Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Gay Christmas

video

Sunday, December 21, 2008

In a First, Gay Rights Are Pressed at the U.N.


In a First, Gay Rights Are Pressed at the U.N.

By NEIL MACFARQUHAR


UNITED NATIONS — An unprecedented declaration seeking to decriminalize homosexuality won the support of 66 countries in the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, but opponents criticized it as an attempt to legitimize pedophilia and other “deplorable acts.”The United States refused to support the nonbinding measure, as did Russia, China, the Roman Catholic Church and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.


The Holy See’s observer mission issued a statement saying that the declaration “challenges existing human rights norms.”The declaration, sponsored by France with broad support in Europe and Latin America, condemned human rights violations based on homophobia, saying such measures run counter to the universal declaration of human rights.


“How can we tolerate the fact that people are stoned, hanged, decapitated and tortured only because of their sexual orientation?” said Rama Yade, the French state secretary for human rights, noting that homosexuality is banned in nearly 80 countries and subject to the death penalty in at least six.France decided to use the format of a declaration because it did not have the support for an official resolution. Read out by Ambassador Jorge Argüello of Argentina, the declaration was the first on gay rights read in the 192-member General Assembly itself.Although laws against homosexuality are concentrated in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, more than one speaker addressing a separate conference on the declaration noted that the laws stemmed as much from the British colonial past as from religion or tradition.


Navanethem Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, speaking by video telephone, said that just like apartheid laws that criminalized sexual relations between different races, laws against homosexuality “are increasingly becoming recognized as anachronistic and as inconsistent both with international law and with traditional values of dignity, inclusion and respect for all.”The opposing statement read in the General Assembly, supported by nearly 60 nations, rejected the idea that sexual orientation was a matter of genetic coding. The statement, led by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the effort threatened to undermine the international framework of human rights by trying to normalize pedophilia, among other acts.


The Organization of the Islamic Conference also failed in a last-minute attempt to alter a formal resolution that Sweden sponsored condemning summary executions. It sought to have the words “sexual orientation” deleted as one of the central reasons for such killings.Ms. Yade and the Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, said at a news conference that they were “disappointed” that the United States failed to support the declaration. Human rights activists went further. “The Bush administration is trying to come up with Christmas presents for the religious right so it will be remembered,” said Scott Long, a director at Human Rights Watch.


The official American position was based on highly technical legal grounds. The text, by using terminology like “without distinction of any kind,” was too broad because it might be interpreted as an attempt by the federal government to override states’ rights on issues like gay marriage, American diplomats and legal experts said.“We are opposed to any discrimination, legally or politically, but the nature of our federal system prevents us from undertaking commitments and engagements where federal authorities don’t have jurisdiction,” said Alejandro D. Wolff, the deputy permanent representative.


Gay-rights advocates brought to the conference from around the world by France said just having the taboo broken on discussing the topic at the United Nations would aid their battles at home.


“People in Africa can have hope that someone is speaking for them,” said the Rev. Jide Macaulay of Nigeria.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

About Spirituality And Sexuality

You are invited to join http://spiritualityandsexuality.ning.com/

About Spirituality And Sexuality
Spirituality Spirituality is very much part of the human life. As a mission we help people on a journey to reconcile sexuality and spirituality. Spirituality in Africa and elsewhere is considered Spiritual food and the need to reconcile, worship, meditate and pray is very important, this also adds to the well being of the people. The spiritual life and existence of LGBTI people also negates guilt and lifelessness. The spiritual needs of sexual minorities is not different from that of sexual majority. Our ministry also look at helping people deal with the aftermath or discovering of being sexual minority, then we assist with reconciling their religious belief with understanding their sexual orientation and how that impact on their life and society. We use education and apply formal acknowledgement of the existence and validation of sexual orientation and identity to liberate and validate the individuals.

Sexuality This deals with the nature of human sexuality known; however in many parts of the world sexuality outside the “dictated norm” namely heterosexual is strongly denied, mystified and vilified. Religious leaders and mainstream organisations reject sexual minorities. Those with any form of sexuality, sexual expressions or identifies as a sexual minority faces gigantic oppressions by society, religion, the law and customs. In many countries there are no legislative processes or powers that addresses protection against discrimination or indeed existing societal phobias.

What we aim to do at Spirituality and Sexuality Forum Promote and assist LGBTI people on a journey to reconcile their faith with sexual orientation. Assist with process of Coming Out and understanding sexual orientation and identity. We work by exploring limitations that inhibits reconciliation of sexual orientation with culture, faith traditions and the Law. We found that many people struggled with reconciling sexuality with spirituality and have often associated either being lesbian, bisexual or gay as an abomination, this has had drastic effect on the rise of destructive behaviour and mental health. With this forum, we are confident that there will be changes in peoples' attitude towards self and moving from destructive behaviour to understanding themselves. Self hatred to self love and improvement on self esteem and assertiveness. Welcome to the forum and we pray that your journey to reconciling spirituality and sexuality will be fulfilled. Be Blessed, Be Good, Be Loved

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay - LLB, MTh, FACTS. Founding Pastor, House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria;P.O.Box 1430 Isolo Lagos Nigeriahttp://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/07/17/purefoy.nigeria.gay.church.cnn+234 1 741 0978, +234 (0) 805 256 7170, +234 (0) 702 8161496 Nigeria;Yahoo ID; revjide;Alternative email; revjide@yahoo.com;Blog; www.revrowlandjidemacaulay.blogspot.comBlog; www.houseofrainbowmcc.blogspot.com Web; www.mccchurch.org

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ANNOUNCING FREEDOM2BE FOR LGBTI NIGERIANS AND HOUSE OF RAINBOW MCC


ANNOUNCING FREEDOM2BE FOR LGBTI NIGERIANS AND HOUSE OF RAINBOW MCC

We now have a dedicated website, please show your support and visit as often.
www.rainbow.freedom2be.org

1) Sign The Petitions
2) Send an email to the African Commissioner
3) Send a message of Support to House Of Rainbow MCC
4) Circulate this Campaign amongst your network/Mailing list/Groups etc
5) Donate to Support our work locally

Thank you so much
More love more power

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay

Monday, August 4, 2008

We Are God's Work Of Art

We Are God’s Work Of Art.
By Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay, 3rd Aug 2008

In the city we are accustomed to seeing many art works on display, some of us have artworks in our homes and we see them in the market places, in art galleries all over the world for some art lovers.

God is an artist, who built humankind to God’s pleasure and taste, God works ceaselessly and tirelessly and effortlessly to shape the work of art, that work of art is you, and me, we are molded and built according to God’s purpose.

An artist work with tools, different types of artists different types of tools, imagine the craft artist making a life like object, imagine the potter carefully molding from clays, and the ceramic artist putting the final touches on the paint work, imagine the portrait artist completing the replica of a family photo. We have seen artist at work trying to draw a portrait of a person and often we recognize the person through the work of the artist.

The bible tell us “All things came into being through him and without him not one thing came into being, what has come into being in him was life and the life was light of all the people” John 1:3-4

Similarly when an artist is working on a project, it never comes to life until the last paint is dotted or wood has been peeled. Often there is a ceremony to unveil the beauty of the artwork. And then people who see it will be amazed. And then they will come closer to view and make comments on the beauty, the dedication, and the hard work of the artist producing perfect results.

Lets us pray.

Loving God, Holy artist, we are your work of art created in Christ Jesus. Help us to live the good life you intended for each of us and for our community, we know that God sees through the heart of all matters and to the heart of our matters. Like an artist who believe in their work, God, please express your confidence in our creativity through this scripture, as I bring your word to your people, let us acknowledge that we are good and that we are capable of doing good, and all the Divas, (divinely inspired victoriously anointed) say amen.

Ephesians 2

“You were dead to trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world…”

Following the course of this world, many of us who are not heterosexuals have been forced to conform to the world, we marry the wrong gender and make their lives miserable, we try to please our families, conform with culture and popular faith traditions, often like the wrong artist’s tool we don’t fit in, we try to blend in but often we fail awfully. We were dead through the trespasses and sins of trying to be who we are not, trying to be butch when we are effeminate, trying to be effeminate when we are butch, we come up with fancy walks by putting our hands in our pockets so we can conform to walking on a straight line, but often we fall, darling divas, we are divinely inspired and victoriously anointed, so we can walk with our heads high and relax, show the attitude and beauty of the holy artist, who made all the curves and the contours.

Our lives as heterosexuals or what society wanted us to be is over, tell someone “its over,” the bible says “once lived” but now that we are in Christ, now that we are on the way to reconcile sexuality with spirituality, we can understand 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says “so if anyone is on Christ there is a new creation, everything old has passed away; see everything has become new.” We are a new gay or lesbians Christians, we are able to tell people that God is the incredible artist that spent immeasurable time creating us.
We don’t have to pretend to be who we are not.

