‘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.

[Read more…]

My interview with SaharaTV on Nigeria’s ‘Jail the Gays’ bill and the hate comments

 My interview with SaharaTV on Nigeria’s ‘Jail The Gays’ bill.

Laughing and shaking my head at the homophobic, ignorant comments of Nigerians on this Sahara Reporters facebook post featuring my Interview with SaharaTV on the Nigeria’s Jail the Gays bill.

It is said that fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and violence.

Already a few are calling for me to be stoned to death.

It really is easy to hate, it takes courage to Love. If only these ignoramuses conquer their fear by opening their mind to logic and love, Nigeria, nay, the world would be a better place for all.

Kindly sign the petition against the jail the gay bill

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How is it a democracy if you discriminate against your citizens because of their sexual orientation?

How is it a secular state if you quote your Skydaddy when enacting state laws and policies?

I did not fight for democracy to clear the way for a bunch of clueless ignoramuses to enact laws that violate my fundamental human rights.

Get educated, tame your ignorance, stop the hate.

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June 12: A Hope For Democracy, A Fight For justice, A Dream Yet To Be Fulfilled But Where Did It All Go Wrong?

June 12 evokes a not so distant memory of hope raised and hope dashed. Memories of a fight for democracy, a cry to kick out the military regardless of which civilian got the mandate, bitter memories of inhaling tear gas, of being dragged by soldiers to the worst of cells and of scribbling notes from jail. A bitter memory of comrades cut down by the bullets of military junta, limbs lost to protests, comrades lives lost to bad roads on the way to rallies, weeks, sometimes months and years spent in horrible security detention centers and that distant memory of a strong conviction that Nigeria was a country worth dying for.

 

Hmmm…where did it all go wrong?

 

1. Was it at that moment when we stupidly did not care who took over from the military dictators as long as we had a civilian government?

2. Was it that moment when comrades started accepting the juicy but with no portfolio position of special Assistants to Governors, Lawmakers or any politician who can pay the bill?

3. Was it when comrades started contesting for political positions under the umbrella of undemocratic political parties they once vehemently spoke against?

4. Was it that moment when you stumbled on an online appeal for legal funds that was launched in your name when you were detained in one of the country’s worst cells as a guest of the military dictator, even though you were never consulted nor knew what happened to the fund raised?

5. Was it when the Nigerian Progressives and pseudo comrades made it obvious that they do not really care about Equality for All? That moment when they made it clear that they only participate in struggles which are popular with the masses? Or that they cannot side with sexual minorities who are persecuted by the government as they are afraid to lose popularity amongst the masses, on whose wings they hope to achieve political relevance, power and a share of the national cake?

6. Was it when you get laughed at by fellow Nigerians who think you are a fool for not joining the looting party when you have access to the corridors of power?

7. Was it that sad moment when you realized that the party goes on, no matter whose blood was shed?

8. Was it that horrible moment when you suddenly realized that comrades now blame comrades for the assassination of a comrade?

9. Was it that moment when you realize that Nigeria is shit, but not because it is Nigeria but because it is a country populated by opportunists who are mostly proudly ignorant?

10. Was it that moment when you finally accept that Nigerians are truly proud to be suffering and smiling and would prefer not to free themselves from oppression if there is a minuscule chance of them assuming the position of the oppressor?

 

Hmmm… June 12, a day I’d rather not remember but a day that is still very instrumental in channeling my relationship with Nigeria, as I learn more about Nigerians, humans and humanity in general. [Read more…]

Would the percentage of Nigerians condemning Jungle justice decrease if the ALUU 4 victims were gays caught in the act?

183566_188040371235828_106356742737525_459468_7032241_n-1When I read the story of the 4 students of University of Port Harcourt that were lynched on allegation of theft, I wept for my country one more time. I have not watched the video and I do not ever intend to watch it. It is very difficult getting an online report of the story without graphic images of the victims being burnt alive. Nigerian bloggers and news reporters need to understand that such violent graphics should come with a trigger warning. I am already tormented at the thought of a human being burnt alive by a sick mob; I can do without the pictures and violent video, please.

