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A guide on how to report gay, lesbian

By Gbenga Salu
18 May 2015   |   3:46 am
The book, Guide to reporting gender and sexuality, is a very insightful one that provided some thoughtful information on issues of sexuality and gender.
gay marriage. PHOTO: startribune.com

gay marriage. PHOTO: startribune.com

The book, Guide to reporting gender and sexuality, is a very insightful one that provided some thoughtful information on issues of sexuality and gender.

The entire book was strategically tilted to propagate the need for better reporting on issues of gender and sexuality with a bias for members of the community of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, (LGBT).

It is a book of contributors edited by Professor Lai Oso, Steve Aborishade, the Founder and Executive Coordinator of Projekthope Nigeria, the body behind the writing of the body and Segun Sangowawa.

The opening pages of the book provided terms and definitions specific to gender and sexuality and that was a very thoughtful idea as it helps in the understanding of the narratives in the book easily. The language deployed by the writers was also very simple and aided easy comprehension.

The book is divided into three sections with twelve chapters. The first part majorly narrated and provided some expose on LGBT. This section tried to justify the reasons why the community of LGBT must be allowed to exist, not discriminated at, should enjoy media coverage and millage like every other segment of the society but not in the negative sense.

Some of the contributors in the first unit of the book, it could easily be deduced are advocates of the community. Besides tactically condemning the passage of the Same Sex law in Nigeria, it justified the reason these group of persons should be given room to live the way they wish, using human rights to drive home their points.

One very salient points raised in this section which was re-echoed by contributors in the second section of the book was the need to enlighten media professionals about the group and peculiarities, which could be done through series of media workshops and training. The contributors in this section are Dr Matilda Kerry, Dr Cheikh Eteka Traore and Sola Ogundipe.

The topics in the second section of the book were written by media scholars and gender activist. It has just three chapters, in spite of that, it provided very rich material for journalist especially the contribution by Professor Lai Oso and Dr Jide Jimoh. The topic they presented was, Reporting gender and sexual minority: The interpretative imperative.

Their presentation was more balanced and their argument for the need to report the community was done taking into consideration the challenges the media is grappling with. The presentation of their thoughts could easily motivate journalists to report the community but in a more in-depth approach. The submissions of the contributors were fair and balanced especially in talking about why the members of the LGBT community were not enjoying the media coverage they needed.

And it cannot get better now especially with the law which prohibit the group, though that tide could be reversed if the advocates of these groups and members of the community are strategic in their engage with the media. The other contributors in the unit are Dr. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika, Ganiyat Tijani-Adenle and Mr. Lanre Idowu.

The last part of the book was more of experience sharing by members of the community who are Nigerians. That section helps to confirm that LGBT exist in Nigeria especially for doubting Thomas, who probably have not believed the group has representatives in Nigeria.

So it was more like a testimonial, especially their challenges and how the Nigerian society is hostile, though it also tactically revealed that the activities of the group became more pronounced in the last five years in Nigeria, many of them had been around in the last two decades. So they are not just here now.

In moving forward, the passage of the same sex law has no doubt compounded the plight of the community but members of the group must be proud of who they are, if truly they want the media to feast on their activities. They must look for innovative ways to propagate their message and activities in a way that the media could key into it.