You can stand in front of the mirror butt naked and admire the beauty of God, you can feel your heart beat when you acknowledge the beauty of a man or woman that walks pass you, I don’t mean lust after them, you can say that you spent the weekend with Joseph who you are madly in love with and not Josephine the fictitious girlfriend who is often absent at the office Christmas party, “well oga she go village”.

Let me tell you when we work in disobedience we say to God I don’t like the way you created me, the bible tells us that this is a spirit that is at work among those who are disobedient.

We are by nature children of wrath because we live in the world, but we don’t have to be like the people of the world “if the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you, (Jesus declared to his disciples) if you belonged to the world the world would love you as its own, because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world therefore the world hates you” John 15:18-19.

We don’t have to do the things the world want us to do, if we become strong and bold and say we are gays which means God Accepts You, then our family and cultural heritage will have to understand. Often we are afraid to tell people the truth, the bible says and you shall no the truth and the truth shall set you free.

I Peter 2:9-10 “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of God who called you out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people”

We belong to the holy artist, if we are rejected by the world we live in, then don’t be surprise because they don’t know us, but let me tell you, don’t expect the world to love you, until we proclaim the mighty acts of our holy artist, who called us out of the darkness of homophobia, the violence and victimization, the rejection and ostracism, the mental slavery and spiritual bondage into relationship and light of Jesus our redeemer, comforter.

Verse 4-5, Ephesians 2, “But God who is rich in mercy, out of great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved”

The artist who owns the brushes, the paints, the colors, the tools, out of passion and love for us created us gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgender, and some heterosexuals, if I told you that the real minorities are heterosexuals will you believe? This is a fact, there are many more same gender loving people, if they will acknowledge and admit, but how will they when they live in world that hates them. It is the love of God that enable us to reconcile sexuality with spirituality and not be judged or condemned, Romans said and “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (8:1) also said “but God proves God’s love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” I tell you, out of that great love we are called dearly beloved, out of that great love we can say we are divas.

Verse 8-10 “for by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast, For we are what God has made us (LGBTI) created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand to be the way of life.”

Finally, We can run but we cannot hide, we are God’s treasure and the bible is clear, we are what God has made us, we are LGBTI people, prepared beforehand to be the way of life, we only need to come to the throne of grace and mercy, because we have been saved through faith in God, it is not by power nor is it by might but the gift of God, not the result of our hard work. God made us and we are wonderfully made, created in Christ Jesus for good works, that is why 1 Peter 3:8-9 tells us “Finally all of you have unity of spirit sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart and a humble mind, do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse, but on the contrary repay with a blessing. It is for this that you are called, that you might inherit a blessing”

Tell somebody you are blessed, if we go by the measure of hatred we experience from our families, neighbors, employers and general public, we will be subjected to everlasting pain. However, we are considered a blessing and we are Divas (divinely inspired victoriously anointed). Every negative headline and media campaign against our church we consider them a blessing, because I believe and I hope you will join me by faith that we would rather be a blessing to our community than gather evil or insult against their bigotry.

We are God’s work of art, regardless of how the world sees us, but we can display the beauty of God’s work by taking time to walk the walk and talk the talk of the beauty of the Holy artist in our lives. Tell somebody you are God’s work of art. Amen

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NIGERIA: House Of Rainbow MCC Lagos On CNN


NIGERIA: House Of Rainbow MCC Lagos On CNN

House Of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church Lagos Nigeria, the first and currently the only Christian ministry open and welcoming to Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender Christians was featured on CNN on Thursday the 17th July 2008, here is the link to view, http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/07/17/purefoy.nigeria.gay.church.cnn

The CNN reporter for the series is Christian Purefoy.

Should you wish to contact House Of Rainbow MCC Lagos Nigeria or the Revd Rowland Jide Macaulay, please email houseofrainbow@hotmail.com or
call +234 (0) 805 256 7170 or +234 1 741 0978

Monday, June 23, 2008

If You Are Gay, You Are Born Gay

If You Are Gay, You Are Born Gay.

The brains of gay men and women look like those found in heterosexual people of the opposite sex, research suggests.

The Swedish study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, compared the size of the brain's halves in 90 adults.
Gay men and heterosexual women had halves of a similar size, while the right side was bigger in lesbian women and heterosexual men.

A UK scientist said this was evidence sexual orientation was set in the womb.
As far as I'm concerned there is no argument any more - if you are gay, you are born gay Dr Qazi Rahman Queen Mary, University of London Scientists have noticed for some time that homosexual people of both sexes have differences in certain cognitive abilities, suggesting there may be subtle differences in their brain structure.

This is the first time, however, that scientists have used brain scanners to try to look for the source of those differences.

A group of 90 healthy gay and heterosexual adults, men and women, were scanned by the Karolinska Institute scientists to measure the volume of both sides, or hemispheres, of their brain.

When these results were collected, it was found that lesbians and heterosexual men shared a particular "asymmetry" in their hemisphere size, while heterosexual women and gay men had no difference between the size of the different halves of their brain.

In other words, structurally, at least, the brains of gay men were more like heterosexual women, and gay women more like heterosexual men.

A further experiment found that in one particular area of the brain, the amygdala, there were other significant differences.

In heterosexual men and gay women, there were more nerve "connections" in the right side of the amygdala, compared with the left.

The reverse, with more neural connections in the left amygdala, was the case in homosexual men and heterosexual women.

The Karolinska team said that these differences could not be mainly explained by "learned" effects, but needed another mechanism to set them, either before or after birth.
'Fight, flight or mate'

Dr Qazi Rahman, a lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary, University of London, said that he believed that these brain differences were laid down early in foetal development.
"As far as I'm concerned there is no argument any more - if you are gay, you are born gay," he said.


The amygdala, he said, was important because of its role in "orientating", or directing, the rest of the brain in response to an emotional stimulus - be it during the "fight or flight" response, or the presence of a potential mate.

"In other words, the brain network which determines what sexual orientation actually 'orients' towards is similar between gay men and straight women, and between gay women and straight men.

"This makes sense given that gay men have a sexual preference which is like that of women in general, that is, preferring men, and vice versa for lesbian women."

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/7456588.stm

Published: 2008/06/16 23:28:31 GMT

Thursday, June 5, 2008

NIGERIA: Homosexual Trial Adjourned

The case of the 18 gay men in Bauchi Adjourned.

Dear friends/Readers,

The decision to go to Bauchi was one of the craziest I have done thus far, but I know that Jesus was moved much more with compassion for people.

I love Jesus and I learnt that Jesus never discriminated, it was not necessary to determine whether you are Jewish, Gentile or Greek, a man or woman, old or young, gay or heterosexual, Jesus will talk and play with you. In Nigeria the segregation of religions, tribes and sexuality is more open than anything. If you are not a Muslim and a Northerner you are not welcomed in most part of the North, let alone if you are a homosexual. I learnt this was one of the problems during the sixties Biafra war against segregation, and the continued conflicts between Muslims and Christians.

In preparing for the trip sponsored by The Independent Project, I was careful. I carried my bible on my trip as far as the hotel in Jos, Plateau State, but did not take it with me to the Sharia court, I understand it is a criminal offence, it would have been the wrong place to present Jesus and come out alive. I have been advised by all my friends and well meaning people to keep safe. We love Jesus and I too really want to stay alive, to preach and further the inclusive gospel of Metropolitan Community Church.

Meeting the men was like walking into familiar territory, you know when you are there, gay and lesbian people are universally unique, there were smiles and tears. I think that the gaydar in Bauchi Nigeria is as strong at the gaydar in St Louis Missouri USA and we connected, emotionally and spiritually. It took a few moments to trust me as I looked either like a preacher (ofcourse which I am) or a reporter, I ensured they understood we are their friends and not the persecutors. I tell you a few eyes were coiled up and rolled over as many times and we tapped our feet and fingers in response, there were even cheeky but unique laughter.

I saw young men who by God’s love have made them the way they are and wondered why selfishly the system has decided cruelly to destroy them because of their uniqueness in God’s lovely creation.

It is obvious that these men are heroes for many other young gay men and women in Nigeria and all over the world, they just wanted to get on with life, they least understood the seriousness of the problems and why they are in court, they acted as normal and as natural as they could until their assailant arrested them and determined by the Sharia law that their behavior was not acceptable.

Because of this case their lives have been disrupted and I believe they need the help of the community as far as we can get, they need support to regain their positions in the society, they need to be able to trust us and help us in future. I also believe that they are not public about their sexuality as they appear coy. The Hausa language is rich and has a strong culture, Homosexuality is a difficult lifestyle generally in Nigeria, made worst in the Northern part of Nigeria by Sharia law, However we must remember that we are moving on in the world and ever ready for a revolution to reality, even a place as odd as Bauchi Nigeria.

The case was administratively adjourned to the 25th June 2008, 2pm. The defense team is asking for a complete dismissal of the case.

