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Nigeria is a cold-blooded country for gay men — I have the scars to prove it – CNN

Nigeria is a cold-blooded country for gay men — I have the scars to prove it – CNN

Richard Akuson is a Nigerian lawyer and founder of A Nasty Boy magazine which seeks to challenge conventional norms about gender and masculinity. Akuson is now based in New York.
The views expressed here are solely his.
(CNN) In 2017, I started A Nasty Boy magazine to validate and affirm the lives and experiences of gay men in Nigeria. I hoped that it could contribute, in some way, to broader tolerance for the LGBTQ+ community across the country.
I wanted to start meaningful conversations around gender norms and masculinity that speak specifically to our realities as gay men within a culture that is poisonously patriarchal and deeply homophobic. Against a backdrop of deadly anti-gay violence, A Nasty Boy dared to be a haven for gay men in Nigeria and, in no time, received international attention through CNN, BBC, The Guardian, The Economist, Vogue, and others. Richard Akuson, a Nigerian-trained barrister and an LGBTQ+ and Refugee Rights activist. But neither the acclaim nor my considerable privilege, as an attorney and son of a politician, could protect me from the four men who brutally ambushed me in my hometown, Akwanga, Nassarawa State, in central Nigeria late last year. They accused me of being gay and “spreading a gay agenda,” as they pummeled me; each punch was an assault on who I was. They took my phone, forced me to unlock it, and found further proof of my homosexuality. They poked my anus with sticks in mock penetration. Read More The crippling, gut-wrenching pain that followed every punch and every poke felt like my skin was being nailed to a wall. They took pictures of me to memorialize their triumph in my moment of humiliation. And yet, even this gruesome attack pales in comparison to the fatal brutality many Nigerian gay men have too often experienced in the form of lynchings or pillory with tires before they’re set on fire and burnt alive—not for terrorism or worse, but for being gay, for being human, in a desperately homophobic country. Nigerian police officer tells gays: Leave country or face prosecution In Nigeria, gay men are portrayed as cancers eating deeply into the fabric of society—tumors that must be obliterated. The federal Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2014 says anyone found guilty of homosexuality faces up to 14 years in prison. Shari’a law, which is practiced in 12 northern states in the country imposes a penalty of death by stoning. Through these draconian laws, arbitrary arrests and extortion by the police, the Nigerian government sanctions violence against its LGBTQ+ citizens. A 2013 PewGlobal research suggests 98% of Nigerians believe homosexuality should not be accepted by society. A 2017 survey by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS) , a Nigerian-based human rights organization, showed 90% of Nigerians support the continued enforcement of Nigeria’s anti-gay laws. Homophobia is the tie that binds a divided country; the one thing a nation of chronic ethnic loyalties, of religious tension, of failed government, can agree upon. Growing up in Nigeria, I witnessed first-hand a deeply ingrained culture of insidious hyper-masculinity and virulent homophobia. From Harare to Lagos: Africa’s gender fluid designs are defying norms As a child, I was characterized as a “boy-girl” even before I knew the tingling, complex beauty of being gay. In my youth, I was broken every day by a father who tried to “toughen” me up through his words and deeds, and later by a society that reminded me of the many ways I fell short on the masculinity scale. In boarding school, I was bullied. In university, I became a social pariah and the poster child for “faggots” after being outed by my best friend on a campus that waged a ‘War on Homosexuality.’ I was outed to my parents anonymously a day after my attack. Like most Nigerians, my father latched onto the sure hands of hyper-masculinity when he said to me: “God forbid the day another man penetrates you.” “It’ll only be over my dead body, Richard.” He’s not spoken to me since then, save for the voice note he left me on Christmas day. Days after my attack, I gathered my life of 25 years into two suitcases and boarded a flight to New York. Like so many other asylum seekers before me, leaving my country was a matter of survival. How two female playwrights are risking their lives fight homophobia in Africa I left behind family and friends, a thriving social life, a successful fashion public relations firm I started in 2016 — that has now crumbled in my absence, and all of the many other comforts one takes for granted until they are gone. Recently, in a moment of reflection, a friend asked me: “what happens now that your country has broken and disowned you; what’s next, Richard?” I wish I found the strength of conviction then—as I have now—to say this to him: I’ll continue to fight. I’ll continue to champion the incredibly brave and tragic lives of many LGBTQ+ people who, unlike me, cannot up and leave in the twinkle of an eye. Their realities, like a halo, will forever hang around my head as a reminder of my good fortune; their soul-crushing persecution; and the dehumanizing ways LGBTQ+ persons are forced to negotiate for their lives and humanity, every day. Why ‘A Nasty Boy’ magazine is causing a stir in Nigeria For a very long time, A Nasty Boy was the right, moral thing for me to do for my community from a position of privilege and status and abundance. Many of the harsh realities that punctuate the lives of LGBTQ+ Nigerians were things I have never had to deal with personally. Today, however, I write this with urgency in my voice as a survivor of brutal homophobia. I write this knowing how suffocatingly fearful the days following a homophobic attack can be, and how the trauma defines a person’s life. I write this with the knowledge that for many LGBTQ+ people in Nigeria and around the world, every day is a matter of life and death. I repeat: every day is a matter of life and death!

