Tuesday, 29 November 2011

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Kiss Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia goodbye!

 Date-  5 DECEMBER, 2011
Time- 11:30am-4:30pm
Venue-Nigeria Permanent Mission , United States
               828 Second Ave.
               10017
              New York, USA
 The Nigerian Senate  with a full majority on Tuesday Dec 29, 2011 voted in support of the  bill entitled “An Act To Prohibit Marriage Between Persons Of Same Gender, Solemnisation Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith”. This was in spite of the  disturbing report  from the October 31, 2011 public hearing in Abuja of the bill.  The independent campaign group, Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws will hold a protest in front of the Nigerian embassy against the passage of the bill and condemn the homophobic atmosphere under which the public hearing was conducted. Enough is Enough, we want our human rights!

 The theme of the protest is ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Kiss Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia goodbye! The group intends to officially submit our position paper  that was read at the public hearing in Abuja to the Nigerian Ambassador to USA and use the opportunity to express our concerns on the bill as Nigerian Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Intersex (LGBTI) living in United States of America.
 Also, outside the embassy, Nigerian LGBTI and allies will hold hands, hug and kiss as a gesture of kissing Sodomy laws goodbye. Come and join us, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Let us together kiss Sodomy laws and other anti same-sex laws goodbye. International solidarity knows no borders, come one, come all! Solidarity forever!

 Link to protest details- http://wp.me/p1YdPM-3k
Facebook event link-

Venue Map link here

 SIGN OUR PETITION AGAINST THE BILL HERE

Contacts-
John Adewoye- couragenigeria@gmail.com
Ifeanyi Orazulike- alliance.ifeanyi@gmail.com

Monday, 28 November 2011

Debunking the myths: Is Homosexuality, Bisexuality or Transsexualism UnAfrican and UnNatural?

UNAFRICAN?
   
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.   


Many 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 can lay no claim to a single, monolithic, African culture. 

Many Africans became intolerant of homosexuality and transsexuals only after foreign religions were imposed on them. In many African cultures, homosexuals and transsexuals were revered and worshiped as spirits of the gods. Sango, the Yoruba god of thunder was often described as a beautiful man who dressed like a woman, had his hair braided and accessorized like a woman. Sango priests, all men, still dress in women apparels when performing traditional rituals. Now tell me that is unafrican!

Anthropologists have found evidence that homosexuality was widely tolerated in many parts of pre-colonial Africa. For example, EE Evans-Pritchard reported that until the practice died out in the early 20th century, male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely married male youths who functioned as temporary wives.

Also, in Uganda, some members of the Buganda royal family suggest that homosexuality was existent and tolerated before colonial rule. To this day, it is said that many members of the Buganda royal family are gay. 

And of course Calabar women are well known lesbians and bisexuals. In fact, Matriarchy was and is still strong in Calabar. In the absence of a male child, the eldest daughter in the family is culturally allowed to marry another woman; this woman bears a child from a chosen man to keep the family name of the woman who acts as the husband. The eldest daughter who acts as the husband gets to keep the child and her wife! of course no one can say for certian what goes on behind closed doors once 'husband' and wife retires to their bedroom; the possibility of the couples getting cosy is quite high.

Northern parts of Nigeria e.g. Kano and Kaduna  are homes to many gays and effeminate men. Homosexuality was openly practiced before Sharia Law came with its threats of stoning homosexuals to death! This alien legacy,  a report by Human Rights Watch is a good read on Sodomy laws in Africa. 

I am Proudly African and I am mystified whenever I am accused of "promoting and defending European sexual perversity" (whatever that means). In fact from various historical paintings on Ancient Africans walls, our ancestors enjoyed homo sex , affection and Love and that was one reason why Christian missionary colonisers immediately imported their sodomy laws into our constitutions; they imported HOMOPHOBIA because they thought our free loving ancestors were barbarians who indulged in same sex loving! 

