In 2004, I was the first person to come out as gay on Nigerian television. At the time, I was an actor on a Nigerian soap opera and just about to graduate from the University of Lagos. I had recently signed a one-year television contract and thought I had my career ahead of me. But I heard whispers that my secret, my sexuality, was leaking out and people were going to blackmail me. I decided to take charge of my own story; and came out before millions of viewers on the public television broadcaster’s national breakfast show.
What followed this very public act was severe. I lost my job; I was disowned by my parents and kicked out of home. The presenter of the breakfast show lost her job too. My house was broken into by a mob and I was attacked and almost killed – before I managed to escape. To save my own life, I was forced to leave my country. Tragically, my story is the story of many other people in Nigeria. I decided to establish a foundation to help those who suffer from violence, loss of their jobs and their families because of their sexuality and gender identity. I believe we can only do this is we address public opinion that lies behind the discrimination and violence.
– Bisi Alimi
What do we stand for?
Equal Nigeria, Equal Nigerians
What do we do?
- Build a wealth of knowledge through research, education, training and community engagement as a means of reducing homophobia in Nigeria.
- Promote and advocate for equal opportunity and social inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in Nigeria.
- Reduce sexual-identity-related stigma among the LGBT community by engaging with civil societies, media and relevant stakeholders.
- Engage with small and medium-sized enterprise and large corporations in Nigeria to create an awareness of the impact of homophobia on individuals and businesses.
How do we do it?
Research: we conduct public opinion surveys and studies on social perception of LGBT people in Nigeria to monitor change within the country. We also research into impact of homophobia on the LGBT community in Nigeria.
Campaign: we develop short video campaigns to create awareness around homophobia, with the aim of changing public social perception of LGBT people in Nigeria.
Advocacy: we advocate for equal opportunity and social inclusion for LGBT people in Nigeria and advocate for accelerated acceptance.
Training: we train the Nigerian media and film industry on the need for non-biased representation of LGBT people in the media and films.
Why should you support us?
Nigeria is the first country in recent years to constitutionally criminalise LGBT people with 14 years of imprisonment. In those parts of Northern Nigeria governed by Sharia, homosexuality is punishable by death – one of few countries in which this is the case. This puts Nigeria in the spotlight, creating fear within the LGBT community, as well as among their families and friends. It has led to indiscriminate arrest of LGBT people and constant victimisation from the society.
We are an organisation using research as a niche to promote equality and social inclusion in Nigeria. Our research informs our advocacy and campaign with the aim of accelerating social acceptance of LGBT people.
By achieving equality and social inclusion in Nigeria, the rights of the LGBT people can be fully protected. Moreover, this will create a ripple effect across Africa and lead to a sustainable campaign for equality and justice.
How can you support us?
With your support, we are working hard to change hearts and minds in Nigeria and make it a safe home for LGBT people.
Donate: Support us to train and engage with as many key players within Nigeria as possible.
Volunteer: Give us your time by volunteering for change
Follow us on twitter @tbafoundations
Talk about us to your friends!