The prevailing problems for the accused men and their legal team include;
The length of the case and the apparent waste of time,
They informed us of the fact that their lives have been disrupted and are no longer receiving support from their immediate families, therefore life has been more difficult.
All the students informed us that their families have refused to support their education and they are struggling to keep up with expenses related to their studies.
Those that are students claimed that there is an increase in homophobic abuses and they are unable to defend themselves at their different institutions.
For those trading, they have lost clients and they have been dropped and not supported by the workers union.
They have lost earnings due to the numerous court adjournments.
Two who are in work, claimed discrimination from their clients and other market traders and they have not been able to earn adequate income to support themselves.
Legal team is being discriminated against and don’t feel safe
The case is costing the legal team new opportunities for other legal work, due to the time spent on this case.

We can help NOW, please let us ACT now by raising funds

Even when this case is over these men will need some support to get their lives in order, I strongly feel that we can help.

The lawyers are also on seemingly low pay for this case and are also losing other major clients due to discrimination and stigmatisation. There is an urgent need to support their efforts by subsidizing their legal fees and other expenses.

Thanks so much. Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We Are Proud Pride March in Moscow




Proud Pride March in Moscow by Ken Coolen.




Hello all! First let me say we are all safe and soundhere in Moscow and are all filled with a sense ofextreme honor to have been a part of the first actualPride March here in Moscow. The experience we had wasone that none of us will ever forget, including ourdear straight cameraman Josh Rainhard. In order tohelp you all understand what this experience was likeI will take you all back to Friday. On Friday we were anxiously trying to get in touchwith Nikolai to find out what the plan was for theweekend.


He had already shared with us the fact thatno decision had been made officially as to when theywould assemble to have the annual attempt of Pride inMoscow. This was to help ensure that what they didwould not give any of the anti-gay groups too muchopportunity to counter-assemble against us. We weretold that there would be a meeting on Saturday thatwould explain the plans for the Sunday and we couldattend that meeting. In order to maintain a level ofsecrecy, we would be given a call on Saturday to betold the location on the meeting.


So the adventurebegins. Before this however, we were invited to the CanadianEmbassy here in Moscow, as the Ambassador is apersonal friend of one of the team, MorrisChapdelaine. It was an amazing affair and the four ofus, myself, Morris, Josh, and Bob Christie ourdirector and leader were able to dine with some otherguests such as Nikolai and some of his associates fromthe Pride Moscow team and some other Russian guestsfrom human rights groups and media.


It was definitelythe calm before the storm, so to speak. On Saturday, we were contacted about 3pm and told thatthe meeting was happening and given a landmark to goto and told to call again once we reached thatlocation. After we did were given an address and itwas an apartment of someone who cannot be mentionedfor safety reasons and we headed forward. When wearrived it was a large building complex and we weretold to say to the guard at the gate that we weregoing to a "birthday party".


By the way, there arepolice of various levels and guards everywhere inMoscow. We arrived at the apartment and invited in tojoin a group of people of men and women of variousages who were all speaking in Russian. Our host, whoI will say nothing more than the fact that she was awonderful person and it was a pleasure to meet her,also spoke English. So she brought us in and startedto translate information for us as the official partof the meeting started. The short of the meeting wasthat the decision had been made this year to try andcreate a positive event instead of the traditionalviolent gathering of the previous two years. So,though the website officially listed the City hall asthe gathering place for the event, it was not where wewere going to meet. I should mention at this pointthat the city government here denied all of theapproximately 150 applications that were made to havea gathering. As Nikolai spoke to his team I watchedas they were all listening with a sense of excitementand commitment to this cause.


What was shared with uswas this, Nikolai said that though he trusted everyoneone on the team completely, to ensure a successfulexecution, he would not share the actual meeting spotto any of them. There were a couple of people on theteam who knew what that plan was and they needed totrust them. All we were told is the Metro station tomeet at and the time. We were told that when wearrived there to wait until someone contacted us andtake us to the meeting place. We were to go in nomore than twos or threes and not to acknowledge eachother when we arrived. After meeting a few people weleft, excited and anxious for the next day. Sunday morning we woke up and met our Russiantranslator that we had hired, Vladimir and Graham andLola.


Graham is a previous employee of Transmission,which is the production company that is backing thisproject. Lola is his girlfriend who is studying inEurope and they came to meet us in Moscow to help withthe documentation of this event. The decision hadbeen made to split into two groups, Bob, Josh,Vladimir and myself will go to the secret meeting spotto attend the actual event and Morris, Graham and Lolawould go to City Hall to the 'public' event that wouldmost likely attract many anti-gay and hate groups totry and stop the event. We headed from our hotel andwent downtown, wished each other good luck and went toour secret meeting spot. I was on the wireless microphone, so Josh could hearanything I said so the decision to split into coupleswas made, Bob and I and Josh and Vladimir. We got offof the subway onto a platform and immediatelyrecognized one of the other organizers.


We walked past him with out acknowledging him and walked intothe platform of the station. We then also saw acouple of others, all alone and not acknowledging eachother. We were not sure what to do and have to say ourhearts were all racing. There were 4 police walkingthe platform, though this was not necessarily unusual,as I have said police are everywhere here. Thoughwhen one of them stop and spoke to one of theorganizers our hearts started racing. We kept tryingto look like dumb tourists and looking at our Subwaymap hoping we just looked lost. As we stood there,another dozen or more police appeared on the metroplatform. Just as our panic seemed too much tohandle, one of the group approached us and said tofollow him, and we happily did.


Once outside he explained we were going to a café and that we wouldwait there till the appropriate time. We arrived atthe café, which was next to the TchiackovskyConservatory. This place was chosen as it was abeautiful serene spot and also that Tchiackovsky isone of the most famous Russian composers and wellknown as a gay man. As we sat in the café sipping ourcappuccinos we were in constant contact with our othergroup by text message and listened to them talk asmedia and protestors started to gather as time wenton. It is important to mention that a handful ofmedia were chosen by Nikolai and brought to the realevent with him. As the time got closer, we recognized other couples inthe café as people who were from the meeting the daybefore and also saw others, hanging out on the streetand the sidewalk.


All anxiously waiting for thesignal to go and gather in front of the building. Thewoman who was given the task as the key person wasactually sitting right behind us. As the time gotcloser, the anticipation grew. Then, finally, we sawher answer her phone, she got up and started to moveand then the rest of us followed. In what seemed likea split second, there was assembled a group of 15- 20people. The Moscow Pride banner came out as well as abunch of Pride Flags. Nikolai appeared as though fromnowhere with a contingent of media and press in tow. He spoke and led the team in chants of protest andcelebration. And then came the moment that Nikolaiand his team had dreamed of for so long, WE MARCHED. It might have only been for a short distance (not evena whole city block), but none the less, we marched. No one to stop us, no protestors, no police, no hate. I must share that the feeling that emanated from thegroup was tangible. A sense of freedom, a sense ofsuccess, a sense of true PRIDE!


Then as quickly as itbegan, it ended. People gathered the flags andbanners and put them into plastic bags and dispersedas quickly as we had gathered. After gathering ourselves, we decided to go to theother event to see what was happening and how ourother crew had made out. Our concern was growing, aswe had not heard from them for a while. We arrived tocity hall to see groups of people gathered. Groups ofOrthodox Priest and Nuns with symbols of religion aswell as Nationalists and skinheads and some who lookedthe guy or girl next door. We cautiously approachedthe group and I have to say I had never felt sofearful in my life. The level of tension and hate wastangible and I wanted to get out of there as quicklyas possible. We spotted our friends and Bob ran tothem in the midst of a group to try and gather them. Expecting that they would follow quickly, Josh and Imoved quickly to the prearranged post meeting spot. As time passed and we had not seen the rest of thegroup, the anxiety started again.


After a short time, Morris and Bob appeared. It wasobvious that something had happened as they werevisibly shaken. They shared with us that they hadbeen seen talking to someone from the Gay Activistgroup and as a group attacked one gay man, Bob wasjumped from behind. Morris quickly grabbed the guywho then swung and punched Morris in the nose. (Youshould all know that this was also Morris' birthday). They then realized that they had to get out and leftas quickly as possible, unable to communicate withGraham and Lola. Shortly after, Graham and Lolaarrived and we all sighed a huge relief. What theyhad witnessed was a Moscow Pride Banner being hungfrom an apartment beside city hall by some of theprotestors. Nikolai and his group had strategicallyplanned and rented a flat in the building a few monthsbefore just for the purpose of hanging this banner. The banner only hung for a short while before it wastargeted with eggs and eventually torn down. The sad part is the four men in the apartment were nowstranded there. We learned this later in the eveningas we gathered again with the Pride group to celebratetheir success of the day.


