Closets Are For Clothes; I Am More Than My Clothes: I Am Coming Out!

Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day! According to Wikipedia

 National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as a gender identity or sexuality minority. The day is observed annually by members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies on October 11

Whether you are Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian, Gay, or even Atheist, coming out of the closet is always often a difficult experience for many. Most Logo_ncod_lgtimes, it is a decision that subjects us to a lifetime of discrimination, isolation, ostracism, and judgements not just from the society but unfortunately, also from those we care most about i.e. our family members and friends.

For me personally, all the isolation, judgemental remarks, ostracism, discrimination or jail terms in the world are not enough deterrents to keep me in the closet about my sexual orientation or non-belief.

The Freedom to be me, Freedom to love, Freedom to express my love and shout it from on top mountains, Freedom to assert my sexual and gender identity, Freedom to proclaim my non-belief in religious nonsense etc. are things I will not trade for the safety of the closets.

I cannot and must not let my Freedom to be me be curtailed by people who rejoice in wallowing in ignorance and hate.

Closets are for clothes; I am more than my clothes. [Read more...]

Sensationalising the Plight of African LGBTs

I am often approached at LGBT events especially at protests rallies by filmmakers and journalists who want to write a piece or make a 04338_yemisi_ilesanmidocumentary on the ‘horrible’ situation of African Lesbians and gays (they hardly take cognizance of bisexuals and Trans).

There is no doubt that African LGBTs who reside in countries where their sexual orientation is criminalised face a daunting task. Living a closeted life or choosing to face the consequences of being out and proud in a society where one’s sexual orientation is criminalised is frightening and dehumanising. I have been there, I am still there, and I know how horrible the threats can be. So yes, I understand why the filmmakers and writers are fascinated with telling this horror story.

However, a recurring theme makes me cringe every time I am approached by filmmakers or journalists demanding that I tell the horror stories or at least provide them some graphic pictures of violence suffered by African LGBTs. There is this fascination with the horror stories and abused bodies of African LGBTs that I am beginning to wonder if it is a voyage into morbid porn and/or just another way to portray Africans as victims.

When I inform these filmmakers and journalists that I do not have pictures of abused African LGBTS to share with them, they are immediately crestfallen. It is my opinion that most of them haunt African LGBT activists protest grounds not because they are interested in the fight for African LGBT Rights but because they see the plight of African LGBTs as a way of furthering their career in Journalism or film industry.

A heart-wrenching, graphic documentary on the abuses suffers by African LGBTs and why African LGBTS need white saviours could turn a [Read more...]

LGBT Rights in Africa: Why we need international solidarity- Interview on SkyNews

Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals from countries where their sexual orientation and/or gender identity is criminalised need international solidarity. What we do not need is seeing international leaders who claim to support our fight for LGBT rights wine and dine our oppressors.

When we watch international leaders who are supposedly LGBT allies frolicking with our oppressors, the message we get is that we do not matter. In the long run, it is all about their politics, not their words. International leaders should please WALK THEIR TALK.

Below is a video of my interview on SkyNews on the topic LGBT Rights in Africa and why we need international solidarity. [Read more...]

Religion, LGBT rights and military regimes: Interview in Solidarity Newspaper

Kate Harris interviews Yemisi Ilesanmi

Published in Workers Liberty’s Solidarity Newspaper

How did you get to where you are today as an LGBT activist and out bisexual woman?

It has been an interesting, tasking, journey towards self-awareness. It is also a journey that has involved studying society and finding my place in it. It is a continuous journey and one where I have to constantly remind myself that I have a right to be who I am in a world that is desperate to make me into what they would rather I be.

I started being politically and socially aware of my human rights at an early age. I was born in Nigeria in the mid-70s and grew up in a society that was marred with constant military coup d’états. There was no stable democracy. It was confusing because people took to the streets to celebrate successful coup d’états. I wondered why it was a good thing for the military to forcefully overthrow elected officials. But the people’s response was that the elected officials were corrupt. However, after having a taste of what military dictatorship means, people stopped celebrating coups. This started the difficult journey towards demanding and organising for a civilian regime where they would have a say in electing their own political leaders.  [Read more...]

Nigerian Trans woman, Ms Sahhara, wins Ms Super Sireyna Worldwide: Eat your heart out Transphobic Nigeria!

I was delighted when the beautiful, multi- talented Ms Sahhara was declared the winner of Super Sireyna Worldwide, 2014 at the grand finale in 10513314_162106167322674_1317010551276969853_nPhilippines. She also won the best Talent award and her national costume was fabulous!

