Cameroonian LGBT activist champions imprisoned transgender women

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04/26/2021

Coming from Cameroon where letting it be known that she was a lesbian could lead to prison time, activist and social media influencer Bandy Kiki struggled to adjust to her newfound safety after emigrating to Britain a decade ago. Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Cameroon, punishable by up to five years in prison. “I kept thinking, ‘Aren’t the police going to show up and arrest everybody?'” she said about gatherings she would attend with members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Manchester. “My friends kept saying, ‘Kiki, it’s legal in this country, chill.’ But I said, ‘No, because sometimes the law will say one thing and the police will do something else’,” she told Reuters in an interview via Skype from Manchester. As LGBT rights have advanced in countries around the world, Kiki said she had watched with disappointment as her own government doubled down on homophobic policies. In recent weeks, she has been promoting a high-profile case from Cameroon in which two transgender women were arrested in February for wearing women’s clothing at a restaurant and were charged this month with “attempted homosexuality”. read more The two women, Loic Njeukam, a local social media celebrity known as Shakiro, and Roland Mouthe, who goes by the name Patricia, have spent more than two months in prison waiting for their trial to begin.

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