No one culture is superior to the other. African, European, Asian, American, Canadian, Aborigines, Jewish etc NONE is superior to the other. Learning about my history does not mean I should cherry pick only the part that suits me. I love African hospitality, I love the community spirit, I value the extended family support, I love the African braids, dressing etc but I do not value genital mutilation, I detest polygamy, I abhor women not having inheritance rights especially land, I am ashamed of child marriage and the fact that twins were once killed by some groups in my culture.  I cannot shy away from these problems that are part of my inherited culture, which is why as a feminist; I am fighting for equal rights for all. I am a proud African but I recognise that there is no perfect culture.

Alien to Africa?
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, so does that mean I am a fake African?

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 pasture. 
 
 







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 AFRICAN HOME MADE LAW.

 Unfortunately, colonisation and mental slavery continue in Africa through the heavy influence of evangelical missionaries who, having lost ground in their western countries to EQUALITY RIGHTS LAWS, have now invaded African churches and are inciting members against homosexuals. The evangelicals are also sponsoring bills against homosexuals in African countries.  Some of these churches are particularly from the USA and many US citizens have come out to condemn the actions of these evangelicals, who preach and spread hate.
The upsurge of homophobic bills springing up all over Africa is actually a calculated sponsored mission of foreign religious fanatics. The religious groups in Nigeria came to the public hearing with inciting placards and even threatened to beat up the few LGBTI defenders that attended the hearing. Whatever happened to Love Thy Neigbour?

I sure love this video of sex initiation of young men by older men in Sambia tribe in Papua Guinea. 

This is another video clip of an Igbo transvestite or cross dresser, who used to play before an accepting igbo community audience and also performed before royalty gives a very warm glow, a reminiscence of how tolerant dear Africa used to be. A cross dresser performing before royalty without being stoned to death?  Wow, now that is my Africa, the one I love. That was how tolerant our people were before homophobia and its religious fundamentalists took hold of our culture! The people were only interested in his talents not how he dressed!  As a Nigerian, I know that if it were to be Igbo community of today; this man would likely be stoned and beaten up for daring to dress as a woman.
 
The Yoruba God of Thunder, Sango was always referred to as a “BEAUTIFUL MAN”, with plaited hair and fond of feminine accessories. Sango priests still wear women's apparels when performing rituals. Just like the Igbo cross dresser in the video above, many African society were tolerant. Imagine what would happen to a cross dresser in many communities or even town centers in Nigeria today? 

Some do argue that Sango was famed to have been married to the Yoruba goddess, Oya. The reference to Sango in this post is to focus on his GENDER IDENTITY not Sexual Orientation. Gender identity differs from Sexual orientation, a Trans or cross dresser is not necessarily a lesbian or gay. 

 This picture of two black men kissing - 'Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum' were ancient Egyptian royal servants and are believed by some 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, the men 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""

UNNATURAL?
 "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. 

Once upon a time, killing of twins, child marriage and female circumcision were considered normal in some parts of Africa. Also women contesting elections, inheriting lands and properties were once considered abnormal in many parts of Africa. 

Humans are continuously evolving socially and politically to create new norms. Most importantly, we must recognise 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. We are all born with our sexual orientation. Sexual orientation does differ but  just like skin or eye colour, none is superior to the other.

 What is normal to me might not be normal to you, for example, I am attracted to all gender, that is natural to me, but this might be unnatural to you. Being bisexual to me is as natural as being left-handed is to a left-handed person. I am attracted to a person irrespective of sex or gender identity. Homosexuality or Bisexuality is a natural part of nature that is present in many of the species on planet earth. 

Many claim that anal sex is unnatural. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms is no business of the law or any other individual. Many heterosexuals engage in anal sex, it is not an exclusive copyright of gays. Also, many heterosexual men love oral sex and yes some women do enjoy engaging in oral sex with their lovers. It can also be argued that it is unnatural for the Penis to be inserted in a woman's mouth, just the same way you can argue that a man's tongue is not meant to give pleasure to a woman’s' clitoris or down below. Many perform fellatio on their partners and don’t find anything wrong in the act. Do we say it is wrong because that is not the original purpose of the mouth or tongue? 


