The Politics of Colour: Being an invisible minority within an invisible minority

Bisexuals are not a very visible part of the LGBT community. Unfortunately, biphobia is very much alive within the DSC_0951 newLgbt community. This unfortunate issue has been cause for Bisexuals to come together to organize and gain more visibility in the LGBT community.

When I moved to UK in 2009, I was eager to join the LGBT community and be part of the bisexual community. I soon realized that although it is easy to have a social life beyond virtual interactions with Lesbians and gays activists, it is very difficult to actually meet bisexual activists.

Almost all the LGBT events I attended were dominated by gay and lesbian concerns; there was nothing much about bisexuality. I had to raise the question of more bi visibility at these events.I also noticed that it is one thing to find Bisexual events, it is quite another to find people of colour represented at these events. Unlike most lgbt events (which are actually gay dominated events), there are at least a noticeable number of people of colour, the few bisexual events I have attended failed in this area. 

After making enquires about bi groups and events in UK, a Bi friend who lives outside UK sent me a link to a bi weekend event organized by bisexual activists in UK.  I was glad to attend and was happy that one of the main themes for the weekend was Race. The event was held outside London and I had to travel a bit to get to the destination, optimistic that it was going to be a great weekend with fellow bi activists.

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Not begging for my LGBT/Human Rights does not make me Aggressive, just Assertive. Deal with it! Part 2

249138_10151008479421873_936068164_nI am quite active on Facebook, it is one social media I use effectively for advocacy and my personal idiosyncrasies. On my facebook page and groups, I am sometimes accused of making ‘long’ responses to comments. The truth is, I am a stickler for facts. I just can’t ignore a sentence that needs debunking, certainly not if it is right there on my wall. Therefore I tend to dissect every word that needs clarification. I guess I am one of those who can’t go to bed when someone is wrong on facebook! One good thing about this idiosyncrasy of mine is that it gives me inspiration and materials for my blog, some of those long responses are often ideas I need to share with others, especially when they address issues that crop up often. A single post would save me from having to make the same point over and over again on my facebook wall.  Now, here is another of these long responses that have now been turned into a blogpost.

It is important to shed more light on this “Stop shouting”, “stop being so aggressive”, “Listen respectfully to your abusers” admonitions I often receive from well meaning and not so well meaning self appointed advisers.  Below is a response to someone who obviously is not homophobic but was still religious enough to find my attacks on religion uncomfortable. He could not directly come out to say this so he cloaks his discomfort in words of advice and admonitions. While laying no claim to been a mind reader, unfortunately, this is one attitude I am very familiar with. [Read more…]

Senator Pedophile Sani Yerima, Bishop David Oyedepo and guilty Nigerians, She is a: #ChildNotBride, #ChildNotWitch, #ChildNotHouseGirl!

Nigerians have suddenly woken up to the ills of child abuse because of an obscure part of the constitution. While we are all getting self righteous and indignant about children’s rights, let us also look at ways we are guilty of perpetrating child abuse. After all Child abuse comes in different colours, shapes  and sizes.

Religion and child abuse: 

Rape is never funny and pedophilia is nothing to joke about. It sure baffles me how people who condemn rape, who would normally freak out at the thought of a 54 year old man raping a 9 year old girl, could still praise and worship a pedophile prophet who did exactly that!

It seems being a catholic priest or an Islam prophet is a shield from being scorned at as a rapist and pedophile. And now, you can add being a Nigerian Senator or diligent follower of the Islamic faith to the list.  Why the double standard?  Even when dead, pedophiles graves should be spit on not worshiped in holy pilgrimages! [Read more…]

FtbCon: Atheism with a conscience!

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FtBConscience is on this weekend (Friday 19th July 2013 – Sunday 21st July 2013), with the theme ‘Atheism with a Conscience’. You can join FtBloggers and our array of distinguished panelists for a stimulating weekend without leaving the comfort of your home!

Join us live as we discuss Atheism, Religion, Social Justice, Science, Art, Love, Grief, Mental illness, Video games and a host of other interesting things! There will also be live Atheist music performed by our in house musicians!

