African Queers

Asexual Awareness Week

October 20th-26th is Asexual Awareness Week in Nigeria.

Asexuality is largely understood in the ace community as a lack of sexual attraction. Sexual attraction is different than sexual desire. To be asexual does not necessarily mean to be without sexual desire, but without sexual attraction. Although many asexual people do not engage in sexual activity, some do, and this does not invalidate their asexuality.

If you’d like to know more about being Asexual or navigating Asexuality in Nigeria, AceandNigerian has remarkable resources and community.

My jar of Chapman and all the floral sweetness above is raised in cheers of Ace Week 2019.

Also in celebration I’m republishing my story, The Peace That is You published in June. It’s a story of acceptance and navigating intimacy with an asexual love interest.


THE PEACE THAT IS YOU

Whenever I see a woman on low cut, whether golden, wine, brown or black curls or coils she rocks cropped. I think of you. Of the night I met you and how your smile injected peace into my tired face. Of how I was so sure you would be mine. In less than 2 mins, sitted beside me, your fair skin beaming in the night, you dispelled my assurance. You were for yourself, alone. I didn’t stutter that I hadn’t meant I wanted to own you. Instead I nodded and knew from then on. I knew we’d never fry plantain or ofada stew together and watch the orange sun set. You would stop responding to my texts. I cancelled our first date because of stabbing menstrual cramps during a thunderstorm.

I saw your post online some weeks ago. I was surprised I still followed you. I thought I unfollowed you after realizing you were ignoring my calls and texts. I remember feeling my anger and jealousy dispel as I gazed at your right cheek, arched pink lipped smile, delicate eyelashes and small breasts obscured by the dress. I felt at peace. Your caption had said you had been searching for peace.

My full eyebrows shot up surprised. You found it. Where? I wasn’t surprised. What made me surprised was that you didn’t know. You could simply look at yourself and be at peace. You see, you are an enlightenment in herself, drapped with serenity, colored warm with kindness.

You could have simply let me see you again. So you could look into my brown eyes, which would have been cleansed by shed tears from the chopped purple onions and fried palm oil smoke. So you could look and see that you are peace. But it isn’t simple. Probably won’t have been simple even if I swam across Mile 2 to Lekki, my womb perforated raw.

You were searching. For yourself. I’ve taken that journey. I still would have kissed your soft cheeks and their tiny blond hairs while leaving the jazz club I never came to. Today I saw another woman. She had this golden brown-winish low cut. I thought of you. I prayed you had found the peace that is you.

END.


Thanks for reading Gem!

SHE CALLED ME WOMAN

Book Quotes from SHE CALLED ME WOMAN which taught me Life Lessons.

This book is trail blazing and necessary. Edited by Azeenarh Mohammed, Rafeeat Aliyu, Chitra Nagarajan, She Called Me Woman is an intimate collection of 25 first-hand accounts of queer female Nigerian experiences.

I’ve learnt a lot about freedom, resistance, importance of self acceptance, supportive family and community, financial independence, intimacy, sex and love, emotional abuse by partners, hope, abuse against women, homophobia and safety.

Glimpse my emotional reading journey here. I lent it to my anticipating Bestie, Biggie in Lagos, to read before I travelled to Abuja for my NLS Externship.

Below are quotes from many narratives I enjoyed reading. Under each piece are more than one quote.

She Called Me ‘Woman’

‘Patience is the most important lesson I have learned in life. You will get what you want. Never lose focus. No matter what, never lose focus, ever.’


I Want To Be Myself Around People I Care About

‘For young people, be yourself. If you know you are queer, be yourself, do it. Do not let anyone restrict you.’

‘I think I can pray to God on my bed in my house without having to listen to someone interpret the Bible for me. I can read my Bible and understand it.’


Focusing On Joy

‘For me, a relationship should be free in terms of gender roles. I have not found this with the men and queer women I’ve been with. People have not worked through their own perceptions or a gender-free relationship isn’t what they want. And maybe I haven’t worked through my own..Everyone has their own stuff to come to terms with. Everyone wants to be affirmed in different ways and sometimes in very gendered ways.’

‘In all that you do, do not lose the practice of experiencing joy and creating it.’

My Sexuality Is Just The Icing On the Cake

‘She asks, ‘You are the dude, right?’ I reply, ‘No, there is no dude. I’m the girl and she’s the girl’.

‘There is a lot of preaching against homosexuality in the churches..It makes me feel like they are preaching hate. They are speaking on God’s behalf, but you cannot tell me this is what God is saying when you’re not God.’