The feeling of joy that wasin the room, including the man who was covered inbruises and a few band aids from being beaten was alsomixed with the anxiety as some of the group tried tofind a lawyer to help successfully get the men out ofthe apartment where they were being held and had theelectricity cut. These men were eventually arrestedbut then released and there seems to be no overtviolations of their human rights. I will close this with a personal comment. I am stillwelled up with tears as I relive these events in myhead. I have never felt such a sense of humility as Idid this day. As I personally work on the events ofour own Pride, I think I may never have the feeling Ihad with my Muscovite friends, when for the first timeever, they marched with Pride in the streets ofMoscow! Humbly,


Yours in Pride, Ken Coolen

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pastor Behind The Gay Marriage Ruling in USA


Founder, Prophet, Pastor; Rev Elder Troy D. Perry Behind The Gay Marriage Ruling
by John Dart

http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=4857



Little noted in the history behind the California Supreme Court decision that gives the "right to marry" to same-sex couples are the bold steps taken over four decades by onetime Pentecostal minister Troy Perry in trying to establish legal and religious rights for gays and lesbians.Perry, who founded a church 40 years ago that became an international denomination for Christian homosexuals, filed the initial lawsuit with his spouse and a lesbian couple in February 2004 that led to last month's ruling making California the second state, after Massachusetts, to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.The 4-3 decision by the high court—though endangered by an expected state initiative in November to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage—marked another milestone for the homosexual-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches, started by Perry in 1968 in Los Angeles County.


In 1969, Perry performed the first public same-sex "holy union" ceremony in the U.S., and in January 1970 he filed the first-ever lawsuit seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage. It was dismissed before coming to trial.Perry tried unsuccessfully for years to gain membership in the National Council of Churches for MCC churches. But ministers in the denomination do serve on NCC committees and have been welcomed into many regional and local interfaith councils. Meanwhile, gay caucuses grew vocal within nearly all mainline denominations, and some clergy were conducting same-sex blessings.


The idea of legal marriage for gays was too politically volatile in the mid-1990s for the MCC to make it a priority issue. But by early 2001, Perry and his church were fully committed to the fight. Perry and his longtime partner, Phillip Ray De Blieck, were legally married July 16, 2003, at an MCC congregation in Toronto."Today the California Supreme Court legally recognized our marriage," Perry, 67 and now retired, exulted on May 15, saying that "our marriage is equal in the eyes of the law to all other marriages."


A sociologist of religion who has studied the MCC movement credited Perry's leadership for the changes. "He has had the audacity and the tenacity to claim for gay and lesbian people the religious and civil rights that most Americans have the privilege to take for granted," said Steven Warner, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois-Chicago and immediate past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.


Warner said the movement led by Perry was "reformist" in seeking change and "conservative" in affirming the value of "two conservative institutions—the church and marriage." Many people in the gay community say "nuts to marriage" and reject all churches as homophobic, he said. But Perry and other plaintiffs "don't want to overthrow marriage; they want to be part of it."The majority opinion, written by Republican-appointed chief justice Ronald M. George, overthrew a law enacted in 1977 and a statewide ballot measure in 2000 that limited marriage to a man and a woman.


"An individual's sexual orientation—like a person's race or gender—does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights," George wrote.The justices made it clear that the ruling applies only to civil marriages: "No religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs." The ruling cited its own 60-year-old precedent that made California the first state to strike down a ban on interracial marriage.


The U.S. Supreme Court did not follow suit until 1967 in a case filed by Mildred Loving, a black woman who died May 2 at age 68 in Virginia. In comments last month, Perry referred to her as one of his heroes—one who "paid a steep price, solely for marrying the only man she ever loved."The three dissenting justices worried about what effect this precedent might have in the future.California should allow gay and lesbian people "to call their unions marriage," Justice Carol Corrigan said somewhat surprisingly. But she joined two other dissenting justices in noting that so far a majority of Californians "hold a different view."


The two other justices asked whether a future "activist court might find laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified."In 2000, 61 percent of California voters approved the ballot measure, saying the only valid marriage is one between a man and a woman. Only six of the state's 58 counties voted against the initiative, all of them in the San Francisco Bay area. Public opinion polls have shown increasing ratios favoring gay marriage. Still, a Field Poll in 2006 found that 51 percent opposed a change while 43 percent approved.Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican who has twice vetoed bills passed by the California legislature to permit same-sex marriage, said he respected the high court ruling and would not back a constitutional amendment to overturn it.


Matthew D. Staver, representing Liberty Counsel, a firm that defends traditional marriage, and Glen Lavy, an attorney for the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, told newspapers in separate comments that they would seek a stay of the ruling until the November election.The California Catholic bishops immediately decried the ruling, and other conservative religious groups indicated that the issue may prod conservative voters around the country to action, perhaps to renew a drive for a U.S. constitutional amendment."


The California Supreme Court has taken a jackhammer to the democratic process," said the Family Research Council, based in Washington, D.C. "This decision put marriage at risk all across the nation."The decision was called "supremely arrogant" by the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative group. "Churches should work to overturn it," said IRD president James Tonkowich, who noted that only two weeks earlier United Methodist delegates in their quadrennial conference maintained their longstanding policy that homosexual activity is "inconsistent with Christian teaching."By contrast, some mainline leaders who have welcomed homosexual clergy into their ranks praised the California high court.


The United Church of Christ, which joined a brief in the California case, approved overwhelmingly in its 2005 convention a resolution supporting legalization of same-sex marriages. Bill McKinney, president of the UCC-related Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, said the seminary "celebrates this historic decision."Episcopal priest Susan Russell, the national president of the gay-advocacy group Integrity, indicated that supporters for gay union rites should raise these issues at the 2009 triennial Episcopal General Convention in Anaheim, California. She told Episcopal News Service that it is time for the church to "be as prophetic as the state of California has been."


Bishop Jon Bruno, who heads the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese, said the court decision resonates with the church's baptismal vows to strive for justice and respect for all. "To paraphrase St. Paul," Bruno said in a May 15 statement, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, gay nor straight in Jesus Christ our Lord."

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bishop T.D. Jakes and Others Welcome Gay and Lesbian Christians


Leading African American Pentecostal Leaders; Bishops T.D. Jakes and Harry Jackson, Jr, etc Welcomes Gay and Lesbian Christians.

Both Bishop T.D. Jakes and Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. are vibrant African American pastors with large multicultural congregations and enormous influence over portions of America's faith community. Yet their behavior toward the families of the American Family Outing has been very different.

Bishop Jakes and Bishop Jackson received similar letters from Soulforce and our partnering organizations in December, 2007, and March, 2008. Both letters asked the bishops to participate in a time of fellowship -- to break bread and have conversation with same-gender families. (Links to letters below.)

Bishop T.D. Jakes and his staff responded to our letters with honesty and integrity. During our visit, we felt true Christian hospitality and a willingness to engage those with whom they differ with respect and dignity. Bishop Jakes personally telephoned Jeff Lutes to thank him for the positive manner in which Soulforce had approached him for dialogue and he agreed that further conversation was important. The welcome offered to our visiting group was consistent with Bishop Jakes' CNN.com commentary (April 14, 2008) in which he wrote:

"It has always been my goal and purpose to be a bridge builder and to not build walls. It is in that spirit that I would plead with the church to seek common ground rather than to focus on irrelevant and often erroneous information that seeks to divide."

The experience with Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. was markedly different. Bishop Jackson called Jeff Lutes on May 2, 2008, and agreed to our written request for dinner, conversation, and worship with members of his church. In a charming and friendly tone, he asked that we simply call his staff with the total number of people in our party so they could prepare the appropriate amount of food. Then, on May 21, 2008, three days before the meeting, Jackson's High Impact Leadership Coalition issued a press release falsely claiming that Soulforce was planning a protest and demonstration outside his church and that he had invited us to dinner and a "debate." On Friday night, May 23, twenty-four hours before the dinner, Soulforce received an email from Hope Christian outlining a specific debate-style format in which each group would ask eight questions to the other. Nonetheless, our courageous and beautiful LGBT families proceeded in the spirit of love and nonviolence.

Bishop Jackson concluded the meeting with the following remarks:
"I want to thank you tonight for coming. Again, if you had not invited us originally, if you had not insisted on the dialogue, it never would have happened. And I am thankful for the spirit in which you have said you were going to operate and in which you have operated thus far. Again, we did not know whether you were coming in peace or whether you were coming with a sword. We had no way of knowing that, we really didn't. And so we are very thankful for this opportunity to dialogue with you, and I believe that we have learned quite a bit from this time together."
In contrast to the conciliatory tone of these remarks, Bishop Jackson then granted a Tuesday, May 27 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, called our families "irrational," and falsely characterized the spirit of our meeting.

When we reach out to mega-church congregations in a spirit of nonviolence, we commit to interacting with authenticity and openness. At times, when our interlocutors are in the grip of misinformation so profound that they do not treat us with respect and integrity, it is tempting to close up, to withdraw, to become defensive -- and yet we persist. Why? Not because we are naïve, but because we believe that, ultimately, no misinformation or slander can obscure the goodness and authenticity of our families and our quest for justice.

