Speaking on Religion, Secularism and Fundamentalism at a panel discussion organised by Workers’ Liberty on 12 February, 2015.
Who cares that it’s cold outside when i can dance indoors and burn some calories! Just the way i like to spend my weekend.
Dancexercise is my fun way of dancing and exercising to my favourite songs. A really fun and energizing way to spend an otherwise boring Saturday night. Enjoy!
Some time ago, I broke my waist or thought I had, and excruciating lower back pain sent me running to my doctor.
I wondered why my waist could no longer support my big bums. After MRI scans and prescribed painkillers, it turned out; it was just some muscle strain probably from my gym workout. As it turns out, pulled muscles can be very painful. For a minute, I was convinced i had a mild stroke in my sleep, until my doctor put my mind to rest! Now, i know better than to lift heavy weights or do some strenuous cardio at the gym. I am definitely not taking any body-parts for granted again.
Many of you were concerned and some of my Naija friends recommended the local sprain and strain ointment, aboliki, which was actually very effective! I also promised that as soon as I was up and well again, I would make another dance-exercise video. Since I always make good on my promise, here it is!
Dancing to one of my favourite songs of all time was indeed fun and the sequinned Santa cap i got it at 99p shop came in handy as a dance prop!
I think my waist is at least 95% back to normal, therefore i consider my waist healed. What do you think?
I am glad to be back in good health, grateful to be able to shake my bums again and of course rock my curves!
Here is a toast to good health and Happy Holidays!
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.
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…]
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.”
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…]
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.
My YouTube channel ‘YEMMYnisting’ is a space for me to open up and share significant parts of my life with my online viewers, comment on general issues and share my opinion on happenings in the society.
My tagline is ‘Proudly Feminist, Proudly Bisexual and Proudly Atheist’. I make videos along these lines.
My videos touch a lot on sexuality and diversity. I belong to the “queer” group and identify as a bisexual. I am from an ultra-homophobic environment, so I use my videos to create awareness on sexual orientation and also break the deafening silence on so called “taboo” subjects.
I recently self-published an advocacy book titled ‘Freedom To Love For ALL: Homosexuality Is Not Un-African‘. It is available in paperback and kindle editions on Amazon, I hope you will check it out and order your copy.
YEMMYnisting is also a place I talk about religion and my lack of belief in God(s); I am an atheist from one of the most religious countries on planet earth, Nigeria.
Also, ‘Hangout with YEMMYnisting’ is a weekly session where interested fans can tune in to my Google hangout and together we discuss the topic of the week. One great advantage of subscribing to my channel is that you get to hangout with me as I do my Dancexercise, yeah it is fun.
Tune in to enjoy my Channel, your constructive comments and suggestions are welcomed. And if there are issues you’d like me to speak on or a song you’d like me to dance to in my dancexercise videos, please feel free to let me know. I appreciate diverse views but I have zero tolerance for hate comments. Hate speech will get you banned.
I am inviting you to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I look forward to having a beautiful if sometimes bumpy ride with you. Let’s go on logical ride to fun destinations. Come along! Thanks.
If only I could physically slap some sense into the hypocrites parading themselves as Nigerian lawmakers and the ignoramuses who are celebrating the ‘Jail the Gays’ bill! They had better be warned, the battle line has been drawn. Logic will supersede their infamous ignorance and Love shall triumph over their hate. Enjoy the TV interview.
I am not a fan of cold weathers and I can be quite grumpy when forced to go out in cold weathers. I am also not a fan of bulky clothes and I certainly am not in my best moods when I am all covered up and weighed down by shapeless, bulky winter jackets. Although they do hide my accumulated holiday fat caused by gorging on holiday temptations like ice creams and cakes, urged on by tempting Xmas food commercials.
Anyway, there I was rushing out in the cold weather to make a trip to my pharmacy; I guess this constitutes an emergency and therefore justifies my having to leave the warmth of my bed. Anyway, there I was walking down the high street minding my own damn business when a black woman abruptly thrust a leaflet at me, muttering “Take, Jesus Christ will change your life forever”. I politely declined and walked on. What I really wanted to say to her was “So, in the usual bigoted religious assumption, you thought my life needed changing”. I guess that would be an overreaction. Damn proselytizer Christians!
