Sexual Orientation and Human Rights: Putting Homophobia on Trial
Makau W. Mutua
SUNY Buffalo Law School
AFRICAN SEXUALITIES: A READER, Sylvia Tamale, ed., Pambazuka Press, 2011
Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-006
This chapter analyzes and critiques homophobia in Africa and argues that as a matter of general historical practice, Africans did not discriminate against, or socially stigmatize, gays and lesbians. The author contends that modern homophobia in Africa can be traced directly to mission Christianity and Islam whose doctrinal teachings have been used to promote homophobia. The writer takes the view that it is the normative obligation of human rights thinkers and advocates to deconstruct the intellectual bankruptcy of African homophobes and reconstruct a rights discourse that affirms the dignity of homosexuals. It is not un-African to be gay, as some have argued. Nor is there anything racial – or ethnic – about any form of sexual orientation. The author concludes by calling for a struggle based on anti-subordination to combat all forms of human powerlessness, including sexual orientation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: gays, lesbians, homophobia, Africa, sexual orientation, anti-subordination, sexuality, human rights, liberalism, Christianity, Islam.
Date posted: July 24, 2011