Man City robbed by the uncertainties of VAR as Tottenham Hotspur win Champions League stunner – Stuart Brennan

Share Comments By Stuart Brennan 22:20, 17 APR 2019 Updated 12:02, 18 APR 2019 Sport opinion A beaten Vincent Kompany at full-time. (Image: PA) Get the biggest Manchester City FC stories by email Subscribe See our privacy notice More newsletters Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email The vagaries of VAR haunted a quite beautiful game of football and ended the Manchester City dream of the Quadruple.
The Blues won a stunning match 4-3 on the night and thought they had won it when Raheem Sterling netted – only for the TV cameras to show that Sergio Aguero was offside just before teeing him up.
But the fact that Spurs’ third goal had struck Fernando Llorente’s elbow before cannoning off his hip and into the goal will continue to cause controversy.
Next season the goal probably would not stand, as a new law will come into force stating that no goals can be scored with the arm.
Ref Cuneyt Cakir took an age to review the situation, looking primarily at the angle from which the elbow strike was least obvious.
It was a shame that such a staggering spectacle should be decided by such a controversial goal.
Read More Man City player ratings vs Spurs: Raheem Sterling super and Aymeric Laporte woeful Read More Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur highlights and reaction as Spurs knock Man City out of Champions League There were five goals in the opening 21 minutes, a feat ever matched before in Champions League history, as the game see-sawed wildly.
City needed a fast start, but this was not quite what they had in mind.
Raheem Sterling lit the blue fuse after just four minutes, carving in from the left-hand side and curling his shot expertly into the far corner.
No-one compares to Lionel Messi, but that strike had all the hallmarks of the little Argentine genius – and Sterling threatened to stamp his mark on the game from that point.
Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in 8 Cancel Play now The crowd were in raptures. They had already upped the volume at kick off, but a stunning goal simply amplified it further.
But then, in six breathless, sickening minutes, the game turned on its head, with Heung-Min Son – operating at world-class level this season – seemingly putting Spurs on the brink of qualification.
He seized on an error by Aymeric Laporte, who nervously stabbed at the ball on the edge of his own box, and swept a shot goalwards.
Ederson got to it but was unable to keep it out, a poor attempt to compound the French defender’s mistake.
Read More Viewers left perplexed with kit clash in Man City and Tottenham Champions League clash Read More Man City boss Pep Guardiola explains why Fernandinho is benched for Champions League clash against Tottenham Hotspur Laporte has been close to flawless this season, so it was a real blow for the Blues that he chose this game to come up with two in three minutes.
Perhaps the first muck-up was playing on his mind when he miscontrolled the ball straight to Christian Eriksen.
He quickly switched it to Son on the left, and he cut inside to unleash an unstoppable arcing effort into the far corner and make it 2-1 to Spurs.
Needing three goals to progress seemed beyond even this wonderfully creative City team, but they quickly made it plain they would at least die trying.
Within a minute they were level on the night as Sergio Aguero, continually dropping deep, turned and drove at the Spurs defence before freeing Bernardo Silva on the right.
He teased Danny Rose and then shot, the ball cannoning off the left back and squeezing between the wrong-footed Hugo Lloris and his near post. The Portuguese, and City, deserved the stroke of fortune.
Four goals in 11 minutes, and City were back where they were at kick-off, needing two unanswered goals to progress.
They had one of them within nine minutes, a goal of great beauty in its creation as Bernardo’s backheel sent De Bruyne down the right and he angled one of those precision passes right across the box, picking out Sterling at the far post. The finish was clinical.
City got a further boost when Moussa Sissoko was forced off through injury and they had to re-shuffle their system.
Man City vs Tottenham Hotspur reaction Highlights: Man City vs Spurs reaction Player ratings: Sterling super, Laporte woeful Ferdinand on De Bruyne: World's best passer City fans react to VAR: Fans fume over decision Report: VAR robs Quadruple dream New record: City and Spurs set Champions League record Guardiola's message: City boss thanks fans Llorente: Goal disallowed next season City had an intensity about their work which Spurs were struggling to deal with.
They were snapping into tackles, hustling mistakes out of the visitors and showing a hunger which the Londoners could not match.
Sterling’s shot stung Lloris’ palm and Bernardo could not turn the rebound home, and then De Bruyne’s snap shot brought a brilliant flying one-handed save from the French keeper.
The fourth City goal, when it came, was of the top quality.
Many had wondered why Gundogan was preferred to Fernandinho in the starting line-up, but he showed exactly why.
His passing has been marvellous lately, and his ball to De Bruyne, in a crowded midfield, set the Belgian off running instantly.
He drove hard at the retreating defence and then slipped the ball to Aguero.
The striker had a lot to do, but he is just the man to do it. The shot flashed between Lloris and his near post before the startled keeper could react.
Now Spurs had to chase the game, but after that frenetic opening City had settled into their usual stylish pattern of dominating the ball and relentlessly pressing it when Spurs finally got a touch.
But Tottenham hit back through Llorente’s elbow-assisted goal to set up a grand finale.
The stadium erupted when Sterling seemed to have fired in a killer fifth in added time, but replays showed Aguero was fractionally offside when the ball bounced to him off a City player.
It was over, and with it the Champions League dream.