Ms Super Sireyna is the most watched Transgender Beauty Pageant on Philippine Television, Eat Bulaga. The pageant aims to showcase the beauty of Super Sireynas and to foster camaraderie amongst contestants and Sireynas worldwide. It grades contestants on looks, talent and wit.

Ms Sahhara is a Nigerian Trans Woman who resides in UK. She is very visible on social media. She uses her social networks to advocate for LGBT Rights and promote Trans visibility. She entered the pageant as Miss Nigeria.  Her interview section was great! She answered her questions with poise, intelligence and was witty to the core! She also used the platform to highlight the problems LGBT Nigerians face due to criminalisation of their sexual orientation, gender identity and the negative societal attitudes towards LGBTs.

In her entry video for the competition Super Sireyna Worldwide Nigeria 2014, she explained why she was competing. She stated that if given the chance to wear the crown, she will use the opportunity to enlighten people about Trans’ issues. She believes if people don’t understand things, they should ask questions. The video was made as part of her preparation for the competition. She obviously prepared with passion and dedication for the pageant. It wasn’t just about beauty, it was also about talent, creativity and passion. The video is quite informative and worth watching. [Read more...]

Hurray, Ugandan Court strikes down the Anti-LGBT Law!

I woke up to some exciting and progressive news today. Ugandan court strikes down the Anti-LGBT law that was passed earlier this year!

According to ABC News-

 A Ugandan court on Friday invalidated an anti-gay bill signed into law earlier this year, saying it was illegally passed and is therefore unconstitutional.

The panel of five judges on the East African country’s Constitutional Court said the speaker of parliament acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections over lack of a quorum.”

The court in its ruling said:

“The speaker was obliged to ensure that there was quorum,”

“We come to the conclusion that she acted illegally.”

Ugandan lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, an attorney for the activists, said the ruling “upholds the rule of law and constitutionalism in Uganda.

Kosiya Kasibayo, a state attorney, said a decision had not been made on whether to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court.

 

[Read more...]

Video: LGBT Rights activists demonstrates at Nigerian Centenary Awards, UK

Speaking during the demonstration, Yemisi Ilesanmi said:

We are here to speak out on behalf of all oppressed Nigerian LGBTs who have been denied a voice in Nigeria. We are here to put a face on Nigerian LGBTs. We are here to remind you that LGBT Nigerians are not criminals and are worthy of celebration. We are here to remind all those who criminalised us and are turning us into asylum seekers that we will not be silenced. We are LGBT Nigerians and we are proud.”

The demonstrators left the guests with the message “Nigerian LGBTS and LGBT rights supporters are not criminals and we will not be silenced in our fight for our human rights. We hope as Nigeria celebrates its hundred years of existence, its people will also celebrate diversity and do away with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic laws.”

Blogpost  linkhttp://wp.me/p3uryi-AZ

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Pride is a Celebration and a Protest: London Pride, 2014

This year at London Pride 2014 (June 28), my group, Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws marched alongside Peter Tatchell Foundation, Out and Proud Group and other African LGBTIs activists to protest against the persecution of LGBTs in 80 per cent of the 53 Commonwealth member states, many of them African nations.

It is saddening that 80% of Commonwealth countries discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people. In this age of democracy, every progressive nation should endeavour to protect the human rights of every citizen. No one is less of a human being because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Acknowledging and protecting LGBTI rights as human rights is a step forward for humanity. It is shameful that the Commonwealth of Nations has not taken this important step. We continue to call on the Commonwealth to stand up for the rights of its LGBTI citizens. Every human deserves human rights. LGBTI rights are human rights.

Pride is both a celebration and a Protest. As we celebrate our Rights, let’s remember those who are still criminalized for their sexual orientation.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of London Pride 2014.

 

 

Even though the weather wasn’t great, not even the rain could rain on our parade, the rainbow always shines through! [Read more...]

LGBT Rights activists demonstrates at Nigerian Centenary Awards, UK

LGBT Rights activists demonstrates at Nigerian Centenary Awards, UK

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Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex laws with the support of GALHA, London Black Atheists and other LGBT activists staged a demonstration at the venue of Nigerian Centenary Awards, UK.

The demonstration took place on the eve of London Pride, Friday 27 at Waltham Forest Town Hall, Walthamstow, London.  Standing outside the venue of the awards, the lgbt/Human rights activists unequivocally condemned the Anti-Lgbt law which stipulates 14 years jail term for Nigerian gays, Bisexuals and Transgender and 10 years imprisonment for anyone who supports LGBTS or advocates for LGBT rights. [Read more...]

