Welcome to the latest round-up of the interesting and important stories we’ve been checking out over the past week. This one kicks off with the latest editorial article from ColorsxStudios in Germany. The piece features members of Nigeria’s LGBTQIA+ community reflecting on a range of issues – such as the impact of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act 2013 (SSMPA) and the harms that trans Nigerians face from their country’s police unit and wider society – but also discussing the joy and hope that can be found in queer communities.
And if you’re feeling in need of some joy in this bittersweet summer heat, do check out the COLORSXSTUDIOS YouTube channel, where a variety of artists each showcase their vocals against a striking and yet undistracting backdrop of a single bright colour. (I’ve popped a gorgeous performance from Cleo Sol at the bottom of this post.)
The usual caveats apply to this round-up: the articles haven’t been endorsed by the whole team and, while we do our best to add appropriate content notes, some links may contain further upsetting details about oppression and injustice, so please click with caution.
On the subject of comments, we unfortunately haven’t been able to take on any new subscribers due to a technical issue. (Big thanks to my friend Asim for recently highlighting this!) So, if you’re already registered as a subscriber and notice we’ve missed out any important articles/issues from the past week (or simply want to share your thoughts) you can get in touch with us via the comment form at the bottom of this page. But, if you aren’t, you have the option to swing by our Twitter account or Facebook page instead!
“Love conquers all”: The prohibition of love through the eyes of Nigeria’s queer community (Tami Makinde, Colors X Editorial)
[CN: homophobia, transphobia, violent threat] From the article: “Despite the continued violence many LGBTQ Nigerians face, many are finding ways to be intimate and commune with their loved ones away from the prying eyes of authorities. For non-binary content creator Nifemi*, they do this by spending quality time with queer friends. ‘I refer to [my friends] as my queer siblings because they are my chosen family. We all draw strength from each other and are always there for each other. It’s so amazing to share queer joy,’ they share.
“This spirit of intimacy and community is fostered all across the country’s LGBTQ+ community. Derin* and her friends regularly host queer get-togethers and parties that pull together people from widely different backgrounds. She shares that her inner circle consists of ‘people from everywhere, irrespective of where you come from: Christians, Muslims…'”
“This is why it’s important to realise that non-binary doesn’t ‘have a look’. If you think we do, that is largely down to pop culture only highlighting one small example of non-binary to better package it to the masses. The same is seen with sexualities – lesbians are butch, gay men are effeminate, and bisexuals are promiscuous. Yes, sex and gender are two separate entities, but when it comes down to how they’re limited through representation, they’re inseparable.”
“I was like her in my embrace of non-traditional gender roles. But unlike her I existed somewhere else. It wasn’t just that I didn’t feel ‘girly’, or was taller, and larger and less feminine. It was more than that: the label ‘woman’ just didn’t fit me.”
“The joy I felt didn’t stem from contentment or a delusion that the work here is done. It was a bittersweet celebration, but one rooted in a deep-seated awareness of our strength as a community, and pure exhilaration at the numbers that are willing to be visible and show up for one another. Because the fight isn’t over.”
[Check out our round-up from 4 July for more about the GLF and Pride!]
Sex Workers Fleeing War in Ukraine Face a Harsh New Reality (Ruby Lott-Lavigna, Vice)
[CN: war, oppression] From the article: “It’s not just Ukrainian sex workers travelling across borders who have been affected by the war. Taking advantage of the invasion, Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice party has used trafficking fears to introduce legislation that has further clamped down on sex work. The government, known for its conservative policies including banning abortion, has used the war to increase fines against trafficking, as well as fines for people managing sex work venues, conflating the two issues.”
Reni Eddo-Lodge on anti-racism: ‘The backlash amazes me’ (The Guardian) [via Lissy]
[CN: racist violence] From the article: “I used to believe that making the case for a just society would be met with enthusiasm, not vitriol. But anywhere the cause of anti-racism has convinced enough of the general populace, a cruel defence of the status quo has quickly followed. What exactly needs to be preserved evades me. I am still unsure of what might be lost if some Black authors are added to a curriculum, or if a city adds some of the uglier parts of its history to a plaque celebrating the pretty bits.”
How misogynoir in the music industry has created a dangerous environment for Black women (Kelechi Okafor, Mixmag)
[CN: racism, misogyny, abuse] From the article: “The truth is that the UK music industry its woefully behind regarding the #MeToo movement because most women in the industry feel that their position and success are in precarious situations as it stands. We know that a wall of silence, shaming and gaslighting is adopted by men, and in some cases enabled by other women, when women speak out about the ways in which they’ve been violated. The culture of predatory behaviour exists on a spectrum: from the way that some Black men support and encourage white artists and DJs to disrespect Black women online and in person, to the way that dark-skinned female artists are spoken about in comparison to their lighter skinned counterparts. These Black women are in danger regardless of the shade of their skin, however the oppressive dynamic shifts slightly when cloaked in the desirability for lighter skinned women.”
Jasveer Singh: Rishi Sunak Becoming UK PM Would Be A Dangerous Outcome For Sikhs (Baaz) [via Lissy] From the article: “Whilst Sunak himself has not been directly behind any of the UK targeting of Sikh activism, that is likely because his role as Chancellor of the Exchequer did not require him to be so. For anyone wondering where his loyalties may lie in such situations, Sunak was vocally supportive of the UK’s most Anti-Sikh politician, Priti Patel, when she was being exposed for “bullying” her office workers. He called Patel “kind” and said the two have worked together “closely”. Patel is an open supporter of the Hindu extremist outfit RSS and has not yet explained her anti-Sikh comments and actions in recent times.”
The problem with TikTok’s ‘clean girl’ aesthetic (Tiana Randall, i-D)
[CN: colorism, classism, misogyny] From the article: “The concealment of labor and exertion eternalizes that the no-makeup makeup looks we’ve been doing is a method to disguise looks of stress related to poverty, illness, or the failure to suppress the body’s natural secretion.”
A Letter of Support (Emmanuel, NeuroClastic)
[CN: general references to anxiety and depression, burnout, trauma] From the article: “I must admit how this world operates at its core: its lack of humanity, its elitist-driven power structure, and its need for violence are disgustingly toxic. They don’t care about what their toxicity does to humanity and the environment as a whole.
“So if you are reading this, take care of yourself out there. Do good. Say what you need to say. Be kind. I’m rooting for you as much as I root for myself. If you can’t do much, then do what you can.”
The embedded YouTube video shows Cleo Sol, a British singer-songwriter of Serbian-Spanish and Jamaican heritage, singing her song ‘Why Don’t You’ into a dropdown microphone in a bare peach coloured room with a white floor. Her shiny black hair is pulled into a bun and she wears a long-sleeved orange cropped top and white jeans. Subtitles/closed captions available via YouTube.
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