‘The moment you do somethings with your life, nobody cares about your sexuality. I tell people that my sexuality is just the icing on the cake. First of all. I’m human..my sexuality doesn’t define who I am.’

‘There are so many attacks on homosexual societies because a lot of us are jobless and don’t have stuff going on with our lives.’


Everybody in J Town is Now a Lola

‘But I’ve got to the point where you can’t make me feel convicted by the colour of your heart.’


There is No One Way to be a Woman

‘I like relationships because they are an opportunity to know who you are and what you can tolerate from others.’

‘I dont have time for people I dont agree with.’


I am a Proud Lesbian

‘Everybody has his or her own way of living. That is what they dont understand.’

‘Don’t try to be something people want you to be or do things to impress somebody by being fake.’

Remember, Love is love is love. Let’s be accepting of queer people in Nigeria Nigerians! Let’s not limit women or their choices. Let’s not use religion as a reason for inhumane treatment or injustice. I recommend this book published by Cassava Republic with 4 fireworks. You can buy it in Nigeria from The Book Dealer, Alaroro Books and RovingHeights.

Podcast Review: The Pride Diaries

The Pride Diaries is a podcast on Soundcloud exploring the lives of Nigerian queer folk.

Episodes are a mix of the curator’s comments, soothing music breaks, voice recordings of different anonymous queer Nigerians sharing their opinions, experiences or suggestions on the chosen topic. I think this is the reason why the podcast volume was really low. Queer contributors include lesbian, gay, pansexual, bisexual, etc folks. It such a unique listening experience and it stays true to being a Pride Diaries. I’m so proud of the visibility and community its building. A range of topics have been talked about; Coming out, Promiscuity, Abuse in Queer relationships, Sex, Queer relationships and much more.

As a writer of queer erotic fiction (read this story and check out this series) who is currently reading She Called Me Woman. I understand the importance of telling our stories, finding love and a community. I am elated to discover this podcast Gems!

Yesterday, I listened to Ep 11: Abuse in Queer Relationships and WOW! This episode shared experiences and lessons on abuse in all forms, emotional, psychological, physical and sexual. I consider revenge porn as sexual assault. One narrator’s partner threatened to send her nudes to the narrator’s mother. Also manipulating a partner to have sex instead of apologizing or addressing issues is so wrong. Especially if said person has sex with a partner that doesn’t consent to the intercourse or respond during sex. ABUSE!

Some narrators talked about their past partners who used said partner’s mental illnesses to manipulate and emotionally abuse the narrators. The last contributor shared her experience assaulting a partner and I connected (not approve though) with it. Being in a situation that makes you vividly remember past abuse/assault; can make you attack from apprehension, fear or defence. Contributors shared different definitions of abuse.

Abuse is

-T

Any unfair and unjust manipulation yo. Inhuman and unnecessary behaviour or extremes that are not from a place of love but masked to be..

-F

..its abuse when my partner makes me feel small or worthless or not good enough..

-D

I’m really not about that, if you love me you’ll do this. Constantly using me as a money bag or sex toy. Trying to talk me into doing somethings I clearly don’t want to do..

Amaka, (Business woman, Book Publicist, Queen) mentioned The Pride Diaries to me and I’m in love! Beautiful pictures of (mostly) African queer couples and activists, informative posts, intimate and sexy posts, sex politics, fashionable pictures, real talk, opinion posts, etc are on this Instagram account.

This podcast is necessary, bold and refreshing. Do give it a listen and share your thoughts with me.

More Reviews, Little Reading.

My week so far…

It’s Friday of Week 15 Gems! I’m a month away from going home for Law School 2nd term holidays! Heat in Yola and bulkier workload had me fatigued this week.

It’s cool that this picture I shot weeks ago is the topic taught in Professional Ethics today. I haven’t read a lot of fiction off my TBR this week. This weekend I look forward to finishing LIE TO ME DAN by Longrin Wetten and reviewing it.

However, I published some SPOTLIGHT READS (My quirky thoughts on unique poems, micro fiction and short stories found online). Find exciting online fiction in January, The Small Margins of Friendship by Tolu Daniel and Of Good Destiny by Tope Omamegbe. I plan to share more online fiction and book reviews in my drafts the coming weeks. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be sharing new entries of Zaza (Zaza is a queer memoir of self love, sensuality, sex and romance). So catch up on this series here, here and also here.

PS: This is how I’m smiling because the weekend is here. What bookie fun are you up to this weekend?

Who needs tattoo sleeves when I have caramel drizzled arms?