Unfortunately, many of our schools still teach the missionary method (Sorry, no pun intended!) Anyway, the missionary schools are not known for teaching the main facts about sex or even acknowledge there is such a thing as SEXUAL ORIENTATION.   

Procreation: A gay problem?
 Many still argue that same sex relationship is unnatural because a man cannot get pregnant, but let's think about this; 
  • “Is marriage or sexual relationship only acceptable for the sole purpose of procreation? 
  • Should an infertile, heterosexual person not be allowed to marry? 
  • Should we stop old people who are in their menopausal age from getting married? 
  • Should we make marriage or sexual relationship illegal for fertile opposite sex partners who out of choice decide not to have children?
Not all relationships or marriages are entered into for the purpose of procreation. With advanced technological development in reproductive health, adoption, surrogacy and IVF are only some of MANY options available to same sex couples. 

When same sex couples decide not to add to the dangerously growing 7 billion human population of planet earth, or/and decide to adopt a child instead of biologically making one,  they are being thoughtful and should be commended  for their Eco-friendly action!

 For a research on sexual orientation and what scientists, doctors and psychologists have to say on the subject, this link and many links cited in it are a good starting points.

Uncomfortable and non acceptable? 
Many claim they are uncomfortable with homosexuality or bisexuality. Actually, I do not ask people to be comfortable with the idea of who I am sleeping with or having a relationship with, I believe this is solely the business of the parties involved and not the business of the state or any other outsider. 

I might not be comfortable with polygamy, polyandry or even like the idea of marriage, but I recognised that it is not my business to stop consenting adults from entering into consensual relationship.
Adults do not need my approval to love, date or marry, just like I do not need another person's approval to love date or marry my consensual adult same sex partner.

 The people that matter in any relationship, whether same sex or heterosexual, are the people IN the relationship. If they are comfortable in their relationship and cause no one no harm, they are entitled to their rights, dignity, respect of person, right to privacy and the right to found a family if they so wish. It is not about what the norm is in a society; it is about equal rights for ALL.

Homosexuality is not a cultural value of the west, homosexuals in the west fought for the rights not to be discriminated against; freedom is not given freely by the oppressors but demanded by the oppressed. 

Anyone truly interested in fighting foreign imports should start by fighting against intolerance and homophobia, because these are the real crimes of religion. African history via wall paintings indicate that ever before white men stepped foot on the Africa continent, homosexuals were not discriminated against. Learn your history, take the positive and move on from the negative, most importantly let us leave a better culture for the next generation because WE ARE ALL CREATORS OF CULTURE. 
 
The argument that any sexual act or relationship that deviates from the standard heterosexual norm is against  African culture is using “Culture” to sanction the erasure of dialogue about alternative sexualities and to condone homophobia, therefore constituting a form of cultural violence. A society that stifles sexual and gender identities discourages the recognition of human dignity. LGBTI rights are human rights.

Related Links-



 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Report of the Protest: Kiss Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia Goodbye organized by Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws on Tuesday 15 November in London.


Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws on Tuesday 15 Nov, 2011 staged a protest rally at the Nigerian House to protest the Anti same sex marriage bill and demand for the repeal of all Anti same sex laws. Nigerian LGBTI and straight supporters came out to join the protest, international supporters including notable UK Human rights activist, Peter Tatchell also stood with the Nigerian LGBTI in solidarity. The protesters carried placards with different slogans; some of the banners’ slogans were “Kiss Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia Goodbye!” “Proudly Gay, Proudly Nigerian!” “Some Nigerians are Gay, Get over it!” “Sodomy law is a colonial relic, repeal it now!” “Kiss Anti Same Sex marriage bill, Sodomy laws Goodbye!” and “Stop turning us into refugees, Repeal Sodomy laws Now!”.

The Campaign group’s position paper on the bill, report of the public hearing and one thousand petition signatures condemning the bill were submitted by Yemisi Ilesanmi and Davis Mac-Iyalla, coordinators of the protest, to the delegated representative of the Nigerian high commissioner. The group however condemned the decision of the high commissioner, HE Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, not to receive them or send a senior official to represent him, even though he was notified in advance of the visit and protest. The group coordinators encountered some difficulties gaining access into the Nigerian House. The chief security officer later said he would collect the position paper on behalf of the high commissioner.



