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If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. The e-mail addresses that you supply to use this service will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. Create a link to share a read only version of this article with your colleagues and friends. Please read and accept the terms and conditions and check the box to generate a sharing link. This article introduces the concept of African same-sex sexualities and gender diversity which refers to variation pertinent to gender expressions and identities, sexual expression and sexual orientation.
The article describes the emerging and evolving African scholarly production evident in the last two decades and explains key underlying themes that bring together this special issue. African same-sex sexualities and gender diversity is a topic that reveals much about ontology our beinghuman rights, epistemology knowledge and affect emotion and feeling in social and cultural contexts.
There is no singular, uniform story that can fully capture the multiple strands of sexuality as a complex human attribute and quality. Beyond a narrative that sexuality should encapsulate rights to citizenship and pleasure, the resistance to alternative, nonbinary, variant, and nonheteronormative gender identities increasingly tell another story about exclusion and homophobia see Ireland, for an expanded argument about homophobia in Africa.
In spite of the received norms inherent in our societies, not all of us are attracted to the opposite sex; neither are we all comfortable with the sex ased to us at birth nor are we all comfortable with what is pd to be expected gender role behaviour for women and men. Indeed, such is the richness of human sexuality that biology also bequeaths some distinctive characteristics as not everyone is born with bodily sex attributes that are exclusively male or female based on the rules and standards in society.
The inherent diversity of and variations in human sexuality present in all societies and cultures are shaped by a myriad factors such as biology, culture, gender, class, power etc. Ironically, despite the full spectrum of rich diversity that sexuality offers see for example, Bosia et al.
We have commented before that our understanding of African same-sex sexualities and gender diversity outside of northern contexts has steadily increased as a result of the HIV epidemic see for example, Reddy et al. While the literature on HIV contributed to an improved understanding of the complexity of HIV in relation to same-sex sexualities, it has often elided deeper engagement with the diverse narratives that shape same-sex sexualities and gender diversity in African contexts. Beyond some pioneering studies see for example, Arnfred, ; Ekine and Abbas, ; Epprecht,;; Gevisser and Cameron, ; Hoad, ; Kendall, ; Khamasi and Maina-Chinkuyu, ; Maticka-Tyndale et al.
Stimulating research on how contemporary sexualities deepen debates and develop new questions on policy-making and continental-focused issues, such as youth negotiation of HIV cultures and dialogues between religion and sexualities activism, are explored in Bennett and Tamale A noticeable trend in the grey literature features several self-published arguments that provide both pro-homosexuality perspectives and some counternarratives about the unAfrican notion of homosexuality and gender diversity see for example, Mujanja, ; Nzonzidi, ; Owanole, The complex and critical role of religion and Christianity in particular Chitando and Van Klinken, ; Kaoma, ; Mbote et al.
Beyond public politics and struggles, attention has also increasingly turned to artistic, literary and cultural engagements with heteronormativity and gender diversity in a variety of Aprikan sex com contexts see Munro, ; Van Klinken, ; Xaba and Martin, ; Zabus,including within South African schooling systems see Msibi, and queer kinship arrangements in South Africa Morison et al.
Spronk and Hendricks recently published readings in sexualities from Africa that feature an understanding of the rich diversity of sexualities, in which easy categorization is resisted. Focusing instead on erotic Aprikan sex com, sexual practices and gendered changes, the readings in Spronk and Hendricks cover domains such as health and biopolitics, transactional sex, same-sex relationships and identity, religion and tradition, pleasure and agency against a broader politico-economic canvas shaped in relation to personal life. Even more pertinent is the ongoing negotiation of queer presence in African contexts, with a new set of readings that render visible the ongoing transformations and resistance within African societies Nyeck, This special edition of Sexualities advances the growing body of literature in the field by both established and emerging voices and has its origins in part with a second edition of a conference on African Same-Sex Sexualities and Gender Diversity, which took place in March in Nairobi, Kenya.
About 60 persons, all scholarly engaged in or knowledgeable about same-sex practices, identities and communities, together with sexual-rights advocates from 16 sub-Saharan African countries, participated in the conference. They presented and discussed a great diversity of topics related to strategic interventions, lived realities, research and activisms some essays are featured in Sandfort et al. For this edition some papers from this conference are included as well as additional commissioned articles from authors who did not participate at the Nairobi gathering.
The articles in this issue of Sexualities show the growth of fresh and critical thinking that interrogates heteronormative logics, examines the material realities and experience of gender diverse people, and challenges the parameters and assumptions of African sexualities and gender diversity. Collectively, the articles draw on a wide range of data and methodological tools, which is in part also a value in the study of sexual and gender diversity.
Without homogenizing the focus of the articles, there are some common thre to their intent and purpose. In other words, these analyses question, problematize and interrupt heteronormativity by compelling readers to consider the important relationship Aprikan sex com academic and activist spaces. They also capture the idea that sexualities are neither transhistorical nor innate but manifest in various, erratic and capricious ways.
