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Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria
Issue #123 How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria

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FemmeHive Members of the FemmeHive community

How The FemmeHive Project Is Providing Hope For The Trans Community In Nigeria

In a recent viral video posted on X, a Transgender individual is beaten and repeatedly struck with thick planks in a brutal act of transphobia on the streets of Lagos. This harrowing incident shed light on the harsh realities faced by the LGBTIQA+ community in Nigeria.  

Nigeria’s hostile homophobic climate and rigid binary-driven perceptions of sexuality exacerbate the challenges for Transgender people. The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2014, which criminalises same-sex relationships, enables homophobia to flourish as biased individuals weaponize the law against queer people. Nevertheless, this environment didn’t stop Adunni Tiwatope, programs director at Trans support hub FemmeHive, arriving on the scene of the beating to help get the victim to a safe place. 

Like a rose growing out of concrete, FemmeHive began unofficially in 2021 following the #EndSARS wave of protests against police brutality in 2020. It was an important movement for the LGBTIQA+ community, as they too have long suffered abuse at the hands of police. “That was when Trans people were able to find a place to identify [one another] in Nigeria. The [FemmeHive] project leveraged that visibility to create platforms that supported us,” says Tiwatope. 

This safe and inclusive space for the Trans/femme and non-binary community was built on three foundations; community, empowerment and support. For Trans and femme folx living in Nigeria, these core pillars couldn’t be more important.  

A 2022 survey by the Nigeria-based Initiative For Equal Rights assessing public attitudes towards LGBTIQA+ individuals showed that out of 2,813 participants, 59% indicated reluctance to accept family members, neighbours, acquaintances or friends identifying as LGBTIQA+. Conversely, only 35% of respondents expressed readiness to accept them. These stark figures reinforce the urgent need for safe spaces in Nigeria.  

Tiwatope explains that from its inception, FemmeHive’s primary focus has been supporting and enhancing the lives of transgender individuals. In 2021, the hub turned to crowdfunding to achieve its objectives of providing hormonal therapy, expanding the community and providing housing. “During this period, we have been able to use a community-based approach to proffer support that improves lives for Trans women,” she says. “Additionally, we facilitated access to therapy, including hormonal replacement therapy and mental health awareness sessions.” 

Leading up to 2023, as the funding and support began to stutter, it became clear that the initiative needed a formal structure to maintain support. “To scale up,” she says, “we had to organise the system.” As part of that organisation, they conducted a study in 2022 covering all 36 states in Nigeria to understand the struggles of Trans people. The survey revealed that within the first six months of transitioning, 80% face targeted social violence, 65% are denied employment due to being perceived as trans and 80% face homelessness, exposing them to higher risks of abuse, mental health issues and unsafe sexual practices. 

Armed with this information, FemmeHive and the Quick Home Residency Programme officially launched in 2023 in partnership with the Nigerian community-based media organization QueerCity Media. The residency accommodates Trans women for three to six months during their transition in a safe house, providing food, clothing, and support for their business ideas to promote self-sufficiency upon reintegration into society. 

An anonymous resident at FemmeHive told me: “I don’t know where I’d be without it. My mum discovered my sexuality and disowned me,” she said. “Adunni, whom I knew previously, introduced me to the programme. When she learned of my situation, FemmeHive provided the support I needed.” Another resident who started a successful hair and wigs business with the help of FemmeHive, added: “When I didn’t have a home, FemmeHive welcomed me into their safe space and provided me with everything I needed.” 

Beyond the struggles to maintain adequate funding for the programme, Tiwatope reveals that she – and the centre itself – have also been the target of transphobic attacks. “I’m on the run,” she says. “For three months, due to a transphobic incident at the FemmeHive community centre, we’ve been fleeing for our lives.” Today, the community centre remains closed for security reasons, leaving only a safehouse and Tiwatope’s home as shelters for those in need. 

In spite of the setbacks, Tiwatope says she is “determined to keep moving”, adding: “The centre is on hold for now [but] the safe house is occupied. We are still much invested in community mobilisation and organisation which helps us to continue our work. There is no time to stop.” 
To donate towards FemmeHive’s projects, you can email [email protected] 

Tiléwa Kazeem is a freelance journalist who covers culture, relationships, tech and identity

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