However, immediately after collecting the papers, the security officer insisted the protesters move away from the building to the opposite side of the road because the High commision was expecting some important visitors; a red carpet was laid to receive these important visitors in an indoor party. Yemisi Ilesanmi condemned the attitude of the Nigerian ambassador and his senior officials, she said the behavior was unethical, discriminatory and shows a lack of respect and contempt by the High commissioner for the citizens of Nigeria especially the LGBT community.

Speaking on the megaphone, Davis Mac-Iyalla urged Nigerians to repent of their homophobia; he also demanded that the Senators should stop peeping into citizens bedrooms and instead take seriously the important task of moving Nigeria’s economy forward.

Tokunbo Oke, a Nigerian human right defender and straight ally urged the Nigerian government to stop its discrimination of Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and Transexuals. He said the emphasis of the Nigerian government should be on curbing corruption and not how to further criminalizing its vulnerable citizens.

Mojisola Adebayo in her speech lamented that Nigeria Senators are using the same excuses that were used to justify slavery to justify discrimination against lesbians, gays and bisexuals. She said the Nigeria government is a shame as it takes pleasure in criminalizing innocent citizens.

Yemisi Ilesanmi urged the Nigeria ambassador to pass across the message of Nigerians LGBTIs in Diaspora to the Nigerian government. She said The Nigerian senate president owes the LGBT community an apology for his opening statement at the public hearing of the anti same sex marriage bill when he used his personal religious beliefs to justify the homophobic bill, and for allowing Senators and the many religious groups at the hearing to harass and intimidate the few LGBT activists present at the public hearing. She said “The senators should be guided by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria and not by their bible or quran, the constitution is what the senators were sworn in to uphold, not holy books”.




The protesters sang, kissed and hug as a gesture of kissing homophobia, biphobia and transphobia goodbye. In their closing remarks, Yemisi Ilesanmi and Davis Mac-Iyalla said Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same-Sex Laws appreciates the support of everyone especially non Nigerians who attended the rally to show their support. The group promised to follow the progress of the bill and also plan subsequent actions to demand the repeal of all anti same sex laws in Nigeria.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

PROTEST RALLY: Kiss Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia goodbye!


NIGERIAN LGBTI IN DIASPORA AGAINST ANTI-SAME SEX LAWS

Kiss Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia goodbye!
Date-    TUESDAY 15 NOVEMBER, 2011
Time-    4:00pm-6:30pm
Venue- Nigeria House, 9 Northumberland Avenue
             London WC2N 5BX

Following the disturbing reports   http://wp.me/p1YdPM-3 from the October 31, 2011 public hearing in Abuja of the bill entitled  “An Act To Prohibit Marriage Between Persons Of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For Other Matters Related Therewith”, the independent campaign group,  Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws will hold a protest in front of the Nigerian embassy against the bill and condemn the homophobic atmosphere under which the public hearing was conducted.

 The theme of the protest is Kiss Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia goodbye!   The group intends to officially submit our position paper http://wp.me/P1YdPM-I that was read at the public hearing in Abuja to the Nigerian Ambassador to UK and use the opportunity to express our concerns on the bill as Nigerian Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Intersex (LGBTI) living in United Kingdom.

 Also, outside the embassy, Nigerian LGBTI and allies will hold hands, hug and kiss as a gesture of kissing Sodomy laws goodbye. Come and join us to kiss Sodomy laws and other anti same-sex laws goodbye. International solidarity knows no borders, come one, come all! Solidarity forever!

Link to protest details-  http://wp.me/s1YdPM-62
Facebook event link- http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156092604490122
Venue Map link-      http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=530203&Y=180315&A=Y&Z=110

Coordinator Yemisi Ilesanmi- nanfs2001@yahoo.com, +44(0)7577749875
                       Davis Mac-Iyalla - dmaciyalla@gmail.com       

Monday, 7 November 2011

Beauty comes in different colours, shapes and sizes

My video submission for the "we love Figure 8 women " contest.. The Video was voted best video by two of the three international judges. A toast to all Big, Bold and Beautiful women everywhere. Stand up tall and let the world worship at your sultry feet!

