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Sunday, July 1, 2018

U.S. Grants 28 Year-old Man Asylum After Fleeing Anti-gay Persecution In Nigeria



Edafe Okporo, 28, fled to the U.S. in 2016, requesting asylum, after his life was endangered due to his being gay and he was later given permission to stay.

“It was not safe for me to live in Nigeria anymore,” he says. “I had to flee.” Okporo’s sexuality first became an issue in his community when his parents sent him to an all-boys secondary school.
“I behaved kind of feminine sometimes and they wanted me to experience how it is to be masculine,” he remembers of his family’s reasoning. While at school, he had his first sexual experience with one of his classmates.
“It was consensual, but because the guy was from a Muslim family, he said it wasn’t consensual,” he said. Okporo was suspended for two weeks, which is how his family first learned he was gay.
His parents tried to “cure” him by taking him to a practitioner of traditional African medicine.
“They cut some marks on my stomach about one inch long in about 25 different places,” he remembers.
“They tried to put some medicine and say they were curing me of being gay.” Okporo was attacked on his birthday on July 23, 2016. “I was attacked by members of the community. .
They dragged me out, they beat me up, they were saying that ‘[being] gay is advocating against our religion, and we don’t want people who are possessed to be in our community.’ Stuff like that.
While they were beating me up I blacked up, I woke up the next day in a clinic. The nurse said I was brought there by an old lady who had pity on me.”
He stayed in the clinic for a week, and during his recovery process he realized he needed to get out — the situation became more urgent when posters showing his face were put around the community saying he was wanted dead or alive.

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