Seminar: Popular perceptions of transgendering men in Northern Nigeria: The role of media and literature


Video duration: 
1 h 36 min.

‘Yan daudu – feminine men or transgendering men in northern Nigeria – have almost always existed as sexual and cultural ‘deviants’ in society and even worse in popular culture and literature. Contemporary Hausa writing and film uses them as cautionary tales or treats them as laughing stocks. The media, especially in Nigeria, creates a one-dimensional image of who they are, often depicting them simplistically, as cross-dressers or homosexuals. At the other end of the spectrum, a few Nigerian scholars deny any connection between being a ‘yan daudu and being homosexual, claiming that the connection is one forced by western scholars promoting homosexuality. These extremes flow from either a lack of genuine interest in the subject beyond condemnation or a general disrespect for minorities. The increasing conservatism of Nigerian society further drives groups like ‘yan daudu underground, making it easier to perpetuate myths and generalizations. How do the representations in media and literature of these feminine men who straddle gender and sexual categories differ from reality? Why is literature important in balancing the narrative about minorities like ‘yan daudu in the media?

Elnathan John's first novel Born on a Tuesday has recently been published (Cassava Republic Press in the UK and Nigeria, in the US by Grove/Atlantic and by Editions Galaade in France).
You can purchase the book at the seminar for € 15,-.

Elnathan JohnElnathan John is a novelist, satirist and cultural reporter based in Abuja, Nigeria. His work was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013 and again in 2015. His interests include literature in Nigeria, pastoralism in West and Central Africa and sexual minorities in Nigeria.




Date, time and location

23 June 2016
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 1A27 (first floor)