 

Following the breaking of this horrible news, most Nigerians expressed shock that such barbaric acts could still so wantonly be carried out in Nigeria and with the tacit cooperation of members of the police force too. State security men were said to be present at the scene of the lynching but chose not to intervene.  Also, there were a few Nigerians who actually tried to justify the murders, they felt if these students actually stole mobile phones and laptops as alleged, they deserved to be lynched, and some even cited their religious books to justify this atrocious mindset. [Read more…]

KINDLY SIGN THIS PETITION: SAY NO TO NIGERIA’S JAIL THE GAYS BILL.

RESIZEDKindly sign Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws’ petition to urge President Goodluck Jonathan not to sign the Jail the Gays bill into law.

Petition- https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/president-goodluck-jonathan-don-t-sign-the-jail-the-gays-bill-into-law

To:
PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN, President Federal Republic of Nigeria
NIGERIAN LAWMAKERS, Legislators
SEN. DAHIRU UMARU- HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE, CHAIRPERSON- HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, NIGERIA, DIRECTOR
REUBEN ABATI, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan.
It is with deep concern that I sign this petition to register my dismay at the proposed Bill titled “An Act to Prohibit Marriage Between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization of Same and for Other Matters Related Therewith” which has now been passed by the Nigerian House of Representatives and Senate. This bill contradicts fundamental human rights under Nigeria constitution, international and regional human rights law and standards e.g.
  •   Nigeria Constitution- Section 42 prohibits discrimination against any person on the basis of sex or membership of a group. Also, Section 34 guarantees the right to the dignity of the human person; it states “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment” [Read more…]

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF NIGERIA’S ‘JAIL THE GAYS’ BILL.

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PRESS STATEMENT- http://wp.me/p1YdPM-9f

Nigeria LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws unequivocally condemns the passing of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill by the Nigerian House of Representatives.

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.

Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora against anti same sex laws believes that 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. [Read more…]

ON NIGERIA’S SAME SEX MARRIAGE PROHIBITION BILL

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.BookCoverImage new vista

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, unafrican 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 many have in common. It seems however that black homophobia has replaced white racism as the newest form of intolerance to sweep across the African continent. This is not to imply that homophobia is a ‘black African’ phenomenon. In conservative societies including western societies, any challenge to heterosexual norms always provokes moral condemnation, exclusion and violence. [Read more…]

Organising Sex Workers Within Mainstream Labour Movement

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The controversy of whether “sex work” can be defined and treated as real work or not is one that evokes a lot of emotion and sentiments. This is not surprising because the answer to this will determine if this area of “Work” deserves to be acknowledged and given as much legal and social protection and recognition as any other type of work recognized under the auspice of labour laws.

It cannot be denied that “sex workers”, like them or hate them, provide a service. Since prostitution is commonly refersex-workers-rightsred to as the oldest profession, sex work is a service as old as humankind. With the advent of globalization, internet dating, chat rooms, cyber-sex etc, the world’s touted oldest profession has not been left behind in modernizing its trade and services to keep up with the ever changing technology; dynamism is indeed the name of the game. In today’s world, a sex worker is no longer just the woman in skimpy red dress and high heels, lurking at street corners in the middle of the night looking for a customer. Sex workers now include prostitutes, porn actors and actresses, chat room/telephone sex providers, escorts, gigolos etc.

However, like all work, especially in this era of neo–globalization and privatisation of anything that generate profits, prostitutes in many cases do not own their bodies anymore, many are not really in a position to negotiate the prices for their services. The big lords, hotel owners, club owners, chat room owners, internet warlords are now the real employer of sex workers’ labour. The money bags have the money to run the business, employ women and in a growing number of cases men too, to render sexual services, they act as the sub contractors, in fact, it is just another stage of pimping. [Read more…]

Free Amina Tyler NOW: It is her body, her choice, her right!

