This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Bisi Alimi, the first open gay rights activist from Lagos Nigeria, tells us the story of his friend Ibrahim – his best friend who died of AIDS in a country ruled by religion and extreme conservatism. His mission is to engage the world in a conversation about social equality, sexuality and the power of change.
Bisi Alimi is Nigeria’s foremost gay activist and an Aspen New Voices Fellow on sexual orientation & gender identity. He came out as gay on a popular Nigerian television show in 2004. This brave action risked his education and his career. His declaration of his sexuality in his deeply conservative country almost ended his life. Bisi eventually fled Nigeria to live in political asylum in the UK where he has become a trailblazing activist for LGBT/HIV rights.
As founder of Rainbow Intersection and lecturer at Free University Berlin he creates a dialogue around race, culture, and sexuality. Recently tapped as an Aspen Institute New Voice Fellow, Bisi also focuses on promoting human rights for gay Africans and the prevention of HIV/AIDS while engaging the world in a conversation about social equality, sexuality and change. In his role as a consultant to the World Bank, he points out that poverty is not just about race and gender, that it and homophobia go hand-in hand. He states that enterprise must start putting measures in place to create opportunities for all types of people, including LGBT, in deprived countries that will foster economic empowerment as well as equality.