She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak

I don’t often mention books on Rarely Wears Lipstick, as I don’t have much time for reading these days, but when I received an email from publisher Cassava Republic Press about their upcoming title She Called Me Woman I knew I had to share it with you. This collection of narratives from Nigerian queer women will be published on 24th April, and the 25 first-hand accounts in the book will challenge stereotypes about the reality of being lesbian, bisexual and trans in Nigeria.

Today, Cassava Republic Press is proud to reveal the cover for She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak. Edited by Azeenarh Mohammed, Chitra Nagarajan, and Rafeeat Aliyu, these narratives give the reader access to the narrators’ innermost thoughts and explore what it means to be a queer woman within Nigeria’s often deeply conservative communities.

Through their words, we learn of first loves, heartbreaks and familial pressure; the struggle to reconcile religion, sexuality and culture; the battle to be comfortable with one’s gender and sexual identity within communities that can be hostile and intolerant; the socioeconomic pressures and universal difficulties faced by women in Nigeria.

She Called Me Woman restores agency, presence and humanity to Nigeria’s queer women by providing a platform from which they speak for themselves. Women from a wide range of class, religion and educational backgrounds take the reader on a sometimes celebratory, sometimes troubled but always insightful journey into their everyday life. The book covers the experience of queer women from across Nigeria, with narrators coming from Maiduguri, Zamfara, Im, Oyo, Abuja, Plateau, Lagos, Ondo and more. It restores balance in the discussion on sexuality and gender, which can unfairly favour queer men. It brings into mainstream consciousness the existence and issues of queer women in Nigerian society, ensuring that their stories are told and their voices heard.

Cassava Republic was set up in 2006, with a mission to change the way we all think about African writing. They believe that contemporary African prose should be rooted in African experience in all its diversity. She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak will be published on 24th April 2018.

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Image of bisexual pride flag by Peter Salanki.