Being openly gay in Nigeria in 2016 is asking for 14 years imprisonment and that is after numerous work has been done on the activism front with even the United States President and other rights groups edging the country towards a more embracing stance.
All this was not so in 2004, to identify as openly gay in 2004 was to incur the wrath of the tribe. It was to go against the very grain of the Nigerian society and it was to be buried for that action. Yet 2004 was the year that Bisi Alimi, the ‘boy from Mushin’, chose to be openly gay.
The ‘boy from Mushin’ Bisi Alimi made headlines in 2004 when he came out as gay during an interview with Funmi Iyanda on her talk-show New Dawn With Funmi. The ferocity of the reaction to that action forced him to seek asylum in the UK. His family disowned him and threats to his life got unbearable.
A British documentary producer and director, Joe Cohen picked up on his story and decided to make a documentary centered around the life of this Nigerian who has become a recognized Human Rights activist.
The documentary is titled ‘The Boy From Mushin’ and follows Alimi’s life story, from his time as an HIV advocate in Nigeria, his ‘coming out’, his journey through exile to London as a refugee and his rise to become one of Africa’s most prominent Human Rights activists. It also follows him as he makes the dangerous trip back to Nigeria for the first time since he was exiled, and takes a message of acceptance to the global stage, including speaking with world leaders.
Here is the trailer of the film below;
The filmmaker says that the film tells a complex story of race, gender, sexuality and politics in Nigeria, as we meet other courageous gay men and women who are fighting tirelessly for acceptance and justice across Africa.
Although the people at ARCUS foundation who awarded a $25,000 grant to the producers of the film seem to agree with that, there will no doubt be a number of Nigerians and Africans who disagree.