Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage



Nigerian LGBTQ+ refugee-turned-activist on importance of compassion
by Emily Reilly

This article shared 1595 times since Wed Aug 19, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Edafe Okporo came to the United States from Nigeria in 2016. Now, he's the founder of New York's first full-time LGBTQ+ refugee shelter. Along the way, he has gained insight to how one can make a difference in the world around them.

His new book, Compassion Is Worth More: Using Your Civil Power To Create Change, shows readers how to do just that—finding a voice to make a positive change in their communities.

"I wanted to give people a roadmap of how to create change in their communities," Okporo told Windy City Times. "Compassion Is Worth More is looking at what is making us change our viewpoints and how we can look more into our humanity to help people."

Okporo said his new book shows how a little bit of compassion can go a long way; even the small efforts have a greater, positive impact on the world. A point he focuses on is the damaging effects a polarized country can have. For example, many believe the United States is becoming a more and more divided country. Okporo can offer insight to the current situation, as he has lived in Nigeria where the political climate is polarized as well.

"I remember in Nigeria, the law that was passed that criminalized same-sex [relations] was based on religion," said Okporo. "In Nigeria, our polarity based on religion was hurting more people and I wanted to give people my experience so they understand that what we do as a country doesn't just only affect us as people who live in this country but affect people beyond our imagination."

Okporo explained that Nigeria is quite polarized through religion; the north is mainly Islamic and the south is mainly Christian. Through his lived experiences with this polarization, Okporo emphasized his belief that polarity causes much more harm than good to people. His own experiences with violence and discrimination were enough to make him feel unsafe and flee the country.

He described his experience arriving in New York City and how he didn't have a place to stay at first. He soon learned that he was not the only one facing this problem. Okporo's typical lens of advocacy was set aside as he discovered a new way to make a change, especially after discovering a problem with LGBTQ+ refugee housing.

"I used to fight for LGBTQ+ people to have access to HIV treatment in Nigeria—but HIV is not as big of an issue in America compared to Nigeria," said Okporo. "Another area of my life that was being affected by the policies I was currently living with was immigration. Most LGBTQ+ people, when they come to the [United States] to seek protection, before they're able to access housing, there is housing if you have HIV or AIDS. Some of them end up having sex with somebody else just to have a place to sleep in. Some people even told me that if I had HIV, my life would be made easier."

Thus began Okporo's advocacy journey in this country. He saw an occurrence among the homeless LGBTQ+ community and began speaking to HIV/AIDS activists in New York to help protect those who are HIV-positive and those who are not. Okporo was able to make a positive change in his community; the RDJ Refugee Shelter in New York was the result of his advocacy.

"Humans do not like inequality—we want an equitable world. But in order for us to create an equitable world, we ourselves have to understand what equity is," Okporo said. "So, for you to be a change-maker in your community, it starts with you understanding the role you have to play in the world as an individual."

Okporo emphasized the importance of putting aside differences in order to make change and have a positive effect in society and that helping one another should not be a political issue.

"I believe that coming together with our common, shared values is the only way we can sustainably create change as a people," he said. "Now is the time for us to come together on a common shared purpose and if we cannot do that then the democracy we try to protect as a country might not be sustainable."

Compassion Is Worth More: Using Your Civil Power To Create Change is available for purchase on Amazon.

This article shared 1595 times since Wed Aug 19, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

COVID-19 Queer-led FamilyQ helps distribute masks
FamilyQ is an LGBTQ-led volunteer effort to support nonprofit organizations and social-justice groups by donating more than 100,000 disposable face masks. Proceeds help provide resources to overlooked and underresourced communities. ...

Gay News

AFC holds virtual 'Gala35' celebration
AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) marked 35 years with a virtual "Gala35" celebration and awards ceremony Nov. 19. Among the honorees were Newsweb Corporation Chairperson, Alphawood Foundation President and social-justice activist ...

Gay News

BOOKS/ART Local man releases sketches by famous artist uncle
Cuban American painter Gustavo Ojeda (1958—89) is best known for lush and meditative urban nightscapes that brought him recognition in the 1980s downtown New York art scene. He exhibited works alongside artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Restaurants, OUT100, children's book, face mask
—Perry's Steakhouse & Grille ( This suburban spot (with two restaurants in Oak Brook and Schaumburg) is well-known for its delicious cuts of meat, sumptuous sides and hand-crafted cocktails. It's ...

Gay News

33rd Creating Change Conference to go virtual Jan. 28-31
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 19, 2021….. Thousands of LGBTQ advocates, activists, leaders, and allies will, for the first time ever, gather virtually for the 33rd Creating Change Conference from Jan. 28 through Jan. 31, 2020. The Creating ...

Gay News

Artist Riva Lehrer talks new memoir, career, state of the world
In queer artist, writer and curator Riva Lehrer's recently released memoir Golem Girl, she takes readers on a journey through her life via the lens of her being born with spina bifida and the way that ...

Gay News

New guide out for educators, parents advocating for LGBTQ students with disabilities
--From a press release - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation released a new resource to help both parents and educators advocate on behalf of LGBTQ students with disabilities. NCLR partnered with HRC Foundation, the National ...

Gay News

MUSICALS 1997 version of Anyone Can Whistle out Dec. 4
On Sunday, Dec. 4, Jay Records will release a 1997 recording of the musical Anyone Can Whistle, which originally had music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim as well as a book by Arthur Laurents. The production ...

Gay News

National Black Justice Coalition welcomes new directors
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — This week, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) announced two new senior level hires, Victoria Kirby York, MPA, and Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond. Their leadership and experience will ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wentworth Miller, Whitney, lesbian author, Mark Wahlberg
Out actor Wentworth Miller said he doesn't want to be involved in a new season of the TV show Prison Break if it happens, according to Deadline. On Instagram, he thanked fans for his support and ...

Gay News

Gov. Pritzker, Vanessa Williams to be at AFC's 'Gala35' Nov. 19
--From a press release - CHICAGO — AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) marks its milestone 35th year of service with 'Gala35,' a virtual celebration and fundraiser taking place Thursday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. The event features an esteemed panel of guest ...

Gay News

Advocate Craig Johnson named next board chair of AIDS Foundation of Chicago
In October, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC)'s board of directors voted Craig W. Johnson as the next AFC board chair. Craig has served on the board since 2017, and most recently worked as board vice chair and ...

Gay News

LGBT HISTORY: SF house includes Joplin, Log Cabin Republicans in its history
The day Peggy Caserta took acid for the first time changed her life — and that of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood — forever. "They told me it'd help me learn a book I was reading for ...

Gay News

Playwright book and lyrics by Paul Gordon, music by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska At Skylight Music Theatre online at Tickets: $25. Runs through Dec. 31, 2020. Two things to remember when proposing to transform a ...

Gay News

Equality Illinois' virtual gala on Feb. 6
Equality Illinois will hold its 30th-anniversary gala virtually on Feb. 6, 2021. Things will kick off with a Champion Happy Hour at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7 p.m. Honorees will include National Center ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.