KINDLY SIGN THIS PETITION: SAY NO TO NIGERIA’S JAIL THE GAYS BILL.

RESIZEDKindly sign Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws’ petition to urge President Goodluck Jonathan not to sign the Jail the Gays bill into law.

Petition- https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/president-goodluck-jonathan-don-t-sign-the-jail-the-gays-bill-into-law

To:
PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN, President Federal Republic of Nigeria
NIGERIAN LAWMAKERS, Legislators
SEN. DAHIRU UMARU- HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE, CHAIRPERSON- HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, NIGERIA, DIRECTOR
REUBEN ABATI, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan.
It is with deep concern that I sign this petition to register my dismay at the proposed Bill titled “An Act to Prohibit Marriage Between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization of Same and for Other Matters Related Therewith” which has now been passed by the Nigerian House of Representatives and Senate. This bill contradicts fundamental human rights under Nigeria constitution, international and regional human rights law and standards e.g.
  •   Nigeria Constitution- Section 42 prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of sex or membership of a group. Also, Section 34 guarantees the right to the dignity of the human person; it states “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment” [Read more...]

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF NIGERIA’S ‘JAIL THE GAYS’ BILL.

Nigerian LGBTI In Diaspora Against Anti-Same Laws. Protest Londo 006 - Copy

PRESS STATEMENT- http://wp.me/p1YdPM-9f

Nigeria LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws unequivocally condemns the passing of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill by the Nigerian House of Representatives.

The draconian bill was passed in a voice vote on Thursday 30 May, 2013 by members of the House of Representatives. The bill stipulates a 14 years jail term for same-sex marriage and 10 years imprisonment for public show of same-sex affection. The approved bill also stipulates a 10 year imprisonment for anyone who abets a gay person, witnesses a same sex marriage or advocates for LGBT rights.

Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora against anti same sex laws believes that the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill is a blatant violation of human rights of Nigerian gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. It is a shame that such draconian bill was passed unanimously in both Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives. [Read more...]

ON NIGERIA’S SAME SEX MARRIAGE PROHIBITION BILL

There are ongoing legislative attempts in Nigeria and Uganda to further restrict sexuality rights. There is a clamour for the removal and also the strengthening of sodomy laws inherited by Commonwealth countries in Africa. However, the call for sexuality rights in Africa by the international community is seen as another colonial invasion by many Africans.

Research on sexuality rights is a relatively new developing area in Africa. There is a strong coalition spreading across Africa by Africans advocating for sexuality rights and claiming it as not just any right but as fundamental human rights.BookCoverImage new vista

Sexuality rights remain a silent but controversial issue in many parts of Africa; it is not just a controversial issue but also a taboo subject. One of the most efficient ways patriarchy uses sexuality as a tool to create and sustain gender hierarchy in African societies is by enshrouding it in secrecy and taboos.

Many countries in Africa still criminalize homosexuality; sodomy laws are still part of the criminal laws thereby making it ‘legally’ possible to persecute people with different sexual orientation, for example Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana all have laws under which homosexuality can be prosecuted. In South Africa, where the constitution recognizes same sex relationships, gays and lesbians are often attacked, molested and persecuted for their sexual orientation.

Many African societies do not provide enabling environments to discuss sexual orientation issues. Homosexuality has been condemned by many African leaders as immoral, unafrican and a ‘white man’s disease’.

Africa is a large continent with diverse cultures and ethnicities, however homophobia fueled by religious intolerance and oppressive laws are remarkably similar issues many have in common. It seems however that black homophobia has replaced white racism as the newest form of intolerance to sweep across the African continent. This is not to imply that homophobia is a ‘black African’ phenomenon. In conservative societies including western societies, any challenge to heterosexual norms always provokes moral condemnation, exclusion and violence. [Read more...]

Organising Sex Workers Within Mainstream Labour Movement

sexworkgx2

The controversy of whether “sex work” can be defined and treated as real work or not is one that evokes a lot of emotion and sentiments. This is not surprising because the answer to this will determine whether or not this area of “Work” deserves to be acknowledged and given as much legal and social protection and recognition as any other type of work recognized under the auspice of labour laws.