The Best College Gymnast in America Is Also the Most Hated

Is CBS Piping Fake Birds Into Its Masters Coverage? We Asked a Professor Who Tracks Golf Bird Calls. At an NCAA regional gymnastics competition earlier this month, University of Utah junior MyKayla Skinner did the unthinkable: She fell on the uneven bars. It’s true that falls are pretty standard in gymnastics ( Stick It wouldn’t lie to you), but Skinner simply does not fall in competition. This was the first miss of her NCAA career, ending a 161-routine hit streak, the longest in collegiate history. (The fall occurs at 48:30 , when she misses her big release move.) The rest of Skinner’s routine was nearly perfect, but it didn’t matter. After she landed her dismount, she quickly saluted and rejoined her team, her face inscrutable but clearly lacking the post-routine jubilation for which NCAA gymnastics is famous. Her reaction was remarkably stoic, given the fall’s significance —but MyKayla Skinner was not about to let the haters see her cry. For though Skinner can always count on the notoriously hardcore fans of the Red Rocks (the Ute gym squad has its own nickname), outside of Utah, her reception is markedly less warm. And this isn’t because she’s not good—in fact, she’s great. Her difficulty and consistency are unmatched in the NCAA, but even when she doesn’t fall, her scoring often comes up short of perfection. She’s routinely shown up by rivals such as UCLA’s Kyla Ross , who compete with a much lower level of difficulty. Ross—known for her elegance and technique—is widely considered the favorite for the individual all-around title at this year’s national championships, which start Friday. This, unsurprisingly, infuriates Utah’s rabid booster base and delights the many , many , many pourers of MyKayla Skinner haterade, collegiate gymnastics’ unofficial beverage of choice. Indeed, Skinner, despite being by many metrics the best college gymnast in the country, might just be the most reviled gymnast in the NCAA—and I, for one, think people should give her a damn break. So what’s the deal? Why is MyKayla Skinner so controversial? In a word: attitude . Despite being an outstanding gymnast—her opening tumbling pass on floor is a double-double, which most international elites can’t throw—Skinner lacks one key quality that all champion gymnasts must possess: the constant smile required even of athletes being carried off the floor . Yes, in the post–Larry Nassar world of U.S. gymnastics, at both the elite and collegiate levels, gymnasts are now “allowed” to do all sorts of things they once couldn’t: eat, date, speak up for themselves in certain highly regulated situations. But one thing still remains strictly verboten in gym world: a so-called bad attitude. And Skinner is as famous for hers as she is for that double-double. Take, for example, her widely-shared reaction to the 9.925 she received after a hit floor routine during the same meet that viral UCLA star Katelyn Ohashi got the same score with a lacking first-pass landing: — dutchgymnerd (@dutchgymnerd) February 23, 2019 Skinner lunges at the judges with a venomous WTF look and only steps off when a coach hugs her away. (It is strictly forbidden for athletes to interact with judges in any way outside of the official presentation lineup before an event.) Then there was the scandalette of 2018, when an improvised salute to teammates in her floor choreography was immediately interpreted as “ finger guns ” at a rival squad. Or more recently, the time she tweeted : “So far this season I’ve stuck 5 [Yurchenko] double fulls without both judges giving me a 10. Stay tuned for our meet vs UCLA on Saturday and see if we can make it 6!!” And it’s not just in the moments of slight that Skinner’s alleged ’tude eclipses her skills: When she’s on, she is perceived as cocky, lip-syncing along midroutine with the Carrie Underwood song that works as her unofficial “beam music,” or engaging in an even more outré version of a touchdown dance, pumping her fists and