We Exist: Mapping LGBTQ Organising in West Africa

[Resourcel URL]

Go to Resource

[Relevance]

This report centres the diverse needs and concerns of West African SOGIE activists at varied levels of organising spaces, highlighting areas in which activists, organisers and their funding partners can work more collaboratively to improve and expand organising-capacity and rights development in their respective countries.

In the context of an increasingly hostile environment against people of diverse SOGIE in West Africa, this report provides insight into the growing grassroots SOGIE movement and the varied administrative, socio-cultural and funding hurdles faced by activists and organisations in the region. At total of 50 organisations and 180 activists from 9 countries participated in the research process. Political landscapes range from overt criminalisation of SOGIE to social invisibility and discrimination.

It begins by presenting a broad overview of organisational needs and the participatory research conducted for these findings. The report then explores the legal and historical context of queer identity and organising in West Africa, including key elements of organisational culture; the marginalisation of lesbian, bisexual, and trans* centred activism is principally noted.

The next section maps issues facing people with diverse SOGIE in the diverse West African region, with an evaluation of strategies and responses to these issues and the critical gaps that need filling. These predominately relate to gender inclusivity and awareness of trans* and women-specific issues. Progress-inhibiting challenges in the organisational landscape and working conditions of SOGIE groups are identified, followed by a summary of important achievements reached from the community to international levels.

The sourcing of technical support from major international organisations and the obstacles these traditional funding schemes present is briefly discussed in the final sections. The report concludes with an extensive list of recommendations for SOGIE activists and organisations and their allied funding and technical support partners to inform future priorities, strategies and administration.

[Quote]

'It is time for us to do the grassroots work, to build the hearts and minds – if we empower community members, they can speak.... As we become more visible to the people we love, it’s harder to hate us. It will be harder to listen when public officials come out and speak rubbish, because you know the one you have in your house is not like that.' - Otibho, Activist with WHER, Nigeria

Most Popular Resources

Beginner's Guide

No such thing as neutral: Understanding the implications of COVID-19 for communities with diverse SOGIE in the Global North

This Think Piece is by Kirsty McKellar, one of Edge Effect’s 2020 interns. Kirsty has recently completed her masters of Development Studies...

We deserve human rights: Interview with Emma Yaaka

Emma Yaaka (he/him) is an LGBTIQ+ advocate who has worked to provide medical services and information to LGBTIQ+ refugees in Kenya and...

In the context of an increasingly hostile environment against people of diverse SOGIE in West Africa, this report provides insight into the growing grassroots SOGIE movement and the varied administrative, socio-cultural and funding hurdles faced by activists and organisations in the region. At total of 50 organisations and 180 activists from 9 countries participated in the research process. Political landscapes range from overt criminalisation of SOGIE to social invisibility and discrimination.

It begins by presenting a broad overview of organisational needs and the participatory research conducted for these findings. The report then explores the legal and historical context of queer identity and organising in West Africa, including key elements of organisational culture; the marginalisation of lesbian, bisexual, and trans* centred activism is principally noted.

The next section maps issues facing people with diverse SOGIE in the diverse West African region, with an evaluation of strategies and responses to these issues and the critical gaps that need filling. These predominately relate to gender inclusivity and awareness of trans* and women-specific issues. Progress-inhibiting challenges in the organisational landscape and working conditions of SOGIE groups are identified, followed by a summary of important achievements reached from the community to international levels.

The sourcing of technical support from major international organisations and the obstacles these traditional funding schemes present is briefly discussed in the final sections. The report concludes with an extensive list of recommendations for SOGIE activists and organisations and their allied funding and technical support partners to inform future priorities, strategies and administration.