Arts, News

Cover Reveal: She Called Me Woman – Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak

Cassava Republic Press is proud to reveal the cover 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.

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.”

Designed by Maia Faddoul, the cover image features a faded-out picture of a Nigerian woman, gazing straight at the reader as if calling on them to look at her and acknowledge her existence. The use of varied colours on the cover calls attention to the diversity of voices and narratives in the collection. The subtitle is purple – a key colour in queer communities that has variously been used to represent lesbian pride, the spirit of the LGBTQ community, and a challenging of gender norms in its blend of blue and pink. The editors, Mohammed, Nagarajan, and Aliyu, have collected stories that challenge us to rethink the meaning of queerness and womanness and this cover embodies it.

3 thoughts on “Cover Reveal: She Called Me Woman – Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak

  1. I’m excited to read this. I remember reading Blessed Body by Unoma Azuah last year and being incredibly touched. For weeks on end, all I could hear were the voices of the contributors. I’m happy that there is a collection that is totally focused on women. One thing is clear, visibility for queer people is dominating the writings of Nigerian creators. The best part is that this is a collection of non-fiction narratives of queer women. We are getting to the point where visibility for queer people will be the norm. And I’m so here for that.

  2. Plus one to everything Ifeoluwa said. And this is so incredible because it is published here at home by a Nigerian publishing house

  3. This is so very exciting, there’s truly nothing like finding a relatable part of oneself beneath the lenses of representation….. There is a need to widen the LGBT narrative in Naija, and I am most grateful that people are not just seeing, but are working towards that.

    Can’t wait!
    😘😘😘😘😘

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