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...]

It’s my Birthday, It’s my Birthday and I’m gonna shake my bodyyyy!!

The journey started 13.8 billion years ago with the Big Bang and continued 4.5 billion years ago with the Solar system and the Earth.  39 years ago, I swam for my life, beating millions of other sperms to the race to the egg. 39 years after, the race continues. However, I am happy to even have the one in a billion chance to experience the wonder that is life.

I am also loving all the good wishes coming my way from family members, friends and fans.

Even Google took time to send me birthday greetings in the form of a lovely personalised doodle. Yeah, I know they probably do this for everyone [Read more...]

Physically attacked at an atheist event by a fellow ‘feminist’ atheist!

I always thought if I were ever to be attacked by someone I only knew from social media especially Facebook, it would be by a homophobe, biphobe, 385838_210204545725456_192116174200960_481213_799145023_ntransphobe or a religious fanatic who didn’t like my LGBT rights advocacy or anti-religion posts. Never in my dreams would I have thought I would experience a physical attack and verbal abuse at an atheist event from a female Facebook friend who identifies as a feminist and an atheist!

Until now, my casual encounters with people who only knew me from Facebook have been positive. From the ones I ran into in London tubes to the ones who excitedly introduced themselves as my fb friends at social events or gave me heartfelt hugs at London pride, it has been positive experience until now. Get ready to hear the full gist, don’t forget to get your popcorn! [Read more...]

I got a new purple laptop and found the meaning of life!

When my Sony VAIO laptop suddenly started freezing, I thought the world was about to end! Surely freezing laptops and inability to access the internet are signs of the apocalypse; the inevitable invasion of the zombies?Snapshot_20140726_15

I didn’t realise just how much I have come to depend on my laptop and internet for my daily existence until I couldn’t use my laptop or access the internet at will. When I informed my son that my laptop was faulty, he was so concerned that he would make international calls several times a day, to take me through steps to sort the problem. My mum also panicked, every time she called, she would ask how I was coping without my laptop.  It then dawned on me that even those close to me recognised that I am highly dependent on my laptop. It was as if they thought not having a functional laptop meant I was going to fall apart and spiral into depression cos I could not go online to perform all those ‘important’ online stuff, like well, Facebooking.

In a way, I can understand why they were so concerned. I must admit that I am addicted to my laptop especially since I am currently an unemployed refugee trying to rebuild my career and make a home in a new environment. Writing basically keeps me mentally and emotionally stimulated. Not being able to write was driving me insane. However, once upon a time (seems like a galaxy far away), I used to author handwritten novels. In fact, those story plots were written on paper, mostly notebooks. When I was a high school teenager, I would write romance novels fashioned after Mills and Boons series which I was kinda addicted to, although I cringe now to think I ever liked these M&B series.  My classmates were fascinated with my stories, and since there was only one handwritten copy of these stories, they would queue up and take turns, waiting to read each chapter as the plot thickens. Now I can’t even write a legible sentence on paper to save my life! [Read more...]