If you say being gay is not African, you don’t know your history

During his visit to Africa this summer, the US president, Barack Obama, addressed legal discrimination against LGBT individuals. Meeting the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama said: “When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode.”

Unfortunately, the response from Kenyatta was that “there are some things that we must admit we don’t share [with the US]. Our culture, our societies don’t accept.”

When I was appointed by Berlin’s Humboldt University this year to teach the course “Pre- and post-colonial sexual orientation and sexual identity in Africa”, I knew I had a huge task before me. I had to teach students about a history that is mostly unwritten. In digging up facts I found that, while many Africans say that homosexuality is un-African, African culture is no stranger to homosexual behaviours and acts.

For example, in my local language (Yoruba), the word for “homosexual” is adofuro, a colloquialism for someone who has anal sex. It might sound insulting and derogatory, however, the point is there is a word for the behaviour. Moreover, this is not a new word; it is as old as the Yoruba culture itself. Read More via the Guardian