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, lawyers, religious leaders and relevant stakeholders.
- Engage with small and medium-sized enterprise and large corporations in Nigeria to a workplace that is inclusive and welcoming of everyone.
How do we do it?
Research: we conduct public opinion surveys 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 viral video campaigns to create awareness around Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia with the aim of changing public social perception of LGBT people in Nigeria.
Business Engagement: As an organisation, we strongly believe businesses both global and local has a role to play in supporting a just society. It is in view of this that our work with businesses in Nigeria is geared towards a commitment from businesses to make the work place safe and welcoming in order to create a ripple effect of making the society for everyone including LGBT people.
Fellowship: We run a mentorship based flagship Media Justice Fellowship in Nigeria, by training lawyer and journalists on the important of unbiased representation of LGBT people both in the courtroom and in the media. Our legal fellows also provide pro bono legal support for LGBT people across Nigeria.
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 strongly believe that positive change will happen in Nigeria, but as an organisation, it is our responsibility to accelerate that change by developing proactive programs that challenges the myth and negative perception of LGBT people in Nigeria.
How can you support us?
Since inception, we have launched two researches, trained over 15 Media Justice fellows, conducted two business roundtables, trained 5 companies in Nigeria on workplace diversity, our media fellows have written over 10 articles on LGBT people and our legal fellows are supporting the LGBT community in need.
However, this is not enough, we still have more work to do and that is where we need you.
By 2020 we want to have trained over 50 journalists and 50 lawyers, training over 10 companies with all of them signing up to our workplace diversity champion pledge, conduct more tracking into the social perception of LGBT people by the public and more impact of homo/bi/Transphobia to give the LGBT community a platform to be heard
So you can
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
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