Cameroon president’s newly-out daughter hopes to change anti-gay laws

The daughter of Cameroon’s president, Brenda Biya, has spoken for the first time about coming out in the hope of helping other LGBTQ+ people in the country. 

Biya officially came out as LGBTQ+ on her Instagram account, @KingNastyy, on 30 June, with a picture of her sharing a kiss with girlfriend, Brazilian model Layyons Valença.

“I’m crazy about you and I want the world to know,” Biya wrote.

Same-sex activity is illegal in Cameroon, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine. Queer people in the country are frequently subjected to discrimination.  

On Tuesday (9 July), 27-year-old Biya, who lives in the US and Switzerland, spoke to French newspaper Le Parisien, revealing that she hadn’t come out to her family before the post. 

“There are plenty of people in the same situation as me who suffer because of who they are.  If I can give them hope, help them feel less alone, if I can send love, I’m happy,” she said. 

She went on to defend her father, 91-year-old Paul Biya – who has been president since 1982 – saying that the law criminalising gay sex existed before he took office. It came into force in 1972.

Biya hopes it will be abolished in the future. “It may be too soon for it to disappear completely but it could be less strict. We could first eliminate the prison sentence,” she said. 

Cameroon's President Paul Biya.
Paul Biya has been president of Cameroon for more than 40 years. (Ludovic MARIN/ AFP/ Getty)

The president is yet to comment publicly about his daughter’s coming out. However, her brother reportedly called her angry that she had published it without warning the family, the BBC reported, quoting Le Parisien.

Her parents later asked her to delete the post. “Since then, it’s been silence,” Biya said.

While some people took to social media to praise her bravery, others asked if she could be prosecuted under the central African nation’s law, with one person writing on X/Twitter that the legislation was only “for the poor”. 

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