Reviews- Freedom To Love For ALL: Homosexuality Is Not Un-African!

Amazing customer reviews of Freedom To Love For ALL: Homosexuality is not Un-African

REVIEW: Yemisi Ilesanmi, FREEDOM TO LOVE FOR ALL: Homosexuality is not Un-African! BookCoverImage new vista

 An adjective formed from the name of a country or continent can provide a serviceable, if general, basis for a discussion on ideas, events, places, etc. Greek ideas, French History, Arabian landscape.  But add the negative prefix Un- (as in Un-American or Un-African) and you are in the realm of the spurious and condemnatory, of denial, of mystiques that other people ‘perceive’ and subscribe to and expect you to as well, a never-fully explained free-standing adjective that  is used as a silencer and trump card in any argument.  Un-Biblical is another example.

   In this short book of essays, Yemisi Ilesanmi, a  human rights advocate and trade unionist, counters the indefinable ‘Un-African’ from  several angles, fact, logic and persuasion.

   Homosexuality is common to all peoples: Africa is no exception. Many African cultures viewed homosexuals and transgender as Gods: the Yoruba god of thunder, Sango, dressed as a woman; the Northern Congo Azande warriors routinely married male youths who functioned as temporary wives. Several of the Kings (Kabakas) of the Buganda tribe in Uganda  were gay.   And the first recorded gay kiss is from an Ancient Egyptian tomb. Homosexuality was not a foreign import.

   Indeed homosexuality was not a cultural value of the West, and has had to be fought for. Homophobia, however, was part of the baggage brought in with colonialism and  Christianity. The white imperialists introduced the Sodomy Laws. Many former  colonies such as  Canada, Australia and South Africa got shot of them years ago; other  colonies, still cling to them.  Some countries are extending the laws. Uganda and Nigeria, in particular – and to such a degree that  ‘black homophobia has replaced white racism as the newest form of intolerance.’

    The Nigerian Same Sex (Prohibition) Bill, 2011, (known as the ‘Jail the Gays’ Bill) states that a marriage contract or civil union between persons of the same sex is prohibited, and may not be solemnised in any place of worship. A  marriage certificate issued by a foreign country is void. ‘The registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, their sustenance, processions and meetings are hereby prohibited. The show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly is hereby prohibited.’ The punishment is 14 years for the couple involved in the marriage, 10 years for anyone involved in abetting a marriage, and 10 for operating a gay club.

   Twelve Northern Nigerian states have adopted Sharia Law, for which homosexual acts are punishable by stoning.  (Even this doesn’t go far enough for the  deputy chief Imam of Abuja who says, ‘Homosexuality and lesbianism are just too dirty in the sight of Allah. Those who engage in them deserve more than capital punishment. When they are killed, their corpse should also be mistreated.’)

     Many of the legislators behind the ‘Jail the Gays’ Bill have less than savoury personal lives, several having imported a child bride. Even more have not sufficiently distanced themselves from corrupt politicians who have been in power too long, are not delivering, and are eager to find a scapegoat for their own administrative failings. They give themselves away in their hysterical language, outlandish claims and blatant non sequiturs. The former President of Nigeria, Olusegan Obasanjo  claims, ‘Homosexuality is unBiblical, unnatural and Un-African.’  The Redeemed Christian Church of God  preaches, ‘If we allow same-sex marriage there there will be no procreation and we may become the last set of senators and no others to take over from us.’ Other choice comments include, ‘Same sex marriage is spreading round the whole world just like pornography and terrorism which has become the order of the day if not arrested in time.’  Yemisi has no problem in demolishing these arguments. She takes particular pleasure in dealing with the preposterous claim, ‘If the human rights of homosexuals are recognised, rapists, paedophiles and people who sleep with animals will start claiming human rights violations, too.’

   She quotes Wole Soyinka, ‘Legislators fail to distinguish between personal bills and interventions in private life. What people do in their bedrooms is no business of mine. It should not be the business of legislators.’ Yemisi adds, ‘Rather than deal with problems such as poverty, corruption, unemployment, poor security and Boko Haram, the legislators demonise the gays.  When will they  stop discussing who is sleeping with whom, and start making laws to move this underdeveloped, oil-rich nation forward?’  She goes on to say that the truly ‘Un-African’ practices are the killing of twins, child marriage and female circumcision, and the laws that do not allow women to inherit land. She adds that there is one truly unwelcome foreign import, and that is the influx of Evangelical Christians from America.

