Cameroon president’s daughter reveals same-sex relationship with Brazilian model

Brenda Biya, daughter of President Paul Biya of Cameroon, shares a photo of her kissing her girlfriend Brazilian model Layyons Valença on Instagram (Instagram)
Brenda Biya, daughter of President Paul Biya of Cameroon, shares a photo of her kissing her girlfriend Brazilian model Layyons Valença on Instagram (Instagram)

The president of Cameroon’s daughter, Brenda Biya, revealed that she is in a same-sex relationship with a Brazilian model.

In a post shared on Instagram, the 26-year-old showed a picture of her kissing her girlfriend Layyons Valença on the last day of Pride Month, despite same-sex sexual activity being illegal in her home country. The caption read: “PS: I’m crazy about you & I want the world to know.”

Although Biya has turned off the post’s comment section since posting, the Cameroon News Agency noted that she responded to a comment pointing out that her father is President Paul Biya, the staunchly, anti-LGBT+ leader of Cameroon.

After pointing out that her father has continued to criminalize homosexuality and same-sex sexual activities for the over four decades he’s remained in power, the president’s daughter shared some hopeful words, sharing that she believes the tide will eventually change in Cameroon.

“Nobody will have anything to say because only love shall win,” she responded, adding: “I don’t condone hate, I think the mentality should change, but it will change once the people are ready.”

According to the global human rights group Human Dignity Trust, homosexuality has been illegal in Cameroon since 1972. The law criminalizing homosexuality also attacks any same-sex sexual activity of any kind, with many arrests leading to as little as hefty fines to up to five years in prison. As decades have gone by, Human Rights Watch has found that anti-LGBT+ violence and abuse have only escalated in the country, finding an 88 percent increase in incidences from 2021 to 2022.

Brenda’s Pride Month post has garnered the support of several activists, including trans activist Shakiro, who told BBC News that Brenda’s coming out was a “turning point for the LGBTQ+ community in Cameroon.”

After having been jailed in Cameroon for five years for “attempted homosexuality,” Shakiro has since lived in Belgium, but Brenda’s post gives her hope that Cameroon will finally. face a reckoning. She believes that the president’s daughter has solidified herself as a progressive, powerful voice capable of enacting “social change in a country where taboos are deeply rooted.”

“I love this for Cameroon’s first daughter, Brenda Biya!” another LGBT+ activist Bandy Kiki wrote in a Facebook post. However, she noted that Brenda benefits from her position of power. She wrote that her freedom to post about her girlfriend with minimal repercussions “highlights a harsh reality: Anti-LGBT laws in Cameroon disproportionately target the poor.”

She added, “Wealth and connections create a shield for some, while others face severe consequences.”

But others have noted that Brenda's “provocative” online presence could be a Trojan horse. According to the Cameroon Concord, has been accused of undermining critics of her father’s reportedly authoritarian and corrupt administration. Under President Biya’s rule, Transparency International deemed Cameroon “The World Corruption Champion” two years in a row from 1998 to 1999.