Podcast seeks help telling stories of LGBTIQ Nigerians

Logo of the No Strings podcast

Logo of the No Strings podcast. (Click image to visit its fundraising site.)

No Strings, the Nigerian LGBTIQ podcast, is seeking support for its efforts to maintain and expand its coverage of the lives of the persecuted sexual minorities of Nigeria.

In a fundraising campaign on the Generosity crowdfunding site, No Strings founder and podcast host Mike Daemon states:

It’s a new year, marking another beginning of hard work for us here at NoStrings.

Let’s start by introducing the project:

NoStrings Podcast is a Nigerian LGBTIQ Advocacy Media Project that uses journalistic approaches to capture, investigate and report issues concerning the Nigerian LGBTIQ Community, seeking to educate and inform the general public about the subject of homosexuality in Nigeria, thus, giving the community its own unique true voice.

We are therefore using this opportunity to seek for support for NoStrings, as it is never easy operating under the tight homophobic condition here in Nigeria, with very little and limited financial assistance coming from individuals who believe and support the project.

We are seeking support to be able to continue with the NoStrings project, we will need help with the following:

Detail of the No Strings website.

Detail of the No Strings website.

  • Website upgrade: (We will soon run out of bandwidth as our listenership base has increased)
  • Buy a new additional podcast Microphone: (this is needed for live in-house recordings)
  • Production Speakers / Headphones:  (This will be used to master sound during its final stages of mixing and mastering podcast episodes)
  • 12-months Internet Data Subscription: (this will enable us continue to monitor our activities, upload episodes on our website and our other social media platforms)

We have estimated that $500 will take care of all the listed items above.

Whatever you can do, please do to help NoStrings continue to do more!!!

The Generosity site also reveals a bit about Daemon himself:

Mike Daemon is a Nigerian activist, with a passion in LGBTIQ rights activism, serving as the founder, host and the project coordinator for NoStrings, currently holding certifications in both journalism and broadcasting, with an extensive knowledge in the media.

For more information:

The No Strings podcasts, which can be streamed or downloaded, provide a voice for the LGBTIQ community in  Nigeria; they are the first of their kind in Nigeria. They are presented in the form of a traditional radio program that  chronicles the struggles, tells the stories, and reports on issues affecting the lives of LGBTIQ Nigerians.

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), Commentary, Positive steps | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

OK to block TV tolerance ad? Jamaican court will decide

The Jamaican Court of Appeal is in the midst of hearings on whether TV stations that serve the public have the right to refuse a public-service advertisement promoting tolerance of LGBTI people. The hearings, scheduled for Feb. 1 to Feb. 4, are described in this Feb. 1 press release from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, which is supporting the appeal:

Jamaican gay activist challenges TV stations in court

Stations refused to air LGBTI tolerance ad; one station now withdrawing its defence

Feb. 1, 2016:

Scène de "L'amour et le respect" vidéo rejetée par les radiodiffuseurs jamaïcains. (Cliquez sur l'image pour voir la vidéo.)

Scene from the “Love and Respect” video, rejected by Jamaican broadcasters. (Click the image to watch the video.)

Today the Jamaican Court of Appeal will begin hearing a landmark case brought forward by Jamaican attorney and human rights activist Maurice Tomlinson. The case is challenging national television stations that refused to air a “tolerance ad” promoting respect for the human rights of LGBTI people. The original hearing, set for July 22–24, was rescheduled to allow the Attorney General’s office more time to prepare.

This landmark constitutional case is the first appeal in Jamaica to raise the issue of human rights of LGBTI people. It is also the first time the Court will consider how the rights protected under the 2011 Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms should apply against private corporations and not just the government. Notably, one of the TV stations won’t appear to defend its original decision refusing the ad, while the remaining station has dropped one of its main arguments that Jamaicans cannot sue private individuals, such as TV stations, for breaches of their constitutional rights.

The tolerance ad, produced by AIDS-Free World, features Tomlinson in conversation with leading Jamaican human rights advocate, Yvonne McCalla Sobers, who now also works in a group committed to providing shelter for homeless LGBTI youth. The ad itself simply calls on Jamaicans to love and respect their gay family members, and the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica had confirmed it did not breach any of the country’s broadcasting regulations or standards. The ad can be viewed at https://youtu.be/AZwCW1LREXk. [Or by clicking the image above.]