Video of Bishop Harry Jackson with our Families and CBN Interview Afterwards

Letter to T.D. Jakes, Letter to Harry Jackson, Second Letter to Hope Christian

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fear Continues To Lurk Among Nigerian Gays

Fear Continues To Lurk Among Nigerian Gays
By Lesego Masike on May 28, 2008

http://www.mask.org.za/article.php?cat=nigeria&id=1872

NIGERIA – May 28, 2008: Reverend Jide Macaulay of House of Rainbow, who is gay, fears for his life following death threats he received after Nigeria’s PM News published his picture alongside an article titled ‘Homosexual Act Not Against Bible’.

Written by Samuel Ateba, the story which appeared on PM News’s front page on 12 May followed an exclusive interview that Macaulay had with Mo Abudu’s on A Moment with Mo talk show discussing homosexuality.

The article states that Macaulay admitted to being gay since he was 14 and that he openly declared that he practices sodomy which the Bible is not against.

But Rev Macaulay denies speaking to Ateba, and declared the story incorrect.

“I did not give an interview to the journalist. Two people approached me asking for an interview and my picture [however] I declined”, said Macaulay.

However, editor of PM News, Lanr Babanona, is adamant that the article is true and that the reporter did speak to Macaulay.

“Of course my reporter did speak to him, and I believe that he was only expressing Macaulay’s views in the article.”

Asked if he is aware of homophobic attacks that could be sparked by this article, Babanona said; “Even though their behavior is considered abnormal, the Nigerian society is very accommodative.”

But it appears homophobic responses were echoed after a second article about the Reverend was published by the same publication. Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie described Reverend Macaulay as someone who does not know the Biblical principles.

He further emphasised that “when God created the world, he made them male and female, and asked them to increase and multiply.”

Okogie who expressed his shock to PM News said that he could not believe that “such a comment could be made by a man who claimed to be a man of God.”

The Archbishop advised all religious groups in Nigeria to be “quick in fishing out such fake pastors so that sanity can be guaranteed in Christendom.”

Meanwhile, two Nigerian gay men are presently in hiding after announcing at their engagement ceremony about their intention to wed in June this year.

Rev Macaulay inserts that the number of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people who want to get married is growing but there is no exact number as “many people have private unions.”

Now the couple, including Reverend Jide Macaulay whom they invited to officiate their wedding, are receiving anonymous threats warning them not to go on with the wedding.

The threats, coming from people claiming to be part of the Nigerian police, are now perceived by Macaulay as a threat of violence towards the Nigerian LGBTI community.

According to Macaulay many LGBTI couples in Nigeria “simply wish to exchange vows of commitment and love with their life partners.”

But since the Nigerian government has not authorised same-sex marriages, “many gay and lesbian people get married secretly”, added Macaulay.

He further added that, “same-sex unions won’t be against the government laws of Nigeria since there is no law that bars same-sex unions.”

Officially, there is no law that prevents same-sex unions in Nigeria, but currently there is the Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Bill which has been sitting with the Justice Committee for more than a year now for review.

The Bill, which was introduced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, forbids LGBTI people from entering into same-sex marriages and also punishes those who aid, preside over or witness such an event.

Macaulay advised that even though a bill legalising homosexuality is not passed, there should be such a bill in place to curb homophobia.

On the other hand, 18 Nigerian men arrested on charges of indecent dressing and vagrancy in August last year are out on bail and due to appear in court on 4 June 2008.

The men aged between 18 and 21 were arrested in Bauchi at Denco Hotel during what seemed to be a same-sex wedding.

But they were since out on bail, and their latest appearance in court in April this year was adjourned.

If found guilty, these 18 gay men will have to face one year imprisonment or thirty lashes.

But the LGBTI activists who have been following on the case intend to seek dismissal of the case due to lack of evidence.

According to Rev Macaulay the LGBTI community of Nigeria is shocked by these incidents.

“The LGBTI community is haunted by these incidents and are afraid to gather but they still have to go on with life”, he concluded.

Press Release: AIDS Implementers Must Address Human Rights

Press Release:
AIDS Implementers Must Address Human Rights

OSIEA and LAHI 28 May 2008****************

KAMPALA — The upcoming HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting in Uganda mustaddress the widespread human rights abuses and lack of legal servicesfueling the country’s HIV epidemic, according to a new report releasedtoday by the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) and OSI’s Lawand Health Initiative (LAHI).“As a global leader in HIV prevention and treatment, Uganda must set abetter example on HIV and human rights,” said Binaifer Nowrojee, OSIEAdirector. “Uganda cannot effectively respond to the AIDS crisis withoutprotecting the rights of the most marginalized members of society.”The report, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, and Legal Services in Uganda, documentscommon abuses faced by people living with AIDS or at high risk of HIV,including: barriers to employment or education; discrimination in gainingaccess to medical care; violations of the right to medical privacy; forcedHIV testing; and eviction from housing.

According to the report, while the government of Uganda has addressed themedical effects of the HIV epidemic, it has paid little attention to theepidemic’s legal and human rights implications. This is especially true formarginalized populations who are most vulnerable to HIV-related humanrights abuses: women (especially young women, widows, and women living infishing communities); sex workers; orphans and vulnerable children;lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals; and internallydisplaced persons.Uganda has a detailed legal and policy framework to address the humanrights aspects of its HIV epidemic, according to the report.

Yet most people who endure abuses or rights violations do not seek justice or legalredress. One main impediment is that legal services in Uganda are ofteninaccessible, ineffective, disproportionately accessible, or non-existent.In the absence of a national legal aid system in Uganda, the provision ofHIV-related legal services is dominated by non-governmental organizationsthat often lack sufficient funding to meet the need for services.“HIV may not discriminate, but society does,” said Anne Gathumbi, a programofficer for OSIEA and LAHI.

“Ending stigma is a long battle, but it is onethat Uganda needs to engage to protect the human rights and dignity of allof its citizens.”For people living with HIV in Uganda, stigmatization and discriminationrepresent a major obstacle to effective HIV prevention, treatment, care,and support. Fear of discrimination at work and school often prevent peoplefrom seeking treatment for AIDS or from acknowledging their HIV statuspublicly.Girls and women who have survived rape, sexual violence and abduction areexposed to HIV and face the added abuse of being stigmatized by theircommunities. Widows and orphans who have lost husbands or fathers to AIDSare also in greater need of legal aid services. Widows are often blamed forbringing HIV into the family and are cast out from their homes.

Orphaned children may be forced into child labor, which increases HIV vulnerabilityespecially among girls.The criminalization of sex work and LGBT relations in Uganda furtherthwarts HIV prevention and treatment efforts, according to the report.Women who are perceived to be lesbian are sometimes subjected to rape in aneffort to “make them straight.” Similarly sex workers report beingsubjected to violence at the hands of pimps, forced to participate inunsafe sex, robbed of their personal belongings, and coerced by police toperform sexual favors or pay bribes to avoid arrest.The report recommends stronger enforcement of policies and legislation thatoffer clear protection against HIV-related stigma and discrimination. Itcalls for greater support to community-based groups that have sought tointegrate legal support into HIV prevention and care programs. It alsorecommends strengthening legal mechanisms to help people living with HIVaccess justice. Local Council Courts appear to be the most utilized disputeresolution mechanism by communities, but these courts are not being used toaddress HIV-related infringement of rights.

“Addressing HIV solely with a medical response is not enough to combat thedevastating effects of the epidemic in Uganda,” said Jonathan Cohen,director of OSI’s Law and Health Initiative. “As communities in Uganda havelong known, legal support must be present in the AIDS response alongsideprevention and treatment efforts.”The report will be available online at:www.soros.org/initiatives/health/focus/lawTo interview one of the report’s co-authors, please contact: Anne Gathumbiat +254 (0)720 426815 or agathumbi@osiea.org.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Nigerian LGBT Remembers


One Year On, Nigerian LGBT Remembers
Late Oludare Oluwatosin Odumuye.


House Of Rainbow MCC Lagos Nigeria will hold a Special Service in honor, on Sunday 25th May 2008, 10.30am

Friends and Well wisher from within Nigeria and all around the world will gather at this unique service, the celebration and remembrance.

Dare who died on the 20th May 2007 will be remembered for his activism, love for humanity and gay rights campaign for the LGBT community in Nigeria.

Open Invitation

House Of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church,
Lagos Nigeria
Cordially, invite all friends and allies Of
Late Oludare Oluwatosin Odumuye aka Erelu

To The Special One Year Remembrance Service at

House Of Rainbow
Metropolitan Community Church,
Lagos Nigeria

Date; Sunday, 25th May 2008
Time: 10.30am

Please Call/Text – +234 (0) 805 256 7170
for details of location

If you will like to send a message for inclusion in the service, please write to Houseofrainbow@hotmail.com

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ILGA publishes 2008 report on State-sponsored Homophobia


Press release

ILGA publishes 2008 report on State-sponsored Homophobia

ILGA publishes 2008 report on State-sponsored Homophobia
Being lesbian or gay is risking jail time in 86 countries and death penalty in 7.

