Scandalized Cameroon family hunts lesbian bride

Nina's front door in Douala, Cameroon. (Photo courtesy of Jacks Oke)
Nina’s front door in Douala, Cameroon. The chalk marks aren’t graffiti. They’re records of water and electricity usage. (Photo courtesy of Jacks Oke)

After dating quietly for several years, two lesbians in Cameroon decided last month that it was time to get married. That’s when their troubles began.


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(To protect them from homophobic attacks, the women in this article are identified only by pseudonyms.)

By Jacks Oke

After marrying Dora, her 25-year-old girlfriend, a lesbian in Cameroon became the target of a manhunt by her new in-laws. They accused Nina, 28, of stealing — stealing away Dora’s affections and stealing her away from heterosexuality.

They also accused her of witchcraft, because the family believes that lesbians are devilish.

The uproar occurred in Douala shortly after Jan. 15, when Dora and Nina got married in a private ceremony.

They had not notified their parents about their plans, fearing that homophobic comments from family members would spoil the occasion. Dora and Nina did invite friends, so their celebration was full of joy, smiles, and good cheer.

In Cameroon, a same-sex marriage is not celebrated by clergy or a government official, because homosexuality is condemned. Instead an elder of the local LGBT community performs the ceremony. Dora and Nina’s marriage was performed by a mature, respected local lesbian.

After the festivities, the young women retired for their wedding night. Two days later, Dora returned to the family home where she had been living.

In the meantime, rumors and photos of the ceremony had reached the family. When Dora showed up at home, her parents beat her.

They then set out for Nina’s place. Dora managed to send a text message to Nina warning her that the family was coming to get her.

Nina promptly packed her suitcase and went to stay with a distant friend.

Arriving at Nina’s apartment with Dora in tow, the family forced open the door and ransacked the place.

According to neighbors, Dora’s family swore to skin Nina alive. They claimed that Nina had destroyed the life of their daughter who is “no longer normal.”

No complaint has been filed with police. Instead, the family plans to seek justice on their own.

Nina remains in hiding, anxious and separated by many kilometers from her new bride.

Staircase at Nina’s home. (Photo courtesy of Jacks Oke)

Jacks Oke, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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