Coordinator of the Nigerian Lesbian, Gay, Biséxual and Transséxual, LGBT community, Yemisi Ilesanmi, in this interview with TELL Magazine, talks about homoséxual relationship and that LGBTs should be treated with respect because being gay is not criminal.
Read the opinions and views of the Biséxual young woman below:
On what Nigerians need to know about homoséxuality:
The very first thing we need to understand is that homoséxuality, biséxuality, aséxuality are all as natural as heteroséxuality. Our séxual orientation differs; we are born with an innate ability to be emotionally or séxually attracted or not be séxually or emotionally attracted to same séx or opposite séx. Unfortunately, many African societies do not provide enabling environments to discuss séxual orientation. Séxual orientation does not harm anyone. A person who is attracted to opposite séx does not harm anyone so far it is a consensual adult relationship. A homoséxual who is attracted to the same séx does not harm anybody so far it is a consensual adult relationship. A Biséxual or Panséxual who can be attracted to all séxes harms no one so far it is an adult consensual relationship. Even an Aséxual who is not séxually attracted to any gender harms no one. We are all different, and non-harmful lifestyle of adults should not be criminalised.
On if Nigerians will ever accept homoséxuality:
Whether Nigerians accept it or not, LGBT rights are recognised human rights. Unless, you can prove that Lesbians, gays, biséxuals and transséxuals are not human beings, well, you have no reason to deny them their fundamental human rights. Unfortunately many Nigerians believe in the concept of sin. First, we must understand that sin is a religious concept. Not every Nigerian is religious. Your religion is also a personal matter, why drag other people into your personal relationship with Jesus, Mohamed or Obatala? When I am told that homoséxuality is a sin, I just tell them their religion is not my law. The Bible or Quran is not my constitution, so why is that even coming up? It is absurd when Christian gay bashers gleefully quote Leviticus 18:22 to justify why they want to jail and stone gays. Anyone who wants to quote from Leviticus should at least read the book to make sure they are not guilty of any of the things condemned in the book. Leviticus also says you should not shave, you should not interact with a woman in her menstrual cycle, thou shall not eat shrimps or shell fish, Lev. 11:10,11:6-8 thou shall not touch the skin of a dead pig (therefore touching football without wearing gloves makes you unclean!) So, when Christians throw Leviticus at me, I simply throw Leviticus right back in their face.
On what her family thinks about her séxual orientation and controversies:
What makes a family is love, tolerance and acceptance. Anyone who shows me love and welcomes me into their heart is my family. Love is one thing that is thicker than blood. My immediate family knows my séxual orientation, my father is late, and my mother is accepting of whom I am and has shown me love and support. To continue to be an important part of my life, you cannot be homophobic, biphobic or transphobic.
On if her atheism belief is connected to her séxuality:
My atheism has nothing to do with my biséxuality. Atheism is simply a non-belief in God. My biséxuality is my séxual orientation, no connection. However, I must say, my atheism has helped me to stand up against religious bullies, who use the Bible and the Quran to justify their hate for gays, lesbians, transséxual and biséxuals. Religion carries a lot of unwarranted weight in Nigeria and Africa generally. This should not be so. In fact, this is one reason the African continent is still very backward. When religion carried so much weight in Europe during middle Ages, it was wrought with wars, jihads, killings and ethnic cleansing. Many religious Africans now use the ‘holy’ books to justify the oppression of members of their own society. Even when the original owners of the religion inform them that the book has been updated and some parts are no longer applicable, Africans still insist that it is must be applicable because it says so in the book they were given. How pathetic!