We have spotlighted a few amazing celebrities who are shaping our world. Irene Major is one whose fearlessness caught our attention for two reasons. One as an African woman she is taking a stand that goes against tradition and a stand that many would be too afraid to address. Not only is she speaking about LGBT abuse, discrimination and the killings we’ve all read about she is working to pass legislation through awareness.
Irene is most known for her modeling and lavish lifestyle as the Empress of Ingress but don’t be fooled by her beauty. It is her brains, faith and perseverance that carries her. The British-Cameroonian singer, model and activist recently founded Gay in Africa, a foundation which helps bring awareness to Africans that are being discriminated against within the LGBT communities. Apart from her foundation, Irene also has IM Life which is a charity that offers food, shelter and training support within the Sub-Saharan regions of Africa. Herfaith sat with Irene as she shared her story on what motivates her, pushes her and how her faith allows her to never give up.
Herfaith: How has your campaign affected your life?
Irene: The campaign takes a considerable amount of time and focus which means that I must re-balance and extend most of my full days which already include time devoted to my other charitable endeavours, IM Life and International Harbor – and my 5 children, but of course I am very happy to apply this extra time as this particular cause means the world to me. The campaign has drawn some negative responses and even some threats but from these I draw tremendous amounts of strength as it underscores the prejudices and ignorance that must be overcome.
Herfaith: Why is this so important to you?
Irene: I am a strong believer that most of society will be able to benefit from everyone’s contribution including that of the LGBT community, in human rights and in letting love live. I regret not bringing focused on to this issue earlier on, as I have seen first hand the fabulous contributions made by the LGBT community within the , fashion, entertainment and beyond. I have also noticed the extreme difficulties that this community faces in Africa.
Herfaith: How has faith impacted your need for everyone to be treated equally?
Irene Major: I am driven and inspired by the teachings of Christ and by the Gospel. And let us not forget one of the Bible’s overriding teachings: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Herfaith: What do you say to people that believe this campaign is hazardous to the traditional African values?
Irene: There are many examples of a high level of tolerance and acceptance of the LGBT community in pre-colonial Africa. So suggestions that it was somehow imported from the west are extremely misleading. In fact during colonial times the west itself largely highly intolerant of its own LGBT community. Quite frankly, I passionately believe that human rights are universal and that tolerance and intolerance exist in all cultures and communities.My overall goals are tolerance and also the removal of judicially sanctioned discrimination. Twisting traditions into excuses to discriminate against and oppress others. These same tactics corrodes those very same traditions reminds us of how tradition and cultural differences have been moulded by one community to oppress another throughout human history.
Herfaith: What keeps you strong and motivated?
Irene Above all my faith and also the many positive and supportive comments that I receive from every part of the world.