She is 35, but the story of her life is a blockbuster. At four, she had began to have attraction for people of the same sex. This strange desire culminated in a 28-year sojourn in the lesbian world. Funmi Ayotade told GBENGA OSINAIKE her story.
Now a child of God, Funmi Ayotade ascribed this strange feeling to an encounter in her early years. “This evil desire used to come to me when a particular male replica figure of me appeared to me in my dream or when I was under illusion” she recalled.
But her little mind could not comprehend the damage that was spiritually being done to her sexuality. Some of her uncle were to later turn her to a sex object subjecting her to various sexual abuses when she was barely six. Coupled with the abuse was the maltreatment meted to her mother by her brother in-law and her father. The early exposure to violence against her mother made her come off with the notion that the male folk is no good.
That notion emboldened her strange lifestyle and led her into an endless struggle in the world of lesbianism. Her first sexual partner was a home help who exposed her to the lesbian world. She became more daring while in an all girls school where some teachers and some of her mates were comfortable with the lesbian lifestyle. She also tells the story of how some of the students in her secondary school were made to patronize women in pudah, pastors’ wives and some wealthy individuals in town.
At 17 she had become so entrenched in the act. She had also made up her mind to end up in hell as she found out that she could not do without being a lesbian. “I became so frustrated that I attempted suicide at the back of my class in the year 1994. The lack of self esteem nurtured in me right from my childhood began to push me towards a more dangerous and chronic destructive habits and other evil character associated with homosexuality”
While noting that most of the lesbians she came across were from broken homes she recalled that her lesbian tendencies were worse in the church community.
“The church I was attending did not mention anything about homosexual acts. It was not preached in their sermon. So I grew up in the church thinking what I was doing was right. I was committed to the youth fellowship but still lived secretly as a lesbian.”
She later became a member of the True Christian Fellowship for Nigeria Gays and Lesbians, a group she described as the largest interdenominational pro-gay/lesbian Christian organization. The group which according to her had been in existence for over two decades was co-founded by a black American gay minister and three prominent Bishops in Nigeria two of whom are orthodox while one is a Pentecostal. As a member of the group she became more daring and comfortable. She was well accepted in the community and life was more of a roller coaster for her. But that still did not solve her inner struggle. By 2008 she had began a process of tracing her step to her maker and also began a new life. By 2009, the Lord intervened in her life through a dream encounter which led her to surrender all to Christ. Ayotade who is now championing a cause to bring sanity to the sexual lives of people and also the convener of Sodomy Prevention Initiative, revealed that there are over 150 so called Christian organizations in Nigeria that have adopted gay friendly theology. In this interview which has been edited to a large extent she gives an insight into the lesbian world and how she encountered Jesus.
Read her full interview here:
When you were growing up and you found out that you were into homosexual acts, did it occur to you that what you were doing was wrong?
Yes and No. Yes in the sense that I used to have this odd feeling whenever I found myself having an affair with a female like myself. I used to have this feeling of hatred for myself especially when I try to relate with a girl and the girl turns me down. But each time I get acceptance I feel good about what I was doing. So it’s a mixture of both guilt and sometimes feeling of acceptance.
At what age did you start the act?
I remember being very conscious of myself when I was four years old. I had this consciousness about myself. I started relating to people at that time. I found out that at that age, I had began to exhibit this negative feeling. It was indeed an odd feeling. But like I said each time people take me for whom I was I felt a sense of acceptance. But if they didn’t there was this feeling of worthlessness that used to overwhelm me.
But did you have to learn the act in the cause of growing up apart from the fact that you had this inherent tendency?
I was lured into doing it by a home help when we were growing up. But then in the cause of growing up, I was relating with people who had similar challenges and this strengthened and emboldened me and it then became addictive. The fact is that homosexual behaviour accommodates other sinful habits. A homosexual person is deceptive and a liar. They are prone to many other evil tendencies. What people must come to understand is that homosexuality is a symptom of a bigger problem. It is an expression of an inner struggle. It happens because the person doing it wants to give an expression to something.
Is it so in all cases?
From the years I was involved in it, I discovered that there is always a reason for doing it. It could have been a Same Sex Attraction (SSA) thing; but more than that it is an expression of inner struggle.
So what then are the predisposing factors?