Maurice Tomlinson displays the Jamaican flag. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson via Facebook)

Maurice Tomlinson displays the Jamaican flag. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson via Facebook)

“With this ground-breaking case on freedom of expression, we hope to chart a new course not only for LGBTI Jamaicans, but also for all those who want Jamaica’s constitution to deliver on its promise of protecting human rights,” says Tomlinson. Forced to flee his homeland because of homophobia he personally experienced, Tomlinson now works as a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, which is supporting the appeal.

Stigma, discrimination and sometimes murderous violence remain pervasive threats to the health and human rights of LGBTI people in Jamaica, and consensual sex between men is punishable by 10 years’ prison with hard labour. Homophobia and transphobia force LGBTI Jamaicans underground, creating further barriers to HIV prevention, treatment and support services. Indeed, the Caribbean has the world’s second-highest HIV-prevalence rate following sub-Saharan Africa — and the highest prevalence of HIV among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Americas.

“We have young LGBTI Jamaicans living in desperate conditions on the streets. They are forced from their own homes by their families, and are harassed out of vacant spaces and even sewers. They have no place to go where they can feel safe and protected,” says McCalla Sobers. “This ad is only the first step in trying to change hostile attitudes toward LGBTI family members, classmates, co-workers and fellow citizens in Jamaica and around the world. All deserve the right to live freely and safely without discrimination.”

Tomlinson and AIDS-Free World originally filed the claim against Television Jamaica and CVM Television — the two largest private TV broadcasters in Jamaica — on the grounds that their refusal to air the ad violated the constitutional rights to freedom of expression and to disseminate information and ideas through the media. That claim was denied in late 2013 by the trial court, but Tomlinson chose to appeal that decision.

In his appeal, Tomlinson is arguing that the Court failed to sufficiently consider the role of TV stations in a healthy democracy. In Jamaica, private citizens are allowed to challenge other private citizens (including TV stations) for breaches of Charter rights — but this is the first appellate case to consider such a scenario.

The hearing takes place before the Jamaican Court of Appeal from February 1–4. For more information on the court case, see this Q&A document: http://www.aidslaw.ca/site/qa-on-jamaican-tv-ad-court-case/.– 30 –

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (www.aidslaw.ca) promotes the human rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research and analysis, advocacy and litigation, public education and community mobilization. The Legal Network is Canada’s leading advocacy organization working on the legal and human rights issues raised by HIV/AIDS.

Posted in Americas, HIV / AIDS, International pressure for LGBT rights, Trials / punishments | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hurrah! Indian Supreme Court will review anti-gay law

LGBT rights supporters cheer Indian Supreme Court decision outside the court on Feb. 2, 2016. (Photo courtesy of The Hindu)

LGBT rights supporters cheer Indian Supreme Court decision outside the court on Feb. 2, 2016. (Photo courtesy of The Hindu)

The Indian Supreme Court today agreed to a review of its own 2013 decision that had reinstated India’s colonial-era anti-LGBT law.

The sodomy law, known as Section 377, had been overturned by the Delhi High Court in 2009.

A five-judge panel will re-examine the 2013 ruling that turned millions of Indian citizens into unapprehended criminals by re-criminalizing homosexuality.

Gay rights activists have said that thousands of people in the LGBT community became open about their sexual identity during the four years from 2009 to 2013 when gay sex was effectively decriminalized, and now they faced the threat of being prosecuted.

By one account, at least 587 people were arrested in 2014 on charges of violating Section 377.

Today’s ruling was made in response to several “curative petitions,” including one filed by the Naz Foundation, an anti-HIV organization that originally challenged the law after  its employees were detained by police for more than six weeks on charges that included conspiracy to commit sodomy.

Some fear that today’s good news for the LGBT community won’t last.

“The odds may still be against the lawyers arguing the sodomy law should be struck down in this case,” BuzzFeed news said. “Curative petitions have only led a ruling to be overturned three times since the process was created in 2002.”

The Indian Express reported:

The bench was told there were eight curative petitions seeking re-examination of the order on the review petition ….

The bench was also informed that the churches of northern India and All India Muslim Personal Law Board were against decriminalising homosexuality.

