Coordinator of the Nigerian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual, LGBT community, Yemisi Ilesanmi, in this interview with TELL Magazine, talks about homosexual relationship and that LGBTs should be treated with respect because being gay is not criminal.
Read the opinions and views of the Bisexual young woman below:
On what Nigerians need to know about homosexuality:
The very first thing we need to understand is that homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality are all as natural as heterosexuality. Our sexual orientation differs; we are born with an innate ability to be emotionally or sexually attracted or not be sexually or emotionally attracted to same sex or opposite sex. Unfortunately, many African societies do not provide enabling environments to discuss sexual orientation. Sexual orientation does not harm anyone. A person who is attracted to opposite sex does not harm anyone so far it is a consensual adult relationship. A homosexual who is attracted to the same sex does not harm anybody so far it is a consensual adult relationship. A Bisexual or Pansexual who can be attracted to all sexes harms no one so far it is an adult consensual relationship. Even an Asexual who is not sexually 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 homosexuality:
Whether Nigerians accept it or not, LGBT rights are recognised human rights. Unless, you can prove that Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals 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 homosexuality 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 sexual 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 sexual 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 sexuality:
My atheism has nothing to do with my bisexuality. Atheism is simply a non-belief in God. My bisexuality is my sexual 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, transsexual and bisexuals. 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!