QAYN's mission is to establish a vast network of support to promote the well-being and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in West Africa.
Our vision of Africa is that of a continent free of violence and discrimination, where the principles of equality and human dignity are uphold for all Africans, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
History of QAYN
The Queer African Youth Network was founded in 2010 by a lesbian from Burkina Faso as a virtual network that gathers and provides accurate and relevant information on sexual orientation and identity to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) West African youth. Within six months of its inception, QAYN in collaboration with its first member, Queer Alliance Nigeria, organized a forum in Lagos, which brought together over 50 LGBTQ young LGBTQ Nigerians to help shape our focus and priorities. The needs that emerged from this forum challenged QAYN to revisit its strategic direction - moving from a virtual space to establishing a network with members organizations across the region. Further needs assessment were conducted within the lesbian, bisexual, queer and women who have sex with women (LBQWSW) communities in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria. The focus group discussions and individual interviews were designed to surface issues at the individual level, and challenges faced by young emerging leaders in initiating collective action.
After the issues that surfaced from these discussion groups and QAYN’s own experience as a newly formed organization, it became evident to QAYN that its strategic priorities should on community organizing, movement building, leadership development, documentation and advocacy work. And realizing the gap between the emerging LGBTQ movements in Anglophone and Francophone, QAYN decided to prioritize collaboration with francophone groups, which are historically underserved. In 2011, on the recommendation of one of our Advisers, Charles Gueboguo, we decided to invite two organizations in Cameroun, Humanity First Cameroon and Aids-Acodev, to join the Network.
As a self-identified queer feminist organization, at the core of QAYN's strategy is the commitment to place the leadership of lesbian, bisexual, queer and women who have sex with women (LBQWSW) front and center in the Network and the LGBTQ movement. Women's Health and Equal Rights was the second member of the Network, followed by ELLES, formerly Lesbiennes du Cameroun in 2013 and Ladies' Voice (Togo) in 2014.
Currently the Network includes six member organizations in 4 countries in both Anglophone and Francophone West Africa and Cameroon.