I am one of the speakers on the panel Atheism is Not Enough, Saturday 20th July, 2013, (10am to 12pm CDT (UTC – 5) / 4:00pm-6:00pm British Summer Time, GMT +1). I hope you will join me for this interesting discussion.

You can visit the chat room here, follow/tweet @ftbcon, or post on our Facebook page if you have any questions!

It is really sunny here in London,  we are experiencing a heatwave, so I might live-stream from one of the beautiful parks in London, the queen’s palace or set up cam near Prince Williams and his wife, Duchess Catherine, who is due to deliver the next royal baby any minute now. We might catch a glimpse of Kate going into labour! Well, it could mean a hasty panel on Monarchy and the privilege of Birth.  Now, got to go get my background just right, after all this is gonna be live!

BTW, at the end of the conference, you can also hangout with FtBloggers and our wonderful panelists for drinks. I heard there is beer, chocolate, Ice cream, erm… sorry atheists; we won’t be eating babies, they are not on the FtB conference menu!

Marriage Equality for England and Wales; A Victory for Equality!

Great news! There is Marriage equality at last for England and Wales! The House of Lords has now passed the equal marriage bill at its Third Reading for England and Wales. The bill should receive Royal Assent soon. This will pave the way for same-sex couples to have access to marriage equality.

This is a positive step forward not just for England and Wales, but for humanity as a whole too.

 

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Kudos to every individual and organization, who lobbied their lawmakers, rallied and stood up for Marriage equality.

I join all progressive minded humans to celebrate with England and Wales on this momentous occasion.

The Equality train must go round faster and faster. It is my hope that the equality train arrives in Africa sooner than later, it surely must have a stopover in Nigeria soon. [Read more…]

Why “Thank God I am still better off than some” is a selfish prayer and attitude

734924_268214039970930_2030938367_nSince being forced into the unemployment market, I have noticed an increase in people telling me to be thankful to God that I am still better off than others. Of course, they know I am an atheist, but believers eagerly pounce on any opportunity to tell atheists that ‘God’ is great. I have even been told that the rough patch I am going through is God’s way of showing me he is the Almighty God, and he wants me to recognize it, go on my knees, and accept him as God and only then would he make my path smooth again. ROTFLMAO!

OK, I won’t even go into the childishness of such a God or the morality of anyone who thinks such a God deserves to be praised or why God takes on the personality of his believers/creators. That is a story for another day. Now, let us not divert too much, the topic for today’s discussion is ‘Why “Thank God I am still better off than some” is a selfish prayer and attitude. Here is an analogy to get us started.

In a village, lives an all-powerful king who has the powers to make all things happen. He is famed as omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, he could grant every heart desire if he so wish. Villagers often gather in his golden palace to praise him, pray and give thanks to him. [Read more…]

‘Our Senators are Hypocrites’

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ORIGINAL INTERVIEW LINK- http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/our-senators-are-hypocrites/104344/

(BTW, you totally should read the wacky comments on the original interview link)
Yemisi Ilesanmi describes herself as ‘proudly bisexual’. After gaining her LL.B from the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2004 (four years after she should have qualified and 10 years after she was initially admitted as a student), she was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 2005. Asked about the time gap, she chuckles in recollection, ‘Well I had some issues with the university authorities’. Pressed further she says, ‘Weeell, we ‘kidnapped the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Omole! We had only dirty, brown water coming out of our taps in the halls of residence and we were expected to drink that?!’ her voice rising an octave. ‘Well, we thought we should just give him a dose of his own medicine so we “took” him to spend quality time with us!’

If by now it has not been clear that the interviewer is speaking with a non-conformist, it is now.

Ilesanmi worked with the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja from 2002 until recently. Aged 36, she holds a Masters of Law Degree from the University of Keele, UK in Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights. Now resident in the United Kingdom, this trade unionist, human rights activist and poet sent in a position paper to the Senate hearing last October on the anti-same sex marriage bill. She was however unable to come down to Nigeria to make her presentation personally but says she now plans to do so for the House of Representatives public hearing.

