|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
The MSM community in Togo is mourning the death one of its members, Gerald Sélom Ephoé Sasou, known by many as a great activist and proudly gay, who passed away last month.
A pillar of the MSM community in Togo, Sasou fought all his life for the recognition and the rights of MSM people, and was well known in the West African MSM community.
Born in November 1980, he knew from a young age that his sexual orientation was different and was never ashamed of it. He therefore never hid the fact that he was gay and the fact that he was outspoken about it, earned him criticism from churches that banned him from their choir despite his talent as a singer.
Although he was very friendly, he also had strong minds and never let anyone trod on his toes. While growing up, he never hesitated to go to the police station every time someone made fun of him because of his sexual orientation.
MSM Activist, Sasou was a real one and always fought for what he believed was right.
His enthusiasm and his fighting-spirit were sometimes, just too overwhelming for the other members of the MSM community.
He knew how to fight for his ideas and projects. Every time he had a project or an idea that could benefit to the community, he tried every door to raise money.
He was well known among the many HIV and Aids organizations operating in Togo such as PSI (Population Service International), ONUSIDA, WHO, EVT (Life Hope Togo) etc. He never hesitated to harass them every time he needed funding or support for all his great work.
At the time of his death, he was the president of MEN’S, a HIV/ Aids and Human rights organization.
He co-founded MEN’S, two years ago with his friends to raise awareness around issues affecting the MSM community in Togo.
Before that, he worked with the Club of Seven Days, the first MSM organization in Togo.
Through this organization, several awareness campaigns and HIV voluntary tests were organized in Lomé, the capital of Togo and Aného, a coastal town 45km from Lomé.
He was never short of ideas to entertain and bring together the LGBTI community in the country.
He launched the Miss and Mister MSM event in Togo and later the Diva Evening, a Miss and Mister MSM event intended for senior members of the community.
To pay tribute to his activism and achievement, the second edition of the DIVA Evening that will take place in Lomé on the 31 October 2010 will be dedicated to him.
Gérard, Géraldine, Dadadia, Dadia, Gnagan, the Great Lady …you had so many nicknames by which we used to call. We will miss your fighting spirit and your dedication, may your soul rest in peace brother.