"I want to see queer people in Africa free."

My superpower would be: To be invisible My favorite food is: Chicken

Chris Muriithi

Building a platform to empower the African queer community.

PROTECTING A COMMUNITY THROUGH EDUCATION. Chris Muriithi’s startup is more than a social enterprise; it's a philosophy they embody at their core. Bold Network Africa is a firm committed to telling the authentic and inspiring stories of African queer people. Their mission is to amplify the disenfranchised voices and advocate for inclusivity and laws that will protect the queer community.

Bold Network Africa is a force for good born from a tragic situation. In 2019, while working as a BBC journalist in their native country Kenya, Chris' car was vandalized, an incident that led to them being outed as gay. In a country where significant challenges face the LGBTQIA+ community, the news soon went viral, and Chris faced a devastating backlash. "All of a sudden, this career I had built over ten years as a journalist working in mainstream media had been crushed in seconds."

Fearing for their safety where they lived, Chris' employers at the BBC helped them relocate to a safe space. With many friends abandoning them in the aftermath of the incident, they suffered bouts of depression and months of internal struggle over coming to terms with being outed. With their story gaining attention worldwide, an opportunity arose for Chris to share their side on the TEDx platform that would change the course of their life.

While writing their speech, a theme of being 'bold' quickly arose as a common thread. "For me to be able to do this talk, or to be able to walk back into that office at the BBC, I had to make the decision one morning to say it doesn't matter whether people know that I'm queer or not. I'm going to be bold about it; I'm going to walk into that office and do the work I'm supposed to do."

TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH. In October 2020, Chris registered 'Bold Network Africa' as an organization. A concrete idea was still formulating, but, leaning into their journalism background, Chris knew storytelling would be the central focus. The speech, titled 'Choose To Be Bold' for TEDx, was a resounding success and helped sharpen Chris' focus on creating Bold Network Africa. They resigned from the BBC and established the platform, creating films and documentaries themed around music and fashion, plus training programs, to educate Africa and the rest of the world about the LGBTQIA+ community.

Despite hostile attitudes towards the queer community from some groups, Chris believes Africa is ready for the conversation about LGBTQIA+ rights, and Bold Network Africa is ready to unlock the untapped potential of the community. Some of the projects they're working on include a Docuseries, a non-binary fashion line, a music incubation program, establishing a network of therapists for the community, and a dating app. "I'm afraid every single day. The police cancel my events just because of all the discrimination around the community, but I don’t stop because I know the work I do is important. They want to silence our existence but that is not possible anymore. Africa is Bold."

Chris feels the weight of responsibility on their shoulders and is aware of the significant challenges ahead for Bold, but seeing the considerable impact they're having on the community continues to drive them in their mission. "I want to see queer people in Africa free. Free from pain, free from constantly battling their existence, and free to have safe employment and healthcare. I want to free queer people from living a lie. I want to free them by sharing their stories to elevate their existence."

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.