Nigerian gay rights activist Bisi Alimi is one public figure would love to hate and may probably do due to his sexuality.
The blogger, activist and and public speaker became the first person to come out as gay on national TV.
Here are 10 things you probably do not know about Bisi Alimi.
- He was born Ademola Iyandade Ojo Kazeem Alimi, on the 17th of January 1975 in the Mushin area of Lagos. He is the 3rd of 5 kids from his mother and 6th of the 10 kids of his father.
- He was born to a police officer Raski Ipadeola Balogun Alimi and mum Mother Idiatu Alake Alimi, a university clerk.
- He had his primary and secondary school in Lagos. Bisi attended Eko Boys’ High School in Lagos and was part of the school’s cultural team. He led them in dances and won many awards doing this.
- In 1993, Bisi gained admission into Ogun State Polytechnic, before going on to study Creative Arts, majoring in Theatre at University of Lagos. Bisi then went on to Birkbeck College, the University of London in 2011, where he bagged a master’s degree in Global Governance and Public Policy.
- Bisi was outed by the school’s magazine Campus Lifestyle, as a gay man.
- He was the first man to come out as gay on live TV. Bisi came out as a gay man during Funmi Iyanda’s show.”When I was waiting to go on TV, [on the “Funmi Iyanda’s New Dawn with Funmi” show] to speak out, there were times when I backed out, or the show backed out, but eventually we went ahead with it.And I was sat on the sofa of the most watched TV show in Nigeria and said I was gay.I knew there would be backlash. The TV show [“New Dawn with Funmi”] was cancelled, so I feel I owed the show something. When I came out, I wasn’t expecting there to be a street party, but I also wasn’t expecting people to come to my house with a gun and wanting to kill me.
It’s a really big deal growing up in a country where you aren’t accepted.”
- In 2004, Bisi was diagnosed with HIV and has been living with the disease for more than 10 years. ”The morning I was diagnosed with HIV was like most others. I had just left my hotel and was heading for the International convention center to attend the Fourth National AIDS conference in Nigeria. It was May 2004, 10 years ago this month. On that morning in May, I had just arrived at the conference when friends asked if I had ever been tested for HIV. I was terrified and sure that I was positive. I’d lost so many friends after Ibrahim, some of whom I had dated. After much convincing, I went into the testing booth. Fifteen minutes later, I emerged with the knowledge that I am HIV positive. I was just 29, and I thought my life was over. Over the next few weeks, I stopped eating and prepared to die.”
- Bisi was listed third on the 100 most influential Non-White Atheist and Freethinkers in Britain and Northern Ireland.
- Bisi has won and has been nominated for several awards and has been included in the “Independent on Sunday” Pink List of most influential LGBT people in Britain in 2011, 2012, 2013, peaking at number 90 in 2012.
- Bisi married his boyfriend Anthony Davis in 2016. The couple tied the knot in the UK.
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