“The Boy From Mushin”
Even with all that we have achieved with respect to gay rights in America, we know that the fight forequality is far from over. We must remember that none of us are free until all of us are free. Our hear from but where simple disclosure could result in risking one’s life. Nonetheless there seems to always be someone who is prepared to take that risk just so that they can start on that long road for equality even though they may catch up to what we have here.
In Nigeria, that someone is Bis Alimi. He is an extraordinary self-less 41 year old gay activist, public speaker, and HIV/LGBT advocate who caused notoriety in Nigeria in 2004 when he came out as a gay man with HIV on live Television. That very same year Nigeria’s President publicly declared “there are no gays in Nigeria”. The TV show was quickly cancelled, and although Alimi continued working co-coordinating services for AIDS patients with the International AIDS Alliance, and he co-founded The Independent Project (later, The Initiative for Equal Rights) working as its Executive Director, his life has remained in danger.
Just three years later he was forced to flee Nigeria after receiving numerous threats to his life, and he has now settled in the UK where he was granted asylum and then citizenship. For the past 19 years Alimi has been working studiously on HIV matters and has also become one of Africa’s leading human rights activists holding various positions. He is is currently the Executive Director of Bisi Alimi Foundation and a co-founder and director of Rainbow Intersection.
Now he is the subject of a feature length documentary that just doesn’t follow his life story to date but is with him as he finally undertakes the dangerous journey back to Nigeria for the first time since he was exiled. “The movie plans to show how this son of a policeman, born in one of poorest neighborhoods of Lagos, got himself both an education and the courage and conviction to speak up not just for himself, but the whole scared and very frightened LGBT community. Alimi has spent his life dealing with discrimination and violence at first hand that is rife in countries like his. Seeing it how it effects his community puts a very personal face on something that is too often tucked comfortable out of sight. On the upside, the film also shows the people who have been inspired by him, and are determined to help take his legacy further’.