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Adichie and Emezi: ignore the noise, pay attention to the conversation

Adichie and Emezi: ignore the noise, pay attention to the conversation

THE recent media furore surrounding the “feud” between the celebrated Nigeria-born African diaspora writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Akwaeke Emezi conflates issues too easily. ARETHA PHIRI, Associate Professor, Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University The very public disagreement began when Adichie presented her views on transgender women – or transwomen – in an interview in 2017. Rather than affirm their status as women, Adichie stated that “transwomen are transwomen”. Emezi, once mentored by Adichie, responded with hurt and anger amid accusations that Adichie is transphobic – prejudiced against transgender people. The latest public disagreement between them on the…
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Jailed transgender women released

Jailed transgender women released

TWO transgender women in Cameroon convicted in May of "attempted homosexuality" were ordered released from prison until a court hears their appeal, their lawyer said. Shakiro and Patricia were arrested on February 08 for wearing women's clothing in a restaurant. Shakiro is a celebrity in Cameroon with thousands of social media followers, drawing additional attention to the case. They received the maximum sentence of five years in prison and fines of 200,000 CFA francs for "attempted homosexuality," public indecency and failing to carry identification. Court documents refer to them by the names Loic Njeukam and Roland Mouthe. Human rights activists…
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OPINION: LGBT+ refugees should be resettled with their chosen families

OPINION: LGBT+ refugees should be resettled with their chosen families

SAMUEL RITHOLTZ and REBECCA BUXTON IN the autumn of 2018, a ‘rainbow caravan’ of LGBT+ migrants from central America reached the Mexico-U.S. border, where they applied for asylum. In this group were 30 transgender women who requested asylum together at the border in Tijuana. Though a group, they were treated as individuals: some won their asylum cases, others lost.  Such separation is common within the U.S. asylum system, and globally because refugee status is normally decided on an individual basis. Exceptions are made to this rule for families and married couples, where refugee status decisions and resettlement are possible on a group basis. But these…
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Cameroonian LGBT activist champions imprisoned transgender women

Cameroonian LGBT activist champions imprisoned transgender women

CHRISTOPHE VAN DER PERRE and JOSIANE KOUAGHEU COMING from Cameroon where letting it be known that she was a lesbian could lead to prison time, activist and social media influencer Bandy Kiki struggled to adjust to her newfound safety after emigrating to Britain a decade ago. Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Cameroon, punishable by up to five years in prison. "I kept thinking, 'Aren't the police going to show up and arrest everybody?'" she said about gatherings she would attend with members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Manchester. "My friends kept saying, 'Kiki, it's…
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Two women jailed for ‘attempted homosexuality’

Two women jailed for ‘attempted homosexuality’

A court in Cameroon sentenced two transgender women yesterday to five years in prison for "attempted homosexuality" and other offences after they were arrested for the clothes they wore in a restaurant, their lawyers said. A local social media celebrity known as Shakiro, who also is identified as Loic Njeukam, and Patricia, also identified as Roland Mouthe, were arrested on February 8. Human rights activists say their detention is part of the growing criminalization of sexual minorities and transgender people in Cameroon. The two received the maximum sentence of five years in prison and fines of 200,000 CFA francs ($372.44),…
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Jail time for transgender women in Cameroon extended after trial delay

Jail time for transgender women in Cameroon extended after trial delay

TWO transgender women facing charges of "attempted homosexuality" in a high profile case in Cameroon will spend more than two months behind bars without trial after a judge postponed their hearing again yesterday. Shakiro, a local media celebrity and cosmetician with 100,000 followers on Facebook, was arrested along with Patricia on February 8 for wearing women's clothes while eating in a restaurant. They have been in New Bell Prison in the country's largest city Douala since February 10. They also face charges of public indecency and not carrying identification. They have pleaded not guilty. Shakiro's legal name is Loic Njeukam,…
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