First homosexuality can be transferred from one generation to the other. From my own experience I found that it could be transferred. I used to have a daughter who had that tendency while she was growing up. And it really made me sad. She did not like sucking breast when she was a baby but when she grew up she would always want to play with my breast. And that really made me sad. I also caught her in compromising situations.
Were you married?
I was married but opted out of the marriage. I found out that the marriage then was just an escapist root for me but it did not solve the problem of being a lesbian. At a point in my life I wanted to stop so I thought marriage would end it. But it did not.
But was that the only girl you had?
I had two other kids but they all passed away. By 2008 when I was crying to God to deliver me from lesbianism I found out that my daughter also had the trait and what came to my thought was that I would not like to raise a child that would have this same struggle. So if the homosexual lifestyle of a parent is not resolved it would pass on to the coming generation. There is difference between healing and suppression. A lot of people suppress it but the question is have they been healed? There is need for healing for it not to pass on to another generation. There is a need for those who want to be free to go through a deliverance process so that it doesn’t occur in the next generation.
You were talking about the factors that engender homosexual behaviour?
There is the factor of poor parenting. When parents don’t give adequate attention to their children and when both parents are not involved in the life of their children by giving them direction. In my case I was a victim of poor parenting. My mother was loving, but my father did not provide the kind of presence that would make me appreciate a man. He was hard and not loving. So I grew up to hate the male gender.
Parenting is not about providing food and paying school fees. It is about giving attention to your kid. The role of a father cannot be replaced with that of a mother and vice versa. So the idea of single parenting is inimical to the growth of the child. If either of the parents is not showing love, there is tendency that the child would grow up to hate that particular gender and it would make him feel that life is like that. There is also danger in being too close to your child in the sense that you are doting all over him or her. What I mean is that when the mother and the daughter have strong ties. They sleep together bath together and the girl child grows up in that environment, where the only thing she sees are females she will think along the side of homosexuality.
There are also religious gatherings that promote it. When you have gender exclusive groups in the church especially when they are in their teen age there is tendency that they will grow up with that mindset. When you have all girls or boys groups in the church there should be proper education for them so they don’t have the mind that life is about an all boys or girls affair. Single gender educational institutions also fuel homosexuality. The human sexuality starts forming at about age 12. So when such child at that age is in a single gender school, he or she may want to find expression to her sexuality and seeing people of the same gender around may just hasten homosexual tendency. So in single gender school there is need for proper guidance and counselling. They should be made to understand that Same Sex Attraction is not normal and it is ungodly.
Misplacement of gender role could also influence homosexual acts. We say what a man can do a woman can do better. But that is not the Bible. There are roles that nature has bestowed on men and there are roles for women. When a woman does energy demanding jobs and hard labour there is tendency for such woman to tend towards homosexual acts. If a woman does what a man does consistently she may lose her identity.
But are there people who happen on the act at adult age?
There are people who are vulnerable. People who have trouble with their marriage are prone to it. A lot of pastors’ wives are tending towards it because of the inability of their husbands to fulfill their sexual roles. The women will like to consolidate the missing link in their sexual lives and as a result get close to female partners.
You said pastors’ wives?
Yes. 82 percent of those who were my partners when I was in the dark world were pastors’ wives. In the cause of relating with them when their husbands travel on missionary journeys we get involved in the act. There are ladies who take the role of the husbands when the husband is not at home and sometimes their husbands travel for as long as three months. In the absence of the man at home, a lady comes in to help with the domestic chores and other things. That is where the passion develops and they are hooked. The shocking thing is that pastors’ wives who do it don’t see it as something bad. They just have this false feeling that since they are not committing adultery they are okay. But they fail to realize that it is as bad if not worse than adultery.
But what is the connection of cultism to homosexuality?
There are female cults for lesbians and they go through initiation. The kind of initiation they do is that they want to see you make love to another female and this could go on for seven days. Such cults are in Lagos campuses. At least I know of Lagos schools. They could be in other institutions. The managements of these schools are not aware or pretend not to be aware because some staff of the schools are also members of the cult groups. Most cult groups, I mean the popular ones on campuses are into homosexual acts. It’s a lifestyle for cult guys. And they have the support of the rich in the society. Many of these cults have mystic books.