Not that my life could not do with a bit of change. Well, for one, I would love to win the lottery even though I don’t buy lottery tickets. I wish I could overcome my skepticism about my chances of winning the lottery. Well, if Jesus has not changed the life of the Christian proselytizer with a lottery win, I don’t think he is in a position to make a dent in my life. Hmm…life changer my ass. Well, I did say my mood is not the best during winter.
OK, there I was at the bus stop with my bag of prescription, waiting for my bus and minding my own business as usual, when this woman with a pram just came and stood right in front of me, blocking my vision. She started cooing or was it scolding the tot in the pram. In a typical Nigerian way, she would, once in a while, look up from scolding the child and try to engage me and the others at the bus stop in her cooing/scolding. We all ignored her. It was after all a very cold day, so I gave her a very cold look.
She eventually stopped cooing and when I thought I was finally going to have peace, she burst out singing a very old but popular gospel tune. In fact it took me by surprise because I have not heard that tune in a long time. It used to be a special tune for me when I was a believer. I sang it whenever I wanted to go into a trance and be at one with the Holy Spirit. I sang it in a dramatic way, with all the treats including theatrical tears, which come to think of it, must have looked like a painful sexual mating with the Holy Spirit!
The tune was the popular-
Lord I lift Your name on high
Lord I love to sing Your praises
I’m so glad You’re in my life
I’m so glad You came to save us
You came from Heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift Your name on high
I was so surprised that I actually found myself nodding to the song. As I said, it used to be my ‘get high on holy ghost’ song. Just as I was getting into the mood, my bus pulled up. I was still miming the song when I realized I had brought out the wrong bus pass, which means I got charged for the bus fare when I could have used a free bus pass. Talk about paying debts that I didn’t owe, damn fucking Jesus Christ! OK, that got me annoyed, as if I was not annoyed enough already, but it did not stop the song from stubbornly playing in my head.
Well, I really was once very much into the song, it got me high. As we know, religion really is the opium of the masses. Some prefer to get high on cannabis, marijuana or cocaine while many get high on religion. The song was my dose for getting high when I needed to speak in tongues and mate with the Holy Spirit.
Funny enough, as I mused about the extra charge on my oyster and the unnecessary debt I paid all due to the distraction of that once beloved tune, the song started playing in my head as a tribute to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Below are the lyrics and BTW, here is a video of me getting high on his holy noodleness, Flying Spaghetti Monster. I guess I would rather get high on skepticism, logic and facts than get high on delusions, but I don’t mind getting high on Pasta in praise of his holy noodleness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Happy Holidays!
Flying Spaghetti Monster
How I love to eat your pasta
I am so glad you came to boil for me
I am so glad you wrap me in noodles
You came from heaven to earth
To boil for my sins
From the pot to my plate
My hunger to quench
With sauce and pasta
You fed me with love
Flying Spaghetti Monster
The Dictators Are Not Only Those…A poem dedicated to a dear friend COMRADE OLAITAN OYERINDE. He was assassinated on May 4, 2012 at about 2am at his residence in the Government Reservation Area, Benin, Nigeria.
At the time of his death, he was the private secretary of the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He was also the deputy secretary of Nigeria Labor Congress. Olaitan Oyerinde was a bright young life lost to Nigeria’s ‘do or die’ dirty politics. [Read more…]
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.
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, un-African 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 most have in common.
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.
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.
Is homosexuality alien to Africa?
Culture and religion is usually used to support opposition to homosexuality, sexual and gender rights. These are viewed as ‘foreign imports’ that corrupts cultural values. Many often claim that homosexuality is alien to Africa; can someone please show me the proof? I am an African, I am bisexual, I was bisexual before I ever met any white person or stepped foot on any European shore, does this make me a fake African?
For how long shall innocent lives be the victims of ignorance, hate and power? Policy makers, religious leaders and politicians seek to make laws and statements that discriminate against lesbians and gay and portray sexual minorities as less than human. For example:
The legacy of colonialism should no longer be confused with cultural authenticity or national freedom. As Africans, we should learn about our history beyond what was fed us in missionary schools. Africa is the cradle of humanity; homosexuality existed since time immemorial, which logically means it started from Africa before some members of the human race migrated to other continents for greener pastures. Evoking ‘African culture’ as a justification for the continuous attacks on gays and lesbians is no longer tenable as the following arguments have shown.
