Stories of Queer Activism in Sub-Saharan Africa

Last week, Taboom Media and GALA Queer Archive launched their new anthology, Hopes and Dreams That Sound Like Yours: Stories of Queer Activism in Sub-Saharan Africa, to mark this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Hopes and Dreams That Sound Like Yours: Stories of Queer Activism in Sub-Saharan Africa is an anthology of stories that describe how individual queer activists in Sub-Saharan Africa have come to be where they are today.

  • At their core, our hopes and dreams are universal and bring us together.
  • Within our queerness we are connected, and collectively we can find our place in history.
  • Despite having few places to meet in person, our queer community thrives online; where we document the struggles, joys and everyday expressions of our queerness.

The authors of the stories in Hopes and Dreams depict their queer African experiences as more nuanced and diverse than what we’re used to consuming in the media. Each story shows how something beautiful and inspiring has emerged from difficult backgrounds filled with loss, isolation and identity-based violence. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, whatever your background, you are invited to find yourself in these stories, and within queer history itself.

“Instead of allowing history to retroactively explain who we are, let us write and build our own nuanced history by telling our individual and collective stories,” said Karin Tan; Senior Information Officer, GALA Queer Archive.

The Process

In January 2021, Taboom Media assembled more than 30 activists from 18 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for a week-long media advocacy workshop. Due to COVID-19 the workshops took place online, and despite internet struggles and Zoom fatigue, more activists showed up than expected. Taboom then spent two months working with each writer to expand and refine their stories, exchanging edits back and forth. 

A beautiful queer archive of stories began to take shape, and together with GALA Queer Archive, Taboom commissioned queer and ally artists to produce original illustrations for each story. Now, it’s all been packaged together into an anthology of bravery and resilience.

The book reveals how positive change comes from both collective action and a collection of actions. The stories, though sometimes difficult to confront, all come with messages of hope.

“On the final day, we asked everyone to write down their ‘stories of change. Those initial responses laid the groundwork for something more,” said Brian Pellot; Anthology Editor and Project Manager, Founding Director at Taboom Media.

What will you do with this?

As we approach Pride Month (June), GALA and Taboom invite you to read and share these #HopesAndDreamsThatSoundLikeYours.

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