What the West Doesn’t Get About Coming Out in Africa

2015 Global Thinkers Robin Hammond and Adejoke Tugbiyele discuss how art can be used to upend the continent's tradition of LGBT persecution.


In this week’s Global Thinkers podcast, artist Adejoke Tugbiyele and photographer Robin Hammond share their experiences in documenting the stories of oppressed LGBT communities.

About the participants: 

Robin Hammond is a 2015 Global Thinker and a photographer who launched “Where Love Is Illegal” — a campaign that shares personal stories of persecution in countries where LGBT rights are suppressed. Hammond has traveled to Cameroon, Russia, and other countries shooting portraits, which are published on his website and Instagram account; he also has hosted exhibitions in the United States and Europe. In addition to sharing the portraits and accounts of oppressed communities, the campaign is raising funds to support grassroots LGBT groups. Follow him on Twitter: @RobinNHammond.

Adejoke Tugbiyele is a 2015 Global Thinker and a Nigerian-American artist who was living in Lagos last year when the Nigerian government passed a draconian anti-gay law under which one’s sexual identity could lead to 14 years in prison. In the wave of homophobia that swept the country after the law passed, Mubarak Ibrahim was publicly flogged; he was the first man convicted of sodomy. Tugbiyele, who is also gay, felt a responsibility to capture Ibrahim’s pain: The result is her sculpture A Queer African Spirit, which was shown as part of an exhibit in Florence. She says the piece, with its golden skull haloed by a leather whip and a horsehair tail, “evokes the death of one’s soul.” Follow her on Twitter: @Ade_Tugbiyele.

Jake Scobey-Thal is the editorial manager for print at FP. Follow him on Twitter: @JakeScobey.

This podcast was recorded at FP’s annual Global Thinkers celebration in Washington, D.C.

Subscribe to the Global Thinkers podcast and other FP podcasts on iTunes here.

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