In a remote village in northern Tanzania, same sex marriages are on the rise, but not among lesbians. Within the Kurya tribe, a longstanding tradition of straight women and widows marrying each other in order to preserve their homes and lifestyles without husbands has seen a resurgence in popularity recently, as women seek more freedom and power, according to Marie Claire magazine.
Tanzanian journalist Dinna Maningo explained that in the female marriages, the women are married and run their homes similarly to a mixed-gender married couple: living, cooking, working, raising children, and sleeping together. But the women are straight, and do not have sex. The tradition also reduces the possibility for domestic abuse, child marriage, and female genital mutilation. Women can take male lovers, but any children that result belong to the female marriage.
“They realize the arrangement gives them more power and freedom,” Maningo said. “It combines all the benefits of a stable home with the ability to choose their own male sexual partners.”
Mugosi Maningo and Anastasia Juma are one such couple. Mogul’s husband left her 10 years ago, while Juma had survived a forced marriage at the age of 13, was treated like a slave by her husband, and ran away after giving birth to his child. The pair married in 2015.
“I certainly didn’t want another husband. Marrying a woman seemed the best solution,” Juma said. “The marriage is working out better than I could have imagined. I wasn’t sure at first, because it was such a new experience—now, I wouldn’t choose any other way.”
Read the full story at Marie Claire.