I believe there is power in conversation, sharing thoughts in their hardest, and most honest forms help to shape, change, and inspire. For the Nigerian LGBT community there is the utmost need for conversations between and within us. Introspection is crucial to changing the flawed narrative we have been constantly written into. This is why @NaijaLGBTpride placed focus on fostering conversations imperative in one way or another to our existence, and it is exciting to have been able to find good results from them. Enjoy our first conversation, the talk was forum style, giving everyone the chance to contribute, and tender their questions as well.
Read. Ponder. And let it inspire in you a progressive change, in whatever form._
Nele Anju, Curator.
Pink Panther on the Possibility of Unity/Solidarity among LGBT persons in Nigeria.
Question: So first off, knowing you’re the brain behind Kito diaries, please share with us if creating a virtual space for the community was part of the inspiration.
Pink Panther: It was the only inspiration. It was post-antigay law in 2014,and all everyone was talking about was how evil gay people are and how we deserved what we’d gotten. It was frustrating being stuck in a situation where we couldn’t get our own narrative out, and so when the seed was sowed for a blog that gives us a voice to be created, once I was able to get a handle on my initial fear, it was determination through and through.
And that was how Kito Diaries came to be.
Question: That took guts to do! Was there any other blog, space, website… that might have inspired the kitodiaries concept?
Pink Panther: No there wasn’t. There was no guide, no compass, no rule book.
Just me and a couple of friends who were in the process of overcoming our fears, and hoping others would overcome their fears along with us.
Question: How has it been so far running an LGBT platform in Nigeria? What challenges have you faced? Have there been attacks on your person by homophobes?
Pink Panther: It’s the online vitriol when I started emerging with my real identity as the face behind the blog.
But whatever challenge I face, I take the time to remember that for every homophobe threatening me, there’s an LGBT person who’s deeply appreciative of Kito Diaries.
Question: Amazing. So what are your thoughts on a well structured community for the Nigerian LGBT persons, what good do you think can come out of every LGBT persons coming together under one umbrella?
Pink Panther: I think “well structured” and “one umbrella” are two different things. I believe in a well structured community, even though we don’t have that. Because with structure comes a plan, a more focused vision to take down the system that oppresses us.
Question: Can you please shed more light on the difference between “one umbrella” and “well structured”, also how do you figure we can seriously achieve that?
Pink Panther: One umbrella makes it seem compulsory that we must all be in this fight for equality. And that’s just not achievable. Structure in the other hand makes us understand that with whatever numbers we have, as long as we are committed, there’s much we can achieve. One umbrella” is this utopian idea about our community that isn’t realistic and doesn’t take into recognition the fact that not all of us are committed to the idea of LGBT equality.
Thought: Hey, I think the idea of one umbrella is a safe space where a varied opinion of LGBT ideology can be shared and discussed, without any hetero interference. It doesn’t mean an umbrella of one opinion. We need to mentally create this reality of what we, as LGBT need Nigeria to give us.
Pink Panther: This is a very welcome perspective.
Question: This is eye opening, so how do you suppose we can attain that level of structure?
Pink Panther: I think we are already doing it. I think there are more and more voices stepping out to say it’s not OK for us to be so oppressed. But these voices need to be bigger. We need to have power. And we just don’t have it.
Question: Power in what forms?
Pink Panther: Power in the system. Power in our dedication. Power in what we are willing to sacrifice. Viola Davis once said: “If you’re dedicated to change, let it cost you something.” We don’t want our dedication to change to cost us much. And in that, we are powerless.
Thought/Question: But are you sure we are not being too simplistic in believing that everybody has the privilege to make sacrifices?Even Viola’s statement states that change will cost you something not everything. What would you say to people who are terrified of losing everything?
Pink Panther: I am not saying everyone should do something that makes him or her threatened. I simply have this understanding of the Nigerian LGBT that we are more inclined to adapt than to challenge. It is the Nigerian spirit, to endure instead of appealing. We are finding ways to be comfortable with our pain, instead of provoking a change, that’s what I meant.
Thought/Question: Succinctly said. I would say that Kito Diaries is definitely one way you’re provoking change and awareness and building a community and for that I say thank you. Are there any other ways you think we can push for change? In ways that will challenge societal bias?
Pink Panther: The courts. I will admit that I know nothing about the legal aspect of tackling our oppression, but even then, I wonder if it’s a process we have ever even endeavoured.
Thought: Probably research on how it was done in the U.S or other places can be carried out…starting from the inception of legal petition for gay rights.
Question: This in other words is a call for personal assessment in our efforts to changing the Nigerian LGBT narrative right?
Pink Panther: Yes.
Last words: Thank you. And I will like to believe that the Nigerian LGBT+ community thanks you for all the effort and time you put in disseminating information. Thank you for coming around.
Pink Panther: It was my pleasure.
Pink Panther Is the founder of KitoDiaries.com, a consistent virtual hub for the Nigerian LGBT, helping to educate, reinform, keep the community informed, and serve overall as a nurturing ground for the community, through stories, reportage, and other sublime mediums.