Nigerian Fashion Magazine Stirs Debate About Men in Skirts

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Source:   —  September 20, 2017, at 2:19 PM

Homosexual acts are banned in Nigeria carrying a penalty of up to fourteen years in prison and the magazine, called A Nasty Boy, has provoked powerful reactions from some Nigerians since it started in Feb in the commercial capital Lagos.

Nigerian Fashion Magazine Stirs Debate About Men in Skirts

LAGOS — Nigerians who declare a new online fashion magazine promotes homosexuality by featuring men wearing makeup or clad only in miniskirts have misunderstood its agenda, according to its founder.

Homosexual acts are banned in Nigeria carrying a penalty of up to fourteen years in prison and the magazine, called A Nasty Boy, has provoked powerful reactions from some Nigerians since it started in Feb in the commercial capital Lagos.

"Nasty Boy isn't a homosexual publication," said Richard Akuson, its founder and editorial director. It's "an issue-based fashion publication that pushes for conversations around gender, feminism, masculinity", said the 23-year-old law graduate.

Critics are sticking to rigid gender definitions that the publication seeks to subvert, he said. Opinions of A Nasty Boy were mixed in the capital, Abuja.

"They've a right to freedom of speech and the moment you start impinging that freedom then every publication, every media, is below threat," said hotelier Stephen Ajayi.

Market trader Ayokanmi Otulano said the government should crack down on the website because it promoted homosexuality.

"These are abominations unto God," she said.

A Nasty Boy is an example of the flourishing media scene and business culture in Nigeria, which is Africa'south biggest democracy. It also reflects the growth of a more public debate in some parts of the continent about gender issues.

The magazine has been profiled in international fashion publications and that interest has sparked a map to widen the team of five freelance writers, an editor and photographers and set up a twice-yearly print publication, Akuson said.

"I've realized that in Nigeria Nasty Boy would continue to be a niche publication but that's fine because we cater to a global audience," he said.

The Sept issue includes an essay by a 17-year-old feminist poet, a profile of an agency that supplies androgynous models and photographs billed as "a visual legend about Nigerian boys who wear dresses."

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