture shows men who are from the national security inside the safe space, and the picture seem to taken from an higher altitude, looking like it’s taken from a roof level.

Another picture from LGBT Rights Ghana’s twitter also show Security vehicles on the street of the safe house, Queer Ghanaians are currently unsafe, and the international community still seem to be silent about it.

You can lend a voice to this inhuman treatment the Ghanaian Queer community is experiencing by speaking about this violation of their fundamental human rights on your social media, write to your local government official challenging them to lend a voice to this injustice, donate to LGBT rights Ghana GoFund me.

Timeless Queer Defiance and it's consequences in Nigeria With Chude QueerCity

"Defiance comes with consequences and I am comfortable with it". He speaks about gay rights in the Nigerian churches, at conferences and anywhere. On this episode of the Queercity podcast, we would be experiencing what the reality of speaking for LGBT+ rights in Nigeria is for Nigeria's own Chude Jideonwo. Chude is known for his active amplification of minorities issues with his big show #WithChude, where he has also created space to help bring Queer persons' narratives safely to the mainstream media.  Chude speaks of how empathy could be an approach to fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, and to furtherly engaging violently oppressive systems. Behind the scenes packing and Bisi Alimi's appearance on “The Dawn” in 2004,  and the interview with Faraphina magazine Timeless Queer Defiance and its consequences in Nigeria with @chude Jideonwo Join the community by conversation via #Queercitypodcast #7yearsLaterSSMPA #LGBTNigerianLivesMatter #LGBTpodcast #Queerlivesmatter  Credit Executive Producer: Queercity Media and Productions @Queercitymediaandproductions  Hosted and Produced by: Olaide Kayode Timileyin(QueerNerd) @OKTIMILEYIN  Guest: Chude Jideonwo Website: Queercitypodcast.com Upcoming event: bit.ly/PrideInLagos — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/queercity/message
  1. Timeless Queer Defiance and it's consequences in Nigeria With Chude
  2. Nigeria's Road To LGBTI+ Decriminalization with Azeenarh Mohammed
  3. Who killed 19 years old John in Lagos ?
  4. Getting Justice for Cameroonian Transwomen Shakira and Patricia amidst death threats with Hamlet.
  5. HIV stigmatization amongst Nigerian Gay men with Raldie Young
Categories
Community Talks

Queer-excluding-Feminists, Media, and Government up against LGBT Ghanians

written by O.K.Timileyin

On the 31st of January 2021, a popular On-Air-Personality with the name Oheneyere Gifty had her show (The StandPoint- Listen to the feminine side) discussed “my struggle with homosexuality”, inviting two other persons who claimed to be “ex and struggling” gay person and a former Lesbian. Coincidentally, that was also the day for LGBT+ rights Ghana ( A youth led LGBT movement in Ghana) Fundraiser and safe space launch.

Over the years, the African big and small media houses had thrived on emotions, biases, and unprofessionalism when it comes to LGBT narratives, with each giving their audience what they perceive it takes to retain them. With histories of controversies and misinformation being the focal point of these media houses on queer matters, they drive conversations that fuels more hate toward LGBT persons. A major driver of such conversation in media is Ghana is Gifty Anti, who according to LGBT rights Ghana is ” A well known journalist/broadcaster and a gender activist” who “this is not her first time encouraging damaging stereotypes about LGBT persons in Ghana. In 2019, in the heat of the CSE debate, she compared homosexuality to skin bleaching”.

While the LGBT+ rights Ghana led by Alex Kofi Donkor had their fundraiser and safe space opening day, Gift Anti had her discussion. The Safe space opening event was graced by representatives from the European Union Ghana, Australian High commission Ghana amidst others, and this “posed” a threat to the Ghanaian goverment, and media. Writing on their webiste, Modern Ghana said “some people in Ghana have the audacity and effrontery to build LGBT office in Ghana, Tesano to be precise. They held an occasion to officially open their office and called for interested persons to come and join. The most worrying aspect of whole thing is, top officials came to grace the occasion including representatives from African Union, European Union and other top officials from USA, UK and others were present. Their head made it clear that “*they have come to stay.*”

Speaking at the Parliament’s Appointments Committee for vetting on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 , Ghana’s Minister-designate of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Sarah Adwoa Safo spewed “Mr Chair, the issue of LGBT is an issue that when mentioned, it creates some controversy but what I want to say is that our laws are clear on such practice. It makes it criminal. Section 104 of the Criminal Code prohibits one from having unnatural carnal knowledge with another person. So, on the issue of its criminality, it is non-negotiable. On the issue of our cultural acceptance and norms, these practices are also frowned upon. So, for me, these are two distinct clarities on the matter and that is what I strongly stand for,”. Ghana’s Homophobic lawyers Moses Foh-Amoaning and others are working actively to get the Safe Space closed.

