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The Impact Of The Activities Of Queercity Media & Productions On The LGBTQI+ Community In Nigeria

Queercity Media

The urge to express one’s innermost identity is an impulse rooted in any living species. And since humans – being more intelligent than most, have the ability and are more prone to conceal aspects of their lives that may not conform to the standards set by the majority in society, this impulse eventually evolves into a severe compulsion as the real self is always striving to break through the skin.

As a result of the constant struggle to suppress these aspects of ourselves and keep the make-shift personas afloat, a lot of people go through life feeling insufficient and inadequate, constrained even. Which could adversely affect a person’s well-being and overall livelihood.

It is from this struggle between an individual’s innate compulsion to reveal their complete self and their determination to suppress these aspects of their personality that an identity crisis is born.

In today’s society, this sad tale is very common with members of the LGBTQI+ community, whose massively unconventional way of life has been deemed abnormal by the rest of the world, forcing a majority to hide these “strange” aspects of their identity for most of their lives.

More so than in other areas of the world, these worldly views on life have been met with stiff opposition in Africa, where the culture is thicker and the people more rigid. As such, the community’s growth in these areas has been hindered more so than anywhere else.

However, thanks to the efforts of different pillars in the community, queer persons in these areas are finding the will and motivation to take pride in the aspects of their personalities they once concealed, thereby embracing their full identities and becoming whole.

One such pillar of the community is Nigeria’s own Olaide Kayode Timileyin. Timi, as he is popularly called, has played, and is still playing, a huge role in furthering the LGBTQI+ movement in Nigeria.

Timi has ventured into many career paths and describes himself as “a person of multiple endeavors.” Despite being in his youth, Timi has traversed multiple fields of discipline and accrued knowledge as a trained scientist, teacher, podcast producer, curator, activist, and archivist.

Burdened by the neglect of the community in his country—of which he is a part, Timi decided to take matters into his own hands, putting in the effort to bolster his community, thereby challenging the unprogressive ideologies prevalent in his part of the world.

One of the instruments that have been most useful to Timi in furthering his cause is his very own media organization, Queercity Media & Productions.

Olaide Kayode Timileyin, founder of Queercity Media & Productions
Olaide Kayode Timileyin, founder of Queercity Media & Productions

Queercity Media & Productions is West Africa’s foremost LGBTQI+ media and arts organization. Founded by Timi, a Nigerian culture producer and creative executive, the organization has been very forward in advocating for the community’s freedom of expression.

Amongst other things, Timi works as the CEO of Queercity Media in Lagos and, via the organization, has succeeded in revitalizing the community as he puts in a lot of effort to attract attention and keep the buzz about.

Queercity Media

“I work as the Festival Manager, artistic researcher, and CEO of Queercity Media in Lagos, leading the organization and its sub-collectives like Pride in Lagos, the Haus II Gallery (Nigeria’s LGBTQI+ Museum of Queer Arts) – where my works are majorly on the reclamation of LGBTQ+ narratives and the decolonization of Africa, through collecting archival materials and working with indigenous West African artistic scene, researchers, cultural organizations, and curating festivals, experiences, performances, and exhibitions” – Olaide Kayode Timileyin.

The efforts made by Queercity Media & Productions in furthering the cause of the LGBTQI+ community have been nothing short of magnanimous, and the tremendous results are only a testament to this.

In June of 2022, Timi, through the organization, organized the Pride in Lagos festival, a one-week-long event to reclaim indigenous Queer representation and further societal acceptance for sexual minorities and gender-diverse persons in West Africa. This served as a huge milestone for the community. Individuals from different areas of life who had gotten used to hiding their identities finally had the courage to step out and be their true selves.

When asked about how he had directly contributed to the growth of the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria, Timi couldn’t conceal his sense of pride.

“…this is me trying to count how many times we’ve made history, which is funny because all our works and projects are not only unique but phenomenal. From Queercity Media, which has risen to be West Africa’s biggest LGBTQI+ media space, to Pride in Lagos which is now an international household, to The Third Café, our new coffee space., etc. In the past five years of running Queercity Media! The works I have done haven’t just created visibility for LGBTQI+ persons in Nigeria, but have continuously brought international solidarity on the very human experience of the Nigeria Queer persons.” – Olaide Kayode Timileyin.

Besides helping to attract attention, and creating buzz and visibility for his community, Timi, through Queercity Media, has also been aiding members of the community by creating employment opportunities for those in need.

Olaide Kayode Timileyin
Olaide Kayode Timileyin

Timi is not indifferent to the difficulties of leading a progressive lifestyle in a leisurely developing environment. He has opened up to being on the receiving end of backlash for his persistence in overturning tradition.

“I have had to change addresses multiple times, I have been denied housing even after paying for it, and I have faced continuous violence from the Nigerian police, which has had a huge impact on my mental health and how I navigate public spaces” – Olaide Kayode Timileyin.

Queercity Media

Besides the challenges faced as an individual, Timi has encountered some hindrances while running Queercity Media.

“I will say that the challenges I face are both internal politics within the movement and externally, the laws of Nigeria have really reduced our capacities, we can’t get registered, talk more of working to our maximum potential” – Olaide Kayode Timileyin.

But despite the drawbacks, the hindrances, the opposition faced while doing what began as a passion project, Timi’s colossal successes cannot be overlooked. Thanks to the traction gained from his efforts to create visibility for the LGBTQI+ space, Timi has had the privilege of working with international media institutes, academic institutes, and experts on reporting LGBTQI+ narrative in West Africa, thereby bringing international solidarity to the plight of the Nigeria Queer persons.


TROORA MAGAZINE | JUNE 2023
WRITTEN BY JESSE ADUMA
PHOTOGRAPHED BY OLAIDE KAYODE TIMILEYIN

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