‘It may take 60 years, but we have to start now’ Bisi Alimi opens up in The Guardian about LGBT rights in Nigeria

Bisi Alimi 2

Gay Rights Activist Bisi Alimi was featured in The Guardian where he talks about how life was in Lagos back in 2004 after he came out as gay on National television.

He also shares his thoughts on the LGBT rights in Nigeria.

See excerpts below.

On being out in London: You get in the queue in front of G-A-Y or Heaven. You go in, party, and leave. Where’s the excitement? Being out in Lagos and going to underground parties is far more thrilling. We had this party that got broken into and many people got beaten up and soaked in blood. But the next week we were all back for the party, because life has got to go on.

On if Lagos has an openly gay nightlife: I wish. You would meet people through friends or at parties. When I left Nigeria, [the website] Gaydar was quite popular but it was very underground – people would go to an internet cafe and minimise the window if someone walked past.

On societal pressure to be “normal”: My longest relationship was for four years but we knew that it would only last until one of us found a woman to marry. The expectation is to conform, not to live happily with who you are. Some gay men and lesbian women in Nigeria marry each other – “everybody’s happy, everybody lives their separate lives” – or they continue their relationships after they’ve married someone of the opposite sex, but there’s nothing meaningful about it. That’s why in many places in Africa, sexual relationships between same-sex people are considered a game. You either lose or you win, and that is really very painful.

On Nigeria one day decriminalizing sexual orientation identity: Nigeria plays a huge role in terms of population, economy and politics. That’s why I still encourage the global community to look at the vital role Nigeria has to play in decriminalising sexual orientation and gender identity. I’m not saying that we will have the law by then, but we will be demanding for it. It’s going to take another five years to actually have that law, possibly another 10 or 15 years to have a law that would recognise lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, and then maybe another 20 years after that to have a same-sex marriage law. It’s not going to happen in the next 50 or 60 years, but we have to start now.

On religion : I think we need to ask: how do we make religion more loving, more accepting and more accommodating? I hope we can get to a position where religion is not the decider of the political agenda on the continent of Africa.

Read his full feature here.

47 Comments on ‘It may take 60 years, but we have to start now’ Bisi Alimi opens up in The Guardian about LGBT rights in Nigeria
  • Charis February 9, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    No vile and bitter words hauled. This is the Bisi I can actually pay attention to.

  • A Real Nigerian February 9, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    What a smart, great, brave and wonderful man.

    • G! February 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Of course you would laud the openly gay man but bash the openly born again or celibate person!

      • A Real Nigerian February 9, 2016 at 3:39 pm

        Stop trying to paint me like a hypocrite with your lies and lack of understanding.
        In case you didn’t have the mental capacity to grasp the comment I made about celibacy the other day, I simply meant being celibate or not is no big deal. I won’t have more or less respect for you because of how many people you have had sex with. It is none of my business. You can try and twist and turn it so as to make yourself feel better, it won’t change anything.
        Secondly, yes, I bash openly born again people in this country because they are hateful, greedy, intolerant, lying, cheating, corrupt and vain people whose minds are in a state of constant moral decay.

      • Nkechi February 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        Thank you G. Plenty stars on your crown waiting for you.

    • Oma February 9, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      You hypocrisy on these streets SMELLS
      Bisi Alimi has a point, one day the laws will change and we will accept people for who and what they are regardless of thier sexuality

  • George February 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    No ALimi..This may be your prophecy. But it has failed. GAY or Lesbianism will never thrive in our land. God forbids! And that is my prophecy.

    • Natu February 9, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      It will thrive!!!! Just wait and see. Most of you are married to gay men lol

      • keke driver February 10, 2016 at 11:43 am

        PREACH!

  • Lol February 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Lmfao

  • Laila February 9, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    See Bella naija, please don’t waste our time and data by carrying such stories. We are NOT interested. Stop forcing homosexuality down our throats!

    • benson February 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Who’s forcing shit down your throat? If you don’t want to read then scroll down or up.