Clearing the air on February 11, 2021 as regards the words on the street of Ghana, which had been that the Europeans sponsored the space to “propagate homosexuality” LGBT Rights Ghana posted an official communique stating that the event or office space wasn’t sponsored by the Australian High commision, which was only a guest just like others.

Joyce Opoku Boateng a human rights lawyer in Ghana said that calls for the office of LGBT right Ghana that was recently opened in Accra to be shut down are against the laws of the country. According to Wikipedia “Same-sex sexual acts between males are illegal in Ghana, and LGBT rights are heavily suppressed. The majority of Ghana’s population hold anti-LGBT sentiments. Physical and violent homophobic attacks against LGBT people are common, and are often encouraged by the media and religious and political leaders. At times, government officials, such as police, engage in such acts of violence. Reports of young gay people being kicked out of their homes are also common, as well as reports of conversion therapy occurring across Ghana.

Despite the Constitution guaranteeing a right to freedom of speech, expression and assembly to Ghanaian citizens, these fundamental rights are actively denied to LGBT people. Pro-LGBT activism exists in Ghana, but such efforts are often thwarted by the Ghanaian government.”

While the struggle continues, the media seem continuously acting to misinform the people , “Weaponizing LGBTQ (hating words) by some Ghanaian politicians to discredit, insult & dehumanize LGBTQ Ghanaians. Playing the populist rhetoric & appealing to people’s worst prejudices”.

Lend your voice to the Ghanaian Queer community today by taking a stance against the closure of their safe space. You can write to your Government to lend a voice, Follow LGBT rights Ghana on socials, donate to their course, create infographics, or share this !

Timeless Queer Defiance and it's consequences in Nigeria With Chude QueerCity

"Defiance comes with consequences and I am comfortable with it". He speaks about gay rights in the Nigerian churches, at conferences and anywhere. On this episode of the Queercity podcast, we would be experiencing what the reality of speaking for LGBT+ rights in Nigeria is for Nigeria's own Chude Jideonwo. Chude is known for his active amplification of minorities issues with his big show #WithChude, where he has also created space to help bring Queer persons' narratives safely to the mainstream media.  Chude speaks of how empathy could be an approach to fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, and to furtherly engaging violently oppressive systems. Behind the scenes packing and Bisi Alimi's appearance on “The Dawn” in 2004,  and the interview with Faraphina magazine Timeless Queer Defiance and its consequences in Nigeria with @chude Jideonwo Join the community by conversation via #Queercitypodcast #7yearsLaterSSMPA #LGBTNigerianLivesMatter #LGBTpodcast #Queerlivesmatter  Credit Executive Producer: Queercity Media and Productions @Queercitymediaandproductions  Hosted and Produced by: Olaide Kayode Timileyin(QueerNerd) @OKTIMILEYIN  Guest: Chude Jideonwo Website: Queercitypodcast.com Upcoming event: bit.ly/PrideInLagos — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/queercity/message
  1. Timeless Queer Defiance and it's consequences in Nigeria With Chude
  2. Nigeria's Road To LGBTI+ Decriminalization with Azeenarh Mohammed
  3. Who killed 19 years old John in Lagos ?
  4. Getting Justice for Cameroonian Transwomen Shakira and Patricia amidst death threats with Hamlet.
  5. HIV stigmatization amongst Nigerian Gay men with Raldie Young
Categories
Community Talks

Transwomen reality in a 2021 Nigeria

By OKTimileyin

The conversation around sexuality and identity steadily seem to be gaining momentum in Nigeria, where visibility is no longer the focus of community conversations and discuss, but how to properly, and positively utilize the visibility the community has horned, to propagate more social acceptance of Queer folx in Nigeria. Haven properly learnt to harness social media platforms to raise the bar for visibility, more representation and diversity ( being basis of inclusion ) is experienced. We are now our story tellers, our very own pilots of our narratives. More voices are being raised across different forms of human existence on Queerness in Nigeria. The world witnessed the loud ones like the #Endsars Movement, the #EndHomophobiaInNigeria which seem to have shone in a very centrifugal light on the Nigeria Queer community, with its resulting community visibility being the strongest at it’s emerging identity.