They read from these mystic books and encourage themselves with a Bible known as the Gay Bible. There are some who hold regular meetings and they conduct themselves like a religious group. For instance they also go through baptism. They go through water baptism and baptism of fire. The baptism is different from what we experience in a genuine church. They chant some of the words from the mystic books. The book talks about human beings of the same gender. The Gay Bible is like the normal Bible but they portray some characters in the Bible as gay. They try to impress on themselves that David and Jonathan, Paul, Jesus were gay. In the Gay Bible there is the Book of Jonathan which talked about the life of Jonathan.
But are they not aware of portions of the Bible that kicked against homosexual act?
They are aware. But they have succeeded in changing the scriptures. I mean the one they use. In their own Bible in Lev 18 where God warned against same sex attraction and having sex with same sex they twisted it to read, thou shall not fornicate. Unfortunately there are some homosexuals who never saw the real Bible but whose first encounter is with the Gay Bible.
So the fellowship holds here in Nigeria?
Yes. I was part of the fellowship. It’s different from the Jide Macaulay group which has since stopped holding when police raided the place. This one holds once in two months. I was initiated into the group through a pastor’s wife. They hold their programme in the open and it is not something that they hide. There are top Nigerians who are backing them. That is why it amazes me when I read about the hypocrisy of government on the issue. It is difficult to wipe out. It will take God to reach out to those that are lost in it. God is using some of us who have been through it to reach out to those who are still there.
Now let’s talk about your experience?
I started when I was young as I said and I was in it for 28 years. It was a struggle for me. I was a church activist. I participated in church activities and got involved with a number of sex partners. It was in the process of trying to solve the problem that I married at the age of 25 but I opted out of the marriage when I still found that the problem was not solved. I was looking for a way out. But wrong advice coupled with pressure from female partners got me deeper into it. In cause of my experience I met a lot of top entertainers, ministers’ wives and top Nigerians who are into it. But I was really sad within me.
If I may ask, how do you identify a gay or a lesbian?
It does not take more than 60 seconds to know a homosexual person. One of the notable signs is that they don’t look straight into the eyes of people of the same sex with them. They are unduly reserved and they learn to make advances through body language. They try to gain attention on some occasions and they tend to be unnecessarily friendly. They are found of body touch and caressing of the same sex. And they preoccupied with either academic or religious activities so that nobody would notice their escapades.
But did you have life threatening situations in the cause of your experience?
While I was in the dark world, I was a king. There are two types of lesbian, the pillow queen lesbian and the king. The king is like the man in the lesbian world while the pillow queen is the woman. The pillow queens are more in number but the kings are few. The kings are the tomboy. So there were violent clashes associated with relationships. If for instance the pillow queen that I’m going out with realizes that I’m in another relationship, she will become violent and just put up a fight. There was a case that a partner roped me into an offence and got me arrested by the police because she realized that I was relating with another person. So there were life threatening situations and even when I pulled out, some of them are still making trouble with me.
Are there people who do it for commercial purpose?
Some do it for money. People like that don’t have problem with their sexuality. In the cause of my outreach since the Lord delivered me, I have had cause to interact with professional prostitutes who do it for money and some who travel as far as from Portharcourt to Lagos to meet their partners. These partners are top Nigerians who give a lot of money to just to satisfy their urge.
Do we have people who do it for ritual purposes?
There is something mystical about homosexual lifestyle. When somebody is into it there is tendency that the person will not suffer financially. When I was into it for instance, I never lacked and I got jobs easily. The kingdom of the devil has a way of making people in it comfortable so that their eyes will be blinded to the truth. There is what is called the sharing bond in the kingdom of darkness. It is a mental thing. When you see somebody in the same group with you there is tendency to want to help the person. There is this oneness among homosexuals. There is this transfer of wealth in the gay world. It’s a psychological thing.
Let’s talk about your conversion?
