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.
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