Attorney Kapil Sibal (Photo courtesy of BarAndBench.com)

Attorney Kapil Sibal (Photo courtesy of BarAndBench.com)

At the outset, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, arguing for [overturning Section 377],  submitted that huge constitutional issues are involved in the matter. A battery of senior lawyers appeared in the case.

He submitted the issue concerns the “most private and the most precious” part of life that is right to sexuality within the four corners of your domain which has been held as unconstitutional.

“There is much cause for optimism now that a constitutional bench will be looking at all curative petitions,” said L. Ramakrishnan, a lawyer working with Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India (Saathi), according to The News Minute.

“This is a most hopeful sign,” lawyer and activist Lawrence Liang said.

Posted in Anti-LGBT laws and legislation, Asia, Positive steps, Trials / punishments | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eager anticipation of Indian court action on anti-gay law

Protest against Section 377 in Sangli, India (Aarthi Pai photo via Orinam)

Marchers in 2014 protest in Sangli, India, protest against Section 377 (Aarthi Pai photo via Orinam)

LGBTI activists are eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s Indian Supreme Court hearing on Section 377, the country’s colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality. These are excerpts from advance coverage:

The 377 Battle: The Court Awakens

By Siddharth Narrain
(Gaylaxy)

The court hearing comes just a over a month after … MPs in the Winter Session of Parliament voted down a motion to discuss a private member’s Bill, drafted by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, that asked for section 377 to be amended to remove from its ambit consensual sex between adults.

The MPs’ refusal to even discuss the bill, let alone consider passing it, demonstrated that it is the judiciary that is best placed to consider the constitutionality of this law. Left to elected members of the legislature, section 377 is unlikely to be changed soon.

Looking to a better tomorrow

By Vaishna Roy
(The Hindu)

Supreme Court of India (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Supreme Court of India (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

It is hard to believe that in 2016 we are still debating the legality of an individual’s sexuality, when in 2014 the Supreme Court’s historic NALSA judgment affirmed the fundamental rights and freedoms of the third gender. This surely is an unequivocal assertion of the right to equality of all persons. This right then logically extends first, to every individual whether heterosexual, homosexual or transsexual, and second, to every sphere of their lives, including how they choose to be intimate in the privacy of their homes. As writer Lesley Esteves says, “You cannot recognise their right to life and liberty and simultaneously criminalise their sexual life.”…

On Tuesday, when the Bench hears the curative petition, there is compelling reason to anticipate that the court will not allow even a fraction of Indians to live under a forced veil of secrecy or under the constant threat of violence anymore.

We queer people will do everything to ensure our liberty, even if it takes some Bollywoodising: It’s time to stand up, dance, and be counted.

By Vivek Divan
(Scroll.in)

Logo of the Naz Foundation (India)

Logo of the Naz Foundation (India)

The court’s decision [restoring Section 377 in late 2013 by Supreme Court decree in the case of Koushal v Naz Foundation] reveals this line of thought … :   We don’t know homosexual people, and if they do exist they are few and far between; given their tiny presence their concerns don’t merit the time of the apex constitutional court of India; let them meet their fate elsewhere i.e. Parliament. In this most tragic, and inequitable of judgments the Indian Supreme Court deemed homosexuals unworthy of its assistance, being that they were merely a “minuscule fraction”.

But back to the almost-Bollywood moment: When this bewildering line of pondering is being articulated I look around the room, and am about to tap the shoulder of a queer lawyer sitting in front of me – visualising that filmi instant when the few dozen of us queers in the courtroom (many of us in our lawyers gowns) stand up one by one, to show that here we are, always ready to be counted. …

I do know of the great harm that 377 has caused in many people’s lives. The media has covered stories of suicide by and abuse, extortion and violence against queer people over the years. But this is the tip of the iceberg, and these tragedies have seen an upswing since the pitiful decision in Koushal. On the first anniversary of the judgment, at a meeting held in Delhi to present firsthand accounts of this hate and sadness, the testimonies were heart-rending – of families shunning members, parents threatening children, public violence and police abuse and extortion. The words “beaten”, “assaulted”, “raped”, “banished” were constantly uttered. …

Years ago, I’d written with confidence that with truth on our side, we queers will prevail. I am still convinced that chicanery and small-mindedness will only be stumbling blocks on that journey. This is written to once again stake a claim to be a full person in this land. It is also to signal on behalf of queer people that we will not back down in using all the constitutional tools available to us to be liberated. And, in that process, we will continue to stand up and be counted, creating Bollywood moments in courtrooms and anywhere the occasion calls for.

