I always say I’m a different kind of lesbian considering my background. I never went to a boarding school, or so to say, ‘an only girls’ boarding school as that’s one of the backboned reasons people attribute as the cause of being a lesbian. Also, I grew up in a catholic home with a single mother who did all she could to make sure we weren’t exposed to sexual stuff and immoralities to the best of her abilities so if there was anyone who should not be sexually aware it would be me.
The purpose of sharing this is to tell you all about my lesbian marriage, but I reckon a bit of a back story would give you a clearer picture of my personhood.
I was molested as a child, should that have been a tangible reason to want to spend the rest of my life with a lady? Hello No.
I was prepared early for marriage and had my first marriage proposal at thirteen to the delight of my mother who believes if a girl marries early it means she was raised well and that she would make an ideal wife. I didn’t give any of her suitor recommendations a chance though, rather I lived most of my adult life running away from home to avoid marriage proposals and my mother’s 2 am conversations. Has it been easy being on the run? Hell no!!
I remember clearly the first time I had a crush on a girl, I was in primary three and she was a new pupil. I remember her well each time I prick my memory and several other crushes I had while growing up. All the while I didn’t think there were people anywhere in the world like me.
My first relationship (If I should call it that) was with an older married woman and I think that set me on the wrong track of taking love from whichever angle it was thrown at me. I was a child, about 16-years-old and we had met in a church group. I had a mad crush on her and my friend ended up ratting me out to her. I was mostly grateful she even looked my way because she was hot and way older than me so I was totally out of her league. I allowed her to treat me however she deemed fit, called only when she wanted to talk and saw me when she was in the mood. Everything happened only at her timing and that spilled off to my ensuing relationships. I just allowed people to treat me however they liked, even if I knew how I should be treated, I just didn’t protest for fear of losing them. But I’ve grown past that and learned to demand things exactly as I want them. I started off on the wrong foot but am grateful for the lessons and growth.
MY LESBIAN MARRIAGE
Even though the option was never made available for me as a child, I always knew that if I wanted a happy life then I’d have to marry a girl. Probably a white girl because I was going to do whatever it’ll take to escape Nigeria and migrate abroad so I could live life the way I wanted. But life had a different plan for me and I always imagine God looking down at me and smiling, knowing it won’t happen as chronologically as I had planned it to.
Before I met my wife I was sure of the life I wanted and how I wanted it. I wanted someone I can build a life with, someone who does not care about proving anything to anyone, and I stuck with my guts. I didn’t care how long I was going to be single because I was now on social media and now I could see people doing it and I knew it was what I wanted and I was going to keep living until someone who wanted the same things came along. I met my wife on my page @diaryofanaijalesbian, she had come to rant about issues and we just started talking all the time and before we knew it we just got used to talking to each other all time. Then we planned a short visit and got trapped due to covid lockdown which forced us to be in each other’s space than we had planned. And viola! A three-day visit became a two months visit because I was waiting for the airport to reopen.
Our lives changed for the better forever. I tell people there were no special events or romantic moments that happened prior to our meeting, I just needed someone who had an understanding of who they are and what they want, and she came with my whole list ticked. I knew she was going to be my wife when we had conversations on what we both wanted and we were very honest in that conversation. We put our cards on the table, talked about roles, kids, managing relatives, and gossips. We realized and agreed we wanted the same things. I didn’t care who will be vexed with the fact that I am choosing myself and living on my own terms.
Like I said earlier before marriage, I left home early because I knew that was the only way I could buy myself time to live the way I’ve always wanted. My younger brother is the only person in my house that knows about my wife and he loves her so much. As per my wife’s family, I’d say they choose the path of pretending to be ignorant and we are both enjoying that. Her sisters who know are super amazing and we are grateful for them because they go far and beyond to make life easier for us.
I am a Nigerian Igbo lesbian and you know how patriarchy is often attributed to the Igbos, likewise the tribes’ enormous frown at the existence of LGBTQ, right!? Well, that’s not the scary part of our relationship. My wife is from northern Nigeria, a geographical location where you can’t be older than 25years and single without living like an outcast, now that’s scary. However, we do not care what anybody feels, we love each other and will keep living one day at a time as the universe allows us.
