Nigeria, like many African countries, has a rocky history with LGBTQI+ persons and their rights. Same-sex partnerships are illegal in Nigeria as well as in many African countries, and discrimination and persecution of LGBTQI+ people are widespread. The lack of LGBTQI+ rights in Nigeria has made it difficult for young and growing LGBTQI+ people to publicly express their sexuality, leaving many feeling desolate and alone. However, the rise of queer literature in Nigeria is progressively shifting the narrative, providing LGBTQI+ people with a feeling of community, clarity and optimism.
Queer literature is defined as any literary work that contain LGBTQI+ characters, themes and/or topics. They are currenyly being used in Nigeria for activism, education, and visibility. Young and developing LGBTQI+ people can now find themselves portrayed in literary works and media which has led to positive outlooks towards themselves and the portrayal of their kinds. Queer literature also helps young and growing LGBTQI+ individuals better understand their identities and experiences. It is also a great instrument for introspection and self-discovery because it gives its consumers the vocabulary and ideas to express their emotions and experiences. Reading queer literature can also help young and evolving LGBTQI+ persons understand themselves and their in the world, which can be self transforming and powerful.
Furthermore, queer literature can serve as a means of connecting with other LGBTQI+ individuals, both within Nigeria and around the world. Many queer literary works focus on the experiences of LGBTQI+ individuals in different parts of the world, which can create a sense of solidarity and shared experience among LGBTQI+ individuals globally. Through these literature, young and growing LGBTQI+ persons can connect with a wider community of people who share similar experiences and challenges and helping them understand that they are not alone in their struggles and experiences.
Same-sex literature can be a powerful tool for education and advocacy. Through literature, readers can learn the history of LGBTQI+ rights movements in the Nigeria and other parts of the world, the challenges faced by LGBTQI+ individuals in different parts of the world, and the importance of LGBTQI+ visibility and representation. This knowledge can empower young and growing LGBTQI+ persons to advocate for their rights while challenging discrimination and stigma.
In the years past, LGBTQI+ persons in this clime have suffered a total lack of LGBTQI+ literature where all literary information was either foreign or the few available have been fingered for misrepresentation but the last few years have witnessed an intentional growth of native Queer materials accessible for all so that now, one can make domestic references to LGBTQI+ contents and materials which have now included visual media such as documentaries, movies and social media contents.
Before this recent influx of Queer literature, LGBTQI+ persons has felt a wave of misrepresentation or under-representation where the available literary works either bastardized their existence or only represented them as perverts and sex maniacs. It is a joyful time to be alive in Nigeria as persons of sexual minority groups have risen to the task of telling queer stories from their perspectives and lived experiences. This is not to say that there is a lot of literature to meet the required demand but for a nation emerging from an outright scarcity of Queer literature this might as well be our golden era.
It now rests on the community as a whole, both home and abroad to support, promote and patronize domestic Queer literature not just as an encouragement to the creators but as a way of expanding its publicity to all queer persons no matter the creeks they reside in and outside the country. If the demand becomes high writers, movie makers and content creators will be poised to produce more to match the demands.
As we mark the International Library Day today let us seize this opportunity to be more intentional about building Queer-focused library where Queer literary materials can be easily accessed by those who need them. This will not only ensure the popularity of these media and literary works but also provide safe space for people who need the imbedded information.
LGBTQI+ people are also encouraged to stay up to date on all information pertaining to their sexuality and identity since without correct knowledge, community members are more likely to be subjected to various forms of abuse and violations without knowing what they can do in such cases. Seek out organisations that have library spaces and make time to use these libraries for information. WHER Initiative, for instance, provides a large choice of books on various LGBTQI+ topics that can be accessed for free; we also provide a cosy and peaceful room in-house where you can study them.
To summarize, the advent of queer literature in Nigeria is an important milestone for the country’s young and expanding LGBTQI+ population. LGBTQI+ people can find representation, affirmation, and a feeling of community via literature. Literature may also be used for self-discovery, education, and campaigning, making it an important tool for LGBTQI+ people and allies alike. It is believed that as more queer literature is published in Nigeria and throughout the world; the representation and visibility of LGBTQI+ persons will rise, leading to greater acceptance and equality for all.