May 17th is the International Day against Homophobia. ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, has chosen this date to launch a yearly report on State homophobia around the world, available at http://www.ilga.org/

The impressive collection of laws presented in this report is an attempt to show the extent of State-sponsored homophobia in the world.

In 2008, no less than 86 member states of the United Nations still criminalize consensual same sex acts among adults, thus institutionally promoting a culture of hatred. Among those, 7 have legal provisions with death penalty as punishment. To those 86 countries, one must add 6 provinces or territorial units which also punish homosexuality with imprisonment.

With this publication, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, a 30 year old world federation which gathers over 670 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex groups from over 100 countries hopes to raise awareness about this reality which extent remains unknown to the vast majority of people.

The research, conducted by Daniel Ottosson, only deals with legislation criminalizing consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private above the age of consent. Laws dealing with such acts in public, with under aged people, with force or by any other reason are not included. Nor does it include countries where such acts are legal. References to all legislation can be found in the foot notes, the foot note list and the source list in the end of the report.

This year, ILGA has also included a list of countries according to their legislations affecting LGBTI people. This will allow readers to get a quick and comprehensive overview on the legal situation in the world: from countries penalising homosexual activity with death penalty to the few ones allowing adoption for same sex couples.
Along the same line, ILGA has published a map on LGBTI rights that can be used to raise awareness of people on the many laws affecting LGBTI people in the world. It is available on http://www.ilga.org/.
Quotes from Rosanna Flamer-Caldera (Sri Lanka)co-secretary general of ILGA:
“Although many of the countries listed in the report do not systematically implement those laws, their mere existence reinforces a culture where a significant portion of the citizens needs to hide from the rest of the population out of fear. A culture where hatred and violence are justified by the State and force people into invisibility or into denying who they truly are.

Whether exported by colonial empires or the result of legislations culturally shaped by religious beliefs, if not deriving directly from a conservative interpretation of religious texts, homophobic laws are the fruit of a certain time and context in history. Homophobia is cultural. Homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia are not inborn. People learn them as they grow.”

Quotes from Philipp Braun (Germany), co-secretary general of ILGA:
“In many cases, "prejudice against homosexual people” is the result of ignorance and fear. This long catalogue of horrors is but a tale of the intolerance against what is foreign and different.

“Decriminalization of same sex activity is as urgent as ever. The fight for the respect of every minority has to be everyone’s fight. We believe that the recognition of sexual minorities as components of our civil societies and the acknowledgement of the equality of their human rights can contribute to learning how to live together, that is, the learning of democracy”

“ILGA is committed to have sexual orientation and gender identity come out and be discussed at the United Nations Human Rights Council. We believe the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, recently developed by a group of international human rights experts are a useful tool to frame such a discussion among UN member States. It is important to set this debate where it belongs: on the human rights agenda. Altogether 60 countries have publicly supported sexual orientation as an issue at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights/Human Rights Council since 2003. Criminalization of consensual same sex activity is being challenged by NGOs and States in the current Universal Periodic Review.”

News in this report
As of February 1, 2008 sodomy is decriminalized in Nicaragua. The prohibition in former article 204 has been repealed as of the new Penal Code, law No. 641, published in the State Gazette No. 232 of December 3, 2007. In addition, the new code makes it an aggravating circumstance if any of the crimes prohibited under the code are based on sexual orientation. A prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation is also part of the new Penal Code.[i] Therefore the section on Nicaragua has been removed from this report.

New in the report are also sections on Comoros, Burkina Faso and Niger. It has been found out that Comoros indeed has a prohibition of same-sex acts, both male and female, and Burkina Faso and Niger are included as they have laws that can be used against sexual acts between persons of the same sex. The Gambian law has hereto been modified in the year 2005 to include sexual acts between women, and the modified law is now included in the report.

For more information on State Sponsored Homophobia and legislations affecting LGBTI people, ILGA’s activities around the world and at the United Nations, please contact:Stephen Barris / ILGA: 00 32 2 502 24 71

Gays May Face A 21st Century Nigerian Inquisition


Gays May Face A 21st Century Nigerian Inquisition
« H E Religion :: Politics :: Commentary :: Nigeria :: Sexuality :: General :: News :: Akin Akintayo :: email
posted Wednesday, 14 February 2007

The god-squad and the mob
One might almost abandon hope that any reason, objectivity or compassion would come to play in the bill to ban homosexual activity in Nigeria, all is not lost, a public hearing has been held and there is a delay as reported by Black Looks.

Of all the issues and problems that afflict Nigeria and the need to address issues that affect people's lives everyday, the legislators have found time in the dying days of their tenure to be pre-occupied with criminalising a minority.

The premise being the religious and cultural background of Africans where the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said homosexuality is barbaric and shameful; the National Muslim Centre portends homosexuality is - "immoral, and runs contrary to our cultural and religious values".

See our culture
This leaves out the animists who probably have no representative to lobby the National Assembly. However, I remember when I was in secondary school in Sagamu, Ogun State in Nigeria, the most feared medicine man in town was known as "Adodi", crudely meaning buggerer or sodomiser.

It cannot be said that his mythical and assumed powers were not derived from the practice in promotion of "our cultural beliefs" of medicine men.
I can go on to say that these religions that are pervading our legislative spectrum are alien to our original culture of welcoming, tolerating and accepting differences whilst minding our own business.

A human rights issue
Thankfully, there is voice of reason within the cacophony of the lynch mob set on homosexuals by the bishops and the imams; the deputy chairman of the house committee on human rights says - "We should not be hypocritical here. I think we should deal with this subject dispassionately. While we are trying to protect morals and values, we must also remember to protect people's rights even if they are a minority".

At least, it has been aired that homosexuals are first a minority and do probably have rights.
A doctor with UNAids goes on to say, "Failing to acknowledge that sex between men will only increase the vulnerability of men - and women - to HIV infection, since men who cannot talk about their sexual orientation are less likely to seek appropriate support services".

Punishing what exactly?
Now, that should get a few people thinking, however, that can get overruled by that perception that if homosexuals can go to jail for 5 years, that would take them off the streets.
After five years of punishment, would the homosexual now be cured and have become a fully fledged heterosexual or would the privation of the female sex in jail provide a ready and willing sexual object for the pent up sexual frustrations of the male prison population?

Homophobia is the Western influence
I never got to place a comment in an article posted by Black Looks about Reverend Jide Macaulay whom as a minister and founder of the House of Rainbow - a church that caters for those the church should be ministering to but have rejected, spitting hail and brimstone upon them with vehemence so un-Christianly - who was disowned and disavow with homophobic wrath by his father almost to damnation.

Anengiyefa left a long comment on that blog and something quite succinct was said along the lines of the fact that homosexuality is natural and it is homophobia that is Western in its progeny being foisted by the so-called religious leaders on our public by the contagion of religion.
That is a truth that sits well with the hypocrisy that allows for religious protagonists to persecute and prosecute those of a different persuasion and that in the 21st Century; the Nigerian National Assembly is about to usher in the age of the Nigerian Inquisition, other problems are too insignificant to be accorded any valuable time.

The National Assembly in Nigeria is about to vote to criminalise homosexuality, a few voices have been raised about the human rights and health issues, but against the hypocrisy of moral, religious and cultural values, reason and commonsense probably has no chance.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Mo Moment with Mo Show And The Scandalous PM News Report.


The Mo Moment with Mo Show And The Scandalous PM News Report.

First it was a struggle to get on the Moment with Mo show, after many attempts and few phone calls from their offices, meeting with the producers of the Show, even after many discussions with our church leaders, I attended. I knew another show in Nigeria on homosexuality will either make or break. I feel in all understanding, it is good credence to begin a dialogue rather than a war of words

I had the opportunity to meet other gay and lesbian people, and the rare opportunity to include them in my prayers as together we stand to change time and history. In fact I can safely conclude that History was made by our actions.

Many chose to hide their identity, however, my boldness and courage that God loves me just the way I am, I decided that I need not cover my face, allow the people of Africa and the rest to see me and tell me what is wrong with and honestly being a homosexual.

I want to call on reasonable thinking people, including staff and colleagues at my college where I am currently studying for my PhD in theology to rethink, what are the accuracies of the report or the real issues faced by people that are homosexuals in Nigeria? Many of you are currently clergies and church goers, what are your views and conclusions?.

Let me say a few things, Jesus came to the world to die for my sins and NOT my sexuality, if you fail to love me, then God who made you and love you will love me always.

I have responded honestly with all my heart to the call of God to be the face and voice of our community in Nigeria, I am sure many people will agree with me, but yet the fear of speaking or standing for the truth, will hold many people back. I can understand.