It cannot be denied that “sex workers”, like them or hate them, provide a service. Since prostitution is commonly refersex-workers-rightsred to as the oldest profession, sex work is a service as old as humankind. With the advent of globalization, internet dating, chat rooms, cyber-sex etc, the world’s touted oldest profession has not been left behind in modernizing its trade and services to keep up with the ever changing technology; dynamism is indeed the name of the game. In today’s world, a sex worker is no longer just the woman in skimpy red dress and high heels, lurking at street corners in the middle of the night looking for a customer. Sex workers now include prostitutes, porn actors and actresses, chat room/telephone sex providers, escorts, gigolos etc.

However, like all work, especially in this era of neo–globalization and privatisation of anything that generate profits, prostitutes in many cases do not own their bodies anymore, many are not really in a position to negotiate the prices for their services. The big lords, hotel owners, club owners, chat room owners, internet warlords are now the real employer of sex workers’ labour. The money bags have the money to run the business, employ women and in a growing number of cases men too, to render sexual services, they act as the sub contractors, in fact, it is just another stage of pimping. [Read more...]

WHY I SPEAK OUT AGAINST RELIGION

532532_340154756059016_2113990897_nAs I have always maintained, I do not care if believers worship a blue-eyed blonde semi-naked Jew nailed to a cross, a bearded dessert dwelling prophet, a fat cow, a golden snake or a thunder God, as long as they do not force their beliefs down my throat, teach it to children as FACT in public schools, preach it to me in public space or seek to make their religion my state law, I do not care. But when they do any of these, of course they are going to have their religion put under intellectual scrutiny and if found wanting, it shall be exposed and If funny, it shall be ridiculed. When people preach to me about a talking snake, talking donkey and a Noah’s ark, I reserve every right to ridicule such funny tales and be indignant that anyone should be allowed to teach such absurdities as facts in public schools.

Anyone is free to believe in a cow, snake, a blue eyed blonde who turned into a Zombie, a long bearded pedophile prophet or a golden snake; it is none of my business so far they keep their beliefs to themselves.

However it immediately becomes my business when I am forced to adhere to and pay for some ridiculous beli522305_10151195688974483_1173459083_nefs of others. I pay my tax as a dutiful citizen, yet those religious establishments are exempted from paying tax, they are sponsored on some ridiculous pilgrimages with tax payers’ money! This is not even enough for them, as they are always trying to influence state policies and Laws based on their ludicrous beliefs, they even attempt to stop scientific progress especially in the area of Stem cell research all because of their religious belief in the existence of a soul!

I often get bombarded with protest messages on my facebook wall and social media inbox about my anti-religion posts, I am using this post to answer 10 questions that keep popping up, and also clarify why I speak out against religion. Now, I have a handy link for the next aggrieved person. Problem solved!

1-     Anti-Religion posts are disrespectful, as an LGBT activist, you should preach tolerance!

About respect and tolerance, RESPECT is not given, it is EARNED. ALL beliefs must earn their place of respect.  Being a LGBT advocate/human rights activist does not just depend on a belief system but a FACT that LGBT rights are HUMAN RIGHTS and all human beings are b165838_334513349969708_1666076174_norn equal in rights and dignity.

i would definitely defend the right of anyone to practice their religion so far it is not harmful, does not violate my space, does not seek to impose state policy and have no special status in governance and they pay their taxes like every other corporation.

‘Holy books’ are shoved in my face everywhere I turned, I have a right to review these books and give my two cents, irrespective of whose Ox is being gored. Anyone who is so qualified is free to dispute the scientific fact about sexual orientation, evolution or the principled beliefs, laws and various treaties on human rights.23583_1403690254736_1306760558_31118507_4983799_n - Copy

RESPECT is earned not demanded, if I genuinely believe that a particular belief is ludicrous, of course I am not going to respect it because to respect something, you have to VALUE IT. I do not value irrationality. I don’t believe a woman should be treated as a property, a child should have a knife put on his neck by his own father who heard a voice from heavens comanding him to sacrifice his son as a test of his faith, or that all human beings are born with an ORIGINAL SIN allegedly committed by a white couple known as Adam and Eve, therefore all humans are condemned to burn in hell forever unless they become born again by believing in a man named Jesus who came to die for a sin we never even committed and woke up again after 3 days to roam the earth like a Zombie!  Well, these are simply ridiculous, I do not RESPECT these and I do not have to keep shut about it ESPECIALLY when the believers of these myths keep telling me to give my life to their zombie Christ or burn in hell forever. [Read more...]

