The Rustin Times is an online media advocacy platform/news website aimed at elevating the conversation around LGBTIQ persons/issues in Nigeria. It is an initiative founded on the principles of justice, equality, inclusion and diversity. Our mission is to tell stories that need to be shared and also find ways to engage the society with written and video content. We hope that it will help change hearts and minds as we celebrate people in our communities making a difference.
Everyone deserves a chance to live and exist regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation and The Rustin Times is a vehicle to push for change in Nigeria.
What issue are you trying to solve?
According to ‘Not Dancing to Their Music,’ a report that was done by the Bisi Alimi Foundation, 71% of LGBT Nigerian respondents believed they were abused due to their gender identity or sexuality, while a large majority say they have experienced discrimination, abuse, and harassment. The aim is to highlight this gross negligence of the human rights of Nigeria’s LGBT community and create a call to action, forcing the government to rethink its anti-gay laws and create a society that LGBT persons can live in without discrimination.
What approach do you take to solve this issue?
Our approach to changing this situation is to use multimedia content ranging from documentaries, films and web series. The film industry is booming in Nigeria and young people in the country currently consume a lot of web content as evidenced in some of the popular shows like Ndani’s Rumour Has It. Through multimedia content, we will highlight these issues and create a call to action, forcing the government to rethink its anti-gay laws and create a society that LGBT persons can live in without discrimination.
What is the potential impact of your initiative?
The potential impact of this initiative is the ability for it to expose Nigerians to the horrors of living as an LGBT person in Nigeria. After every multimedia production, we hope to have a feedback mechanism in place to get people to actually speak out on some of these issues. From social media engagements to petitions and even to large-scale premieres across the country, the impact that this initiative could have is huge.
In May 2018, the BBC released a documentary on the effects of codeine abuse on Nigerians. This documentary currently has over 1 million views on YouTube and started a conversation on the internet on the impact of codeine addiction. After it became a trending topic, the government took to action to curb the abuse. This is what can happen without multimedia content. We can make it viral by working with NOW. This could lead to a conversation that might cause the government to take action against discrimination against members of the LGBT community.