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June 4, 2024 12 mins

Today we celebrate the activism, writings and entrepreneurship of Bandy Kiki, especially in the LGBTQ+ community.

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey, this is Anny and Samantha and welcome to stephone
never told you a projection of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:18):
And welcome to the first feminist around the world for
Pride Month of twenty twenty four.

Speaker 3 (00:25):
Yay, Happy Pride Month, Annie, Thank you, aunt to you.
Did you celebrate on the first? Did you get a
rainbow cake?

Speaker 2 (00:34):

Speaker 1 (00:35):
Is that a thing I should be doing?

Speaker 3 (00:37):
I don't think you should be getting it yourself.

Speaker 2 (00:39):
I think I should have delivered one for you, as
the friendly ally friend.

Speaker 3 (00:43):
So I fell on that one. My bad though.

Speaker 1 (00:46):
I went home to visit my mom for a very
late Mother's Day this weekend, and I would probably come
back and talk about this, but I just hear so
much about her church through her, and there's a lot
of like pride stuff happening right now. Of course I'm
very intrigued.

Speaker 2 (01:06):
Well, first and foremost, congratulations on getting your car working.

Speaker 3 (01:09):
I guess I did.

Speaker 1 (01:11):
I did, And I've been parked in the same spot
for so long, listeners that right now. I just looked
out my window and there's just like debris where I'd
parked my car.

Speaker 3 (01:23):
All around it, like an outline, like under it.

Speaker 1 (01:25):
Because I've really been there for so long, and so
I'm hoping we're getting a thunder shower right now, and
I'm hoping it will wash. But yes, I got my
car started and I finally got to visit my congratulations.

Speaker 2 (01:40):
I'm sure will I will hear the tales of it
in a bit, but that's the only thing we're going
to say for this segment. I'm sure we'll talk about
it again a bit. But yes, this is at the
first Feminist around the world for the twenty twenty four
Pride Month. It is June fourth, twenty twenty four, and
just a peak behind the curtains, I got the wrong month.

I'm sure Christine is amazing and edited that, but you
don't have to edit this because I think it's funny because.

Speaker 3 (02:04):
I am way off.

Speaker 2 (02:06):
Anyway, We're going to do our first and we are
starting off this month celebrating the works of writer, entrepreneur
and activists a bandy Kiki, who likes to go by
Kiki as I just listened to one of her interviews,
so there you go. Kiki currently lives in the UK,
but is originally from Cameroon, And if you didn't know,
Cameroon currently criminalizes same sex relationships and activities and has

been on the Human Rights Watch as violence against the
LGBTQIA plus community and according to the Human Rights Watch quote,
Cameroon's law criminalizing the same sex conduct has created a
climate that allows both other Cameroonians and security forces to
abuse and assault LGBTI people without consequence, said Ilaria Elligrossi.

Speaker 3 (02:51):
Sorry if I mispronounced that. Try my best, who is a.

Speaker 2 (02:54):
Senior Central Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. Cameroon's law
prohibits consensual same sex relations, a crime punishable with up
to five years in prison.

Speaker 1 (03:04):
Kiki knew from a young age that she was attracted
to girls, but struggled to her upbringing and religious community. Eventually,
she immigrated to the UK, where she was able to
explore freely who she was and began to grow in
her activism. And though she may not live in Cameroon anymore,
she has only grown louder in advocacy for the queer

community within her home country.

Speaker 2 (03:28):
Here's a bit from her feature in teen Vogue.

Speaker 3 (03:30):

Speaker 2 (03:31):
Feeling unsafe in her community, she immigrated to the UK
and from there vocally advocated for queer rights at home
through entrepreneurship, advocating through Rainbow Migration, a platform helping LGBTQI
plus people to seek asylum and immigration, and taking the
role of a Living Free UK director. Kiki remains at
the forefront of reshaping and prioritizing the lives of vulnerable groups.

Speaker 1 (03:52):
But before she started leading and using her talents and
experience to advocate for others, Kiki went through a period
of figuring out how to love and advocate for herself.
Here's a bit from her story on where Love Isillegal
dot com quote Are you mad? Why did you kiss
me in front of her? What if she saw us?
I said, angrily, afraid and alarmed because I wanted to

and I don't think she even saw us. If she did,
she wouldn't say anything. She is my friend and I
will make sure she doesn't say anything, replied my then girlfriend,
assertively and utterly, unperturbed by my distress. This was the
conversation that took place in my university room in twenty
ten Yaound, Cameroon. Our relationship was a guarded secret and

we could only express our love behind closed doors because
of the anti LGBTQ laws and violence against LGBTQ people.
It wasn't my first relations with a girl, but definitely
was the first with someone so bold, notwithstanding the risk. Actually,
I recall ending the relationship on the grounds of not
wanting anyone to find out. So in sheer desperation to

be normal, I had convinced myself I wasn't a lesbian
and was just interested in girls because they had never
been with any guys.

Speaker 2 (05:05):
Right and in an interview with Manchester Eveningnews dot co
dot uk, they write, in two thousand and six, when
Kiki was fifteen years old, Cameroon was swept up in
an anti gay crusade where more than fifty prominent figures
were publicly called out for being homosexuals by the weekly
tabloid Anecdote. I didn't have the typical attractions to boys,

and while my friends went on and on about them,
I was busy trying to unpack my feelings, Kiki explained.
But this incident made me aware of the legal implications
of homosexuality in Cameroon. This, in addition to the Catholic
doctor and against homosexuality, sent me on a war against myself.
I tried to pray the feelings away, but eventually gave
in when prayers failed me.

