“We put together this collection of twenty-five narratives to correct the invisibility, the confusion, the caricaturising and the writing out of queer women from history.” This stirring and intimate collection brings together 25 captivating narratives to paint a vivid portrait of what it means to be a queer Nigerian woman. Covering an array of experiences - the joy and excitement of first love, the agony of lost love and betrayal, the sometimes-fraught relationship between sexuality and spirituality, addiction and suicide, childhood games and laughter - She Called Me Woman sheds light on how Nigerian queer women, despite their differences, attempt to build a life together in a climate of fear. Through first-hand accounts, She Called Me Woman challenges us to rethink what it means to be a Nigerian ‘woman’, negotiating relationships, money, sexuality and freedom, identifying outside the gender binary, and the difficulties of achieving hopes and dreams under the constraints of societal expectations and legal terrorism. These beautifully told stories of resistance and resilience reveal the realities of a community that refuses to be invisible any longer.
Introduction 1 I Pray That Everyone Has Forgotten 18 She Called Me ‘Woman’ 24 Love Is Not Wrong 39 I Only Admire Girls 49 I Am A Proud Lesbian 57 We Have Social Media Now. We Have Exposure 65 Focusing On Joy 79 My Sexuality Is Just The Icing On The Cake 91 This Is Not Our World 102 The Happiest Moments Of My Life Are Yet To Come 120 Living A Double Life 125 Doing Things My Own Way 139 I Want To Be Myself Around People I Care About 147 What Is Happiness? 164 To Anyone Being Hated, Be Strong 172 My Past Lovers Have Made Me Who I Am 188 Some Things You Do For Your Heart 192 Your Sexuality Doesn’t Define Who You Are 203 Who I Have Sex With Is Not Part Of My Identity 215 If You Want Lesbian, Go To Room 24 220 Everybody In J-Town Is Now A Lola 239 Same-Sex Relationships Are A Choice 250 This Same-Sex Thing Stays A Long Time 261 When I Die, I Just Want To Be Remembered 265 There Is No One Way To Be A Woman 275 A Woman Who Loves Other Women 283 I Don’t Believe In Love 292 I Can Still Love More 304 Why Do I Have To Ask You To Consider Me Human? 312 I Convinced Myself I Wasn’t A Lesbian 329 Biographies 341 Acknowledgements 342