FannyAnn Viola Eddy, pioneering lesbian activist and the
founder of one of the very first gay rights groups in Africa, would have been
“FannyAnn Eddy was a person of extraordinary bravery and integrity, who literally put her life on the line for human rights,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Project at Human Rights Watch (x).
FannyAnn was born in Sierra Leone on June 14, 1974. In her
own words, she was a “woman who loves women, someone with many dreams.“
Her experience of growing up gay in Sierra Leone and witnessing the visceral
homophobia and lack of support for LGBT youth led FannyAnn to founding the Sierra
Leone Lesbian and Gay Association in 2002, which was the first of its kind. FannyAnn
rose to prominence in the international world of social activism as well and
was invited to address the United Nations on multiple occasions.
Her life was tragically cut short when she was murdered on
the night of September 29, 2004. While working late in the offices of the Sierra
Leone Lesbian and Gay Association, three men broke into the building and
savagely raped and stabbed FannyAnn. She was survived by her partner. Esther
Chikalipa and their ten-year-old son. The advancement of LGBT rights in Sierra Leone stalled after FannyAnn’s murder and the LGBT community which she loved so much continues to mourn the loss of one of its heroes.