36 Year: My journey so far.

As I turned a year older, it hit me hard that I can no longer claim I am in my early 30s, I am now officially in my late 30s! Going down memory lane on my 36 years sojourn so far on planet earth, I realized just how blessed I am and how much I have achieved in the past 36 years. Growing old is part of life cycle, not to be feared but to be embraced with gratitude. It is a time to reflect and grow stronger. Like wine, women get better with age and I am determined to age as gracefully as I can while living life to its fullest. As I look forward to the challenges and joys the next 36 years will bring, I rise to embrace it all with renewed vigor! Here is a toast to me, by me, from me. Cheers everyone! Music by Whitney Houston- Greatest love and R. Kelly- Greatest. No copyright infringement intended!

My LL.M graduation!


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

SOLIDARITY RALLY WITH EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION

video

I AM COMING OUT!

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 slain
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 screamed
You will burn in hell you preached
Fires and brimstones you raked
From your societal grip I break
In angry defense 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

I am coming out, out of my shell
Proud to be out, I am ready to excel
Cultural lies and crumbs I was spooned
Like a caterpillar so long cocooned
I burst out as a beautiful butterfly wrings
Spreading my colorful rainbow wings
Shamed I might flounder and saunter
I will rise above slanders and be a flaunter
From the sidelines I am no longer peeping
Now I take center stage as I burst out singing
 By © Yemisi Ilesanmi 16 July 2011

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

THE DEAFENING SILENCE OF NIGERIAN LEFT ON THE ANTI SAME SEX 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 anti same sex marriage bill titled “An Act To ProhibitMarriage Between Persons Of Same Gender, Solemnization Of Same And For OtherMatters Related Therewith”. 

The majority, religious homophobic groups showed up with placards and wore 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, transsexual, bisexual. I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma that would cause them in future.


The angry, religious, homophobic mob and the not so bright selected senators sitting 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 points out how the bill violates their rights as Nigerian citizens, they were hardly given the opportunity to speak, and they were constantly booed and shouted down. 

Senators asked them questions like “What is your religion"
"Can you openly stand up right now and identify yourself as gay or lesbian?” The few that did were further booed and humiliated by the senators and the homophobic majority in the house. The senators violate 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 constitutional room not a guillotine

This discriminatory action of Nigerian lawmakers could be likened to Hitler asking Jews to stand up and identify themselves during the holocaust! I guess the homosexuals are the new blacks because once upon a time, not so long ago, blacks were called niggers, Jews were considered sub-human, women were classified as property, now homosexuals are faggots?  See the similarity?

Majority and class oppression manifests in all society, only the enlightened help to bring sanity, logic and democracy to the society. Outside the hearing, the homophobic religious groups gathered round the few activists and threatened to beat them up. While I was getting all these reports, I couldn’t help but wonder "where is the Nigerian left?" Where are the “progressives”? Where are the human rights defenders? 

Was it a case of 'OCCUPY SENATE HOUSE', only this time the 99% are the oppressors and the 1%, the oppressed? Of course there was conspicuous absence of the human right defenders, leftists and progressives who refused to OCCUPY or cover the show!

This brought home to me what I have since termed the deafening silence of the Nigerian Left on LGBTI rights. The rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and Intersex not to be discriminated against are not yet considered human rights by Nigerian Left, Progressives, and human rights defenders. 

In the course of my advocacy for LGBT rights, I have lost many “comrades” as friends, many called me unpalatable names, many used hate speech to describe gays and lesbians, some said it was not the right time to engage in this debate or fight for sexual minority because there are more important issues to be tackled like unemployment, removal of fuel subsidy, corruption. I wonder how the Right to Life and Right to be free from Discrimination could be termed as unimportant by activists.  Also disturbing is the fact that few progressives that supported LGBTI rights and signed the online petition I created against the bill,  were bullied by the “elite” leftists, our so called ‘senior comrades’  chastised them and claimed they are losing focus!