BUT ALSO …

Why we shouldn’t pin too much hope on the Supreme Court de-criminalising homosexuality this week

By Alok Prasanna Kumar
(Scroll.in)

Unless there’s a dramatic change to established jurisprudence, the Court is unlikely to interfere with its earlier judgement on IPC Section 377.

The very fact that the Supreme Court wants to give an open court hearing to see if Koushal should be overturned suggests that the judges might have some second thoughts about the correctness of Koushal. Whether this actually leads to the overturning of Koushal is still to be seen – though, barring a dramatic change to established jurisprudence by the Supreme Court, it seems highly unlikely.

For more information:

 

 

Posted in Anti-LGBT laws and legislation, Asia, International pressure for LGBT rights | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

On TV today: Upbeat view of LGBT-friendly African isle

The film "Tchindas" focuses on preparations for carnival by a trans community in Cape Verde off the coast of West Africa. (Photo courtesy of Outfest)

The film “Tchindas” focuses on preparations for carnival by a trans community in Cape Verde off the coast of West Africa. (Photo courtesy of Outfest)

The upbeat, groundbreaking LGBT-focused documentary film “Tchindas” will be shown on PBS in the United States today (Feb. 1).  It will appear on the show “AfroPop,” starting at 8 p.m. in many places; check your local station for the specific local schedule.

After first seeing “Tchindas” last summer, I published the article “On African island, ‘Tchindas’ goes beyond LGBTI acceptance,” starting with these paragraphs:

I expected to see a documentary about LGBTI people who were accepted by their neighbors in a tolerant community of the Cape Verde islands, off the coast of West Africa.

That would have been an amazing contrast to the violent homophobia and transphobia that infects dozens of African countries.

But I saw much more than that. Those neighbors weren’t just accepting, but positively enthusiastic about joining with the LGBTI team that was preparing their annual float for the island’s Carnival parade. Parents brought their children to rehearsals for the lines of dancers who would march alongside the float. If possible, they wanted their daughters positioned as mermaids kneeling at the front of the float, between swaying trans women.

Pablo Garcia with Tchinda Andrade (Photo courtesy of Tchindas.com)

Pablo Garcia with Tchinda Andrade (Photo courtesy of Tchindas.com)

For more information about the film and today’s showings, see:

Here is the PBS/World description of “Tchindas”:

Carnival in São Vicente, Cape Verde. (Photo courtesy of Tchindas.com)

Carnival in São Vicente, Cape Verde. (Photo courtesy of Tchindas.com)

Calm reigns in Sâo Vicente, a small Cape Verdean island off the West Coast of Africa, where most of the residents have never moved away. In the island’s port city of Mindelo, Tchinda is one of the community’s most beloved women especially after coming out as a transgender person in the local newspaper in 1998. Since then, her name has become synonymous with the way local people call queer Cape Verdeans. Tchinda, who sells “coxinhas” (a Brazilian street food) by day, is responsible for security at her bar in the evening as music and grog, the famous local rum, permeates every corner of the island.

In February, the island evolves as thousands of people pack into the streets for Carnival. The days leading up to the event are hectic with the locals working together to make something beautiful out of nothing; they recycle everything they can to create a structure that will be more magical every day.

Posted in Africa, International pressure for LGBT rights, Positive steps | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bisexuals in Nigeria: ‘We are not cheats!’

Logo of the No Strings podcast

A logo of the No Strings podcast

Do bisexuals think that they are better than gay and lesbian people?

That’s one of the questions tackled in the latest episode of No Strings, the Nigerian LGBTIQ podcast. Other questions addressed there are:

  • Are bisexuals confused?
  • Are there bisexuals in Nigeria, really?
  • Are bisexuals by default cheats?
  • Do people have a chance to start and sustain a meaningful relationship with bisexuals?
  • Is bisexuality a real sexual orientation? Podcast host Mike Daemon says that some people believe it is not; they therefore conclude that people who say they are bisexual are actually just experimenting.
  • When bisexuals marry, will they still identify as bisexuals?
  • Is it easy to survive as a bisexual in a homophobic country? Some say that bisexuals can pass as heterosexuals, which makes their lives easier in  homophobic countries, Daemon says.

