HIV activist makes it to the Rainbow List

The HIV activist and board member of an LGBT housing charity in Canonbury has been nominated on The Independent’s Rainbow List – a compilation of the 101 most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Britain.

Bisi Alimi was diagnosed with HIV in 2004 but was unable to access treatment in Nigeria.

When he moved to the UK in 2007, he started campaigning for the human rights of LGBT people and working to remove the stigma surrounding HIV.

“I couldn’t believe it”, Alimi said when asked about the nomination, “it’s a great honour. There is a vulnerable young person out there who needs somebody to speak for them. I’m lucky I’ve been given a platform to speak on their behalf.”

Alimi also appeared on the Rainbow List in 2014, taking 80th place. This year he was ranked 19th on the list.

When asked about the major challenges facing the British LGBT community, Alimi said: “The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS is still very much present in the British society. The coverage of the Charlie Sheen story by the tabloids shows we still have a long way to go.”

He added that the “dehumanising government cuts” would propel the situation of vulnerable people from the ethnic minority and LGBT communities into a crisis.

He credits his work with Stonewall Housing, a support housing provider in Canonbury, as the reason behind his prominent ranking on this year’s list.

Alimi told Islington Now that the number of young people using Stonewall Housing during the past year had “skyrocketed”, but said the charity was unable to cope with the increase in numbers.
Bob Green, the CEO of Stonewall Housing, said: “Bisi has been an enormous asset and has supported us in working with LGBT minorities, especially asylum seekers and refugees who often face discrimination and harassment in their local communities.”

Photo: Ajamu X