Few months ago, Amina Tyler, a Tunisian woman, posted two photos of herself topless on Facebook.Amina-Tyler

The first image showed Amina with the words “Fuck your morals” written across her chest.

The second image has the words “My body belongs to me and is not the source of anyone’s honor” written in Arabic.

Since that episode, she has been hounded by Islamist conservatives who felt she has violated their honour by posting nude pictures of herself.

Whose body, whose honour?

After months of reportedly going into hiding, the outspoken Tunisian feminist who sparked a trend of “topless jihad” has been found and arrested by Tunisian authorities earlier this week and may be charged for conducting “provocative acts.”

What part of “My body belongs to me” don’t these idiots understand? If a woman wants to post nude pictures of herself on the internet, it is her body, her choice, her right. It has nothing to do with your moronic honour. FREE AMINA TYLER NOW!

This is my body; I have the right to do whatever I want with it. If I am not harming you, the decisions have nothing to do with you.

I have the right to post nude pictures of myself online. I have the right to use my body as a canvass, tattoo it or pierce it.

 

This is my body, I have the right to birth control, to abortion, to have sex with consensual adults regardless of their gender. I do not have to put up with your sermonizing or attempts to legislate over my body. [Read more…]

The Deafening Silence of Nigerian Left on the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill and Lgbti Rights

On October 31, 2011, at the senate house in Abuja, many religious groups mostly Christians from the Catholics and Anglican denominations were mobilized to support the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill titled “An Act To Prohibit Marriage Between Persons Of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith”. The majority, religious homophobic groups showed up_45557832_gay_shirts_226 with placards and t-shirts emblazoned with hate words. It was a macabre dance of the majority and rich oppressors against the few voiceless minorities.  Children that were supposed to be in school were dragged to the public hearing as part of the homophobic crowd. The hate is already been fed to the next generation and yes, some of these children wearing these t-shirts today would grow up to discover that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or Trans. I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma this would cause them in future. 

 The angry, religious, homophobic mob and the not so bright selected senators at the public hearing rained abuses on the few Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transsexuals and human rights activists at the hearing. These activists had come to defend their human rights and point out how the bill violates their rights as Nigerian citizens, they were hardly given the opportunity to speak as they were constantly booed and shouted down.

Senators asked the few activists who presented papers inappropriate questions like:

“What is your religion?”

“Can you openly stand up right now and identify yourself as gay or lesbian?”

The few that stood up were further booed and humiliated by the senators and the homoph338200_2116761727337_1494540329_31789395_1105197553_oobic majority in the house. The senators violated the rights of the protesters by asking them to stand up and identify their sexual orientation or religious affiliation. It was supposed to be a parliamentary room not a guillotine room. 

Homophobes want sexual minorities to identify themselves publicly, and when they don’t , they claim LGBTs are ashamed because they know they are perverts. This discriminatory action of Nigerian lawmakers could be likened to Hitler asking Jews to stand up and identify themselves during the holocaust.  Homosexuals are now the target of hate and ignorance. Once upon a time, not so long ago, blacks were called niggers and considered only fit to be slaves,  Jews were considered sub-human, women were classified as property, now homosexuals are called faggots and considered only fit to be thrown in jail or stoned.  [Read more…]

I AM COMING OUT!

I AM COMING OUT!

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I am coming out, out of my shell

Long under the influence of your spells

Locked away in your antique culture cell

Where no one could hear me yell

I had screamed all in vain

Only I could feel the pain

It is time to break the chains

The ghosts of the past I must slay

Weighed down by societal shackles

Banging to be out, proud and sparkle

 

I am coming out, out of my shell

Doing away with your lying shields

It is unnatural, you scream

You will burn in hell, you preach

Fires and brimstones you rake

From your societal grip I break

In angry defence the truth I seek

To be free, to be me, I must speak

Coming out, head high, sets me free

I am proud, out and ready to peak [Read more…]