Nigerian Gay Activist Flees To New York After Outed In ‘Washington Post’ Article

Michael Ighodaro

Last year The Washington Post ran an article about the International AIDS Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C., and how it provided some much-needed relief for African attendees who had to deal with rampant persecution in their home countries. One of the men they interviewed, Michael Ighodaro, is a gay rights activist in his home country of Nigeria, but due to the extremely hostile environment has to work in secret. Unfortunately, the article outed him to his countrymen. His home and possessions were destroyed, he was brutally beaten by a random group of bigots, and was forced to flee to New York to save his life.

Ighodaro's shattered hand that required surgery to fix was a lighter punishment than what some homosexuals suffer in Nigeria. According to Reverend Pat Bumgardner, senior pastor of New York’s LGBT-friendly Metropolitan Community Church, a common tactic is to assault and cut off the noses of suspected homosexuals so that they can be easily identified. Then, of course, there are the ones who are flat-out killed for the crime of being gay. The driving force behind this hatred is a combination of extreme poverty and western evangelism, which evidently subscribes to the philosophy of "Who Would Jesus Maim?"

Ighodaro has been in the U.S. for a year now and is settling in to a better life. His green card application is being processed and he plans to attend Columbia University in the coming months.


  1. redball says

    I have ALWAYS wondered how on earth people stay safe when they’re outed by news stories about socially sensitive topics.

    I guess the answer is they don’t–at least not always….

  2. rik says

    Given the hostile political conditions in that country, it was the height of irresponsible journalism to “out” this person. For contrition, the WaPo should publish a (front page) mea culpea report on this incident. Hopefully, the WaPo’s new owner (Jeff Bezos of will see this and do the right thing in terms of (future) internal policy and employee discipline.

  3. Element 82 says

    There’s one reliable solution to bigotry — and it costs about thirty cents each time.

  4. jamal49 says

    @RIK Don’t hold your breath. The WaPo lost all its journalistic integrity long ago. It was irresponsible to out that poor man. WaPo should be concentrating more on the scandal of Western evangelism in Africa, how it is corrupting African societies and the homophobia it is promoting there because they no longer are credible here in the U.S. Evangelicals christians are vile and their perfidy needs to be exposed.

  5. David Anyaegbu says

    It’s wrong to suggest that countries that have zero tolerance for gays do so out of poverty or western evangelism. If you say so you might consider Russia a case study where your theory is grossly flawed.

    Thank you.

  6. David Anyaegbu says

    ‘If minorities prefer Sharia law, then we advice them to go to those places where that’s the State law. Russia does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell discrimination’. Yours truly, Vladimir Putin

  7. ratbastard says

    He can have hope of a better life and future in NY than Nigeria. I know it’s hard to leave the land and culture you were raised in and accustomed to, but for the life of me, I don’t comprehend how some gay men and lesbians tolerate such oppression. Not oppression, persecution.

  8. Tiny16 says

    Well, To be fair let him think better stay in New York with other gay friends. Never come back till your straight and ok as human being. Personally, I feel his a disgrace to Nigeria.