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View Diary: Uganda to Officially Pass 'Kill the Gays' Bill (35 comments)

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  •  The strangest part about thoses laws (9+ / 0-)

    I have no idea what was the status of homosexuality in traditionnal pre-colonial societies in Africa. I guess it was diverse and all over the place.

    But most of the present laws have nothing to do with the "moral courage" of those countries. They were directly inherited from British colonial law, which was often transferred as-is when those countries gained their independence. British laws, 1950s vintage (the ones that pushed someone like Alan Turing to commit suicide).

    I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

    by Farugia on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 08:23:49 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I know that in Uganda, they were already (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, shenderson, ardyess, Plu

      very against homosexuality, and that when Uganda was filled with missionaries, this contributed to a rise in a pre-existing sentiment.

      It is important to note that Africa has been colonized dating back to the Middle Ages, and has had religious views ranging from Islam to Christianity (mainly these) imported in which have shaped their landscape as much as most of Modern Europe has been shapen. There's not really any such thing as a "pristine, untouched" Africa. It's been heavily inflected and hybridized with Western, often homophobic ideas for almost a Millenium now.

      •  This article seems to indicate otherwise, (3+ / 0-)

        although it isn't really a reliable source on this particular subject:

        It wasn’t always like this, however. ‘In some traditional religions,’ one Ugandan gay activist told me, ‘spirits would tell people to engage in same-sex activity, and they would say: “My spirit says to do it with a same-sex partner!” That would be accepted by the community. And people who had sexual differences were looked at as different and were assigned different roles in the community. They were not outcasts.’ But that was before Christianity. Missionaries from colonial times followed by new mission efforts from the Pentecostal churches have been highly successful in converting Ugandans, so ‘now, people began saying the practice is an “abomination”. That word is imported by Christianity.’
        -- "Ugandan Gay Rights", Graeme Wood, Aeon Magazine

        I have no actual knowledge, but given the cultural diversity of Uganda, I would guess there's a lot of complexity to it, with historical attitudes of some groups being quite different from others.

        •  Exactly right (0+ / 0-)

          Uganda is a diverse nation. It has a lot of ethnic groups -- dozens and dozens. I'm much more acquainted with other African regions, mind you, and could easily be confusing some of these (not being a historian, but often needing to draw from historical works). My best recollection is that the first wave of strong anti-homosexual sentiment that I'm aware of -- and this doesn't mean existent in all of Africa, because again, not my area of expertise -- came with various religious influence from about the Middle Ages onward.

          You've definitely piqued my interest about this, so I am going to look up anything possible on African homosexuality in earlier periods (I reject the notion of a truly pre-colonial Africa) as well as in indigenous cultures. Honestly, I ought to have a better grasp on this history in more regions and ethnic groups.

          What is definitely true is that these have been deeply homogenized by even fairly subtle Western (and also European and even Middle Eastern religious) presences so that "What Africa believes" is a definite amalgam of the beliefs of others. Sometimes this is due to a concerted effort, like with the Family and similar groups, and sometimes it's probably somewhat unintentional but still due to other religious interfaces and cross-cultural hybridization of thought, resource, and the confluence of these.

          BTW, big props to you for NOT falling into the "One Universal Africa" trap! Africa is nothing if not diverse. The more we, as Western people, realize this, the better we do for Africans to recognize their individual cultures. :)

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