      • diana February 9, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        Mr Gay u better to relocate to countries that encourages people like u instead of living a lie here cos Nigerian will never allow same sex marriage.

    • keke driver February 10, 2016 at 11:45 am

      O! Shut up, NO ONE’S forcing ANYTHING down your throat, you either read or you skip to the next story…..mf

  • Tee February 9, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    He should just remain in London and leave Nigeria gayless or in the closet… Whatever abeg.

  • Ms jazz February 9, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    No comment

  • ATL’s finest February 9, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Over to you Bruno!

  • Oh well February 9, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Hmm, interesting

  • DAME February 9, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I do not hate gays or lesbians..by all means do what you want to do..
    Just dont force me to accept your views, promote it or see it as normal…please no

  • halima February 9, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Homosexuality is not new to Nigeria. They are gay people in Nigeria. In your family, work place, home,mosque and church! Yes, church! I just hate and hate the way Nigerians are quick to cuss gay people claiming it’s not our culture bla bla bla. Ya’all need to chill abeg.

    • nene February 9, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      there might be people practicing homosexuality but it will never be accepted. shikena

  • A Real Nigerian February 9, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Another butthurt, supersensitive, inconsiderate and intolerant Nigerian right here. A simple interview is being reported and it is somehow being “forced” down your throat?
    It is very sad that your religion polices your weak and shallow mind to hate on homosexuals for no reason at all other than the fact that they are homosexuals. A human being like you makes a personal decision that in no way harms you or your life and you hate him for it.
    Can you not see poisoned, hateful and low you have become all in the name of a religion you practise falsely. I’m sure you lie, cheat, mock and do many other carnal things on a daily basis yourself, yet you pick on someone for being homosexual.
    Pathetic.

    • True Talk February 10, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Cheating, lying, gossip and so on are all condemned by the Bible of Christians, Koran of Muslims, traditional religion inclusive, so what! Alimi and his group are free to continue to be gay but we know gay is condemed by both religious books as well as traditional people. Normal minds know gay is wrong, God dislike it.

    • bunny February 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

      i think the day you all realize God is real and magnificent you will stop with the ‘logical’ reasoning of comparing sins and saying being gay or not is okay and calling people hypocrites. at the end of the day it is very simple. think of the world, why you are here and where you are going after all this is done and if you are not an atheist, think of how powerful God is, and use the fear of him and hope of staying away from eternal damnation to approach these topics and comments. at the end of the day they are all sins and should be kept that way whether we are perfect or not. i do not know about you but i am aiming for heaven and going pro gay just because i do not want to sound ‘religious’ or because i also lie steal and cheat does not help me get there
      just a thought.

  • kazy-clean February 9, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Just passing by !

  • mz_daniels February 9, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Increased electricity tariffs, take homes reduced cos some tax laws are being enforced, exchange rate issues and LGBT rights is what some people are worried about.
    Issorait.

    • Mohammad February 9, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Mz Daniels please spot being so f^cking selfish!

      Some people are being killed for being gay. That you don’t care and assume others shouldn’t simply because electricity tarriffs have increased marks you out for what you truly are: self-centred and narrow-minded.

  • Niola February 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Bisi came to Nigeria recently to take his mum to London, met the chap on the plane well not formally, sweet chap, despicable act though. Well do you ,while we continue to do God’s will until you are delivered loruko jesu.

  • bussy February 9, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    We rebuke that spirit in you IJN. We declare and decree that gay and homosexuality shall never dominate our land IJN.

    Truth is these feelings ain’t inborn like the white man preaches. I saw girls develop it in boarding school and i know they were simply victims of circumstance with lack of guidance!

    By the way because polygamy is African the whites will preach against it then one day they will come up and say pedophile is another psychological issue. Abeg…..

  • BossLady February 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    @Laila: Nobody is wasting your MB, you saw the caption and u already had an idea of what you were about to read.

  • Laila February 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    When we buy a new gadget we always consult and strictly follow the manual, the maker’s instructions, without question.