The podcast features Goodmade, a bisexual man, and Jerry, a gay man. Both are Nigerian.

In the podcast, Goodmade, who is married with a son, gives his views about what life is like for Nigerian bisexuals. He also discusses why some Nigerians claim to be bisexuals when they actually are gay.

Also in the podcast, Jerry says he can be in a relationship with a bisexual, if that person will dedicate some quality time for him when he needs it. Overall, Jerry says, as a gay man he has no issues with bisexuals.

This episode, titled “Nigerian Bisexuals Speak! “We Are Not Cheats!” is the first of two podcast episodes focusing on bisexuality. The second episode, coming in the near future, will feature a bisexual woman from Ghana, now living in Canada, and Frank, a bisexual Nigerian man.

The No Strings podcasts, which can be streamed or downloaded, provide a voice for the LGBTIQ community in  Nigeria; they are the first of their kind in Nigeria. They are presented in the form of a traditional radio program that  chronicles the struggles, tells the stories, and reports on issues affecting the lives of LGBTIQ Nigerians.

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan) | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Uganda and Nigeria: 2 sexual encounters, 3 arrests

Online news sites reported three recent arrests in Nigeria and Uganda on charges of violating their nations’ anti-homosexuality laws. The accounts have not been independently verified, but the Ugandan story is accompanied by a photo of the defendant’s official bail document.

Uganda: Two women apprehended, but only one arrested

Prose Namwebe at the Bukomansimbi police station in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of The Insider)

Prose Namwebe at the Bukomansimbi police station in Uganda. (Photo courtesy of The Insider)

The Insider and 24 Seven News reported that Prose Namwebe, described as a “top business woman,” was arrested in Bukomansimbi in central Uganda on an accusation of lesbian activity.

The offense was allegedly committed with a Muslim cleric’s daughter who was described as young but whose age was specified.

Namwebe was released on bond on Jan. 20 after promising to return to the Bukomansimbi police station on Feb. 3.

According to the two accounts of the arrest, a source in the police department said that a neighbor tipped off the father that his daughter was having a  relationship with Prose, “who would sneak into his house whenever [he] would be away from his home.”

After he found the pair in his daughter’s bedroom, he contacted police.

“The couple was apprehended but prior to reaching the police station [the daughter] escaped while Prose was detained,” the articles said. Police reportedly saved the couple from being lynched.

The legal status of the daughter was unclear.

Nigeria: Two men charged for love-making in jeep

Ikeja Magistrates Court and High Court complex. (Photo courtesy of ladunliadinews.com)

Ikeja Magistrates Court and High Court complex. (Photo courtesy of ladunliadinews.com)

The Guardian of Lagos, Nigeria, reported on arrests in Ikeja, just north of Lagos:

Two men, who allegedly had anal sex inside a jeep, were on Tuesday [Jan. 26] docked at an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court. The accused – Innocent Egbuna, 33, and Jide Ajayi, 21 – are being tried for a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and act of gross indecency.

Egbuna, who claimed to be a soldier, lives at No. 22, Support Regiment, Ijebu-Ode in Ogun, while Ajayi, an unemployed, is a resident of No. 28, Owoduni St., Onipanu on Ikorodu Expressway.

The prosecutor, Sgt. Joseph Ajebe, told the court that the offences were committed on Jan. 18 at Ajao Road, Ikeja. According to him, the accused were caught by an anti-crime patrol team at Ikeja. “The accused were found inside a parked Nissan Jeep with registration no. KSF 914 AC having anal sexual intercourse.

“Ajayi said Egbuna accosted him and told him to have sex with him, promising to give substantial amount of money and that he will also take him to the club to have a nice time.

“Ajayi agreed because he was frustrated and did not have money to fend for himself,” Ajebe said.

The offences contravened Sections 136, 166 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Section 136 provides three years for act of gross indecency, while Section 166 prescribes a N15,000 fine [about US $75] or imprisonment for three months for disorderly act. Section 409 stipulates a two-year jail term for conspiracy.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty. Ruling on the bail application of the accused, the Chief Magistrate, Mr Alexander Komolafe, granted the two men bail in the sum of N100,000 [about US $500] each with two sureties each in like sum. Further hearing in the case has been adjourned to Mar. 7.

Related articles:

Nigeria

Uganda

 

Posted in Africa, Africa (Sub Saharan), Trials / punishments | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment