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Confronting the Politics of Nonconforming Sexualities in Africa

  • Sylvia Tamale (a1)

The connections between democracy and sexuality—that is, between civil liberties and the protection of nonconforming sexualities—are rarely discussed in Africa. On the contrary, nonconforming sexualities have been instrumentalized to entrench dictatorships and to weaken democracy. As was the case in early twentieth-century Europe and North America, homophobia has become a political tool used by conservative politicians to promote self-serving agendas. Heterosexuality is also idealized by an acute ahistoricization of African politics by the Western media and civil society. The problem is also compounded by the distortion of African history promulgated by the dictatorial leadership on the continent.

Les rapports entre démocratie et sexualité—c’est-à-dire entre les libertés civiles et la protection des sexualités hors normes—sont rarement sujets à discussion en Afrique. Au contraire, les sexualités hors normes ont été utilisées comme instrument de renforcement pour les dictatures et d’affaiblissement pour la démocratie. Comme c’était le cas au début du vingtième siècle en Europe et en Amérique du nord, l’homophobie est devenue un outil politique utilisé par les politiciens conservateurs pour promouvoir des agendas personnels. En ignorant l’évolution historique de la politique africaine hors du temps, les médias occidentaux et la société civile ont une perception idéalisée de l’hétérosexualité en Afrique. Ce problème est aggravé par le fait que les dictatures du continent promulguent une vision déformée de la réalité historique Africaine.

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African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
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