Free Amina Tyler NOW: It is her body, her choice, her right!

Few months ago, Amina Tyler, a Tunisian woman, posted two photos of herself topless on Facebook.Amina-Tyler

The first image showed Amina with the words “Fuck your morals” written across her chest.

The second image has the words “My body belongs to me and is not the source of anyone’s honor” written in Arabic.

Since that episode, she has been hounded by Islamist conservatives who felt she has violated their honour by posting nude pictures of herself.

Whose body, whose honour?

After months of reportedly going into hiding, the outspoken Tunisian feminist who sparked a trend of “topless jihad” has been found and arrested by Tunisian authorities earlier this week and may be charged for conducting “provocative acts.”

What part of “My body belongs to me” don’t these idiots understand? If a woman wants to post nude pictures of herself on the internet, it is her body, her choice, her right. It has nothing to do with your moronic honour. FREE AMINA TYLER NOW!

This is my body; I have the right to do whatever I want with it. If I am not harming you, the decisions have nothing to do with you.

I have the right to post nude pictures of myself online. I have the right to use my body as a canvass, tattoo it or pierce it.

 

This is my body, I have the right to birth control, to abortion, to have sex with consensual adults regardless of their gender. I do not have to put up with your sermonizing or attempts to legislate over my body. [Read more...]

The cancer called Religion!

547752_422632627783136_13988685_nThere is a cancer in town; it is not a new disease, in fact it has been around ever since humans started creating Gods. It has always been dangerous; however with inducements and profits to be made, it gets more dangerous! Its most potent strategy of invasion is through indoctrination.

Infected persons indoctrinate children, they are also commanded to infect others. People who are not infected or already cured can still be affected by this cancer as the actions of infected persons have consequences on the lives of the uninfected.

Distance is not a barrier as this cancer takes control of its victims and influences them to act in ways that have far reaching consequences. [Read more...]

The Woolwich Murder: Another case of Religious Insanity.

I am sad but not so shocked by the savagery and pure barbarism displayed by the two murderers who butchered a man to his death in broad daylight in Woolwich, South East London. The victim, a serving soldier was attacked with knives and a meat cleaver by two men shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great).

 

I am also very sad because this really did not shock me as much as I would have expected. In fact the only shock seems to be the weapon they chose. Meat cleavers and machetes aren’t normally associated with terrorists in UK; bomb seems to be more of a weapon of choice than machetes.  Or could the weapon of choice have something to do with the Nationality of one of the attackers?

One of the two men who committed the dastardly act, Michael Adebolajo, is said to have a Nigerian background. I must say, as a Nigerian, it is not uncommon for aggressive people in an attempt to strike fear in their opponents, to boast thWoolwich-attacker-suspects-1905276at they will bring out a machete to butcher their enemies. However, I only see this on ill advised Nollywood movies, but even in the movies, while menacingly brandishing their machetes, they never butcher anyone. I do see Americans rush to bring out their guns and revolvers at the approach of an intruder, but then I am told that is not just a Hollywood tale, it is reality.

The murder is a reminder of the stark insanity that is Religion.

According to BBC sources, Michael Adebolajo, a Briton of Nigerian descent, comes from a devout Christian family but took up Islam after leaving college in 2001. He was described as “bright and witty” when he was at college.

This British born Nigerian was shown with a bloodied knife which he had used to butcher his victim. The two murderers made no attempt to flee; in fact they were happy to be filmed, they even asked people to take pictures of them in anticipation of being the latest YouTube sensation. [Read more...]

