Sogi’s Story

Comic Book, Fact Sheet and Video

Problem: I don't want a video

How do you offer a message of empathy and understanding to a group living in fear, in some cases for their lives? When technology isn't available, hope is hard to offer and the issues are massively misunderstood?

We were asked to create a graphic novel to help protect and promote LGBTI rights in Africa. The comic book was to be handed out in UN Human Rights Centres across 16 Commonwealth African nations including Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Tanzania. The goal was to support and inspire Africans struggling with sexual and gender identity issues, in countries where they are not only stigmatised but actively discriminated against, often with the risk of physical harm.

The comic book was intentionally small – just 12 pages and printed in A5 format – so that a reader could conceal it easily and not incriminate themselves by being caught with pro-SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) literature. The comic was also available for download online and we made a black and white version so it was easily printable and could be distributed at a grass roots level. We also created a video to explain the broader scope of the situation to outsiders and those who worked in NHRI offices, encouraging them to spread the word online.

The project was launched at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra on 3 October 2014, by Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Human Rights Commission; Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner; the South African High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Koleka Mqulwana and Senator Dean Smith, Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. The comic, video, factsheet and website were sent to Human Rights Centres in 16 African Commonwealth countries, most of which have criminalised homosexuality.

SOGI’s Story won the 2015 Good Design Award for Communication Design and the project is being held up as a blueprint for approaching complex social issues both on grass-roots and bureaucratic levels. That the story does not have a happy ending was widely recognised as brave and praised. Senator Smith said it was fitting that SOGI’s Story did not end in a traditional, tidy fashion. “That’s entirely appropriate, because the next chapter in SOGI’s Story is yet to be written. And in a very real sense, we will be its authors.”
Link to Resource


Creative Director: Matt Taylor
Producer: Jacqui Guillemot
Assistant Producer: Bheki Mkwananzi
Writer: Pat Grant
Artist: Matt Taylor
Clean Up: Robert Pregardt and Deborah Ho
Cover Artist: Gillian O’Connor
Motion Designer: Darryn Rogers
Sound Design: Noiselab

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