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She Called Me Woman

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  47 reviews
“We put together this collection of thirty 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 30 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 exciteme
Paperback, 344 pages
Published April 26th 2018 by Cassava Republic Press (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gets 5 stars simply for existing. It’s a HUGE HUGE accomplishment and a sign of the possibility of a Nigerian society where queer folks can feel safe. Not there yet but the sheer effort that went in to creating this book, increasing visibility and speaking especially for all the young people who have not seen themselves represented anywhere without the story of misery as inevitable, is staggering. Alhamdulillah and congratulations to all the contributors and editors.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A very brave endeavour that suffers hugely from under editing. These thirty stories-often shocking, moving, effecting-need to have been given shape by a strong editor, to streamline the narratives and focus on the most important aspects. As it stands, these accounts often read as if they are being transcribed directly from conversation or are cut together from answers to posed to pre-written questions. Unfortunately giving someone a voice in publishing does not simply mean writing down what they ...more
M. Ainomugisha
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A monumental assemblage of queer and trans women’s lived experiences engaging with the reception of their respective identities in Nigeria’s ultra-religious, patriarchal, transphobic, homophobic society.

A number of the stories start out painfully, and since the contributors were tasked to describe the impacts of Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Law on their lives and communities, a number of them end quite painfully as well.

Regardless, there were stories filled with drama, cultural knowl
Lauren Ames
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible anthology! Each narrator shared their story of growing up queer in Nigeria with so much heart, and the book includes such a wide range of experiences. Some people’s reviews criticized the style in which the stories were written, citing lack of editing, but I felt in this context that leaving the stories in a conversational style lended to how powerfully authentic and intimate it felt. Beautiful project, lifting up queer women’s voices in a country where they are often silenced ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
I am so glad that a book like this exists and even more glad that I had a chance to read it! While there were personal opinions from some of the authors of the essays that I disagreed with, and some essays were better done than others, I think the collection really did what it set out to do and that it's a worthwhile read for anyone interested in it.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's both great and slightly problematic that the testimonies are not commented upon. Food for thought, definitely. ...more
Devon H
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of personal narratives from queer Nigerian women. First of all, I want to say I am so impressed with the subject matter. Queer Nigerian women are sharing their stories in this book, and they are not shying away from difficult subject matter. They are sharing their rapes, forced marriages, assault, and more in these pages. These women are inspiring, because reading their stories, I feel as though so many of them have forgiven those that have wronged them, even if they ha ...more
A book like this cannot be rated on a scale because its importance far outweighs any personal preference the reader may have regarding its purpose/content. That said, I offer no rating at all because, at least for me, where I was taken in by the bravery of each personal account, I was put off by their presentation: overly long, sometimes repetitive, and often suffering from a lack of editing.

It may seem like nitpicking to point that out but it makes a difference.

When you're reading stories tha
Aisha (thatothernigeriangirl)
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars ✨

She Called Me Woman is a collection of interviews given by 25 individuals, Nigerians/ with Nigerian backgrounds, who identify as ‘queer’ and ‘woman’. Although I agree that this book is already gold just for being the first of its kind, I think its real beauty lies in its portrayal of queer individuals as just ‘individuals’ whose day-to-day struggles are amplified by their being ‘queer’.

Each interview evokes a series of emotions from me; usually sadness, empathy, smiles, and deep though
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I struggled to finish this book but not due to it's content. These stories need telling in their whole entirety and the book in my view only half achieves this by getting these peoples voices heard in the first place. To be an enjoyable read it needed better editing. The style of writing made each story melt into the next one, it felt very much like a question and answer session without the questions being printed.
Whilst i can see what was trying to be achieved with this book i didn't enjoy it a
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq-africa
It was really eye opening to learn about the experiences of queer women in Nigeria when I first read this anthology in 2018. I’ve started reading more narratives from African members of the LGBTQ+ community because I realised that there was a lot that I didn’t know (about their experiences). The writers were really brave to share these stories.

It was hard to get through some of the trauma in the stories (corrective r*pe, assault, etc.). And some of the stories were inconsistent (which the writer
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars!!

So here’s the thing with this book. If you can get past some of the narrators ridiculous mentality then it’ll be an enjoyable reading experience for you. Imagine one saying she will basically meet and lie to women, another saying she feels Nigerians are judgmental but then goes ahead and say ridiculous things about queer women who drink,smoke, have tattoos and piercings. Oh another one said she wants to have mixed race kids because she wants her kids to be fine. Oh the ignorance was
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was such a blessing. It really shows the nuances of life for queer women in Nigeria and how wildly difference peoples' experiences are. I recommend this to everyone, especially white people. It will dispel so many myths about queerness and Africa, particularly Nigeria. ...more
Omayeli Arenyeka
Wish the editors did a better job, some of the stories are good, but it starts to get repetitive and at some point feels more like a QA like a cohesive story.