   Yemisi makes a case for LGBT Rights as Human Rights, but in her campaigning in Nigeria she has been hampered not only by religious bigotry, misinformation and irrelevant quotes (mainly from the uniquely ghastly Book of Leviticus) but that free speech and majority rule do not always work to the benefit of the minorities.  Free speech permits hate speech, and hate mail. Social networks are full of prejudice. Journalists tamper with information. Police never act on behalf of victims. However much nominal free speech there may (or may not)  be for minorities in the end the bigoted majority will prevail. ‘Minority can have their say, but majority will have their way.’ Even in South Africa, which in 2006, became the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalise same-sex marriage  the law is not supported by the majority, and ‘curative rape’ as a way of preventing lesbianism is not rare.

    Yemisi welcomed the support of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, who made representations against the Bill. ‘Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transsexuals are an integral part of society. This unwise and ultimately futile attempt to outlaw same-sex marriages and by extension homosexuality, smacks of fear-mongering, and a lynch-mob mentality.’ But she laments the lack of support from the Nigerian Left, who do not consider gay rights a majority struggle. Human rights, some claim,  can only be assured when capitalism is overthrown; the LGBT fight is a mere diversionary tactic to take away attention from pressing economic problems. Yemisi disagrees. There were successful  demonstrations for the right of education, for women’s vote, and the freedom of association and expression.  She also points out that in 1917 Lenin abolished the Czarist laws against homosexuality, (which Stalin reversed). Fidel Castro came to see the light and apologised for his early laws against gays.  It is, she claims, all one fight. She quotes Desmond Tutu,  ‘My brothers and sisters, you stood with people, of colour who were oppressed because of their skin colour. If you are going to be true to the Lord you worship, you are also going to be there for the people who are being oppressed for something they can do nothing about: their sexual orientation.’

   A brave and timely book, not the last on the subject. Yemisi’s advocacy of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts and her call for recognition of LGBT rights as human rights have exposed her to many threats, including beheading.

 Tutu:  ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’

 John Dixon

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Exhibiting Africans in a Human Zoo is not Art, it is Racist Voyeurism! Please sign this petition.

The Human Zoo exhibition ‘Exhibit B’ by white South African Brett Bailey is disgusting and dehumanising! As a black woman in the 21st century, my skin colour or body should not be on exhibition for the voyeuristic, closeted pleasure of racist privileged white people. My ancestors already suffered this humiliation, I should not have to watch it happen again under the pathetic excuse of “It is Art”.

If the people at the Barbican Centre cannot see why this is racist and dehumanising, they need to raise their social consciousness and awareness.

As for the artist, white South African Brett Bailey, I think he already knows that he is a racist asshole, afterall his reported use of the ‘N’ words testify to this.

It is not art, it is an outlet for him and his fellow racist, privileged white people to enjoy voyeuristic, closeted racist pleasure at the expense of [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...]

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.


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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  link


Shocking and depressing migration attempts

It was shocking and depressing watching the video coverage of African men as they attempt to migrate to Europe on-board a 1squalid boat, in highly dangerous situation. Their boat engine developed a fault, they were found after two days drifting in the sea without food. They were arrested and squashed together in a horrible small cell. They were the lucky ones. Many had died trying to cross the sea illegally into Europe. Many will still die attempting the dangerous voyage.

BBC reports

The number of people attempting the dangerous sea crossing from North Africa to Italy has risen sharply, says Frontex, the EU border agency.

Quentin Sommerville gained exclusive access to one group, detained by the Libyan authorities while trying to make the crossing.

Some people may find his report from the city of Misrata distressing.

Well, I didn’t just find it distressing; I find it highly depressing and shocking.

What are African leaders doing? The politicians obviously do not care at all about the conditions their African brothers and sisters live in. It is these very conditions that force many Africans to flee their continent, sometimes employing life threatening methods just to get away. Wars, poverty and desperation continue to push people towards dangerous escape routes. [Read more...]

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


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.

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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...]