Love Not Hate: International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

To celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, enjoy this video of the ‘Love Not Hate’ protest rally organised by Nigerian LGBTs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws. Together We Can End All Forms of Oppression and Discrimination. Happy IDAHOBIT. 

Archbishop of Canterbury irresponsibly blames the atrocities of Boko Haram on same-sex Marriage

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, speaking on an LBC phone-in program suggested that African Christians will be killed if the Church of England accepts gay marriage. According to the Freethinker, he claimed he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours who had justified the atrocity by saying: “If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.”

He was also quoted in the Guardian as saying:

I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact. If the Church of England celebrated gay marriages the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic. Everything we say here goes round the world.

[Read more...]

Yours truly is the newest patron of The Pink Triangle Trust

I am honoured to be appointed the newest patron of the Pink Triangle Trust. The Pink Triangle Trust has been promoting ptt-logo10Humanism and LGBT Rights for over 22 years.

 As stated on its website, The Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) is a charitable trust (Registered Charity No. 1015629) set up in 1992 to advance the education of the public and particularly of lesbians and gay men, in the principles and practice of humanism  and to advance the education of the public and particularly of humanists, about all aspects of homosexuality.  It may also assist individuals to obtain remedies under the law where they have suffered unlawful discrimination on account of their homosexuality or their Humanism.

The Pink Triangle Trust has a number of prominent international patrons including fellow Freethought blogger and prominent Human Rights activist, Maryam Namazie. Also on its list of patrons are leading British gay rights advocate, Michael Cashman MEP and fellow Nigerian human rights activist and humanist, Leo Igwe.

The Pink Triangle Trust publishes a quarterly online magazine, The Pink Humanist, on its lively blog. The WEB.300.516-page publication contains well-researched news and features covering various aspects of  LGBT life across the globe. I am glad to grace the cover of the March edition –  http://issuu.com/infidel69/docs/pink_humanist_march_14_latest 

You will find my winning cover girl smile on the cover of the latest edition of Pink Humanist  the online magazine for LGBT Atheists, freethinkers and Skeptics with the succinct message ‘LOVE KNOWS NO GENDER’ and some wonderful quotes from my book Freedom To Love For ALL: Homosexuality is Not Un-African.

 Please visit the Trust’s website and kindly consider making a donation to the Pink Triangle Trust. Your donation will go a long way in helping the Trust keep its wonderful work alive.  Kindly click the donate button on its website. Thanks.

Breeding the likes of Isabirya Richard via Religion, Homophobia and Anti-LGBT laws in Africa

When my attention was drawn to the facebook posts of Isabirya Richard, I seriously felt like puking and giving up on humanity.Uganda

Isabirya Richard openly called for the stoning of gays.

He mentioned names and posted pictures of people he thought were gays or gay supporters and publicly asked for them to be killed.

He volunteered to lead the Christian mob crusade against gays.

He even publicly solicited for Christian hackers to hack into the emails and online profiles of suspected gays, lesbians and Trans.He claimed they would earn a great reward in heaven for helping to track down ‘sodomites’.

He went as far as documenting the movements of those he named as gays and called for attacks on them. He boasted that a gay person just escaped his attack but promised that the homosexual won’t be so lucky next time.Uganda2 resised [Read more...]

Open Letter To Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

27 January, 2014

Dear Dr. Chidi Odinkalu,

It is with deep concern that I write this open letter to you to register my dismay at the continued silence of your offSDC15091ice on the recently signed Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act. It is surprising that as Chairperson of the Governing body of National Human Rights Commission, a lawyer and a human right activist of note, you have not deemed it fit to issue a public statement weeks after a section of Nigerian populace was criminalized and stripped of their fundamental human rights via a stroke of President Goodluck Jonathan‘s pen. The most you have said in your official capacity, albeit in private, is that you are still studying the new law.

Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, how long would it take your office to study this legislation? The content of the law has been known to you and most Nigerians since 2011 when the bill was first approved by the Senate. The harmonized version of the bill that was signed did not change much. In your official capacity, you must have received a copy of the Act as it is part of your official duty to advise the President on the human rights implication of bills tabled before him.

As a lawyer and a human right activist of note, you cannot claim to be unaware of the human rights violations inherent in this new legislation. Therefore, I wonder how you could turn a blind eye to such blatant violation of fundamental human rights. Is this about protecting [Read more...]