There are not many feelings in the world that match the realization of ones queerness. These six Nigerian women share when they knew they were queer.

Anita, 24

I went to one of those private catholic girls secondary schools in Abuja. In JS 1, during our visiting day, some boys came from the neighbouring “brother” school. For some reason, I couldn’t understand why all the girls were excited. These guys look like they hadn’t showered in days with their unmoistured feet. Fast forward to two very close “friends” later, I understood why. So, I guess I realised I was queer in JS1.

Funke, 20

I have always known I liked boys. So when I also started developing feelings for girls, I got confused. One day while I was still in secondary school, I was watching a movie on my brother’s laptop. The main character was a woman who had a girlfriend and also had a boyfriend. Before then, I had thought you either had to like men or like women. It was the first time I was hearing the word bisexual being used. I never knew it was possible to like both, and it was very affirming.

Zahra, 29

I knew I liked women even before I was 10. But society says it’s man and woman so I always felt I was weird and alone. For so many years, I lived my life thinking I was an alien. I didn’t know there was a name for who I was until about 13 or 14. I heard it from a boy, and I was so excited I started asking numerous questions about my new “Human Identity”. The boy was also eager to fill me in. All I wanted was to know that I’m normal and sane. Then I became more confident and decisive. It’s been a great ride, now we’re only waiting for that repeal to happen.

Adaeze, 23

It was in a threesome with this girl and her boyfriend. When I touched her, it was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and that was when the questioning began. The thing is, I used to feel attracted to women, but I thought all women felt it too. I had a roommate who I used to flirt with back then, but nothing serious ever happened. That threesome, however, was different. The self-acceptance didn’t come until much later. I haven’t been with anyone since then. I feel like if a woman decides to actually like me in a romantic way, I might explode from all this fire inside me.

Chisom, 20

I knew I liked women in SS1, but I don’t think I ever considered myself queer until my second year in university. In my second year, I was having an internal issue on whether I even liked men and didn’t tell anyone about it. Around that time, I made a new friend who would not stop calling me gay as a joke. At a point, I realised she was right. I am gay.

Tito, 19

I think I kind of knew when I was as little as 8 years old. I always wanted the female characters in the movie to kiss, and I used to guess which male characters liked other men. The thing was, I did not even think it was something I was supposed to see as bad until I went to secondary school and they started talking about it. I was in my first year of University when my mummy told me that one of my cousins in the USA had gotten married to his boyfriend. I was so excited for him, and so I reached out to him through Facebook. We started talking and I guess that helped me figure it out. I listened to the way he spoke about his husband, and I wanted something like that. I knew I would not get that by marrying a man.

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