The first French-speaking LGBT magazine, “Meleagbo,” is delayed due to Ivory Coast printer issues, promoting gay icons and highlighting West Africa’s LGBT community’s culture, history, and victories.

The magazine’s publication would be a step forward in Africa, where 33 countries still have laws criminalizing same-sex relations. Uganda’s parliament approved a bill criminalizing identifying as LGBT, outraging human and civil rights advocates. Chief editor Emmanuel Niamien and his team are still fighting to print the first issue of “Meleagbo.”

The Ivory Coast LGBT community has launched a magazine called “Meleagbo” to address the lack of representation of the LGBT community in mainstream media. The magazine, financed by NGO Gromo and personal funds from members, is about 40 pages long and is difficult to fill due to fear of retaliation. The founder, Brice Dibahi, explains that the magazine aims to change people’s mindsets and make them feel part of the community making changes to the system. Research by Gromo shows that 70 to 83% of LGBT people are still victims of homophobia and face death threats, assaults, and rapes in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast. Although Ivory Coast is one of 40 African countries where LGBT people’s rights are not protected by the law, it is one of 40 countries on the continent where LGBT people’s rights are also not protected by the law.

The Constitutional Council amended the Ivorian penal code in November 2021 to remove sexual orientation from the list of prohibited motives for discrimination, which is seen by the community as a major setback for LGBT rights. The community believes that there is no law that condemns homosexuality outright, but society condemns it. The magazine also addresses the issue of employment, with 70% of LGBT people unemployed in Ivory Coast.