Fw: [BRC-NEWS] Homophobia Contributes to Persecution (fwd)
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Sun Apr 22 14:42:11 MDT 2001
At 12:24 PM 4/22/01 -0500, jenyan1 wrote:
> >does anyone on the list know anything about homosexuality in precolonial
> >Africa? Who is the "Johnson" the following article makes reference to?
>I'm replying to your personal email address as I have already posted a lot
>this week (and I do recall the unfortunate example of Vannessa).
>Based on what I know, I think that the article you forwarded hits the nail
>on the head. For example, I don't think that there is any real historical
>evidence that gays were systematically or widely persecuted throughout
>precolonial Africa. In fact in my language there is a word "abwoc" which
>refered to cohabiting men.
>Much of the trouble lies with the christian missionaries were literally
>the ideological and cultural arm of colonialism. They established the
>schools and generally did their best to impose Victorian morality (sic) on
>the societies. The missionaries also were the first people to give a
>written record of the oral traditions (or Africans who first recorded these
>traditions were usually missionary educated). In this way much of the oral
>tradition has been passed through a missionary filter. Dare I say, this
>reconstruction of history has had a profound influence on the way we see
>ourselves and our past.
>So much for precolonial history. The article is also correct to describe
>recent upsurge in state sponsorship of homophobia as symptomatic of the
>ideological and political bankruptcy of the pseudo republics and the
>elites who run them.
John, thanks very much for the record on pre-colonial gay identity in
Africa. It seems that the legacy of western imperialism and moralistic
Christian norms appropriated by local elites have a lot to do with the
persecution of gays currently.
Actually, the record of homosexuality before colonialism is very important.
Not only does it _contradict_ the Eurocentric modernization theory's
assumption of capitalism promoting gay identity, it also proves how
colonialism/capitalism was homophobic of different sexual identities
(rather than liberating them)
This should apply the same to women, I guess---as in the case of
colonizers reintroducing female circumcision or advancing women's rights
for upper/middle class women only.
I remember reading an article about gender relations in colonial Kenya. The
author was making a case that colonizers introduced rigid adultery laws in
order to attact male labor force to coal mines, so that their women do not
sleep with other men during the absence of their husbands. Guarenteeing the
fidelity of women was a first step to make use of men's labor.
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