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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has come under intense backlash from the LGBTQ+ community worldwide over her statement in a recent interview with The Guardian newspaper.
The interview in one of Britain’s leading publications saw Chimamanda supporting Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s ‘anti-trans’ essay, calling it a “perfectly reasonable piece.” Rowling’s statement that “trans women are trans women” sparked intense controversy across the world with Chimamanda concluding her Guardian interview that JK Rowling’s essay was a “perfectly good piece”.
“JK Rowling is a woman who is progressive, who stands for and believes in diversity,” the acclaimed feminist and accomplished writer went on to say. Ngozi Adichie blames social media for the backlash against the Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, branding it cruel and insensitive.
In a Channel 4 interview three-years earlier, Adichie was asked if Trans women should be considered as women. “Trans women are trans women,” she replied then and has refused to apologise for her comments.
The backlash against Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie then pales in comparison to the backlash she is receiving now for supporting JK Rowling’s in an essay conflating being trans to mental illness and sees transgender men as being enticed by the idea of escaping womanhood.
One place where this backlash is at its lowest for Ngozi Adichie is in her home country of Nigeria. Nigeria is a predominantly conservative nation with harsh laws that negatively impact the LGBTQ community. Fourteen years in prison for same-sex marriage is no laughing matter, but a more liberal movement has been on the rise in recent years. Young Nigerians, especially women, have been leading a human rights movement which seeks to restore the rights and dignity of a disenfranchised LGBTQ+ community.
Ngozi Adichie was considered by many progressive types as a beacon of hope in this movement and has come under intense tongue lashing of late especially on social media. Many now consider her a Terf and are angry that she should denigrate a group of people that have been instrument voice in the #EndSARSNow movement in Nigeria.
“Trans women are trans women,” says Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in this Channel 4 interview. What say you?
The LGBTQ community have played a crucial role in amplifying the voices of Nigerian youths against police brutality in Nigeria. This is a form of a cultural revolution as normally competing groups find common ground and support under the #EndSARSNow hashtag and political agitation.
Adichie’s statement to many looks like a step in the wrong direction for a movement that is just taking root in Nigeria. For many Nigerian women, the government would believe “even their most outspoken defender doesn’t consider them as real women, why should we”.
A Twitter user even called Adichie a con artist who was never a true defender of the feminist movement in Nigeria. “Everyone knows the feminist movement here stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.”
According to @KatYoncey, “It’s 2020 and Ms Adichie still thinks Trans women are men who after enjoying the privileges bestowed on men, they want to become women!!! If she knows the struggles of women as she claims, why would a privileged man want to become a woman??!!! Chimamanda is just a con artist using the struggles of African women, struggles she can’t relate with to sell her books. What saddens me is that she’s going to make Feminism difficult to achieve for women who are truly fighting for it!!!”
This backlash simply points towards one thing, the Nigerian woman is becoming more progressive by the day. Human rights shouldn’t be a privilege to the LGBTQ community.
A society that values the right to people’s choices is the society liberal-minded Nigerian woman are fighting for each day. One glorious aspect of this Ngozi Adichie “anti-trans” controversy is that the number of Nigerian women growing liberal mindsets is on the rise.
From the #EndSarsNow movement, which was championed by mostly women, many of them queer, we expect a shift in the cultural orientation of a conservative Nigerian society in less time than we anticipated.
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