Recent news reports have highlighted the anti-gay debates taking place in parliaments, the media and in homes across Africa. Homophobia is not new, but there is a growing interest to legalise the repression of LGBTQ+ identity, allies and anyone who suspects a person is queer and keeps quiet. As if the community needs further repression, violence and erosion of their human rights.
From Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA), to Ghana’s anti-gay bill, and more recently, Uganda’s ultra draconian laws, these are residue from colonial laws often supported and financed by Western Evangelicals with anti-queer campaigns. Their call for discriminatory practices ranges from denying rights groups registration to imprisonment, unethical body examinations to violence. While there have been protests to these laws, the LGBTQ+ community should not have to justify their humanity. Despite this, there have been some victories in decriminalisation of such punitive laws in countries like Angola and Gabon. Small wins, like the freedom of association in Kenya, offer some hope that the freedom to live as one’s true self outside of State censure or overzealous religious proselytising is attainable.
The myth that same sex existence is unAfrican and imported is far from the continent’s history of accommodating difference. There’s ample evidence that challenges this historical amnesia of latter-day Saints. It is therefore important to document present day LGBTQ+ lives for future generations to understand their struggles, challenges, joys and triumphs. In addition to our previous books on queer existence such as She Called Me Woman and When We Speak of Nothing, later this year, we will be publishing two new queer books. Love Offers No Safety: Nigeria’s Queer Men Speak, edited by Olumide F. Makajoula and Jude Dibia, tells the stories of queer men from across Nigeria. And Then He Sang a Lullaby, by debut novelist, Ani Kayode Somotochukwu tells the story of two young men who defy discriminatory laws and religious bigotry to love and live freely.
Join us to celebrate these stories of defiance as we continue to work towards a world where everyone can live in the castle of their skin, free from discrimination.