5 most famous Nigerian transgender people
Nigeria is one of the countries where being a part of the LGBT community is a criminal offence and a major hazard to one’s life and health. Nevertheless, some people managed to escape it to live their lives in peace in more tolerant countries. Today, we will be talking about five most famous Nigerian transgender people and how they have become famous.
We want to begin our article with the story of the infamous Stephanie Rose. Before her transition, she used to live in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Both of her parents worked at the Obafemi Awolowo University, so she attended the university staff school and then the OAU itself.
However, during her college years, Stephanie realised that she was not like the others. She started wearing make-up and feminine clothes, which alienated her peers and made her the victim of bullying. When the pressure from the transphobic Nigerian society became too much, Rose dropped out of the university and fled the country in 2001.
You might be wondering:
What has made this transgender woman so infamous? Well, around 2015, her name appeared in Nigerian media for two reasons. First, as you might have guessed, was because of the fact that she was transgender. The second one was far more controversial.
Apparently, Stephanie moved to Amsterdam and became very interested in God, or rather in slandering His name. She wrote a book titled Nobody Goes to Heaven Because Nobody Goes to Hell Fire, where she shared her very unusual and controversial opinions about God, to put it mildly. The news of this book, as well as Stephanie’s weird posts on Facebook made her very infamous among many Nigerians.
READ ALSO: Miss saHHara transgender before and after
On a slightly lighter note, let’s talk about Miss saHHara. Even though she also struggled with her gender identity and acceptance in the past, she quickly realised that Nigeria was not the best place for her. The turning point for her was her incarceration for ‘looking too feminine’. After that, she moved to the United Kingdom in 2004.
In the UK, Miss saHHara was able to learn more about herself and find help to start her transition. She received higher education at the London Metropolitan University and sang at a cabaret to pay her bills.
Today, Miss saHHara is a well-known transgender rights activist, model, philanthropist and singer. She has created an awareness campaign called TransValid, which tries to destroy transphobia and make transgender people feel valid. She often participates in beauty pageants and models for various European designers.
Miss saHHara actually came out as transgender during one of the pageants. When she became the second runner up in Miss International Queen in 2011, Miss saHHara proudly announced that she was transgender, which made her the first Nigerian transgender woman to publicly come out as trans.
Another transwoman that decided to leave Nigeria in search of a better life is Noni Salma. She was born and raised in Lagos. Noni attended the University of Lagos, where she received a degree in Theatre Arts. However, since she was little, she did not really fit in with the other kids.
Noni was often bullied for looking feminine. At the same time, she was suffering from the internal turmoil of questioning her gender identity. For almost thirty years, Salma tried to deny the fact that she was trans*, but eventually she embraced it and decided to transition. As transitioning in Nigeria was never really an option, she moved to the United States.
While in the US, Noni started her transition and began attending the New York Film Academy. Soon, she graduated with a degree in Filmmaking and began making movies. One of her most notable works, Veil of Silence (which she wrote, directed and produced), was screened at numerous film festivals. The short documentary depicted the sad reality of LGBT people (mostly gay men) living in Nigeria.
Salma currently lives in Bronx, where she is able to be her true self and enjoy the company of like-minded people. She continues making movies and even plans to become an actress.
Rizi Xavier Timane
In order to bring some diversity to this article, let’s talk about Rizi Xavier Timane. Not often do you hear about famous (and successful) Nigerian transgender men. However, Rizi here managed to make something of himself, even though it meant leaving Nigeria.
When he was young, he started questioning his gender identity and turned to religion for answers. However, people closest to him tried to ‘cure’ him of his ‘predicament’ and used the Bible as the way of justifying their bigotry. Because of that and constant bullying, Rizi went down a slippery slope and developed an addiction to illicit substances.
Nevertheless, he was able to climb back up after a journey of self-discovery. In his quest, Rizi found out that, despite what he has been told, God actually loved all people. That inspired him to become a church minister, so that he could spread this message to others.
He now lives in Los Angeles, where he helps the trans* community both financially and spiritually. During the past few years, Rizi has been making a difference for transgender people in the US by opening The Happy Transgender Center and establishing Rizi Timane Annual Transgender Surgery Scholarship.
In addition to that, he is also a writer, singer, actor and entertainer. Timane appeared in several well-known TV shows and performed at numerous Pride events. Rizi is happily married to his wife of five years, Christina Ros.
Mandy la Candy
Not much is known about Mandy Candy. Apparently, Miss saHHara’s example inspired her to come out as transgender, which seemed to be enough for many media outlets to make the news out of. From what little information we could find, we figured out that she is of Nigerian origin and currently lives somewhere in Europe.
Probably, the only other thing she is known for (apart from being transgender) is sharing photos of her scantily clad body. For some reason, she seems to have disappeared from social media, so we have no idea what she is up to now.
To be fair, it seems that a lot of Nigerian transgender people appear in the news for entirely wrong reasons. Most articles that cover them often dig up obscene details about their lives and use hurtful language towards them. While some might indeed have it coming, others just want to be recognised for who they are and to help other people like them. We hope that this article has helped you find out a little bit more about them.
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