Thursday, August 12, 2010

IRMA Member! Gay Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi shares his compelling story

via San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

Bisi Alimi was born in Nigeria in 1975, grew up and went on to attend the University of Lagos (Nigeria) pursuing a degree in theater. While as a student in 2003, he was outed by the university's student newspaper during student government elections.

Homosexual activity is illegal in Nigeria, the conservative influences of the Muslim faith in the north and a large Christian presence in the south. It is punishable by death by stoning in all 12 states, or being sentenced up to 14 years of imprisonment. There is no legal protection against discrimination for LGBT Nigerians. Very few are out, and violence against those in the LGBT community is frequent. Legislation is pending to criminalize same-sex marriage throughout Nigeria.

Alimi was expelled from university in 2004, before he was able to receive his degree.

Later that year, he was selected to be the Nigerian face of homosexuality at the fourth National Conference on HIV/AIDS in Abuja. Also that year, he was brought onto Funmi Iyanda's New Dawn talk show on the Nigerian Television Authority and it was here that he publicly came out before the nation and asked for acceptance from the public.

Almost immediately, there were repercussions for both Alimi and the interviewer. Almini received both love letters and death threats, and lost his home and his job. The New Dawn talk show's Friday edition was canceled and further interviewees on the show were were screened by the NTA in a country where censorship against homosexuality is already tight.

Read the rest.

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