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

Nigerian LGBTI In Diaspora Against Anti-Same Laws. Protest Londo 006 - Copy

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…]

Accents and the Tragedy of Self-Hate

I recently started Video blogging and with it came the barrage of opinionated comments on my looks, appearance and quite interestingly, my accent! YEMMY IN JAPAN

I have never been self conscious about my accent.  I started making guest appearances on National TV programs almost two decades ago as a young human rights activist and vocal feminist. I remember the first time I appeared on one of the ‘posh’ Women’s programs which at the time passed as a ‘feminist’ TV show, I was immediately approached after the show by the popular presenter who told me, “Yemisi, you were really brilliant on the show, it would be great if we could get you to lose the accent”. Well, it happened that the presenter also ran a ‘Finishing school’ for girls … hmm do not ask me why a “feminist’ TV show presenter had a “Finishing school for girls’’… well, this is Nigeria we are talking about, and feminism, like many assumed “imported” ideology comes with its colonial baggage!

Anyway, she was so impressed with myyemy ituc points but not so impressed with my accent that she offered me a free session in her ‘Finishing school’ to get rid of my accent. I remember asking her why I would want to be rid of my accent. I mean, I wasn’t self conscious about my accent, especially since Nigeria is a diverse country with many local dialects and accent is one of the ways you immediately identify where a person is from.  Well, the young me was told that getting rid of my accent would be great for my profile, I declined her ‘priceless’ offer and  insisted that  I’d rather keep my accent as it is an integral part of my identity.

That was almost two decades ago. I have since gone ahead to speak at many national and international events, sometimes with heads of states and diplomats present. I have made a few speeches at UN meetings, appeared on a live televised round table debate with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and some other world leaders, but I never for a minute felt self conscious about my accent, and well, my audience never really complained and they mostly seemed to appreciate what I had to say. Shows you should choose your audience well! [Read more…]

Why “Thank God I survived” or “God knows best” is a terrible thing to say in the aftermath of a fatal disaster.

The aftermath of a tragedy always see many people praising ‘God’ for how they managed to escape and survive the tragedy. From natural disasters like the fatal earthquake in Haiti, Tsunami in Japan, Tornadoes in Oklahoma to the very avoidable road accidents and man-made plane crashes in Nigeria, many always come up with the “Thank God I survived” and “God knows best” supplication.307120_290237154324821_100000156154826_1443765_1849047904_n

Truly—Thank God? Really… God knows best?

Do people ever pause to really comprehend how selfish and distasteful this statement is? There you are, staring at the burnt remains of humans from a fire accident, grossly twisted bodies of innocent children from a car accident, pieces of charred human flesh scattered at a bomb blast scene or your neighbor’s body, half buried under a pile of debris caused by a natural disaster and all you could say is, thank God it wasn’t you. Really?

Yes, you might be glad that you are not one of the burnt persons, that your child is not the grossly twisted child who groaned and screamed in agony but should you not save your ‘Thank God’ supplications for the privacy of your room when only you and your ‘God’ is present?

How do you think it seems to the family of those bereaved when for example:- [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…]

Commemorating International Day Against Homophobia

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), now also known as International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). I strongly believe it should be International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

Anyway, in keeping with the theme of IDAHO this year, which is,  “Fight the Homophobia Web Virus: Fighting homophobia on the Internet and in social media”, I shall be posting some videos and poems to spread the message of Equality and speak out against discrimination.

I am kicking this off with a video of the protest rally I organized last year to mark IDAHO, under the auspice of my group “Nigerian LGBT in Diaspora  Against Anti Same Sex Laws” . The protest took place outside the Nigerian embassy in London. We were joined by notable human rights activist, Peter Tatchell and also our Ugandan comrades, brothers and sisters. It is difficult for Africans especially immigrants to participate in protests especially one that is deemed very controversial. We salute the bravery of the few who turned up to give a face to the many faceless, voiceless and persecuted Nigerian LGBTs. The quality of your solidarity cannot be quantified!

558125_663152280377499_1234960509_nThis year I am spreading the IDAHO message via websites and if I am up to it, I will join the London Pride flash event to mark IDAHO later in the day! Enjoy the video and subsequent ones, I am happy to answer your questions on the subject matter. HAPPY IDAHO!

 

SLAP SOME SENSE INTO BISHOP DAVID OYEDEPO!

I am angry, not just angry but very, very angry. I am indignant, not just for myself but on behalf of many sisters especially the voiceless sisters! If you are not angry after watching the infamous video of Bishop Oyedepo slapping a young girl to the thunderous applause of his church members, you are also a target of my anger!

