Oliver moved to the United States from Nigeria, a country where intimacy between same-sex couples is illegal, and violence against LGBTQ people is rampant. As a young gay man growing up in Nigeria, Oliver experienced discrimination from his government, whose leadership actively tried to thwart the rights and dignity of LGBTQ residents. He watched as many of his friends, dying from HIV/AIDS related illnesses, missed out on quality care simply because of their sexual orientation. Oliver protested the passage of bills that criminalized homosexuality, but because of “mob justice,” he was fearful of being too outspoken.
“Just identifying as a person who’s different puts you at risk of being locked up for 14 years,” Oliver said. “When you think that information and knowledge is power, on the contrary: People know that this person is different because this is their sexual orientation or identity, but it doesn’t equal acceptance. It just makes it harder.”