…Of Karma, Reincarnation and Destiny

I watch helplessly as a friend, who is a Trans woman and until recently a believing Christian, suddenly discovered Karma, 406845_386649248076233_1904133455_nreincarnation and destiny. She has been going on and on about how God is the evil being who awards karma. She is now convinced God made her gay just to punish her for bad karma she accumulated in a previous life. She claims God appeared to her in a vision/dream and explained that she was a white woman in her previous life, however she was reborn a black African man in a homophobic society as a result of bad karma. God then threatened to punish her for speaking against him.  Needless to say, this ‘revelation’ has made her very bitter about God, whom she now refers to as the ‘evil one’ to the chagrined of her now ex fellow Christians.

It pains me that this lovely being is distraught and torn apart by the myth of Karma, Reincarnation and Destiny. It is even more painful that after her long journey towards transitioning into her preferred gender, this new belief in Karma, reincarnation and destiny has made her bitter about being born gay to the extent that she now sees her sexual orientation and gender identity as a sort of punishment; a bad karma.

So, let’s talk about Karma, Reincarnation and Destiny.

  • Are you blaming Karma for the calamities in your life?
  • Do you wish you had known about Karma so that you could have averted the calamities?
  • Do you believe the Karma you accumulated in your previous life is why your life is a mess?

So tell me, [Read more...]

Dear friend, I’m going to prison. Protest rally against Nigeria’s Anti-LGBT Law.

Nigeria demo 1 - 14 Nov 11Dear friend,

I’m just writing to say goodbye.

I’m going to prison,

for 14 years,

for being gay

and Nigerian.

And if you associate with me, or don’t report me, whether you are straight, gay or bisexual, you face 10 years too… [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...]

Venting my concerns over Nigeria’s new Anti-LGBT Law

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.


Stupid, homophobic arguments in support of Nigeria’s ‘Jail the Gays’ law:1-The West should legalize polygamy before they impose gay agenda on Africans!

It is no longer news that Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, has signed the ‘Jail the Gays’ bill into law. The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition law stipulates a 14 years jail term for same-sex marriage and 10 years imprisonment for public show of same-sex affection. The legislation stipulates a 10 year imprisonment for anyone who aids, abets or witness same sex relationship or marriage. The law also imposes a 10 year jail term on human rights defenders who advocate for LGBT rights or DSC_0951 newhold meetings to promote LGBT rights.

Ever since the news broke, homophobic Nigerians have been celebrating the so called ‘bravery’ of their clueless president, for what they see as ‘standing up to the western imperialists’, whom they alleged want to impose the ‘gay agenda’ on Africans.  Many of those homophobes especially religious Nigerians, have been coming up with some of the most ridiculous excuses for supporting the ‘Jail the Gays’ law. Of course, there can be no reasonable excuse to support 14 years imprisonment based on sexual orientation or for holding meetings to discuss the human rights of Minorities.

No reasonable, rational and decent person would support depriving any human of their basic human rights including the Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association and Freedom from discrimination, Freedom from torture, Right to privacy and Right to found a family. It is not surprising that some of those anti-LGBT remarks are not just ridiculous; they are plain stupid, bigoted and have ignorance at their very heart.

I will address some of those remarks under different posts which I will catalogue under the title and tag ‘Stupid, homophobic arguments in support of Nigeria’s ‘Jail the Gays bill’. I will kick-start this with the comment below which unfortunately was made by my good friend and comrade. This particular self-righteous indignation has been rearing its ugly head in many discussions. It has been raised by those who think it justifies signing the ‘Jail the gays’ bill. So let’s tackle it.


1- I am assuming this is a cultural comparison because of the reference to polygamy. If you are making a “Homosexuality is not [Read more...]

Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora condemns signing of the ‘Jail the Gays’ bill.

PRESS STATEMENT – Nigeria’s ‘Jail the Gays’ legislation is a blatant violation of fundamental human rights of Sexual minorities and every Nigerian.

1185423_697419426957087_459234855_n NEWJanuary 15, 2014-  Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws unequivocally condemns the signing into law of the draconian Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition bill by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Nigerian Lawmaker unanimously passed the ill-thought out draconian bill earlier in 2013 and sent the harmonized version of the bill to the president for assent on 30 Dec, 2013. The bill was reportedly signed by the president on 7 January 2014. [Read more...]