The process of my conversion started in 2008. That same year I lost two of my children. Their loss came at a point when I was waiting on God and crying for deliverance. I had subjected myself to fasting and praying. That was the month one of them died. I remember I used to sing that whatever would prevent me from the way of salvation that God should remove it; even if it would be my child. So when I lost the child, the memory of her lesbian tendency came to me. I believed God wanted to take away the reproach of homosexuality from me because already she had began to show that trait at a young age. In the cause of this, my sister who lives in the UK had a dream. She said she saw that I was about being electrocuted in the dream and a hand just stopped the electrocution. She then pleaded with me to stop whatever I was doing that was not good that God wanted to use me. She did not know I was into homosexual act. The longest lesbian relationship I had was for 13 years. But in the process of trying to quit I met with this partner who lived in Abesan estate area of Lagos. She lived with her mother and I moved in to live with them. I had a divine visitation during one of my affair with this partner who has since become a torn in my flesh. It was a dream. In the dream I saw a man holding something and coming towards me while he danced to a song. The spirit ministered to me that the man was Jesus. Before then in the dream I had been taken through a series of revelation where I saw a church setting and saw people in the church with gifts. As I was about entering the church, the door of the church opened automatically. I woke up from the dream and became uncomfortable with my lifestyle of lesbianism. My partner who was by me in bed and was getting ready to have fun with me tried to discourage me. But I encouraged her to surrender her life to Jesus that I was also ready to give my life. That was the turning point for me. But my partner was adamant. And she has remained adamant till today. It got to a point that I started confessing to people that I was a lesbian and the more I confessed the better I became. By this time I was living in the same house with this partner. Incidentally her mother was a minister in a top Pentecostal church in Nigeria. When I decided to pack out of the house the mother was surprised. Apparently she did not know her daughter and I were into homosexual acts. When I told her she was taken aback and rather than act and move to help her daughter she became defensive and tried to do everything to cover her daughter. There was a time she asked that I should follow her to their village to swear at the shrine that her daughter was a lesbian. I told her that her daughter had been a lesbian long before I met her and wondered why she was trying to defend her since she was old enough to defend herself. I moved out of the house eventually and had to look for succour in churches. I started interacting with a number of God’s servants who helped me in the process of rehabilitation and deliverance. The deliverance took me to one Holy Ghost school of Evangelism in Ilesha. God also used Kingdom Life Ministries and Eternal Life and Revival Ministries all located around Idimu area of Lagos to help me. It was in these churches that I was exposed to the word of God and my Christian life was enriched. I have also been under the mentorship of several men and women of God who have been tremendously used for my complete deliverance.
So what has been the experience after your confession?
It’s been war. But God has been my strength and help. I can tell you that I have had terrible experiences even in the church. There was the case of a man of God who was supposed to help me spiritually who wanted to lure me into adultery. God gave me the grace to resist the temptation. I had to leave that environment. I thank God for the wife of that man of God who knew the kind of man she was married to. His wife has been quite supportive. There were cases of mistrust in some churches. Sometimes they find it difficult to accept me. Some are still suspicious of my move. But I can say again and again that I have been completely cured and delivered of the sinful habits. It’s a long process but God has brought me to a place of total freedom.
Till today the last partner I had in the lesbian world is still angry with me and would probably have killed me if God had not given me the wisdom on what to do. She once sent thugs after me and in fact sent some people to assassinate me. I made a report to the police about her threats. I was kidnapped afterwards by some people around Yaba area. They wanted to kill me but when I told them I had made reports to the police about the lady persecuting me and also shared my side of the story, they could not do anything. Rather, they drove me to a place in Cotonou and dumped me there. I traced my way to a church and from there came back home. It is a long story. But I;m certain of victory in this matter.
What about your ex-partners and those you left in the lesbian world?
God has helped me to start a group known as Sodomy Prevention Initiative. We try to reach out to those who have Same Sex Attraction and motivate and train church leadership on how to curb the act. Our efforts centre on evangelism, education and enlightenment of society on the danger posed by these people and how to help them out. God has also helped us to reach to schools and campuses in Lagos and the result has been amazing as many are being delivered from the sinful act.
But how do you survive?
I have been surviving on God. It has been challenging. But God has been taking us through thick and thin. I give lectures and talk with young people how to stay clean. Many people in the homosexual world are brilliant people. If they channel their energy to positive values and quit their sinful lifestyles they will be a great blessing to the society. I think that is why the devil makes them to abuse themselves. The truth is that the challenge of same sex attraction is real and it is time the church began to take concrete steps to save our nation from this demonic influence.
First published by Osinaike, Publisher of Church Times Nigeria October 2012