crying out in what appears, to haters, to be aggression rather than shiny, nonthreatening joy. Television commentators, those masters of euphemism, call her “fiercely competitive.” Skinner first gained international fame as an elite in 2016 when she had a spectacular showing at the Olympic Trials but ended up going to Rio as an alternate thanks to some behind-the-scenes calculation. In her grief, and being a prolific social-media teen, Skinner retweeted some unsavory responses to her slight —including a doctored photo that showed her face on the body of two-time gold medalist Gabby Douglas and included a racist series of emojis. (Skinner later apologized and seemed genuinely contrite, if inarticulate, in that contrition.) Though the retweet was a legitimately problematic act for which Skinner shouldn’t get a pass, it was the sour grapes themselves that cemented her villain edit in the gymnastics world. Oh, MyKayla Skinner—good gymnastics, but what a terrible attitude! And despite the stratospheric level of her gymnastics, her villain image has only grown in the NCAA to the point it’s affecting her results. It is, for example, widely assumed that her comportment is the reason Skinner is continually passed up for conferencewide awards, and why she more often than not misses out on that coveted 10 despite 161 hit routines and almost as many stuck landings. Haters will claim her feet are flexed or her chest is slightly too low or another “obvious” form deduction, but NCAA judging is famously, woefully subjective , and—as any Utah fan will remind you—that 10 is an honor bestowed quite often upon Skinner’s joyful colleagues in blue, despite their share of flexed feet and the like. Yes, it’s worth remembering that the NCAA is not elite competition. Execution (allegedly) matters more than difficulty, and as long as athletes have the minimum skills required for a 10.0 “start value,” that dime is within their reach, double-double or no. And Skinner certainly knows this—but still, it must be pretty frustrating to (probably) lose the national title to an athlete with a fraction of the difficulty. In so many other sports, attitude is often viewed as competitiveness . This is especially the case in men’s sports. As the Gymternet’s Lauren Hopkins has pointed out , “plenty of male athletes” get salty with few of the consequences, and Skinner’s sportsmanship transgressions are comparatively tame. But there is something particular to the “beauty sports” (gymnastics, figure skating, etc.) that requires an inerrantly sweet disposition—one that matches the pageant hair and makeup from the neck up, and not the grueling training and grit required for everything neck-down. (Remember when Skinner’s alleged 2016 usurper Douglas also got the villain edit , and the nickname “Crabby Gabby,” for not being sufficiently beatific on the medal stand?) Skinner is not doing anything that generations of athletes haven’t done before her—but because she’s doing it in rhinestones and an updo, suddenly it matters. Much has been said in recent years, and deservedly so, about the toxicity that accompanied American gymnastics’ rise to worldwide dominance. The running narrative this season has been about how many athletes—Ohashi most prominently—have been able to find joy in the NCAA after withstanding the trauma of the elite world. Ohashi got mega-famous because her floor routine’s ebullient pop moves were, to the greater viewing public, subversive. But they were subversive with a megawatt smile, and that continues to be the only kind of subversion that’s allowed. Will there ever be room for the gymnasts who find their true joy in, you know, winning? Who dare to care when they don’t win? Who refuse to be sweet little bundles of delight? I’ll believe that the NCAA is the widely touted panacea to USA Gymnastics’ toxicity when its culture embraces the greatness of MyKayla Skinner—attitude and all.

Leyna Bloom Stars In “Port Authority” And Will Be The First Trans Woman Of Color To Lead A Cannes Premiere