Speaker 1 (05:45):
And when she moved to the UK to continue her story,
she began to be confronted with who she was, and
she learned to become unapologetic for it. From the same
Manchester Evening News article quote. In twenty eleven, Kiki to
Bolton to pursue a degree at the University of Bolton
after hearing about how good the British education system was.

It was during her studies that Kiki stepped foot on
the world famous cobbles of Manchester's Gay Village for the
first time. There was a real sense of excitement mixed
with guilt and fear when I first visited the Gay Village,
she says. I remember being particularly astonished after seeing a
lesbian couple next to me kissing. I came from a
country where even heterosexuals don't show that type of affection publicly.

A part of me kept waiting for the police to
show up and arrest everyone, even though I knew we
weren't committing a crime. Again, this was because I came
from a country where the laws say one thing and
people in the position of power do another. I found
it difficult to immediately celebrate my newfound freedom and sense
of belonging due to years of suppression and fear.

Speaker 2 (06:50):
And though she was confused and suppressing her own feelings,
she knew she was given an opportunity to fight against
the inequalities she saw happening in came Roon. In twenty fifteen,
Kiki started her own blog network where she was able
to post about her opinions and views, including queer issues.
Soon she was listed as one of the most influential
Cameronians under forty, but that also brought on haters who

tried to attack for her work.

Speaker 1 (07:24):
From the same biography on where Love Is Illegal, her
story continues now. Life in the UK was more. I
found new sexual freedom and release. I didn't have to
sneak around anymore, and homosexuality was in a crime after all.
With all these regardless, what was still lacking was my
sense of sexual acceptance. So I wasn't exactly vocal about
my sexuality within the black community, by and largely owing

to homophobia and the worry of such tales reaching my
Catholic family and community in Cameroon, which regarded homosexuality as
demonic or evil. I did my might. I struggled to
mask this part of me and cover all my tracks,
but that fateful day came when for the first time
my plans would fall apart. It was at a party.
I was drunk and tried to kiss a Nigerian girl

and yes, you guessed right. The story spread within the
African community that I was a lesbian. Despite the rumors
and proofs, I denied it. Come early twenty seventeen, when
the political unrest in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon was escalating,
my views as a blogger on the crises ultimately made
me a subject of public criticism and internet bullying. Eventually,

I was branded HIV positive. Right in the middle of
all of these, someone I had confided in would go
online to tell people that I am a lesbian. It
felt like a low blow, and this time I would
not only be in denial. I went further to employ
a standby boyfriend to discharge the facts. Mind you. Prior
to the online outing, a top Cameroonian producer, with the

host of other people who had found out about my sexuality,
started blackmailing me, wanting to control the content of my blog.
At the time, denying could have been easy like before,
but then I was living a lie. This is not me,
I thought, so I made up my mind to come clean. First,
it came out to my family. Their reaction wasn't good,
neither was it as bad as I had imagined. Next,

I put on a brave front, sucked in all nerves,
and would go on to do what had never been
done by any Cameroonian. On October fourteenth, twenty seventeen, I
announced on all my social media pages that I was
gay and unapologetic lesbian.

Speaker 2 (09:32):
Yeah, and today she is still working to advocate for
her community and country. In an article written by Reuters,
they talk about Kiki still working to highlight the injustice
happening to the Quick community. They write 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 wearing women's clothing at a
restaurant and we're charged this month with attempted homosexuality. And
just to note, this was a case that happened in
twenty twenty one, and they were speaking pretty loudly about
what was happening there as well.

Speaker 1 (10:12):
And the article continues about this case specifically, quote fifty
three people have been arrested in raids on HIV and
AIDS organizations since May twenty twenty, with some reporting having
been beaten and subjected to forced anal examinations to confirm
accusations of homosexuality. Humans Rights Watch said the arrest seemed
to be part of an overall uptick in police action

against sexual minorities. It added, Kiki says the crackdown on
Cameroon's LGBT community is just a symptom of a larger
problem throughout Cameroonian society. Homophobia is like a binding glue
when it comes to Cameronians, Kiki said, when it comes
to hating LGBTQ people, they all come together.

Speaker 2 (10:56):

Speaker 3 (10:56):
Sounds familiar, Yeah?

Speaker 1 (10:58):

Speaker 2 (11:00):
He has been very vocal in talking about the continued
persecution of the LGBDQIA plus community in Cameroon and refuses
to slow down. And in the twenty nineteen interview with
Living Free UK dorc Orgakiki speaks openly about the power
of using your voice and being visible, saying that visibility
is important and is empowering and is a powerful tool

to use for awareness and advocacy. Can She talks about
her own ability to do so because she has been
so attacked by the Cameroonian government that kind of opened
her up to being able to be visible more so
than ever before. Obviously she has celebrated with her writings
and her works and her continued amazing advocacy for her

community even still today.

Speaker 3 (11:43):
So there you go.

Speaker 1 (11:45):
Yeah, once again another amazing, amazing work done by someone
that I'm sure we'll check back in on. And as always, listeners,
if you have any thoughts about this or any suggestions
for this segments, please let us know. Happy Pride Mom,
Happy Pride. Yes. If you would like to contact us,

you can our email us Stephanie and mom Stuff at
iHeartMedia dot com. You can find us on Twitter at
mom Stuff podcast, or on Instagram and TikTok at stuff.
I never told you We're on YouTube. We have a
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our super producer Christina or executive produce for Maya and
your contributor Joey. Thank you and thanks to you for
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