“[W]hen you hear about attacks on minorities, whether sexual or whatever, it is not a good sign, because who is to define who is African? Such behavior usually leads to the closing down of the cosmopolitan nature of what is African.”
“How can one talk of ‘African cultural and moral values’ in a continent that has tens of thousands of different ethnic and linguistic groups?…What is ‘un-African’ about homosexuality when…‘homosexuality was not only a condoned but also an actively encouraged’ practice among young males among the Bahima peoples of Ankole?”
Sodomy law is a foreign import; it is a relic from the colonial era which all former British colonies inherited. The law, like most old colonial British laws, had a very high religious influence, the name of the law itself points to its biblical origin. Britain has since repealed sodomy laws in its homeland. Unfortunately Nigeria and many other African countries still cling to this antiquated law and many now think it is an original, home-grown, African law.
Unfortunately, neo-colonialism and mental slavery continue in Africa through the heavy influence of evangelical missionaries who, having lost ground in their western countries to Equality Rights Acts, have now invaded African churches and are inciting members against homosexuals. These evangelicals are also sponsoring bills against homosexuals in African countries; some of these churches are particularly from the USA.
The upsurge of homophobic bills springing up all over Africa is actually a calculated sponsored mission of foreign religious fanatics. Some Nigerian religious groups came to the public hearing with placards designed to incite and even threatened to beat up the few LGBT defenders that attended the hearing; how very Christian-like! Whatever happened to the holy commandment, “Love Thy Neighbor”?
The above picture of two men kissing is of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum. They were ancient Egyptian royal servants; they are believed to be the first recorded same-sex couples in history. It is the only tomb in the necropolis where men are displayed embracing and holding hands. In addition, their chosen names form a linguistic reference to their closeness: Niankhkhnum means ‘Joined to life’ and Khnumhotep means ‘Joined to the blessed state of the dead’, and together the names can be translated as ‘Joined in life and joined in death’.
“Normativity” is a social construct; it is neither biological nor medical. ‘Hetereo-normativity” may be the norm but that does not mean it is the only type of relationship that exists or is natural. Killing of twins, child marriage and female circumcision were once considered normal in some parts of Africa. Also women contesting elections and inheriting lands and properties were once considered abnormal in many parts of Africa. Times change and so do norms.
Humans are continuously evolving socially and politically to create new norms. Most importantly, we must recognize that some rights are inalienable rights, and all human beings are entitled to these rights by virtue of being human irrespective of gender, birth, race or sexual orientation. What is normal today might become abnormal tomorrow but what I am born with e.g. my sexual orientation remains an integral part of me whether the society or even I, accept it or not.
Homosexuality was embraced in many parts of Africa before the colonizers came with their Sodomy laws. So dear African homophobes, homosexuality is not what is Un-African. Sodomy law is an unfortunate western import and the homophobia that ensued from it is what is un-African.
For those who insist that Homosexuality can never be acepted in Africa, well I got news for you. Malawi’s new president, Joyce Banda announced that she will work to overturn Malawi’s law which bans homosexual acts. Banda said she wants to repeal “bad laws” when speaking at her first “State of the Nation” address to parliament.
LGBT rights are human rights. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals are humans and are therefore entitled to ALL Human Rights; let no politician, religious leader or any bigot tell us otherwise. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rightly opined:
Gender should not be a barrier to love or marriage. LGBT rights are Human rights and they are not optional.
State sanctioned Jungle Justice?
There have been many documented cases of public bullying and torture of gays and lesbians in Nigeria, yet we never heard a public condemnation of such barbaric threats and acts against LGBTs. Under Sharia law adopted by 12 Northern states in Nigeria, sodomy is a criminal offence punishable with death by stoning. Hate crimes are not uncommon in Nigeria as can be seen in the following cases and remarks:
There are also reported cases of people kidnapped for their actual or suspected sexual orientations by unscrupulous Nigerians who are eager to make money from such discriminatory laws. Recently an intersex person was stripped naked in the market place because of his sexual organs.
It is unfair to encourage the oppression and discrimination of another while you demand that others respect your right to be free from discrimination. It is barbaric, unconstitutional and a blatant violation of human rights to demand that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals be locked up for 14 years or for even a minute because of their sexual orientation.
Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals have not committed any crime by being true to their sexual orientation, we have not harmed anyone and we constitute no harm to the society. If you insist on making us criminals, at least let us know the victim of our supposed crime
You are not being oppressed when another group gains rights that you have always had. You should stop denying others equal rights which every human being is entitled to. When you demand that President or the State recognize your right to peaceful protest, freedom of association and freedom of expression, remember these rights belong to all of us irrespective of our gender, class, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Human rights are not the privilege of heterosexuals; every human being is entitled to human rights. These rights are called human rights, not heterosexual rights. In case you are in doubt, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals are humans. All human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity. No one should be discriminated against because of circumstances of birth, sex, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or any other status.
Are you part of a progressive humane society for ALL or are you for retrogression? LGBT rights are human rights not extra rights. LGBT rights advocates are not demanding for extra rights. Equality for All does not take away the right of others; it only means no one is allowed to discriminate against another. It is about treating others the way we want to be treated.
Rights are never freely given but always fought for. Fundamental human rights have already been fought for and won; it should be accorded to everyone irrespective of race, gender or sexual orientation.
In the international arena, Nigeria has continued its homophobic campaign, openly calling for killing people who engage in homosexual conduct. At the UN Human Rights Council in September 2006, Nigeria ridiculed the notion that executions for offences such as homosexuality and lesbianism are excessive.
Also, recently at the United Nations, Nigeria was one of the countries that voted in support of removing sexual orientation as one of the grounds which extra judicial, summary and arbitrary execution would not be tolerated. Need I point out that extra Judicial, summary and arbitrary execution include jungle justice? Well, Nigeria actually voted that jungle justice be meted out to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals.
When Nigerians have so much hate for LGBT persons who have not caused them harm in anyway, how can they even have an iota of humane feeling for those who actually harm them? Law enforcement agents are not sympathetic to sexual minority cases, the government seeks to further criminalize homosexuals and the majority of the citizens want to stone gays to death, what a country, what a continent! When leaders of our country, our security agents and the generality of our citizens have such mindsets, how can we even begin to expect a social justice conscience or envision a just society?
We must rid ourselves of mental slavery, self-righteousness and religious stupidity before we can truly empathize with another human being. We must break the need to justify our actions with quotes from some imported ‘holy books’.
Those of us who believe in equal rights and justice for all will keep on fighting fr equal rights and justice, it does not matter whether we are a majority or minority because LGBT rights are human rights and that is the beauty of democracy.
Some of our international colleagues and comrades ask what they can do to support LGBTs in countries where LGBT rights are criminalized. International solidarity is important because no country is an island unto itself. One way you can help is by talking about it and bringing it to the attention of your government. You can and also demand that your government act in ways that shows that they do not support criminalization of a minority.
One way they can do this is not issue visas or traveling documents to visiting government officials from countries that criminalize homosexuality. If a lawmaker voted in favour of criminalizing or putting gays in jail, you should put pressure on your government not to issue traveling document to such persons. Let it be clear that you do not want to associate with or open your borders to such persons. That will send a strong message to the lawmakers and the politicians that your country will not tolerate homophobia, will not tolerate human rights violations, and will not welcome dictators or human rights violators into your country. So it is important you stand with us because we know that this is one way our lawmakers do have to stand up and think twice before criminalizing sexual minorities. The Lawmakers are very fond of traveling abroad for shopping sprees, they travel out for every small headache because they can afford to have their health consultants outside the country. If you told them that they will not get traveling documents, because of their support of the violations of the rights of sexual minorities, they will think twice before passing such laws since it will have implication for them too.
We really appreciate your solidarity, keep on creating awareness on this issue, we are happy you are standing with us on this issue. LGBT rights are Human rights and an injury to one is an injury to all, so it is important that we stand together to fight this blatant violation of human rights.
FYI, I have a book out on Amazon titled Freedom To Love For All: Homosexuality is Not Un-African. The book takes a critical look at Nigeria’s Jail the gays’ bill and homosexuality in Africa. You can order your copy on Amazon. It is available in paperback, E-copy and on Kindle. I hope you will order your copy. Thank you. I hope you have enjoyed the presentation; looking forward to answering your questions. If you have any question or clarification you’d like me to make or areas you want me to further address, let me know during question time. Thank you.