 It is said that “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction”. Present day examples abound, e.g.  

“Homosexuality is a sin, let us kill Gays”

“Witchcraft is evil, let us slap young witches”

“I am the chosen one; therefore I will bomb out all others from my holy land”

“Sorcery is a sin; let us behead its practitioners”

 “Adultery is a sin, let us stone the unmarried pregnant woman”

 …and the list goes on and on.

 The YouTube video of Bishop Oyedepo slapping a young girl he accused of witchcraft should make any sane person angry. The thunderous applause from his followers during this dastardly act is nauseating enough to make one vomit. Why is there a complete lack of common sense amongst religious fanatics? I guess if they could reason, they wouldn’t be fanatics anyway! Really, how could any sane person encourage the molestation of a young person and actually applaud the torturer?

 

Religion is the opium of the masses, yes, many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, but really, for how long must these atrocities continue before we break the chain of religious oppression in Nigeria?

The colonisers that introduced Christianity to Nigerians would noDOGt in this age, in their own country, dare openly embrace such atrocities as perpetrated in the name of God in Nigeria today. Africans need to wake up from their slumber and see religion for what it really is; an addictive drug that numbs reason and robs away common sense!  I do not even want to go into the mental slavery aspect of organized religion and how much it has Africans, especially Nigerians, in its evil grip! 

Bishop David Oyedepo had the audacity to slap the young girl who dared to assert that she is not a witch as accused, but a witch for Jesus. Now, how is being a witch for Jesus a crime? [Read more…]

Debunking the myths: Is majority support of ‘Anti Same-Sex Marriage’ bill a democratic license to discriminate against sexual minorities?

DSC_0995 ftb resized“Minority can have their say but majority will have their way” is the new anthem of majority homophobic members of the supposedly enlightened Nigerian community on the issue of the draconian ‘Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition)’ bill. The mere thought that some supposedly enlightened people still think a majority has the right to have its way at the expense of the human rights of a minority is really worrisome. What enlightened mind would even support such a proposition in this age?

 

Many Nigerians eagerly confuse democracy with majority rule, what a shame and how sad for my beloved motherland. There is a big difference between Democracy and Majority rule.  According to this ‘ill-perceived’ concept of democracy as ‘minority having their say and majority having their way’, I guess the scenarios below would be deemed democratic: [Read more…]

Debunking the myths: Is decriminalizing Homosexuality a slippery slope towards endorsing Pedophilia, Rape and Bestiality?

It seems no debate on human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals is complete without the inevitable snide remark, “If human rights of homosexuals are recognized, rapists, pedophiles and people who sleep with animals will start claiming human rights violations too”.188452_208137445878987_122256581133741_806700_345525_n resized

 Why do homophobes always feel the need to mention sex with animals when commenting on LGBT rights issues? How is homosexuality and sex with animals, rape or pedophilia the same thing? Isn’t it time people moved away from unjustified, illogical sentiments and address real issues? 

 Rape

Rape is trapehe unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.  It is a type of sexual assault usually involving forceful sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another without consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of giving valid consent. The term is most often defined in criminal law. A person who commits an act of rape is known as a Rapist.

 Sexual Orientation i.e. Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Pansexuality or Heterosexuality has nothing to do with sexual harassment. If anyone grabs your ass in public or even in private without your consent, it does not matter whether the person is heterosexual or homosexual; it is sexual harassment and assault.

Gender or sexual orientation is not the factor that determines if you had been sexually harassed or molested; lack of consent is the decisive factor. It is a criminal offense to sexually assault, harass or abuse anyone. So, what connection does a loving relationship between consenting adults have with rape?  None at all! [Read more…]

Debunking the myths: Is Homosexuality, Bisexuality or Transsexualism Un-African or Unnatural?

Homosexuality has existed from time immemorial, as far back as when same-sex persons ever came in contact. Africa is said to be the cradle of human race, it therefore can be logically inferred that homosexuality started in Africa, before human race started migrating to other places to spread its branches in different colours, shapes and sizes.   

 326924_2116765247425_1494540329_31789398_184925909_oMany African cultures and religions viewed Homosexuals and Transgender persons as gods, they were revered before intolerant religions and cultures started flourishing. It was the advent of colonisation and the import of foreign laws like Sodomy laws that brought Homophobia and intolerance into many African societies. I say “African societies” with a consciousness that AFRICA is not a monolithic society as it consists of many diverse ethnicities and cultures and therefore there is no monolithic, African culture. 

 Many Africans became intolerant of homosexuality and transsexuals only after foreign religions were [Read more…]