Love how casual it was, a lot of it was it was very much about the ordinary part of being a woman in Nigeria as much as it was about being a queer woman — you see them preparing for exams, struggling in school, facing harassment. It was also a nice revelation that while things are bad for lgbtq people in Nigeria, it isn’t all bad.
Jul 25, 2021 rated it liked it
The stories were all honest and interesting, even in their very human contradictions and inconsistencies, and they added up to a powerful testament to resilience.
Aug 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A remarkable piece of work

I think about the work that must have gone into producing such landmark literature, in such a perilous situation. A profound piece of work, one that will be remembered and used as a benchmark for future generations.
Jherane Patmore
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-lit
Cassava Republic Press does not miss.
KL Baudelaire
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I truly loved this book. A fascinating, engaging, moving and enlightening read. The variety of voices is so valuable, spanning different ages, classes and social groups. And it feels very timely - published four years after Nigeria's Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in LGBT issues, and anyone interested in the human condition. Please read this. ...more
Florina Mocanu
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“I’m so very excited because I’ve never told anyone my story before.” So says one of the 25 queer women whose diverse stories are brought together in this new collection. Published last year by an Abuja-based independent publisher, the collection is based on first-hand accounts. Raw, messy, brimming with life, these stories jump off the page. The trio of editors travelled across the country to find women of different sexual and gender orientations, ethnic
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
What struck me after reading a couple of these narratives is the mundanity of the stories being told. That might sound like a weird statement but I think the narrative around women in Africa - and especially queer women - is that their lives are a constant series of harrowing tales of violence. The narrators in this story rewrite that narrative by showing that they women all over the content are finding ways to live and thrive - claiming their agency.

Again, this is why #OwnVoices stories are so
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book of this sort has been long overdue.

The main focus being the trials and tribulations of being a queer woman in Nigeria and navigating life whilst also existing at the different religious and cultural intersections.
I enjoyed reading about lived experiences in the words of these women - ranging from trans women, Nigerian women in the diaspora, Christians, Muslims, atheists etc.

To quote Arundhati Roy, 'There's really no such thing as the voiceless. There are only the deliberately silenced,
Mitchell Clifford
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went back and forth on what to rate this book. I think the stories and content are really important and powerful and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to read stories from a marginalized viewpoint from multiple intersections I will not experience myself. Especially not often hearing stories of Queer women of colour, let alone this many in one text.

However, the way the stories are presented in this text are very formulaic in how the 25 interviews are almost scribed word for word in orde
Betsy Jacobs
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, 2021
I love the concept behind this book, and I really wanted to love the book itself, but I just didn't. The situation for LGBTQ+ people in Nigeria is very serious, and I am very glad that this book is available for that reason. It took me a long time to get past how the stories are narrated...I can't say that the book was poorly written, because it wasn't written -- the stories are transcribed, first-person accounts of individual experiences. But I found most of the stories to be very very similar ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Loving another person and that person loving me back - I do not see how that is a bad thing. If you kill somebody, steal from somebody or do something without a person's consent, then that is wrong. But love is not wrong."

"The best part of being in a relationship is having some to talk to and disturb. Having a person you can call when you see something random on the road, when you are sad, or just having someone who understands you, to an extent, and takes your bullshit."

"I do not think there i
As much as these personal stories are important and it’s shedding light on voices we probably have never come across before; it was difficult to get through because of the writing style. I’m not sure whether it’s a translation issue or the interview questions or that the text doesn’t look like it’s been edited, but the writing was very clunky and dry.

There’s a lot of internalized sexism and misogyny in these stories and trying to enforce hetero gender norms even when some of the writers say the
Denna Bee
Apr 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm so grateful for these people to share their stories. There's a thread that definitely will connect anyone part of LGBTQ+ communities, but the spool is nigerian.

For all the non-nigerian folks who are commenting 'oh I wish this was edited properly,' sit down. First, the curators of this book explained the approach they took - which was to give the autonomy of these narratives to the narrators. Second, I can't believe one of the main things you got from this important work was the need for it
Eliana Nzualo
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-corona, lgbtiq
First of all: READ THIS BOOK!
This book deserves credit for simply existing in its physical form and serving as archive to queer stories of womxn from Nigeria.
I had bought this book a couple of years ago but never got to actually read it, until I read "The Called me Queer" and decided that it made sense to read this also.
I enjoyed reading the stories and getting to know the queer scene in Nigeria, I was glad that the book was able to document different states and discussed a lot of issues and n
Jun 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I bought this book specifically to read as part of my goal to 'read around the world'--this would represent Nigeria. I was captivated by the essays in this collection, since I really had no context what it was like being a queer woman in Nigeria. I had to do some additional research to learn context and definitely learned a lot through this book. This is more academic in nature than narrative, but for anyone who wants to learn about the LGBTQ experience outside of a 'Western' content, this book ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I give this book 3.5/5

I enjoyed it for the most part. And the fact that it was bringing light to the lives of queer Nigerian women. Only issue was the writing style. It seemed like the ladies were interviewed using the same questionnaire and their answers typed out. So as much as their experiences were different the uniqueness of their lives didn’t get captured too well.
Great insight though.
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