Cis heteronormativity is the idea that there are only two genders and two sexual orientations and that is what should be the norm. Cis heteronormativity forces women to only be attracted to men, and men to only be attracted to women. It also forces people to exclusively identify with the gender that was chosen for them at birth, whether or not they fit that gender or none at all (yes, gender nonconforming people exist and they’re fabulous!)
Cis heteronormativity is problematic in many ways: it perpetuates violence against people who aren’t cisgender and heterosexual. It also prescribes violence towards cisgender heterosexual people who don’t quite meet its standards of behaviour and expression. Cis heteronormativity influences the way that all people – regardless of gender or sexual orientation – experience romance, pleasure, sex and sexuality (or not at all, hello asexual/aromantic people!). For this and other reasons, the Adventures Live! theme “Decentring the D: Pleasure. Sex. Sexualities” is a necessary and relevant conversation to have.
We’re excited to be introducing the diverse group of awesome people who will join us to discuss and analyze these ideas and more importantly, dismantle them so we can experience pleasure, sex and sexuality in ways that make us feel affirmed and valued.
Nana Darkoa is a co-founder of Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, a blog and community that seeks to create safer spaces for African women to chat openly and honestly about sex, sexualities and relationships. Nana’s writing and content production focus on African feminism, gender and sexualities. She has been published widely by media platforms including the Guardian, and Open Democracy. Her short stories can be found in, ‘It Wasn’t Exactly Love’, a collection published by Farafina, and ‘The Pot and Other Stories’ published by FEMRITE.
Fatima B. Derby is a Ghanaian feminist writer and LGBTQI activist. She is an alumna of the 2019 African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) Women Writer’s Workshop, and is a contributing writer and copyeditor on the award-winning blog, Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women where she writes about body and sex politics from a feminist perspective. As part of her feminist and LGBTQI activism, she co-organizes the Young Feminist Collective – a space for young feminist and the LBQ Gathering, a space for queer women in Accra.
Karen Kaz Lucas is an established leader in the Kenyan arts and culture ecosystem. Kaz has had a lifelong passion for changing the way sex education is taught to young people. Driven by this passion and enabled by her media experience, she started The Spread Podcast, a sex positive podcast that creates a safe space for people to understand their sexuality and learn to live confidently in awareness of their sexual identity.
Kinna Likimani is a feminist and a member of the Women’s Manifesto Coalition. She is the Director of Programs at Odekro, a Parliamentary monitoring organization based in Ghana. She is founder and publisher at Nsona Books. She is a founding member of the Abeadze Women’s Development Organization. In election years, Kinna leads Ghana Decides – A BloggingGhana Elections project, which aims to encourage informed youth participation in Ghana’s elections and democracy. She blogs about African literature at Kinna Reads. She and her brood of boys live in Accra.
OluTimehin Adegbeye is a queer feminist writer, speaker, and advocate whose work focuses on human rights, inclusion and justice in the areas of Gender, Sexualities, and Urbanisation. She has worked with a wide range of political, cultural, civil society and corporate organisations, and has been invited to speak at events in over twelve countries across four continents. Her writing, which is available both digitally and in print, has been translated into multiple languages. OluTimehin’s TED Talk “Who Belongs in a City?” has been viewed over 2.5 million times and was chosen by TED as one of the ten most notable talks of 2017. She lives in Lagos with her daughter.
Jay-René Kouassiaman is an African American man of trans experience. He has worked closely with LGBQ and Trans/GNC youth and adults of colour for 12+ years, in a variety of roles, including health educator, case manager and community organizer. Jay-René is committed to advancing the inclusion of LGBQ and trans/GNC people in schools and communities, both personally and professionally. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies/Critical Psychology from the California Institute for Integral Studies.
Golda Gatsey is a freelance writer and content creator. She is a feminist with a strong desire to contribute to a community of feminist sisters that facilitates learning, aids personal growth and provides a safe space for women. She is also very passionate about LGBTQI+ rights, particularly creating spaces in which black queer women can thrive. She is committed to helping fight the current system that oppresses and harms queer people. A stargazer as she calls herself, Golda has an interest in astrology and owns a refractor telescope with which she watches the planets and constellations on starry nights. She believes in love, kindness and the collective potential of community.
Rita Nketiah is a feminist researcher, writer and activist living in Accra, Ghana. She is currently completing her PhD in Geography at York University (Toronto, Canada). Rita has an extensive background in feminist organizing, research and community-based activism. She has previously written for OpenDemocracy, The Feminist Wire and Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women. Her writing discusses race, gender, sexuality and migration. As co-organizer, Rita is facilitating a workshop on women loving women in collaboration with the LBQ women’s gathering team.
Sheila Adufutse is a human by design, a feminist by being and a project management professional by training. Her passion for infusing empathy in everything leads her to create and hold space for women that not only affirms but humanizes them. She envisions a world where women can be as they are in the most expressive way possible. In her most organic way, she loves to explore the complexities of being, love and the human search for truth. She lives to her heart’s content with the idea of meaningful pleasure being a guiding force. The people closest to her describe her as a feeler and a thinker.