Did we have a wedding ceremony? I always laugh before responding to this question anytime it arises and my response is that I am married and not wedded. Marriage happens before weddings and so we haven’t had a ceremony to celebrate our vows to each other to do life together. The ceremony was us making that life-changing vows to each other and choosing to be wives for the rest of our lives.
I think everything about same-sex co-existence especially in this clime relies on conversations and honesty. Before my wife and I moved from relationship to the commitment, I remember we had a lot of honest conversations where we talked about everything. She had our son in a previous marriage and he calls us Mama and Mom, and everybody around us knows that and when they ask we simply tell them he has two moms and end the conversation there. I don’t see any reason to start explaining to anyone why it is like that.
I agreed to have our own kids when we are ready. We intend to buy sperm and do IVF or get a donor and use the artificial insemination process.
QUEER VS STRAIGHT MARRIAGE
Marriage is a co-existence of two people who understand that they both need each other to navigate life as it happens to them whether straight or queer. There is absolutely no difference between both despite popular opinions. People tend to generally think queer relationships are easier than straight ones and it’s a funny mindset if you ask me because in straight relationships there is already a societal manuscript to follow while for us, we are out here shooting blank, trying to pull through in a world where men are known to navigate life easier than women. Marriage generally demands love, loyalty, dedication, and commitment and it’s not different for gay marriages.
I have never been in a straight marriage before but I’ve been around people who are and I’ll say that discussing roles is usually not the norm in straight marriages as it is in queer marriages. This is because like earlier stated straight marriages have manuscripts they imitate whereas in gay marriages especially in this clime depends on the individuals. For us, there were roles we had to spell out but mostly we just wing it as we go depending on our individual strengths and otherwise. We have our biological roles sorted out like who gets to have which of our babies, whose families we can trust with certain aspects of our lives and who goes to a 9-5, and who runs the home front. But asides from these, other things we wing as they happen mostly because there are no role models or books to rely on so we are mostly shooting blank.
NOT ALL ROSES
I am very confident in how much we love each other and the life we are building and I don’t regret any part of my life as it is. I am confident in the person I chose to do life with me. Has it always been rosy? Hell no!!! We have had to fight ourselves and each other to be here but every day the universe keeps giving reasons to keep choosing each other. Most days are blissful and rosy, other days the world just wants to remind us to not relax too much and we are grateful for how much we have grown and if it ever comes to choosing my wife again? I’ll choose her still because as hard as it is to be a lesbian in this clime it is even harder to find someone who wants the same things as you do and that’s a gift we both do not take for granted (if am to speak for her).
MY ADVICE TO THE NIGERIAN LGBTQ COMMUNITY
My issue with many Nigerian queer couples in the path of coexistence is that most tend to forget easily that they live in a country where their sheer existence is illegal. I understand the need to push beyond the law but I see no reason to try to be a martyr about it. I don’t need to post a picture of my wife and me kissing on social media to prove anything to anybody, I don’t need to come out to every tom-dick-harry to make my point, I owe no one no explanations. And when anybody asks I choose whether to let them in or not, our story is on a need-to-know basis depending on who is asking.
I don’t think it is the SSMPA that is stopping us from living our best lives here in Nigeria, I think it is our need to live in people’s faces and prove points. As much as this is not so bad, we should also remember that before the anti-gay bill was passed by the senate, people have been homophobic and hypocritical so instead of living life to prove any point to anybody, I think life would be easier if we focus on getting through one day at a time and loving the people that love us the best way we can. The law is not responsible for all the vices within the community, so instead of looking at a law passed in Abuja, we should look inward and do our best to be good and kind people.
You are not entitled to any explanations and it is not religious to ostracize and criminate things because they are not in an age-old book that hasn’t been reviewed. Stop swallowing words from the pulpit and learn to educate yourself. Unlearn, relearn and keep learning. Live and let live too.
Feel free to relay your reservations about my story in the comments section, likewise any questions you might have (will try to answer them). If you’re a queer reading this, probably married or single, I’ll appreciate it if you can share your break-free stories too. 😁👇