Before we rush in to the condemnation mode or gather the 15 million sexual minorities in Nigeria, we need to think of the peoples’ right to be part of the household of God and also how they are to be included as rightful citizens of Nigeria. With laws that will continue to protect LGBT from violent attacks, malicious abuses, and inaccurate conclusion. Who is to judge?

My experience and struggle in just less than two years of moving back to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, as an optimistic gay rights activist and a gay pastor are overwhelming, I have seen and heard many depleting and inhumane stories of victimization, discrimination, ostracisation, rejection and so on of people simply because they identify or merely suspected of being gay or lesbian.

You can never tell what will happen.

Business people and some local printers have refused to do our printing jobs, because of their positions with their religion once they knew we are a mission that is inclusive and welcoming to LGBT people.

I gave more people a ride in our church bus after my lecture on Tuesday, 13th May 2008, it was a raining day and more questions were asked about homosexuality and the bible. I refused to be the closeted religious leader, I claim that I will be the face for the faceless and voice for the voiceless, even if it meant ridiculous story lines and this has started happening. I believe our work is cut out for us in Nigeria alone, let alone in the rest of the world.

We get no where without a fight, but I believe that this fight is righteous for many people that are unable to neither speak out nor stand up for their rights.

Our mission at House Of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church

Mission Statement

· House Of Rainbow is committed to basic Christian Gospel, that the love of God is freely available to all people, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
· House Of Rainbow recognises the oppression caused through racism, sexism, hatred and other forms of prejudice, both within and outside the Christian Church.
· House Of Rainbow seeks to share healing with all people so affected.

Statement of Vision

House Of Rainbow is on a bold mission to transform hearts, lives, and history. We are a movement that faithfully proclaims God’s inclusive love for all people and proudly bears witness to the holy integration of spirituality and sexuality.

Aim

House Of Rainbow MCC, seeks to promote an inclusive gospel ministry of Jesus Christ, for all children of God, regardless of age, gender, race, tribe, language, marital or employment status, ability, disability, health, sexual orientation, etc

And if we fail as activist or Christian mission we are not serving the very people that need our services.

We have to be radical against those who violently attack us, many Citizens of Nigeria including Conservative Christians have concluded that homosexuality is a sin, they need new information, education and for Christians anointing for wisdom in understanding the heart of God for all the people of God.

Homosexuality is included in the mysteries of God and in the dynamic creation of the human spectrum.

PM news printed a violent accounted which are incorrect, and Lagosians will believe anything they choose to. I am not sure if PM News is the right choice of paper for intelligent and reasonable thinking people.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Can Homosexuals Become Heterophobic Or Suffer From Heterophobia?


Can Homosexuals Become Heterophobic Or Suffer From Heterophobia?

By Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, April 2008.


If homophobia is the unreasonable fear of homosexual people, which is not a problem for all free thinking people, and people who have no fear of their own sexuality around other people’s sexual orientation then it is safe to say that the fear is largely unnecessary.

I believe we can coin a new word, “heterophobia” which can be said to be the unreasonable fear of heterosexual people. If heterosexual people can be unreasonably afraid of homosexual people not based on any evidence except to say unnecessary fear, then homosexual people can become “heterophobic”, also exhibiting the unnecessary fear of heterosexual people. It all means that where people are unsure of the other person’s sexual orientation or come to knowledge of another persons’ sexual orientation and/or unable to fathom adequate understanding for whatever reasons then a phobia will occur.

I cannot imagine a group of homosexual men and women, including youth terrorizing heterosexual people in any community. This will be seen as absolutely absurd but then why do unreasonable thinking heterosexuals feel at liberty to terrorize homosexual people, why is it that the heterosexuals in government, society, religious institutions that are considered intelligent and free thinking people, which I believe are still in the minority, not defend and speak up against the foolishness of discrimination, homophobia, misogyny etc?

Many Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) people co exist with heterosexual people in a Global Civil Society, it is not too much to ask heterosexual bigots to understand the safe boundaries required for co existence of all people, especially recognizing the diverse sexual orientations. I found the irony of this parity unsafe that LGBT can live safely with heterosexual people, but some heterosexual people claim to have a great deal of fear, and either refuse to understand nor willing to live openly with homosexual people in the same community.


Often people ask me, how are you able to justify your arguments on the issues of homosexuality and Christianity? I responded easy. I am the pastor of House Of Rainbow MCC, the first and currently the only Christian bible believing ministry in Nigeria that welcomes without prejudice ALL people regardless of their differences, after all we believe that our differences as diverse as they are a strength and not a weakness.

After House Of Rainbow, a few weeks ago, as we proudly baptized three new coverts to Christianity and also called into full membership of our ministry ten more people, it was a busy and long day. I thought the day was over when later in the evening a guy in my neighborhood came with six other hefty men to my door about 7pm, they came not to start a war but to enquire and ask questions on the matters of sexuality and Christianity, this has been a regular occurrence, not the best, but when people have discussions on sexuality and spirituality and becomes unsolved, they adjourn their meeting to my home for more inspired knowledge. When they arrived, we began with an interesting gap in their knowledge as I asked questions to fuel their understanding. The issues moved from homosexuality to transgender interlinked with Christian faith. I believe my response was credible and they were indeed very keen to learn and find out more. This experience left me seeking more of such audience of ordinary heterosexual or perhaps people questioning sexuality and spirituality, the sad news was that there was limited time and we adjourned to another time. (I will keep you posted)

I am studying for my PhD in Theology, at the United Bible University, I am very proud of this achievement, also in trying environment such as Nigeria. I was admitted not based on my sexual orientation but on my ability and quest to learn. On the 8th April 2008, in an open class during a taught lecture, it was obvious that my liberal views would soon be challenged. I was expecting this at some point. I am no longer coy, I take the view as gay person, that I have to be more prepared with credible and intelligent responses, not waiting to be caught off guard. I believe that I have become bold enough, with the help of the Holy Spirit to defend the inclusivity of the mission I represent, the inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ. I was called an apologist, that is safe, but the behavior of my fellow colleagues not only horrified me, it also created the parity in the knowledge and exposed a gap in our understanding of the issues of humanness.

Now at the end of the lecture, I gave lift to people in our vehicle which carried signs and inscription of our mission, the name of the church and the motto: which is “…no fear in love” according to 1 John 4:18. The motto is a constant reminder to be faithful to God and continue to walk with Jesus in love for all people and in all situations. If we fail to love our neighbor as ourselves, then we automatically hate or dislike them as ourselves.

Halfway through the journey one of my colleagues, who have manage to select a devotional I shared with LGBT Christians from inside the bus and have had little opportunity to scanned the booklet, of the contents and the author’s name, began with a deceptive mode of questioning; Are you married, why are you not married, it is not right for a man not to be married, certainly you are old enough to marry?, As I truthfully answered his questions, he got pretty aggressive and said that God made woman for man and he will find me a woman to marry me, I kindly declined his offer. I made it clear to him that I was made in God’s image and that I no longer struggle with my sexuality or the person I am. And I believe my relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is very much okay. My friend from Theology School got off the bus and we agreed to continue the dialogue and his busybody on why I was not married, again I will keep you posted.

My point of writing these experiences which I am sure is not the end of this dialogue with my colleague, and the guys in my neighborhood is simply that we live in an environment that continues to fail to understand God and the supernatural abilities of God in the creation of humankind.

Many people share their stories with me in Nigeria; One of homophobic and the other a transphobic bashing; these stories tell of the unnecessary fear their assailants exhibited whilst bashing them.

If Transgender and gay people are not a threat to heterosexual people, why do they suffer so much violence with extreme hatred? These reports border on the verge of hatred, stigmatization, discrimination, homophobia and transphobia. I can safely add that the ignorance of the assailants is the real problem and the fear of their own sexuality no doubts comes into questioning.

With our church, we see many people that don’t come to our regular Sunday services, as we also run other programmes, especially counseling for LGBT Christians and these people take full advantage of this service and equally benefits from the mission of reconciliation of sexuality and spirituality.

My queerness also led me to begin to study the bible and share short or snippet devotional, many I believed have been blessed and it has created further challenges for others and for some they are embittered towards me for queering the scriptures. I remembered when I first came to Nigeria to start the church in August 2006. I was told by many gay men, that I was not welcomed in the country, to me they seem to either love the darkness of the closet and the hidden deception of the sexual powers or afraid to embrace the changes leading to freedom of minds, hearts, conscience and the inclusive mission we bring.

The scriptures stand as a moral guide and spiritual support for many people, what I am claiming back is the word of God as they speak to the people I serve, people like myself, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender people, which is the reality and relevance of scriptures. Many LGBT people serve other churches with their gifts and talents but are stuck in churches or religious communities that frustrate their physical and spiritual relationship with God. We are stuck in families and cultures that least understood us and are extremely afraid to step out of line, so we are forced to do what we don’t what to do, and thereby lead a double life and live a lie. In other churches in Nigeria where we believe LGBT people are present, the moral code is “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” there are no programmes that informs the sanctity and relevance for sexual minorities. Many LGBT will continue to suffer in silence or fall prey to many preachers’ ignorance.

