The 13th of January is an unfortunate day in Nigeria’s history. It marks one of the nation’s greatest human rights failures. On that day in 2014, Nigeria gave homophobia full legal recognition in the form of a law that made any kind of same-sex sexual act a crime that could be punished with as much as 14 years in prison.
In the midst of the outrage against the law, a group of Nigerian writers and artists came together to clear out a space for artistic expression inspired by LGBT life. They named the group 14 in reclamation of the maximum jail term stipulated by the law. Afterwards, they launched an anthology project titled 14: An Anthology of Queer Art. A few months ago, a call was sent out asking artists and writers to submit work that engaged with LGBT life and communities in Nigeria.
The first volume of the anthology, which is slated to run annually, is out. It is titled We are Flowers and features introductory statements by Ikhide Ikheloa and Binyavanga Wainaina, in addition to a compelling collection of creative non-fiction, poetry, art work, photography, and more that tell the Nigerian LGBT story.
Kudos to Rapum Kambili, who led the editorial team behind the project. We celebrate their attempt to shine the light on an aspect of Nigerian life that all too easily left in the peripheries of African literary culture. The pieces in this collection make a delightful and illuminating read.
Begin reading for free right now by clicking on the link below.
We are Flowers by RAPUM KAMBILI
African Queers Have Agency by BINYAVANGA WAINAINA
Black Testosterone (or: What to do with Famous African Male Bodies) by NZEOGWU
Fizzled by ICE
The Girl Next Door by SALIMAH VALIANI
Let Love Anonymous by IRISY N’C
Writing on the Wall/Rolling in the Deep by KELECHI EZEIGWE
Ero-manga by AYAÒBÀTÁLA
How Can I Forget to be Nigerian Around You? by NNANNA IKPO
Kito/Ada-Obi/May the Rainbow be with You by OSINACHI
After the Law Was Passed by PINK PANTHER
You Think You are Fucked/Coming Out/How to Survive the Fire by ROMEO ORIOGUN
The Thing You Do For Love by DEJI PAYNE
Time to Marry. Or Not. by CHIKE FRANKIE EDOZIEN
Bodies: how to keep a distant relationship/ghosts /suicide note by CHIBỤÌHÉ OBI
Here I am/Not Yet Buried by OJO OGBOM
Broken Body: An Interview with Unoma Azuah by ABSALOM
Rebellion’s Rebirth by KARANJA NZISA
A Story to Live For by NNANNA IKPO
Gay Wars: Battle of the Bitches (or, The Tops and Bottoms of Being Out in Nigeria) by RAPUM KAMBILI
A Straight Boy’s Manifesto: Queer Folk are the New Africans by IFEDIMMA OSAKWE
Friends in a Ship by AMATESIRO DORE
Lost Pride by SEUN IDRIS
Placards by CHISOM OKAFOR
Istanbul Pride 2017 by JAY RECHSTEINER
Nigerian Lesbian Forum by POGAY
The Mannequins by NEEC