Accents and the Tragedy of Self-Hate

I recently started Video blogging and with it came the barrage of opinionated comments on my looks, appearance and quite interestingly, my accent! YEMMY IN JAPAN

I have never been self conscious about my accent.  I started making guest appearances on National TV programs almost two decades ago as a young human rights activist and vocal feminist. I remember the first time I appeared on one of the ‘posh’ Women’s programs which at the time passed as a ‘feminist’ TV show, I was immediately approached after the show by the popular presenter who told me, “Yemisi, you were really brilliant on the show, it would be great if we could get you to lose the accent”. Well, it happened that the presenter also ran a ‘Finishing school’ for girls … hmm do not ask me why a “feminist’ TV show presenter had a “Finishing school for girls’’… well, this is Nigeria we are talking about, and feminism, like many assumed “imported” ideology comes with its colonial baggage!

Anyway, she was so impressed with myyemy ituc points but not so impressed with my accent that she offered me a free session in her ‘Finishing school’ to get rid of my accent. I remember asking her why I would want to be rid of my accent. I mean, I wasn’t self conscious about my accent, especially since Nigeria is a diverse country with many local dialects and accent is one of the ways you immediately identify where a person is from.  Well, the young me was told that getting rid of my accent would be great for my profile, I declined her ‘priceless’ offer and  insisted that  I’d rather keep my accent as it is an integral part of my identity.

That was almost two decades ago. I have since gone ahead to speak at many national and international events, sometimes with heads of states and diplomats present. I have made a few speeches at UN meetings, appeared on a live televised round table debate with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and some other world leaders, but I never for a minute felt self conscious about my accent, and well, my audience never really complained and they mostly seemed to appreciate what I had to say. Shows you should choose your audience well! [Read more...]

Why “Thank God I survived” or “God knows best” is a terrible thing to say in the aftermath of a fatal disaster.

The aftermath of a tragedy always see many people praising ‘God’ for how they managed to escape and survive the tragedy. From natural disasters like the fatal earthquake in Haiti, Tsunami in Japan, Tornadoes in Oklahoma to the very avoidable road accidents and man-made plane crashes in Nigeria, many always come up with the “Thank God I survived” and “God knows best” supplication.307120_290237154324821_100000156154826_1443765_1849047904_n

Truly—Thank God? Really… God knows best?

Do people ever pause to really comprehend how selfish and distasteful this statement is? There you are, staring at the burnt remains of humans from a fire accident, grossly twisted bodies of innocent children from a car accident, pieces of charred human flesh scattered at a bomb blast scene or your neighbor’s body, half buried under a pile of debris caused by a natural disaster and all you could say is, thank God it wasn’t you. Really?

Yes, you might be glad that you are not one of the burnt persons, that your child is not the grossly twisted child who groaned and screamed in agony but should you not save your ‘Thank God’ supplications for the privacy of your room when only you and your ‘God’ is present?

How do you think it seems to the family of those bereaved when for example:- [Read more...]

I AM A WOMAN AND I AM WEEPING!

I am a woman and I am weepingSDC11524

The tears won’t stop seeping

Like a river it keeps flowing

At my heart it tugs, nipping

My eyes are bleeding

My nose keeps running

They say I should slow it

But all they do is blow it

Teardrops just like crystals

Not mine alone but all sisters!

 

I am a woman and I am weeping

On my feet I keep thinking

The dreams I have to maintain

The tears I cannot curtail

From day to night I toil

In the fields I till the soil

Bent over with hands, this I can bear

Hoping my behind I won’t have to bare

For the children and the aged I have to care

The burdens sometimes leave me bare!

 

I am a woman and I am weeping

In the boardroom I am seething

They negotiate my seat

As I take in all the heat

It matters not that I have the brains

The body is what they want to drain

With my pen poised I stand on the stool

But they tell me brain is not the tool

As all they want is my body to drool

And for me to play the fool!

 

I am a woman and I am weeping

From the corners I am peeping

Paving the streets in my high heels

Hoping the deals I can now seal

My health and safety is at risk

But the children can’t eat sticks

In the boardroom, on the street

It matters not where I sit

My brain makes me an expert

But all they want is a Sexpert!

