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nigerian lgbtq+ activist and husband make tv history

September 18, 2018

Out of the 54 nations that make up the African continent, 34 of those countries still consider homosexuality a crime. African leaders have let down their people in a number of ways but the resistance to recognizing the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in their respective countries is a travesty rarely emphasized by the global LGBTQ+ movement. Bt that isn’t stopping activists. Earlier this month in Nigeria, where homosexuality is outlawed, high profile LGBTQ+ activist Bisi Alimi and his husband Anthony Davis became the first gay couple to be interviewed on television in according to Gay Star News. The couple was interviewed on satirical news show “The Report Card”, hosted by comedian Hero Daniels.

Alimi and his husband have been together for four years and married for two. The London-based couple visited Nigeria so Alimi could show his spouse his roots. Alimi is usually the public person in the relationship, owing to his husband’s private demeanor but the couple saw the interview as an opportunity to give visibility to a community that is criminalized in Nigeria. “The purpose was to give visibility but also to send a very strong message to LGBT people across Nigeria and Africa that their love is valid,” Alimi said. Gay Star News also reported that “Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, where police regularly target people they believe to be gay. Last week, police raided a hotel party where they threw 57 men in jail on suspicion of ‘homosexual activity’.”

‘The television station was able to track us down for an interview and at first, it was a NO NO, but we also felt we own the movement in Nigeria a sense of responsibility towards visibility. I think the fear was more around how it will be perceived and how that will impact people and also this has never been done before and what does it mean in the bigger picture. After much deliberation, we both agreed to do the interview.’ – Alimi to Gay Star News


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Cheers to the freaking weekend. . . . . . . . . #instagay #intergaycial #cheers #airport #bisialimi

A post shared by Ashiwaju Bisi Alimi (@bisialimi) on Aug 19, 2018 at 1:39am PDT

Alimi has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights since he came out on Nigerian television 14 years ago. The declaration lost Alimi his job and the support of his family, but that did not stop him from living his truth and fighting for other queer Nigerians to live theirs. ‘My hope is that many people in Nigeria and across Africa consensual loving same-sex relationships can watch the interview and know for a fact that irrespective of what is said about them, that their love is valid and it is real, it is to them that I do what I do,’ Alimi told Gay Star News.

This interview is historic for Nigeria’s LGBTQ+ community but the work is far from over. Let’s show up for the African LGBTQ+ community by supporting organizations like the Bisi Alimi Foundation, All Out, Diversity Role Model and Rainbow Riots, which was recently covered by AFROPUNK.