Debbie Frempong is Phd student in anthropology at Brown University. Her research interests are on issues of class, gender and race, and her work focuses on historical and contemporary constructions of womanhood in Ghanaian Christianity. She holds a BA in Public Policy from Pomona College and a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She is also a 2014 alumnus of the AWDF African Women’s Writing Workshop.
Huseina Mohammed Meyaki is a Ghanaian Queer Muslim woman who lives and works in Ghana. She holds a Degree in Banking and finance but for the love of the community, she finds herself working and fighting for the rights of LGBT persons in Ghana and Africa as a whole with an LGBT organization called CEPEHRG as the gender manager and project officer. Huseina also leads the LBQ women’s group in Ghana called Sister’s of the Heart. She is a board member of Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa – IDNOWA and also a board member of the Coalition of African Lesbians- CAL. She has a passion for the work she does and loves to see LGBT persons rights projected and respected. When she isn’t working she loves to listen to music, cook and watch movies.
Kobina Ankomah-Graham is a writer, academic and (ever so occasional) DJ on Ghana’s rising creative arts scene. His writings and observations have featured in publications including The Guardian and The Africa Report. Kobby balances teaching at Webster University Ghana with pursuing a DANIDA funded doctorate under the ‘Advancing Creative Industries for Development in Ghana‘ collaborative research project between the University of Ghana, Copenhagen Business School and Loughborough University.
Eva Andorful is a digital Graphic Designer, Audio/Video Editor and Computer Software Instructor with ten years experience in Community ICT training project and its management. She is a passionate Advocate of Disability Inclusion, Equality and Empowerment, and the Asuogyaman District Secretary of Persons with Disability Society. She is a politician and a member of Asuogyaman Youth Parliament. Eva Andorful is BreakingBarriers West Africa Ambassador and mentors young people.
Diakhoumba is an anti-FGM feminist human rights defender, a survivor of this violation herself, who has actively engaged in spaces like the Council of Senegalese Women, the African Feminist Forum, AWID, FEMNET and the Research and Support Center for Development Alternatives. Current Regional Activism and Youth Coordinator for Africa at Amnesty International. She has more than 15 years of experience working for intergovernmental organizations in Africa, Europe, New York and Asia and the Pacific including the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the African Union Commission, UNIFEM/UNWomen and UNDP. A passionate panafropolitan feminist, war resister and human rights defender, she is fluent in French, English and Spanish. She is a national of Senegal who loves the planet, children and laughing.
Adisa Tinorgah-Seidu is the CEO of Odo Asem, a leading romance superstore and gift shop in Ghana. Her Romance Store offers an exciting selection of sex toys, games, books, lingerie, arousal products, naughty edibles, lubricants, massage products and other sex enhancement products. She believes that sex is too important to be ignored and treated as a taboo topic and encourages people to open up and work on keeping their sex lives exciting and fresh. Adisa has a BSc. in International Business from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and worked on Wall Street in Credit Suisse’s Retail & Consumer Products Group as an Investment Banking Analyst for 3 years before moving back to Ghana and starting Odo Asem. She loves to travel, get lost in a good book and also loves a good movie or series. She is happily married with two daughters.
Maame Akua Kyerewaa-Marfo is a singer, a feminist and a writer. She is passionate about social change, progressive feminist thought and using the arts to effect social change. She is an organizing member of the Young Feminist Collective, a space for feminist community and activism in Accra, Ghana.
Natalia Nana Ama Andoh is a media personality(Radio/TV) who hosts the mid-morning show on Class 91.3fm in Accra and Tv’s Celebrity FanZone on GhOne Television. She also has a foundation ‘THE NATALIA ANDOH FOUNDATION’ with the objective of helping people thrive through understanding, protecting, and sustaining their mental health. She started her private production in 2019 called Somewhere in Ghana, a showcase of fascinating places, restaurants and manufacturing companies in Ghana. Episodes are found on her YouTube channel @yesiamnatalia . Natalia Andoh is passionate about children, mental health and food. She is married with two daughters and has plans to change the world one day at a time.
Susana Dartey is a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow. She works as Project Officer for the Theatre For Social Change Old Fadama project, where she works with female sex workers in an Accra low-income community on sexual and reproductive health, and access to justice. She encourages women to explore issues that affect their lives and to advocate behaviour change in their individual lives through workshops, radio drama and interactive theatre. She has produced 3 successful radio dramas with two different focus groups of female sex workers. Susana has also played a key role in the founding of Act for Change, a grassroots NGO run by young people from Jamestown. She holds a National Open College Network Certificate (OCN London Region) in Forum Theatre, awarded by St. Mary’s University, London.
