Homosexuality: 'Unafricanness' and Vulnerability
5 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2018 Last revised: 13 May 2018
Date Written: March 1, 2017
Many anti-homosexual Africans claim that homosexuality is “unAfrican” and view advocacy by Western governments for homosexuals’ rights in Africa as cultural imperialism. The crisis of attribution regarding homosexuality has created confusion manifest in its westernization. Juxtaposed with traditional accommodation of non-conformity and diversity in African cultures, the prevailing intolerance and homophobia among many Africans was in fact introduced by missionaries who condemned traditional practices on the continent as pagan, primitive, and evil. It is puzzling how African Christians question the “Africanness” of homosexuality without questioning the “Africanness” of Christianity which was brought to Africa by Western missionaries. If homosexuality is “unAfrican” and “Western” for the reason that Western governments advocate homosexuals’ rights, why have the same Africans embraced Christianity which came to Africa through Western missionaries and is thriving in Africa decades after the continent shook off the colonial yoke? This piece critiques the claim that homosexuality is “unAfrican” arguing that anthropologists recorded it in various societies in pre-colonial Africa which renders questionable its categorical characterization as “unAfrican”. It also critiques Western interventions on homosexuality in Africa, arguing that these interventions have only served to make homosexuals in Africa more vulnerable to harassment, discrimination, and violence.
Keywords: homosexuality, Africa, Western missionaries, Africanness, discrimination, violence, cultural imperialism, pre-colonial Africa,
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