There were gay unions in Igbo culture before the British came – Nigerian lady reveals

Media personality Christiana Amarachi Mbakwe, via her Twitter handle, has revealed some history about the Igbo culture that has since caused some sort of debate online.

There were gay unions in Igbo culture before the British came – Nigerian lady Lailasnews


Read her Tweets below;

One day I’ll do a thread on female husbands in Igbo culture, marriages between women that existed pre-colonialism. There was a female wife and a female husband. The British banned these unions when they imposed Victorian norms.

There’s a lot of talk about the “erasure” of queerness in Black Panther, but I disagree. In traditional African societies, sexuality was not your identity it was merely an act. It was of little importance to a person’s self.

Because these societies had such evolved views on gender and sexuality, there was no need to “come out” you just were who you were. No one cared.

So to center Okoye’s gender or sexuality or make her speak of it wouldn’t be African. To assert your sexuality or gender is a profoundly western thing, because Westerns have always been hostile to different gender or sexual expressions.

Homophobia is a very western import. My mother grew up in Kanu, Nigeria. In the 1960s there was an area where drag queens and trans women/men lived. No one cared, everyone left them alone.

But I think if you view queerness through a western lens, Okoye’s identity was erased. Through an African prism, nothing was erased she just was who she was.

Addendum: I’d just like to correct a typo from earlier. Any offspring the female wife produced, would bear the female husband’s last name.

The equivalent of a surname in the culture is explicitly stating who a child belongs to. So the child would referred to as “Amarachi, nwa Ngozi” not “Amarachi, nwa Nnamdi” Ngozi is the female husband, Nnamdi is the sperm donor (for lack of a better term)

If you’d like to read more @ikeanya recommends ‘Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in an African Society’ by Professor Ifi Amadiume

3 Comments

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  1. Really! “Any offspring the female wife produce will automatically bear the female husband’s name”? How did she get pregnant by her female husband? Sorry but your ideology is wrong or should I say where u extracted it from is a wrong one.

  2. With due respect to normal human beings still remaining on planet Earth, who may wish to know the truth with respect to Igbo cultures particularly when it comes to marriage.

    I wish to appeal to you all to consult Igbo Elders and DISREGARD the rubbish being published here by mere young, cheap and poorly brought up lady whom as I am very sure CAN NOT spell her name in Igbo language. Lady who now knows Igbo cultures more than her Fathers! Except she is a product if gay union in her Mbakwe’s family!
    Tufiakwa Nwa buru nna ya uzo muta okpara!

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