 Yemisi Ilesanmi speaking at the London 2010  July Pride

I am a woman and I am weeping

I fight the system but hope is fleeting

The streets I keep combing

While my heart keep sobbing

How long shall I be suppressed

Now they say I am depressed

I do not need a mental operation

What I hate is this oppression

You can keep your psychiatry

While I kick your patriarchy!

 BY © YEMISI ILESANMI

The Deafening Silence of Nigerian Left on the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill and Lgbti Rights

On October 31, 2011, at the senate house in Abuja, many religious groups mostly Christians from the Catholics and Anglican denominations were mobilized to support the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill titled “An Act To Prohibit Marriage Between Persons Of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith”. The majority, religious homophobic groups showed up_45557832_gay_shirts_226 with placards and t-shirts emblazoned with hate words. It was a macabre dance of the majority and rich oppressors against the few voiceless minorities.  Children that were supposed to be in school were dragged to the public hearing as part of the homophobic crowd. The hate is already been fed to the next generation and yes, some of these children wearing these t-shirts today would grow up to discover that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or Trans. I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma this would cause them in future. 

 The angry, religious, homophobic mob and the not so bright selected senators at the public hearing rained abuses on the few Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transsexuals and human rights activists at the hearing. These activists had come to defend their human rights and point out how the bill violates their rights as Nigerian citizens, they were hardly given the opportunity to speak as they were constantly booed and shouted down.

Senators asked the few activists who presented papers inappropriate questions like:

“What is your religion?”

“Can you openly stand up right now and identify yourself as gay or lesbian?”

The few that stood up were further booed and humiliated by the senators and the homoph338200_2116761727337_1494540329_31789395_1105197553_oobic majority in the house. The senators violated the rights of the protesters by asking them to stand up and identify their sexual orientation or religious affiliation. It was supposed to be a parliamentary room not a guillotine room. 

Homophobes want sexual minorities to identify themselves publicly, and when they don’t , they claim LGBTs are ashamed because they know they are perverts. This discriminatory action of Nigerian lawmakers could be likened to Hitler asking Jews to stand up and identify themselves during the holocaust.  Homosexuals are now the target of hate and ignorance. Once upon a time, not so long ago, blacks were called niggers and considered only fit to be slaves,  Jews were considered sub-human, women were classified as property, now homosexuals are called faggots and considered only fit to be thrown in jail or stoned.  [Read more...]

I AM COMING OUT!

I AM COMING OUT!

buterfly rainbow resized new

I am coming out, out of my shell

Long under the influence of your spells

Locked away in your antique culture cell

Where no one could hear me yell

I had screamed all in vain

Only I could feel the pain

It is time to break the chains

The ghosts of the past I must slay

Weighed down by societal shackles

Banging to be out, proud and sparkle

 

I am coming out, out of my shell

Doing away with your lying shields

It is unnatural, you scream

You will burn in hell, you preach

Fires and brimstones you rake

From your societal grip I break

In angry defense the truth I seek

To be free, to be me, I must speak

Coming out, head high, sets me free

I am proud, out and ready to peak [Read more...]

Commemorating International Day Against Homophobia

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), now also known as International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). I strongly believe it should be International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

Anyway, in keeping with the theme of IDAHO this year, which is,  “Fight the Homophobia Web Virus: Fighting homophobia on the Internet and in social media”, I shall be posting some videos and poems to spread the message of Equality and speak out against discrimination.

I am kicking this off with a video of the protest rally I organized last year to mark IDAHO, under the auspice of my group “Nigerian LGBT in Diaspora  Against Anti Same Sex Laws” . The protest took place outside the Nigerian embassy in London. We were joined by notable human rights activist, Peter Tatchell and also our Ugandan comrades, brothers and sisters. It is difficult for Africans especially immigrants to participate in protests especially one that is deemed very controversial. We salute the bravery of the few who turned up to give a face to the many faceless, voiceless and persecuted Nigerian LGBTs. The quality of your solidarity cannot be quantified!

558125_663152280377499_1234960509_nThis year I am spreading the IDAHO message via websites and if I am up to it, I will join the London Pride flash event to mark IDAHO later in the day! Enjoy the video and subsequent ones, I am happy to answer your questions on the subject matter. HAPPY IDAHO!