The idea of sexuality and its diversity centres on the idea that, inducing affective responses, it is messy, and ultimately more elusive. In as much as the articles hone in on specific issues, there is the emergent idea that the negotiation of sexualities Aprikan sex com also contingent on the politics of sexuality, as sexuality circulates in networks of power, institutions, and embedded cultural contexts. The articles demonstrate that context matters: inequality, social norms, and political regimes shape the ways how, for example, discriminatory, oppressive and emancipatory laws take hold — or not — in society.
The volume advances the conversation by engaging the costs of marginalization, vulnerability, patriarchy, homophobias, and by attending to the effects and consequences of gender binary dichotomies in a profoundly and unequal and heteronormative world.
In another interpretation of the contributions, it is discernible that they offer a diverse range of approaches to analyse affective and political economies, and also ask how sexual and gender diversity transform questions of embodiment, nation, subjectivity, complicity and resistance. Centred on the materiality of experience the discursive dimensions of sexuality and gender diversity, the six contributions foreground two noticeable themes. We have grouped together those articles that firstly represent arguments attending to media production and visibility focused on nuanced readings of homophobia and rights.
A second set of articles coalesce around material and lived experience and identity. In this set, the question of identity, terminology and language feature prominently see Oliveira, Marnell and Kahn, and Kesupile and McAllister. Read another way, the works assembled equally have much to say about language, not necessarily in a purely linguistic sense, but also in respect of how language in its verbal, visual and other semiotic modes is an indispensable tool through which to make sense of sexual and erotic activities.
This contribution investigates media representation of same-sex sexuality focusing on French-language Senegalese newspapers since The article addresses the discursive homonegative image of homosexuality promoted by this new type of press in which the argument is made that these particular media in Senegal use oversimplification and stereotyping to generate a specific representation of homosexuality. The article makes the case that opinions featured on the website are themselves extended versions of the debates between the nation-state and LGBTI human rights organizations in the sociopolitical sphere.
Milani and Burnett offer a contrapuntal reading of the episode by analysing several queer counterpoints in several interrelated domains, namely societal, textual and at critical discourse levels. In their view, a contrapuntal reading is a valuable tool for bringing these tensions under scrutiny without succumbing to the urge to resolve them.
Their analysis is facilitated by two guiding questions: How do queer migrants understand their journeys to and lives in South Africa? And: How do queer migrants understand their sexuality and Aprikan sex com in the context of their migration? In responding to these questions, Oliveira, Marnell and Kahn reveal the complex ways in which queer migrants construct their identities and navigate various forms of injustice. Central to the methodological frame of this article is the need for researcher-activists to rethink pedagogical and epistemological positions that are taken for granted.
The authors interrogate the positionality of trans activists who work mainly in English and French using northern discourses of gender and sexuality. Collectively, the essays assembled in this edition of Sexualities represent some new insights in the development of scholarship on African same-sex sexualities and gender diversity by established and emerging voices. Even in their diverse focus and methodological reach, the articles push forward critical conversations in new and searching directions about the knowledge politics of sexualities see also McEwen, For one, the articles gathered here represent the importance of language in understanding cultural norms, attitudes, homophobia and transphobia.
At another level the Aprikan sex com and insights militate against homoerasure and homohysteria, reconfirming that sexuality is not private, but forever present in public opinion, public discourse and public action.
In fact, the articles decentre the West and the North as a primary reference point. A key metatext in these contributions is that homophobia often viewed as a behaviour should rather be seen in the context of a set of institutional practices to a large extent state-sponsored, culturally determined and fuelled by individual attitudes and social institutions, including religion.
In several instances, a key theoretical point to be extrapolated even though not explicitly discussed is the ideological use of homophobia in which hegemonic masculinities mobilize, Aprikan sex com and secure particular interests see Awondo, Geschiere and Reid, ; Msibi, Ratele, ; Tamale, for an extended argument. We hope that this special issue represents a small contribution in the important project of exploring the nexus of African sexualities and gender diversity. We anticipate that it will inspire further scholarship in the field related to national contexts and activist efforts at meaningful and substantive gender and social change.
More important, we believe that the diverse perspectives offer useful insights and will help scholars and activists test the potential of African sexualities and gender diversity claims to become a shared transformative agenda for real and meaningful equality both on the African continent and in the global arena.
We wish to thank Agnes Skamballis for her generosity of time and efficiency in working with us for almost two years in assembling this edition. Articles in this special issue benefited immensely from comments shared by anonymous reviewers, which assisted both authors and the guest editors in the finally approved articles. He has extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative social science research in sexuality. Topics he studied include sexual development, sexual orientation and mental health, sexual orientation and gender-role identity, gay and Aprikan sex com stigma and discrimination, determinants of HIV risk in gay and bisexual men, sexual risk and health status in HIV-infected persons, and HIV prevention in the general population.
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African same-sex sexualities and gender diversity: A framing note. Theo Sandfort. Article information. Article Information Volume: 24 issue:s : Article first published online: March 26, ; Issue published: February 1, : [ protected]. PMID: Keywords African sexualitiesgender diversityheteronormativityhomophobiaidentitymedia.
View Abstract. Article available in:. Vol 24, Issue Finn Reygan and more Prison same-sex sexualities in the context of politicized homophobia in Malawi. Ryan Richard Thoreson. Zur Pro Crossref Christine M.Aprikan sex com
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African same-sex sexualities and gender diversity: A framing note