Friday, April 18, 2014

What Would You Risk? #gay #lgbtrights

Gay rights activist, Bisi Alimi, did a recent interview with the Washington Post about his past in Nigeria and the LGBT community's future there. It's a moving and inspiring story of a man willing to risk everything to live out loud. He talks about the impact that first interview had on his life and the resulting harassment by police:

"When I was in London I was on BBC Network Africa, and I granted an interview about HIV, corruption, and many other things in Nigeria. So when I got back, I was arrested at the airport, and I was released two days later. This was in March. Between March and April I was in and out of police cells, and I did not commit any crimes: The only crime I committed was because of my sexuality. I've been telling the Nigerian government, up until today, to come out with any security evidence of any crime I may have committed. On April 9, my house was broken into. I was with my then-boyfriend and we were tied up and beaten. I thought I was going to be killed. That was the first time I saw a gun ever in my life."

Read the rest of the article here.

We all know what we risk coming out in North America. For some it's not much and we walk out of the closet into open arms. For others it's harder. We lose friends, family, emotional support, a place to live, a source of income, and even the promise of relative safety. As ugly as that can sometimes be it's even worse in Nigeria. 

They risk police beatings and imprisonment in places that make our prisons seem like a luxury five-star hotel. Communities have been known to rise up en masse and attack them as well as any family members and friends who don't publicly condemn their sexuality. Suspected gay men are arrested and tortured into revealing the names of other gay men so the cycle can continue.

In many countries, being out of the closet is rapidly becoming a right. In less evolved ones it's still treated as a privilege, one the Nigerian LGBT community doesn't have. Take a minute to imagine yourself in Bisi's place. What would you risk to be with the person you love when a few precious hours puts both your lives in danger? How far would you go to live in the open when fleeing the country isn't a guaranteed option and you may spend the rest of your life trapped right where you are?


  1. Life is tough for gay people outside USA & Europe. Even in places like Brazil, its accepted but ridiculed at the same time. Living in the 'west' we don't often realise how lucky we are.

    1. I agree. Some of us go through some very difficult things coming out but a majority of us don't have any idea what real persecution is like. Thanks for the comment!