Editorial

The Rustin Times Celebrates One Year of Telling LGBTIQ Stories

My heart is full.

I remember the day vividly. I was on my way to Kenya for an important training for LGBTIQ activists from Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. It had been a few months since my Media Justice Fellowship by the Bisi Alimi Foundation and it felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I had been blessed with a platform and it felt like I wasn’t using it. Mainstream media was not doing a good job of telling our stories and I felt responsible.

It was on that flight to Nairobi I made the decision to start this platform. I had tried the previous year to blog about my experiences as a gay man living in Lagos but I couldn’t keep up after a few weeks. The failure of the previous blog made me doubt the journey I was about to embark on. What if it sucks? What if no one likes it?

We did it.

One year has come and we are still here; reporting on issues affecting our community and giving a voice to queer people who have been silenced by society. We are also not just focusing on gay men but on lesbians, intersex people and our trans brothers and sisters. We are telling our stories and controlling the narrative; the way it is meant to be.

In a year we have had 25,000 unique page views with 14,000 active users from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and the United States. Stories like our coverage of the Owode arrest in 2017 to Peter Okeugo’s article for Women’s Day and not forgetting Nyar Afrika’s op-ed on lesbian rape are still getting traction till today. Also, Peter Okeugo’s feature story on the issues facing transgender refugees in Kenya also received huge traction online.

We also collaborated with The Initiative of Equal Rights on their symposium, Human Rights, Sexuality and the Law. We were media partners for the Religion and Sexuality Symposium by Access to Health Rights Development Initiative and with the Bisi Alimi on his Conversation series at the German Consul Office in Nigeria.

As we step into this new year, we have a lot of plans. We want to also create a safe space offline for members of our community to interact and discuss ways to move our conversation to mainstream spaces. We also understand the performing arts is powerful and we want to give a platform to performing artists in our community while creating tools to use the arts to push for change in our society. We hope to create short films and documentaries that we can use to humanise our struggle and as tools for advocacy.

We need your support as we cannot do this alone. We are constantly looking for individuals willing to collaborate with us on all levels and we are ready to have the discussion. Send us a message through our contact form and we will respond as soon as possible.

Thank you again for showing us so much love. Here is to many more years.

Love,

Boye.

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