With the anonymous ability of the birdie app, the Nigerian queer community has continued to grow in a beautiful, strong , and powerful way, with numeric strength driving more conversation and giving representation in conversations found safe. One of such community conversations which found it way to twitter is that from the trans community. A tweep tweeted

culled from @bitchcraft2121

The twitter thread did not just throw a lot of questions into the air and leave us to wonder if answers can be gotten, it brings to the table answers waiting to be heard, struggle wailing to be seen, stories hoping to be told, One of which is “What’s the Nigerian Transwoman Experience” ?

The Nigerian Trans Experience isn’t specifically different from the everyday trans woman who is from a space where legal protection doesn’t exist for queer people, it is the same story of constant confusion, emotional imbalance, physical and mental insecurity, body dysmorphia, paranoia and loneliness. Trans women in Nigeria are getting to learn on their own what transition should be like, forming little sisterhoods to share the pain, trauma, lessons, and laughter from existing on the street of Nigeria.

Across the world, The news of violation and killing of Transwomen are no longer new in the news, and this does not exclude Nigeria. In 2018 a website called 76 crimes published the death of a Trans activist in Abuja with the name Rabina Bamanga who was killed in her own house. By 2020, the Guardian published the story of a Trans woman who escaped death by suicide after being exposed to conversion therapy which included incisions.

In a country like Nigeria, where transphobia is an appreciated feat and TERFs won’t stop making excuses for their own transphobia. Transwomen see each day through “what it takes to see the next day” and not living as they should, walking the streets of Nigeria with high hopes of “passing”, without anyone at the bus-stop having to ask if they are a man or a woman.

This tweep in her thread lined out what it takes to survives the streets of Nigeria as a Trans Woman living in Nigeria or West Africa.

With the twitter thread having up to 10 things to keep themselves (transwomen) safe in Nigeria or West Africa, one is forced to ask how best do anyone who is queer stay safe in Nigeria ? This is the reality of underprivileged queer folx in Nigeria, who don’t have the resources to live in spaces where they can exist without exposure to harm.

Transwomen GoFund me from twitter you might want to support !!!

Timeless Queer Defiance and it's consequences in Nigeria With Chude QueerCity

"Defiance comes with consequences and I am comfortable with it". He speaks about gay rights in the Nigerian churches, at conferences and anywhere. On this episode of the Queercity podcast, we would be experiencing what the reality of speaking for LGBT+ rights in Nigeria is for Nigeria's own Chude Jideonwo. Chude is known for his active amplification of minorities issues with his big show #WithChude, where he has also created space to help bring Queer persons' narratives safely to the mainstream media.  Chude speaks of how empathy could be an approach to fighting for the rights of sexual minorities, and to furtherly engaging violently oppressive systems. Behind the scenes packing and Bisi Alimi's appearance on “The Dawn” in 2004,  and the interview with Faraphina magazine Timeless Queer Defiance and its consequences in Nigeria with @chude Jideonwo Join the community by conversation via #Queercitypodcast #7yearsLaterSSMPA #LGBTNigerianLivesMatter #LGBTpodcast #Queerlivesmatter  Credit Executive Producer: Queercity Media and Productions @Queercitymediaandproductions  Hosted and Produced by: Olaide Kayode Timileyin(QueerNerd) @OKTIMILEYIN  Guest: Chude Jideonwo Website: Queercitypodcast.com Upcoming event: bit.ly/PrideInLagos — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/queercity/message
  1. Timeless Queer Defiance and it's consequences in Nigeria With Chude
  2. Nigeria's Road To LGBTI+ Decriminalization with Azeenarh Mohammed
  3. Who killed 19 years old John in Lagos ?
  4. Getting Justice for Cameroonian Transwomen Shakira and Patricia amidst death threats with Hamlet.
  5. HIV stigmatization amongst Nigerian Gay men with Raldie Young