Now, let us analyze this issue, let us have an open debate devoid of name calling and attacks on personalities. Are we evolved enough as human and progressives to look beyond Heteronormativity and norms of today to envision the progress of our society and human race? 

Are many Nigerian leftists and progressives still restrained under the shackles of religion and “culture”, that they cannot recognize their own prejudice against an oppressed minority? Do we only choose to fight a struggle that is “Mass based”, a majority support base that oppressed LGBT Nigerians do not have? Or are we just silenced by our ignorance on the issues involved?

It is indeed sad that sexual orientation is not a topic of research taught in Nigerian schools; in fact sex education is hardly a comfortable topic in schools and a taboo topic in many Nigerian homes. Sexual orientation is something we are all born with, many researchers, doctors, psychologists and scientists have done enough research on the topic and have come to the conclusion backed by indisputable evidence that sexual orientation is not a choice, it is not a disease, it is not a disorder but just like skin colour, left handedness, eye colour, we are born with our sexual orientation. 

Sexual orientation describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to the opposite sex, the same sex, both, or neither, and the genders that accompany them. By the convention of organized researchers, these attractions are subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality.

The consensus among scholars is that sexual orientation is not a choice.  It is therefore important to note that this bill aims to punish people for what is essentially not their making. It is like punishing a black person for being black, punishing a left-handed child because he or she cannot write with the right hand or punishing a baby girl for her sex. This you will all agree with me is unfair and inhuman.

Sexual minorities are more at risk on social, economic and political issues. Self identified gays or even persons suspected to be gay are more likely to lose their jobs, get a quit notice from their landlord, be ostracized by family and friends, refused treatment by doctors and likely to be denied the right to education as some of us witnessed in the case of a transsexual who was bullied in University of Ife, discriminated against and eventually kicked out of school for her gender identification and “gayness”. What did the Great Ife student union activists do to protect the right to education of this young Nigerian whose future was left in peril because she had the courage to be who she is, a Male to female (MTF) transsexual? I am glad to say that the then victimized “Young guy” is now a fully transitioned beautiful woman, living free of discrimination in a more accepting, tolerant, advanced and socialist inclined country.
  
Many of us joined the struggle as student union and human right activists. We identified with socialists objectives, we joined socialist groups, and labour movements because we believe everyone has a right to decent living, rights of workers to decent wages and the power of workers to break oppressive rule. We organized, joined and participated in human rights and workers protest because we believe in the right not to be discriminated against. We risked bullets, was tear gassed and ended up in detentions on many occasions because we believe we must stand up for our human rights, like Fela famously sang, “human rights na my property, therefore you can’t dash me my property” . 

 I identify as a socialist, human right activist, labour activist, atheist and as bisexual but above all, I am a person and none of these tags makes me more or less human.  Why is it so difficult for many comrades to rise above sentiments and be objective in their approach to issues? Yes we must fight for the masses, but all mass based causes also affect sexual minorities, even more so. 

Are the Nigerian left and progressive afraid to identify with an oppressed minority because it is not a popular cause? What happened to equal rights and justice for all? Or is that a fairy tale spurned by capitalist?

This debate we have not even started having in the Nigerian Left and progressives was debated decades ago by Socialist founders and advocates across the globe.  After the February 1917 Russian Revolution under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, the USSR abolished previous laws against homosexuality. 

The lowest point in the history of the relationship between socialism and homosexuality undoubtedly begins with the rise of Joseph Stalin in the USSR, after Lenin's death, and continues through the era of state communism in the USSR, East Germany, China and North Korea. In all cases, the conditions of sexual minorities, including transgender people, worsened in communist states after the arrival of Stalin. Hundreds of thousands of homosexuals were interned in gulags during the Great Purge, where many were beaten to death. Some Western intellectuals withdrew their support of Communism after seeing the severity of repression in the USSR.