A Socio-Semiotic Analysis of Pro-homosexuality Nigerian Instagram Images


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


English and Literary Studies


The assertion of identity and performance of agency lie at the heart of queer advocacies online. These representations challenge existing gender ideology and contest socio-cultural norms which ‘other’ non-heterosexual orientations. In this proposed study, I interrogate pictorial representations of Nigerian queers on Instagram. I argue that these images represent semiotic resources which not only enhance self- and group-validation; they also grant visibility and agency to the Nigerian queer community. My data are 30 purposively selected images from queer_ng, and lgbtq.nigerian. These handles post queer positive images which constitute non-personalised graphic portrayals of queer realities. I analyse the images alongside their LGBTQ hashtags with recourse to socio-semiotic and multimodal analysis. I contend that the images and hashtags enable personal agency and sexual identity while also referencing a collectively constructed non-normative ‘lifestyle’. To achieve a wholesome analysis and discussion, I integrate the intersection of local context as well as macro-sociological influences in the analysis. I submit that the images formulate a collective identity and function as authenticating artefacts which encode meaning-making affordances for the Nigerian queer community.