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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Openly Gay Nigerian, Bisi Alimi Speaks on CNN

Following the passage of an anti gay law in Nigeria which prescribes fourteen year jail term for offenders, reactions have continued to trail the new law which though generally accepted by Nigerians has been condemned by countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Bisi Alimi the first Nigerian man to openly declare he was gay on TV was on CNN to talk about his experience and the Nigerian anti-gay law.

Read Excerpts below: -

In 2004, Bisi Alimi did an extraordinary thing.He went on national television and told his fellow Nigerians that he was gay.
“There were so many things we don’t talk about,” Alimi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. “My career was on the line, I was going to be outed by the media.”
It was better, he decided, to come out of the closet on his own terms……
 “I have a responsibility to stand up for the community, to give a face to the community, to demystify the old arguments that there are no homosexuals in Nigeria,” People were not ready to educate themselves. And this created a lot of problems for the LGBT community in Nigeria.”I couldn’t get a job, I left university, nobody was going to employ me, my life was constantly in danger, I was always beaten, arrested by the police, discharged.Parliament passed the bill last year, so why did the president sign it now?

“He has been boxed to a corner,” Alimi said, who believes President Jonathan is increasingly politically alienated.
I know, like so many other Nigerians know, that this is a distraction.As for those fellow countrymen, Alimi believes that for many, their intolerant views are bolstered by religion.How many Nigerians know…what this law means? Or how many Nigerians have an understanding outside of religion what exactly we talk about when we talk about se*uality?”“Why then should religion be the basis of putting a law in place in a secular state?”
He would eventually seek asylum in the UK, where he now lives.He became the first Nigerian to declare his homosexuality on television.In that same year, 2004, Alimi had been diagnosed with HIV. He had been working for years as an activist with the gay community in Nigeria, and was programing director for an HIV-advocacy group.

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