    Its so simple. FOLLOW THE MAKER’S INSTRUCTION!!!

    God says NO!!!

    If you don’t like it pls come back as a plant or amoeba!!!

  • Nigerian February 9, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    “I think we need to ask: how do we make religion more loving, more accepting and more accommodating? I hope we can get to a position where religion is not the decider of the political agenda on the continent of Africa.”

    The word of God is settled FOREVER, it cannot be changed.

    However, the same way Gays cannot force the community to accept their lifestyle is the same way we Christians and Muslims (religious people) cannot force the community to live with our views. This whole gay right thing is a very touchy topic.

    As long as the law makes provisions that protects our religion and individual rights maybe we can have a happy medium. I.e if gays want to be gay good for them just don’t force churches, mosques and business to participate. Don’t trample on our religion to make room for a minority group.

    • whocares February 10, 2016 at 11:56 am

      @Nigerian- But the law does not. That is my problem with all of this. the law criminalises and punishes homsexuals and therein lies the problem. No one is trying to shove anything down anyone’s throat but from my perspective it is commonsense. If there is a draconian law, you expect gay people to roll over and take it and not speak up for themselves? I don’t want to live in a society where even a slight minority is targeted not only by society at large but also the law for something they cannot help. Some people truly are born gay. It is not for anyone to understand, but it is for the law to have mechanisms in place to protect vulnerable people in the society. It is that simple; at the end of the day it is not about anyone’s personal prejudice or religion but what you expect a normal functioning government to do; and that is protect its citizens. The rest (e.g fight for acceptance and what not) people can do that for themselves within the society so long as they have the life (a good quality of life bereft of threat and isolation etc) to do that.

  • Reekaddict till infinity February 9, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    No matter how u try to justify gayism or lesbianism it is still a sin in the sight of God y not do the right thing and live.

  • Madam Ye February 9, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    @halima

    Exactly. I must agree here. Gay people are everywhere men and women. Being gay is not a culture, a fad, a choice or even a lifestyle choice. Also 9 times out of 10 homosexual people wish they could be heterosexual so that they wouldn’t be stigmatized, abused and shunned by people they love and care about.

    Would you not rather it was openly accepted rather than find your self in the situation of being married to a closet gay???

    Mehn…Let the gays roam free so I can marry a man that actually wants to be with me and not use me as a cover up. What two grown adults do in their bedroom na for them…

  • Gyasisirimou February 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I have nothing against them but I will never understand what they go through f-in a s-it hole not me. Not even a girls shit hole.

  • ‘Deola February 9, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Even though this is not about secularity one can still use the idea of secularity to make an argument. I am talking about the idea of the choice to live your life in freedom, dignity and with respect in this case.

    If indeed Nigeria is a secular state, then it allowing individuals to live according to their conscience and being afforded equal respect is a moral right. In a ‘democratic’ society, people should have equal rights to exist and co-exist with others.

    I am not sure you can cherry pick on rights. If you do it makes you hypocritical. What two consenting adults do in their bedroom is their choice and nobody’s business. No one should force other people to live by the Quran , Bible or according to the dictates of Amadioha/ Sango.

    In some cases, the same culture that people invoke to make argument against gays is the same culture that some custodians use to make a case to marry a minor. And before we know it an abracadabra is thrown our way with kingdoms marrying kingdoms in a modern world and before we know it they go further with make we wait since the minor go go even decide after she finish dey study computer for overseas. when bull shit, na the same bullshit.

    You can all knot your penises and pussies and have them work out or play in whatever value packages of your choices. Those are your personal decisions ke ! You have no freaking right to infringe on other people’s life or happiness. Abi na your grandfather carry Christianity or Islamic religion enter the world?

    If we want to continue with this culture business, then women should be regarded as inferior to men. Their needs inferior to that of men. Their search for happiness is inferior to that of men. As a matter of fact, I know a very popular politician that champions the fight against gays, yet the brother, a very brilliant artist, although late, is regarded as one of the icons of the black gay movement. Nothing you no fit find for google. Abeg google am if you curious.

