Same-Sex (Gay/Lesbian) Marriage and Inter-female Hostility in Igbo Society

Ujubonu J. Okide


In the light of the contemporary issue of same-sex (gay/lesbian) marriage, our professional concern with inter-female hostility in Igbo society readily stimulates us to ponder on its permissibility or otherwise in the Igbo world. This is because, given our research background and findings on the issue of inter-female hostility in Igbo society, we see that the guiding values for both ways of life – i.e. same-sex (gay/lesbian) marriage and inter-female hostility – are both universally antagonizing and regionally intolerable, with respect to Igbo culture. In Igbo land, it is granted for marriage to exist basically between a man and a woman. However, there are cases where marriage between an elderly woman and a younger woman is permissible. It is important to note at this point that such marriage is not in any way lesbian marriage, even though it is the same gender marriage. This form of marriage is both traditionally and socially acceptable, and it is contracted for the sake of procreation to perpetuate a family name. For such marriages, there is no sexual relationship between the marriage partners as there is certainly no sexual attraction between the ‘female husband’ and the person being married. Such cultural marriages is totally different from the contemporary issue of gay and lesbian marriages under discussion in this paper. For instance, if a woman were to marry a fellow woman under lesbian sexual relationship in Igbo land (as is done elsewhere in the world), how would they cohabit with their “natural” problem of same-sex aggression? Indeed, does Igbo culture and its values even permit such social relations? Can an Igbo woman marry her fellow woman for lesbian sexual relationship? These questions form the crux of our concern in this essay and we shall respond to them within the context of Igbo cultural values, gender provisions and the theoretical framework of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis. Through brief evidences provided by novels in Igbo sociocultural relations among women, we shall show that inter-female lesbian marriage in Igbo society is culturally abominable. Given Freud’s psychological theory of human personality, we shall also show that the act is naturally impermissible.


Same-sex marriage, Hostility, Inter-female, Psychoanalysis, Igbo.

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