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Nigerian Expatriate Turned LGBT Activist Sees Anti-Homosexuality Laws As An Opportunity for Change

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In 2004 in an appearance on "New Dawn with Funmi," a morning talk show program on Nigeria’s largest television network, Adebisi Alimi announced to the world that he was gay. The 29 year-old was an aspiring stage performer studying acting at the University of Lagos and, facing blackmail, he made the decision to come out.

The fallout following his announcement nearly ruined his life. Shunned by friends and family, Alimi was repeatedly harassed by law enforcement and left the country after an attempt on his life. In spite of the hardship that he’s faced, however, he sees his time in Nigeria as having been invaluable.

"My story is not a story of a victim,” he told the BBC in 2007. “It's a human story."  

Since then Alimi’s become a vocal LGBT-rights activist and HIV educator based out of the United Kingdom. In an interview with NPR's Goats & Soda Alimi explained his complex relationship to his home country particularly in light of a version of the draconian anti-homosexuality bill currently working its way through many African countries’ legislative systems. In Alimi’s opinion Nigeria’s anti-homosexuality bill will be, in the long term, a boom to the fight for LGBT equality.

“I see the law as a catalyst for change for good in Nigeria,” he explained. “You don't understand what it is like to fight a beast that you cannot see.”

Nigeria“Before the signing of that law, between 95 and 98 percent of Nigerians were in support of it. The latest poll says 88 percent of Nigerians now support the law.

That's a 10 percent drop. Some people who are not LGBT are now saying, ‘Did we just support a law that criminalizes people ... for falling in love?. [When] you see that your uncle or cousin is gay, it kind of changes the conversation.”

Check out the fulll interview here

And watch Adebisi Alimi’s TEDxBerlin talk about the next steps in fighting the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Nigerian Expatriate Turned LGBT Activist Sees Anti-Homosexuality Laws As An Opportunity for Change" »


Nigerian Court Dismisses Challenge to Powerful Anti-Gay Law

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On Wednesday, Nigeria's federal court dismissed a challenge to the nation's powerful anti-gay law, the Anti-Same Sex Marriage act, signed into law January 2014 by President Goodluck Jonathan.

As David Mixner wrote earlier this year, "Not only does the law ban marriage equality but also any LGBT relationship. If discovered, gay couples will be sentenced to fourteen years in jail. That is bad enough. However, it also provides for ten years in jail for forming any LGBT organization or supporting the formation of one. The law criminalizes even meetings between homosexuals."

AlimiThe court tossed the case out because they said the person who brought the case could not prove he was effected by it — the man in question does not live in Nigeria and is married to a woman with wife and children. His name is Teriah Joseph Ebah, 42, and he's lived the last 14 years in the UK. Said Ebah to Buzzfeed News: “I decided I wasn’t going to accept a Nigeria that was discriminatory.” His official complaint cites a violation of human rights protections of Nigerian Law.

On the bright side, Buzzfeed reports, this may not be such a setback for Nigerian LGBT activists as you might expect. They say Ebah brought the case independent of them without consulting them. Buzzfeed quotes Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi (pictured), who says the dismissal “opens a better door for us to challenge the law."

[photo via Facebook]


Gay Nigerian Speaks Out About the Terrifying Situation in His Home Country: VIDEO

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Bisi Alimi, the first Nigerian to come out of the closet on TV before fleeing the country for UK asylum three years later in 2007, speaks to CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the situation there, where a 'witch hunt' is underway for homosexuals and one has already been publicly flogged in a public square in the northern state of Bauchi.

Watch the excellent interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Nigerian Speaks Out About the Terrifying Situation in His Home Country: VIDEO" »


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