— Support Aderonke (@Asylum4Aderonke) August 10, 2017
I cannot imagine what it must have felt like to be regarded for 13 years solely by your sexuality. Aderonke Apata, a Nigerian seeking asylum in the United Kingdom following sexual harassment and death threats in Nigeria came to be known as the ‘Nigerian lesbian’ (as though she were the only lesbian in Nigeria, or some archetype of what a Nigerian lesbian looks like) and her entire life was reduced to the fact that she was attracted to women and had been punished unjustly for it. But Aderonke had no choice but to fight. In her bid to gain asylum status, she was effectively outed on British print and digital media and really could not return to Nigeria. After nearly a decade of not knowing what would happen to her, the UK Home Office has finally granted her asylum citizen status.
Apata, who is now 50 has to start picking up the pieces of her life, and overcoming the trauma of being publicly accused of lying, and creating a false identity as lesbian as a way to fraudulently gain citizensip in the UK. Apata was put through the indignity of having to show video and picture evidence of her having sex with her partner at the time to prove she indeed was lesbian. All of this is after she was sentenced to death in Nigeria and her husband at the time killed when it was discovered she was lesbian and he knew but did not disclose. What really could be more humiliating than that.
It is a lot to expect, but we hope the British government offers her an apology and compensation for the turmoil they put her through and hopefully she’ll finally find peace.
Once again, congratulations Aderonke Apata.