A movie star is born! The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most reputable, most talked about, and most exclusive film gatherings in the world. Antonin Thuillier / AFP / Getty Images So, any film that premieres at this super-selective event is guaranteed to get tons of international exposure, prestige, and — most importantly — distribution to theaters and streaming services. For context, the critically-acclaimed Roma , BlacKkKlansman , Pulp Fiction , The Godfather Part II , and Dirty Dancing have all premiered at Cannes.
That’s why it’s a HUGE deal that model and actress Leyna Bloom just became the first transgender woman of color to lead a film that’s premiering at Cannes!!! Keep in mind that the festival has been around for 72 years. Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images Leyna plays the role of Wye in filmmaker Danielle Lessovitz’s Port Authority , a love story grounded in New York City’s famous kiki ballroom scene and LGBTQ community. Playing the role of Paul, Wye’s 20-something love interest, is Fionn Whitehead of Dunkirk and Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch . Movie icon Martin Scorsese even co-signed the film and is backing it through his production company.
Leyna shared the big news this morning on Instagram, along with a heartfelt message. “As a transwoman of color, I am so proud to represent my ballroom community and share our diverse queer beauty with the world!” she wrote. View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @undefined Out spoke with the star about this historic moment, and I highly recommend checking out the full interview : “For me this is really like that Halle Berry moment when she won that Oscar for Monster’s Ball — I know that it’s a moment that should have happened a long time ago.” View this photo on Instagram instagram.com “When I first heard that we were premiering at Cannes, I really had to think about all of the women that paved the way that should have also gone, all the women who could have been in a movie and could have played a role like this,” she added. “This is a moment that so many people dream of.”
The once homeless 28-year-old has been making a big name for herself in the fashion world, shutting down runways worldwide and making magazine history in glossies like Vogue India , but this project marks her film debut. She actually beat out more than 1,000 potentials who were up for the role. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com “We chose Leyna because we wanted to do the most authentic casting possible, and we wanted to honor ballroom culture,” Damian Bao told Out. He co-casted the film and went on to become Leyna’s manager. “There’s nothing more authentic to pay tribute than to cast someone from that community and she embodies the spirit of the character.”
A MOVIE STAR IS BORN!!! CAN’T WAIT TO CATCH YOU ON THE BIG SCREEN, LEYNA <3 Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF BuzzFeed BONUS: Leyna opens up about wanting to be the first trans model to walk Victoria's Secret fashion show. View this video on YouTube youtube.com Top trending videos Facebook Share Twitter Tweet Copy Copy link Watch more BuzzFeed Video Caret right

Leyna Bloom Stars In “Port Authority” And Will Be The First Trans Woman Of Color To Lead A Cannes Premiere

A movie star is born! The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most reputable, most talked about, and most exclusive film gatherings in the world. Antonin Thuillier / AFP / Getty Images So, any film that premieres at this super-selective event is guaranteed to get tons of international exposure, prestige, and — most importantly — distribution to theaters and streaming services. For context, the critically-acclaimed Roma , BlacKkKlansman , Pulp Fiction , The Godfather Part II , and Dirty Dancing have all premiered at Cannes.
That’s why it’s a HUGE deal that model and actress Leyna Bloom just became the first transgender woman of color to lead a film that’s premiering at Cannes!!! Keep in mind that the festival has been around for 72 years. Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images Leyna plays the role of Wye in filmmaker Danielle Lessovitz’s Port Authority , a love story grounded in New York City’s famous kiki ballroom scene and LGBTQ community. Playing the role of Paul, Wye’s 20-something love interest, is Fionn Whitehead of Dunkirk and Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch . Movie icon Martin Scorsese even co-signed the film and is backing it through his production company.
Leyna shared the big news this morning on Instagram, along with a heartfelt message. “As a transwoman of color, I am so proud to represent my ballroom community and share our diverse queer beauty with the world!” she wrote. View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @undefined Out spoke with the leading lady about this historic moment, and I highly recommend checking out the full interview : “For me this is really like that Halle Berry moment when she won that Oscar for Monster’s Ball — I know that it’s a moment that should have happened a long time ago.” View this photo on Instagram instagram.com “When I first heard that we were premiering at Cannes, I really had to think about all of the women that paved the way that should have also gone, all the women who could have been in a movie and could have played a role like this,” she added. “This is a moment that so many people dream of.”
The once homeless star has been making a big name for herself in the fashion world, shutting down runways worldwide and making magazine history in glossies like Vogue India , but this project marks her film debut. She actually beat out more than 1,000 potentials who were up for the role. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com “We chose Leyna because we wanted to do the most authentic casting possible, and we wanted to honor ballroom culture,” Damian Bao told Out. He co-casted the film and went on to become Leyna’s manager. “There’s nothing more authentic to pay tribute than to cast someone from that community and she embodies the spirit of the character.”
A MOVIE STAR IS BORN!!! CAN’T WAIT TO CATCH YOU ON THE BIG SCREEN, LEYNA <3 Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF Tap to play or pause GIF BuzzFeed BONUS: Leyna opens up about wanting to be the first trans model to walk Victoria's Secret fashion show. View this video on YouTube youtube.com Top trending videos Facebook Share Twitter Tweet Copy Copy link Watch more BuzzFeed Video Caret right

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