The coordinator of the campaign group Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora Against Anti-Same Sex Laws, she has travelled extensively as guest speaker to promote gender and youth issues, labour rights, sexuality rights and international human rights. [Read more…]

Why Are Many Nigerian Christians So Senseless? Part 1

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I often receive some very ignorant comments from believers, mostly Nigerian Christians who pompously inform me that I am going to burn in hell for not accepting Jesus Christ as my personal saviour. They claim if I do not stop campaigning for equal rights for all, which basically mean, I should stop the ‘gay agenda’ of promoting lesbians, gays , bisexuals and transsexuals as PERSONS entitled to human rights,  I will feel the wrath of their all merciful, all loving but obviously vengeful and insecure in his sexuality God. Oh, how they love calling me a fool because their precious bible claims anyone one who says there is no God is a fool. However, I must say, this comment on my fb wall by a deluded Christian is a prime example of just how senseless many Nigerian Christians are.

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Yemisi Ilesanmi the anti Christ. I am sure that you are a vessel of the devil in this end time but we are specially annoited and commissioned to frustrate and fail you.

OK, let’s forget that he got the spelling of ‘anointed’ wrong, although that is quite funny because that word is always on the lips of Nigerian Christians, e.g. “I am anointed” , “Anointing fall on me” and the very popular “Buy your anointing oil!”

I will proceed to critically scrutinize this comment as it shows the level of religious ignorance the average Nigerian Christian suffers from.

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WHY I SPEAK OUT AGAINST RELIGION

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As 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 FACTS in public schools, preach it to me in public space or seek to make their religion my state law, I do not care. However, 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 paedophile 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 beliefs 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 taxpayers’ 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!
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I am often 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 clarify why I speak out against religion. Now, I have a handy link for the next aggrieved person. Problem solved! [Read more…]

Is the Atheist+ label really confusing?

Would people object to an atheist group showing up at Pride with a banner “Atheist for LGBSDC14859T rights”? Would this confuse onlookers and make them assume that all atheists are for LGBT rights? I was at the 2012 World Pride in London and right behind my group, Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora, was another group with the banner “Lawyers for Equal Marriage”. I am a lawyer and I also happen to know many lawyers who are against equality rights for same-sex couples. Should the anti-LGBT equality lawyers protest the use of the name ‘Lawyers’ in such context?  Well, that would be silly!

 Just like Lawyers, Socialists and Humanists, I can also use my Atheist self-identity to complement other causes I identify with. No other atheists get to tell me, “Hey do not add ‘plus’ to Atheism, you are redefining it”. I am not redefining it; I am only using what I already am to promote other causes I believe in. [Read more…]

What are Anti-Atheists+ afraid of?

I do not know what the hullabaloo is about Atheism+, why all the hate and tantrums? I understand that people fear change, people with power fear anything that would or could threaten their power base, and because atheists are people, they are not exempted from this fear of change.

 People who enjoy power hardly want their privileged positions questioned. They fight the change makers, they cast aspersion on the oppositions’ characters, they fight tooth and nail to discredit the change and this is mostly what the fight against Atheism+ is all about. The sad thing is, many of those fighting the Atheism+ concept would hardly agree that they fight because they are afraid of change, nope; they would hide under so many notions to justify their stance against atheism+.

 People love to have power over others; the ‘insignificant’ minorities are always the victims. Many so called progressives still use their residual patriarchal power, sometimes unconsciously, to lord it over others but they loathe it when they are confronted with this fact.

 Why am I in support of Atheism+? I am a black African woman who also identify as atheist, bisexual,391462_507881772571218_1254845999_n feminist, socialist and humanist.  Sometimes I join groups that promote all my identities or at least acknowledge some of the things I identify as and with. For example, I identify with Black feminists groups, African labour groups, Labor women organizations, LGBT Atheists, African bisexuals, Black Atheists groups, Working class Atheists, Secular humanists and female workers groups. When attached to my birth identity, these self-identity tags afford me the opportunity to understand at a glance, the demography of the groups.

 I am conscious that not every organization that I identify with, shares my values or all my identities, however when joining or identifying with a group, I consider it important that I network with groups and persons who do not only share a birth or self-identity with me but who also share core values.    [Read more…]