Call for contributions to the 3rd issue of Myria

Call for contributions: The West African LGBTQI Movement: Past, Present, Future

In 2020, Myria* was born out of a need for a space for reflection and thought leadership by the West African LGBTQI movement. The first two issues with essays from across the region touched on the Engagement of LGBTQI activists in broader social justice movements and Accountability within the movement.

For this third issue, the theme is The West African LGBTQI Movement: Past, Present, Future. We want to answer a crucial question: What can we learn from the past to prepare for the future?

With the rise of fundamentalist anti-gender and anti-LGBTQI groups, the feminist and LGBTQI movements are at a crucial point, and there’s a need to strategize and take collective action to ensure the dignity and freedom of LGBTQI people.  

In the spirit of Sankofa*, we recognize the importance of looking to the past to make positive progress. By looking back at our history, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the work that has been done, learn from our mistakes, name our traumas, and use that knowledge to build a stronger movement.

We invite you to share your reflections on the past, present, and future of LGBTQI+ organizing in West Africa. What can history teach us? What happened at the emergence of the movement? How did the community work? How were people organized? Where are we today? What does LGBTQI community mobilization look like? How is the movement organized? What does our present situation show us? What do our prospects present to us? What do we hope for in the future? Where are we headed? And where do we need to go?

Please note that the questions listed above are illustrative examples to guide the writer. However, the writer may write a reflection that is not directly related or in response to the questions asked in this document but is still linked to the general theme.

Submission Guidelines
  • We encourage original submissions from LGBTQI+ persons, activists, allies, writers, and/or academics from all over West Africa at any stage of their careers. This call is not limited to the current ISDAO focal countries in the region, but to the whole of West Africa in general. 
  • The submissions must be non-fiction and can be in the form of personal essays, autobiographical essays, opinion editorials, social commentary, memoirs, or academic papers. The submissions must also be connected to the theme of the issue.
  • Please note that we do not accept fiction or poetry submissions.
  • Deadline for submissions: November 24, 2023
  • Word count: Maximum of 2000 words. Submissions of over 2000 words will not be considered.
  • Contributors whose work is selected to be featured in the issue will receive a $150 stipend.

Please submit your contribution in English or French, in a single Word document by or before 11:59 pm GMT on the 24th of November, 2023 by emailing with the subject line: ‘Myria Issue 3’.  

All submissions must be accompanied by a short biography of the author (100-150 words).

Contributors should allow 8 - 12 weeks to find out if their submission has been selected for publication

*Myria is a word in Dioula, a language spoken in Burkina, Mali, and Côte d’Ivoire, which means Reflection, Thought, and Meditation.  

**Sankofa (SAHN-koh-fah) – Sankofa, in the Twi language of Ghana, from the Akan people, means that we must return to our origins to move forward better. Sankofa is usually symbolized by a bird with its head turned backward trying to take a precious egg.