Pride month is celebrated annually in June by the LGBQTI community to honour the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in Manhattan in which the queer community engaged in violent demonstrations with the police. It is considered as one of the most monumental events leading up to the gay liberation movements.

Despite strides made by the global community to decriminalise their love and integrate into society, many continue to be met with violence. The most recent public hate crime is the assault of a lesbian couple by a gang of men on a train in London after they refused to kiss for the gang’s entertainment.

In Kenya, on 24th May 2019, the high court ruled against a petition to repeal section 162 and 165 of the Penal Code that criminalises sex between adults of the same sex. 

To commemorate this month, here are six queer stories and essays from African writers that you should consider reading.

1. Man at the Bridge, Kiprop Kimutai

This exhilarating read is about conservative family man embracing his sexuality after a clandestine encounter with an enigmatic man he meets at a bridge.

Read the story

2. Africa’s Future Has No Space For Stupid Black Men, Pwaangulongii Dauod

In this visceral piece from Pwaangulongii, you will find yourself, through Boy’s eyes, fully immersed in Nigeria’s underground but vibrant queer scene, laugh,cry and leave you sufficiently incensed at the collosal ignorance of humanity.

Read the story.

3. Stolen Pieces, Munachim Amah

Stolen Pieces explores loss and identity with searing honesty and beautiful delivery making it the most relatable piece on this list.

Read the story 

4. Transition, Akweake Emezi

An essay documenting, with incredible nuance, Akweake’s realization that she is an Ogbanje (spirit child), her struggle with body dysphoria and her attempt at a physical appearance that she is comfortable in.

Read the story.

5. Transfiguration, Troy Onyango

The transfiguration is Roda’s painful and complicated transition to womanhood. It was first published in Transition magazine and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Listen to the story

6. The Queer is Spilling Over, Mumbi M

In many ways to be queer is to exist in a state of deferral. Your humanity is an asterisk to be unfolded in an unspecified future

This essay by Mumbi M tackles queer joy, resistance and community in the midst of violence and erasure in Kenya.

Read it here.