Queer Ladies of African Descent (QLAD) in NYC

Yesterday I was privileged to be at the first meet-up for Queer Ladies of African Descent (QLAD), which took place in a Seneglase restaurant in uptown New York. I ate grilled tilapia, couscous and kelewele in the company of some of the nicest ladies I have met in a long while.

C and I were ‘doing’ kokonsa (gossiping) during the meeting about a party of 4 women and 1 man that were sitting to the right of our table. ‘Are they all his wives?’ C asked me…a little while later I nudged her, “Look, look she’s arguing with the other women. I heard her say, “He’s my husband”.

T & C have been in a relationship for the past 2 years and live together. N had her first experience with a woman only 6 weeks ago. M recently came out of a long distance open relationship. B is the founder of the group and like myself had relationships with girls whilst at boarding school in Ghana. We laughed about how in school we had no explicit consciousness of sexuality and how the girls who had relationships with other girls in school were all straight and married now.

All the members of the group are of African descent and those I met originated from Ghana, Uganda, and Sierra Leone with some members also having links to Nigeria and Tanzania. Well 1 woman is African-American but we’re still claiming as our own.

I asked B why she started the group, “I wanted a sense of community. I knew there were other African lesbians out there but I never met them. Sometimes I would go out on a date and say I’m from Ghana and get a blank stare in return.”

Do you identify as a queer woman of African descent? Are you looking for a sense of community with like-minded women in NYC? If so I thoroughly recommend you meet-up with the members of QLAD. B has promised to make me an ‘honorary’ member so I might get to hang out with you when I next pass through the Big Apple. To learn more about QLAD visit their meet-up group here.

P.S: Do you belong to a group of African women who meet up to discuss a variety of issues around sexuality and relationships? If so let me know about your group and if I am ever in your part of the world I might pop into your meeting if I’m allowed honorary access with permission to blog about your meeting.

8 comments On Queer Ladies of African Descent (QLAD) in NYC

  • thanks for coming Nana, and for the free publicity… glad you enjoyed it!

  • Nana eventually got round to setting up my small business which is focused on the provision of sexual health goods, services and products to Nigerian women and their partners of choice. You can follow us on twitter @naijadesires and also on facebook intimate pleasures desires of the heart. I love your webpage because it tackles so many of our concerns being as we are sooo close to you. Our website is the first of it’s kind here in Nigeria and just so brillant. Do give us a tinkle on your page.


    • Wow! Congratulations Iheoma. I just checked the website and it is really comprehensive. When I make it to Nigeria I’ll come and review a product for the site 🙂 Or you can send me one to review…

  • Couscous & kelewele? lol
    I’m happy for the ladies in the group getting together and creating a supportive community.

    Nana, help me out on this. Any idea why the group was named as it is? Maybe its just me, but the work “queer” just doesn’t sound right. Reminds me too much of the word “nigga” and how it does more harm than good.

  • @M – No. Thank you!

    @Mike – There is a whole area of study known as ‘Queer Theory’. I have to confess that it was one of the subjects I didn’t take much interest in when I was studying for my Msc in Gender (little did I know that I would be starting a blog on sexuality). I suspect its a reclaiming of an offensive word but I may be totally wrong. I will ask the members of the group if they can explain the choice of name and say a bit more about Queer Theory.

  • Ain’t nobody ask, me, but here goes: Mike, Queer is an interesting term, I will admit, however, it’s common & often preferred in the U.S. (not sure of your geographic location).

    It’s also intended to be ‘all encompassing’, such that one need not reference “lesbian, or bi-, or trans,” etc. I think the group organizer wanted to be both inclusive & sensitive to those who may not necessarily identify as “lesbian”.

    I conclude that the term queer was in the spirit of celebrating sexual fluidity and rejecting the confines of specific, binding titles.
    Lets discuss the politics of the term queer in a context all it own though, later (I suspect Nana’s speculation re: term reclamation may be correct).

  • @ Mike: Hello Mike, I’m B. I chose the word queer for several reasons. First, there are a gazillion labels for members of non hetero-normative communities; some identify with one or more and others with none. I needed a term that would encapsulate everyone. Second, identifying as queer for me simply means I am not straight. It’s a niche, a home of sorts and something similar to an act of defiance (just like nigger is. I can say it but you look bad if you do. See what I mean?) Although it has had negative connotations up until now, the meaning of the word queer is evolving and my use of it is a stand for the positive. Finally, I simply like the sound of it. It made a pretty acronym, QLAD (pronounced “clad”). That alone was reason enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Intimate-Pleasures-Desires-of-the-Heart/167678189923358

    Here is the link to our facebook page.

    Yes, will think it through what you can possiblly review for us, lubricants, etc.

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