    I am not sure why people can’t step out and agree they know little of the world and allow themselves to understand the changing nature of the knowledge and beliefs. The moment you start using the rulebook of the Bible or Quoran to govern, out goes the freedom of choice for people to steer their own canoe.

  • Drknite February 9, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Crowds of Igbo-speaking people barricade streets across southeastern Nigeria, bringing traffic to a standstill. They wave black, green, and red secessionist flags; distribute their own currency and passports; and demand the creation of a new independent country called Biafra

  • WHAT I DONT UNDERSTAND February 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    If homosexuality was in God’s plan… why didnt he make another hole Near the PENIS so men would enjoy themselves t00. Thinking of the other hole and putting a big thing there must be painful.. and if homosexuality was in God’s plan why can’t men have babies too and breast to feed them. The other thing.. Lesbians are also funny as they play with their hands.. But, why God made them have their months…? I wonder how two lesbians would do if they both have periods on the bed… JUST CURIOUS.. LIKE CURIOUS GEORGE

  • jforjudith February 9, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    We have more important issues to deal with right now. Boko haram, power,unemployment, IDP’s, lassa fever, fall in price of crude oil e.t.c. LGBT rights ain’t one of them

  • Tosin February 9, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    It won’t take 60 years. 60 months maybe, just common sense. A girl can dream?

  • casper February 9, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    imagine waking up to watch a male lion mating with another male lion on national geographical…..d same wit a man and another man mating or woman vice versa…..this is pure MADNESS….if you support being gay….then go live on another planet or something and not here

  • Damilola February 10, 2016 at 2:03 am

    @charis

    Yeah, this interview of his is decent. The reality is, sin and abomination will continue till the end of the world. I don’t support homosexuality. However, Nigerian women need to also realize some of the men they are married to or dating has slept, given oral sex to other men before. They are using them as cover up. Some women that complain, my husband doesn’t seem interested sleeping with me, he’s always out, and you are thinking it’s another woman or something is wrong with him. He might be strictly sexually attracted to men, and he’s getting the “D” out there. This is very common in the north and now south south. Or these men have done it for money and power. Same applies to women. Some naija women are married to men, have children but sleep with other women. But lesbianism is taken as girls having fun which shouldn’t be. Matter of fact, your man that is cheating might be cheating with a man, it’s not always a woman. Some of Those guys you see together or secretly hang out there’s more to it. There’s a prominent Yoruba man in lagos, educated and well respected. Married twice has five children. Nobody knew he slept with men and you won’t believe it. Until him and a family member of ours(a man) had a secret relationship and it lasted for a long time. When he died, of course the family said cancer when in reality it was AIDS. It was flown to California when his illness became worse. This is true story. Anyway, naija women don’t completely condemn gay men bcos you might be sleeping, living with one in your house or even talking to one right now

  • ElessarisElendil February 10, 2016 at 2:36 am

    An inevitable conclusion arguing otherwise is swimming against the tide of history. Probably not in my lifetime though.

  • keke driver February 10, 2016 at 11:48 am

    They forget that there’s no such thing as small or big sin……SIN IS SIN!!

  • John February 11, 2016 at 9:50 am

    So long we have no shortage of adult male diapers in Nigeria, all powers to you, (my fairy) brothers!

  • just a concerned girl February 12, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    I understand that the need of rights needs to be covered but there is no sin that is littlel, I am a sinner, i am not righteous and I definitely come short of his glory, I am not here to judge. as a christian I believe the bible is complete, the bible make me understand I am not of the world I have been called out of the world therefore in my bible it says one man and one woman where then do we find a man and a man ? or a woman and a woman? it is definately what the devil as placed in the of the people. I just believe we need to move closer to God, we can not send them away they are our brothers and auntys its is not an illness it is just the devil trying to turn our hearts away from our maker the lord has created everything and there is no mistake in whatever he makes. We should not stigmatiize them instead show love and continue to pray for them. like i said I am not thinking of the world I have my bible which guides me

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