LGBTQ + African Diaspora

In class we have been discussing the global LGBTQ+ community and the hardships of being queer at home or abroad. In today’s class it was mentioned that Africa is sometimes overlooked when discussing foreign LGBTQ+ issues. Mikael Owunna is an American Nigerian photographer who uses his work to highlight the experiences of LGBTQ+ Africans across the diaspora. In a profile piece written by Leah Donnella, Mikael talks about the measures his parents took to “fix” his gay-ness. His parents believed that his American upbringing and proximity to American culture had somehow made him gay and attempted to remedy this by sending him to Nigeria twice a year to stay with family. His parent’s desperation ultimately resulted in them trying to have the “demon” exorcised. Mikael’s continuous trauma resulted in the fracturing of his relationship with his family, Nigerian culture, and Africa in its entirety. Mikael used photography as a way to reconnect with his culture and tell the stories of other queer Africans in Western countries. His project “Limit(less)” involves a number of interviews and portraits of LGBTQ Africans abroad (across the US and Canada). “Limit(less)” explores the lives of both Africans born in the West and those displaced by violence/bigotry at home. Mikael wants to dispel beliefs that identifying as LGBTQ does not negate one’s “African-ness” and bring to light the deleterious impact of colonization on African culture and society. His work offers insight into something that is rarely discussed or talked about in wider social circles. If you are interested in his work you can check out his page here and the kickstarter for his project here.

 

 

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One thought on “LGBTQ + African Diaspora

  1. Wow, this was a great and extremely interesting subject you wrote about. I agree we should talk more about different cultures and how they relate to our culture, the LGBT culture, feminist cultures/beliefs, etc. Often it is hard to talk about such a broad topic because there are so many different cultures that can be prepared, but the African/Nigerian community is very intriguing. Not only of the African people I know, but I also notice many other foreign culture do not seem to embrace homosexuality. And while their culture is great, I believe it would be a benefit to everyone of that specific culture to be more accepting of all members. With Mikael Owunna specifically, it is very saddening to here his disconnect with his family and culture all do to the fact they would not just let him live as a gay male. It’s hard to understand why that one aspect of his life would cause his family to go to such high extremes to make him uncomfortable in his own identity.

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