A feminist and an expert on women’s rights in Africa, Françoise Kpeglo Moudouthe is the founder of Eyala, a bilingual (English – French) platform that harnesses the power of conversation to explore what it means to be an African feminist today. With Eyala, Françoise curates conversations among African feminists that transcend their technical expertise and delves into their lived experiences. She does so through in-depth interviews published on Eyala’s website, through online discussions on various social media platforms, and during intimate in-person gatherings hosted in various locations around the world. Prior to launching Eyala, Françoise dedicated eight years to incubating Girls Not Brides, now the leading civil society partnership to end child marriage, and spearheading its work in Africa. Now a freelance consultant, Françoise leverages her advocacy, strategy development and movement-building skills to promote girls and women’s rights in Africa and beyond.
Fatime K. Faye was born in 1957 in Dakar, Sénégal. After her BA in English at the University of Dakar, she worked for several years with the US mission in Senegal. She moved in 1987 in Guinea Conakry for 2 years where she started freelancing. In 1989 she returned in Senegal where she engaged in the workshop and meeting logistics with some international organizations. She now lives in Toubab Dialaw (60 km away from Dakar) in a small fishing village where she benevolently works with women and youth associations. Along with her professional activities, she often engaged in youth associations in the area of sports and culture, creation of enterprises for women and health. She is a member of the Association for integrated development in Toubab Dialaw, Toastmasters Clubs International and Pan African Network of Leaders (PANeL) Senegal.
Award-winning Actress, Lydia Forson has been acting on screen for nearly ten (10)years, dating back to cameo roles in Hotel St.James, Different Shades of Blue a stint in the reality show (The Next Movie Star) , extending to her highly popular role as Dea Thompson in Scorned. This led to her first AMAA nomination as the Best Female Upcoming Actress and Ghana Night with the stars, Best Actress 2009. ‘The Perfect Picture’ which critics called a masterpiece proved her versatility as an actress, validating her place in the Ghana movie industry and winning her Best Actress in a Lead Role at the 2010 African Movie Academy Awards. She’s guest appeared on South African’s hit Television Soap, Scandal and most recently stared in the hit Ghanaian movie, ‘ KETEKE’ which won her Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Africa International Film Festival, the first Ghanaian to do so since the festival’s inception. Lydia also doubles as a scriptwriter, script supervisor and editor on most movies she’s featured in. Her first screenplay ‘In The Cupboard’ won her, ” Best Writing, Adapted or Original Screenplay” at the Ghana Movie Awards 2012. She also wrote and produced her first movie “A Letter From Adam” which was nominated for three(3) Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards including Best Writer in A Comedy, and won two(2) awards out of six(6) nominations including Best Actress at the Golden Movie Awards. It was also selected to be screened at the 23rd Pan African Film Festival, L.A. She’s been voted Female Personality of the Year at the 2015 Fashion Icon Awards and most recently won Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 2018 Golden Movie Awards and Best Supporting Actress at the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
Naike has been delivering gender and other social justice projects and programs while creating knowledge about women’s autonomy and power for 18 years. She is also deeply invested in sexual pleasures that she has studied extensively throughout the discovery of her own body and mind. Recently she co-created and facilitated a workshop for the global LBT conference about the Haitian Voodoo spiritual system and the sexual liberation it allows for Trans folks and same gender loving persons. This has renewed the interest for dwelling more on the politics of sexuality and the need to stamp our imprints in the world, to agree to never remain silent and to mark the ways we fuck as a celebration of human life. In 2016, she wrote a short story that was published on the blog “Adventures from the bedroom of African Women” and that was an incredible opportunity to reflect on loving her body and the women that share their bodies and soul with her. For Naike, Adventures Live! is a continuation of merging with others as we continue writing our stories in the book of life.
Solange A. Musanganya, who goes by the pen name Lady S. Kibibi is a Rwandan writer and activist. She works with Queer African Youth Network, a feminist queer network in West Africa. In 2002, she created the first African LGBT website where LGBT people could connect with others in their communities. While in Montreal, Canada, she started an organisation in 2004 called Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique. In 2008, Solange created the Massimadi festival, an annual LGBTQ film festival that highlights African LGBTQ lives in Africa and its diaspora. This initiative inspired the creation of a similar festival in Belgium with the same name. In 2016, she moved back to Africa, settling in West where writing has been a big part of her life. For Solange, writing is a passion and form of therapy. She first wrote about her story as a genocide survivor in Rwanda, for herself, as a way of healing. Since then she has been writing about sex, her personal experiences as an African transwoman living in Africa and about her transition and the ways that it impacts the people around her including her family, friends and lovers.
Caroline Kouassiaman is the executive director of ISDAO. She is a Master of Public Administration and MA – International Relations graduate with over fifteen years of experience in philanthropy, human rights, education and NGO management. She is committed to enlarging the space for Africans of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and bodies access empowering resources, advocate for themselves, have pleasurable lives, and make fully-informed decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures.