Cassava Republic and I are pleased to present the cover reveal for She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak, “a ground-breaking collection of 25 first-hand narratives from a cross section of queer Nigerian women”. Publication date is April 24, 2018 so please mark it on your calendars. The cover is designed by Maia Faddoul,
From Cassava Republic: “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, Imo, 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.
According to editor Refeeat Aliyu, “This book is important to me because as someone who looks for clues on women’s sexuality in Nigeria’s history, I am often frustrated by the way scholars have painted a heteronormative picture. When we become history, no one will be able to say, “there’s no proof of homosexuality in Nigeria” because of the existence of this book and others like it.”
She Called Me Woman is very much welcomed and will join the growing ranks of narratives, fiction and non-fiction, that describe the lives and experiences of queer Africans. And that is very good indeed. I can’t wait to read this book. I repeat: mark your calendars. Kudos to Cassava Republic!