The basic simple tragedy of such livelihood is deception, for those who persistently deny their sexual orientation in favor of the dictated norm, namely heterosexuality will continue to feel pain and anxiety.

Evidently, many people now favor bizarre arrangements in the name of keeping face with societal acceptance. Many gay and/or bisexual men now fashionably marry and too often their boyfriends or male sexual partners are their best men, some conveniently arrange surrogate parenting with a female and thus bring forth children, just for their families to back off. A gay man I knew in Nigeria finished his first degree aged 23 years old and enrolled for another first degree, I asked why not a masters degree, he said he needed more time to be a student to avoid the question of marriage in his family, how convenient but the reality is for how long will he run and hide?

I met a young Muslim man, I can safely say that we are family as his family and mine lived in the same neighborhood in Nigeria, he admitted that he loved me except that I was gay and that is the only thing he cannot deal with and this has become a personal wish on his path that I changed. I explained to my friend that even on the return of Jesus I can do nothing about what God had fixed for me, the only good, acceptable and mature thing I could do is to honor the “Will of God” that has made me gay. We spoke for hours, sharing my developed experiences and challenges. I am not sure if this man is won over to my understanding, one thing I know that is clear is that his views are informed from a heterosexual stand point and also the Nigerian societal expectations of what human sexuality should be. TO BE CONTINUED

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God Made Them Gays And Lesbians



God Made Them Gays And Lesbians

© Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay,

Pastor, House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria.


I have often thought of making a contribution to rewrite the stories of the bible and this is an opportunity to start. According to Genesis, the first book of Moses, written by a man, it is no wonder that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex people are not prominent figures, this is about to change with the advent of queer ministry.


The opening book also casted women in a different picture, today many countries and cultures globally treat women as subordinate. The developed and mature thinking of liberal theologians argued that Genesis was not only recorded in the ancient days it was recorded by a man. Which in many ways contributed to the exclusion of women and other sexual minority groups? Now we begin to ask queer questions, those questions we are not opportune to ask whilst in Bible school, seminaries etc, many people I know were expelled from theological training because they asked a queer question.


Then how are we to know the truth and how on earth are we going to be set free? The honesty in rewriting these theologies, we have to consider the absence of the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the interpretation of the opening book of the bible, Genesis. And also understand the reasons for exclusion of the correct interpretation, which has constituted a massive debate today.Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth..." there is a suggestion that there must have been a time before the very beginning of the formation of the earth. There must have been a gathering of the heavens, God and Holy Spirit, here we are told of the miraculous formation of the earth.


The separation of darkness and light, sky and waters, waters and dry land, vegetation in various kinds, swarms of living creatures, birds, living creatures of every kind. Read Genesis 1:1-25. Genesis 1:26 "Then God said, Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" We must understand that in the 21st Century much analysis have been carried out scientifically and religiously to explain the origin of humans, whilst many like myself believe in the creation story, one must wonder why gays and lesbians are not included in the interpretation by popular Christian movements? "Let us make humankind in our image" suggest to me that there were more than one person present as I dont believe God would have spoken alone, there seem to be a matter for consideration in heaven.


The paradigm of two creation stories even made it more confusing, the first in Genesis 1, was clear when it says "God made them male and female"Feminist theologians have argued successfully that this signposted to equality of gender in creation, a second creation story recorded in Genesis 2, suggested that the man was made first and from the man the woman was made. The version created disparity in the ability to provide equality to the gender and also created a gap in understanding sexual orientation and identity. We are to understand and accept that women are second to men and therefore men are superior. How do we conclude on what the image of God is? Is God black, white, Asian, African, European, man, woman, homosexual, heterosexual etc?


The creation of the human race is the image of God, lets be queer about the interpretation, many conservative theologians have taken a narrow interpretation to marginalise other groups that neither fit or able to conform to their stereotypes. This is rather sad.The lack of explanation or the ability to be honest led in many ways to the narrow conclusion and the exclusion of women and sexual minorities in the early chapters of the bible.


In 1973 The American Psychiatric Association made a remarkable announcement to delete homosexuality from the list of mental illness, thankfully we are able to say the same step has followed in Nigeria, but 31 years later in 2004.It is believed that we are working in a credible direction to analyse human sexuality and reconcile with spirituality. Gays and Lesbians often harassed on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity are human enough to hold jobs, join the armed force, raise a family and contribute to societal responsibilities.


The bible say "let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" not over each other. This has been a problem between race, between men and women, between people with different sexual orientation who asserts dominion over those who are considered minorities. After spending just over a year in Nigeria where most of the race are black, there are divisive tribal wars in the country, there are dangerous disputes between Christians and Muslim, Northerners and Southerners.


This division also lend its nature to the gay community, where shamefully those who are marginalised by the wider society also found it fit to marginalise within a small group of people, for example, some gay men discriminate against other gay men who are considered too effeminate or passive.The sordid interpretation of the scriptures by fundamentals means that many gays and lesbians today are unable to reconcile sexuality with spirituality, they have been forced away from the relationship with the Creator.


A continuous deliberate act to permanently and mentally exclude gays and lesbians from inclusion in the creation story and the inclusive gospel and love of Jesus we seek to promote. Whilst studying the creation story, I understand as a gay man that we are present in creation, God made them gay and lesbian and since it is known of the biases of the early bible scholars, it is no surprise that the interpretation that excludes still carries on. If you are not gay or lesbian you can never understand, my message is for those who offer healing to gays and lesbians, to stop trying to heal gays or lesbians, rather the fundamentalist need their ignorance and spiritual blindness healed. My queer senses trigger in to action, when studying and studying the creation stories, there are many inaccuracies in the interpretation and offered explanations.


I am not stupid and I just cannot rest nor reconcile with foolishness. I believe many men and many women where created by God at creation and the ability to be heterosexual or homosexual was part of God gift to humanity.At this point we must understand that those who are heterosexuals or homosexuals will act accordingly. The argument "be fruitful and multiply" does not apply to the heterosexual standard with the ability to impregnate and conceive but also to the ability to get wealth, take care of each other and also this principle is often applied in the case of mergers, where two powerful organisations merge they become stronger in their output and resources. The bible strongly recommends partnership of two or more.


Genesis 2 elaborate more on the act of the naming of the creations of God by man (Adam), it must have been a tiring experience for Adam. To my knowledge and to date, probably with a variance of languages the names of the plants, birds and animals remained the same. The example I created in my analogy is this; In Kenya, Canada, England etc when you see a lion what do you call it? Most people responded lion, I know it is different if the lion was a pet lion and you call her Margaret, she will still be recognised as a lion. Then the same question applied again; In Kenya, Canada, England etc when you see a man what do you call him, most people responded man, but note that man all over the world are given names for the purpose of identification. Then in that case nothing has changed, lions will be lions anywhere in the world and man will be man too.My point is that there are humankinds all over the world and we are recognised as such, there are various cultural diversity but that does not negate the nature of our sexual orientation or identity.


In creation according to Genesis 1:27 says "So God created humankind in God's image in the image of God, God created them, male and female (homosexuals and heterosexuals) God created them" This verse suggest that the creations of God, namely humans present all over the world, were created by God in God's image, we believe that humankind are in God's image. History tells us in many part of the world where black people were discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, they were treated then as if they were less than human, now it is ironic that gays and lesbians are also being dealt similar blows because of sexual orientation and identity. If we agree that man is man then at creation God made all the race, all the sexual orientations, etc.


There is certainly one narrow understanding for the mainstream bible classes of traditional fundamentalist religious movement and there are many things we are not told, we are not even allowed to ask questions nor to express a deeper feeling to gain understanding of the diverse human sexuality ordained at creation. This is an incredible flaw in the interpretation of the conservative theologian. I believe in miracles, Yes I do, especially that of common sense, love and harmony. What miracle healer heals a blind person and asked them what is the colour of my shirt? The blind person who has been blind from birth suddenly says blue, doesn’t that ring an alarm of spiritual deception? Many gays and lesbians have been denied the right to grow in love and spirit. I believe in healing but we ought to be more vigilante not to allow wool to be pulled over our faces, we are done with the wheel chair and crotches flying business.


If you are as old as me you will remember, Steven Martin in an American drama called "A Leap Of Faith" which exposes the drama of false evangelical healing. The healing we need and pray is the healing of homophobia, poverty, lack of care, self hatred, NOT homosexuality, which is one of the gifts of God to humanity, which is to be embraced and celebrated.

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, is the Pastor of House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria; Ordained minister of the gospel ten years ago, he is gay, an author of many articles, anthologies, and two books. An MCC minister since 2005, he holds a law degree from Thames Valley University London and a Masters degree in theology, Currently a PhD Candidate of Theology at the United Bible University Nigeria.