Celebrating Ramadan as a Queer Muslim in Nigeria

May 5, 2022

Navigating Nigeria as a queer person can be difficult. Tack on being Muslim, you get an extra layer of hardship, especially during holidays celebrated with family. In this article, we spoke to six Nigerian queer Muslims about how they celebrate Ramadan, the conflict between their sexuality and religion, and how they celebrate Muslim religious holidays.  

Fatimah, She/they 

I often celebrate Eid and most festive periods alone or with a few friends. The only time I’ve celebrated with my birth family was during the part of the lockdown when I wasn’t in school. Eid is just another day for me. I want family members to normalise sending adults owo odun (Eid money), sha. Just because I am an adult now doesn’t mean I don’t deserve money. I’m sending hugs to all the queer Muslims that had to celebrate Eid alone or with family members who don’t welcome them.

RELATED: 9 Nigerians Talk About Being Queer And Religious

Toyo, She/Her

One thing about Eid that I hate is the reunions! I detest it! It’s that time when family members or acquaintances update their database on your body size, accomplishments, and life choices. I celebrate Eid with my family; my birth, chosen, and forced family! 

I want to celebrate Eid with my friends for a change. It’d be nice. Just because we’re family members doesn’t mean it’s your job to analyse and grade my life on a scale of your life experiences. In that regard, if I ever come out to them, I know what to expect. 

I’m past the stage where I struggled with my religion and sexuality. I’m living the way any heterosexual person would live their life. I no longer think my sexuality is a sin. I refuse to believe that the supreme being would be mad at who I choose to love. I only have issues with society dictating their indoctrinated ideas.

Mariam, She/they

I’m not too fond of the stress. Why do I have to do so much just because we want to eat?

I also hate not having Eid cloth. My mum missed it one time and decided not to continue. Not this year, though. I fought for my Aso odun (Eid cloth).

When I was younger, people gave me Owo odun (Eid money) but not anymore. I still don’t know what changed.

Most Importantly, I hate the internal conflict that comes with the holiday. Why am I even celebrating? Do I agree with most of the teachings and doctrines? Am I still a Muslim? I’d also love to celebrate knowing that I am fully accepted and loved by my family, regardless of my identity. 

That’s why it makes me sad to think about the rejection I’ll face from my mum and the Muslims I know if they find out I’m Queer. I wonder if I’ll still be able to celebrate Eid with my family after that. I mean, Islam shouldn’t be a monolith.

If you’re a queer and reading this, you are valid and amazing.

 April, She/They 

I usually celebrate Eid with my family, but it was just my partner and me last year. I spent it this year with my partner and their family, even though they don’t know we are dating. At least, I got to avoid questions from my family about marriage. I missed cooking for everyone sha. I live for the satisfaction on their faces. Ideally, I’d love to spend Eid with my chosen family. 

I’ve learnt to keep the relationship between Allah and me personally, shutting everything else because it does no good. It helps me struggle less with my sexual orientation if I don’t think about it too much. 

Demi, They/He

A year ago, I celebrated Eid with my immediate and extended family. We all went to my grandparents. During Ramadan, I hate the million and one questions people ask like “How’s school? Do you have a boyfriend now? Or how’s work? And the unsolicited comments like ” You’ve gained weight”. I like Eid money, even though they don’t give that anymore. Can’t they see how deep in the trenches I am? Besides that, I don’t know that there’s a way I’d want to spend a religious holiday. I want to treat it like a typical day where I just chill and exist. Maybe it’s because I struggle to reconcile my religion and sexuality. It’s crazy that the god who supposedly made me in my entirety( sexuality and all) hates me and will make me burn forever. On the other side is religion. It’s a  part of me and has become a conflicting battle when I think about it. So I try not to. It makes no sense that my religion supposedly hates me, and I’m supposed to love and practise it.  It doesn’t sit well with me, but I’m figuring it out sha. 

ALSO READ: When a Queer Friend Comes Out to You, Here’s How to Be Respectful

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