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Locating Neocolonialism, “Tradition,” and Human Rights in Uganda's “Gay Death Penalty”

  • Kristen Cheney

In 2009, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill introduced in Uganda's Parliament reignited homophobic sentiment across Africa. Despite a well-documented history of sexual diversity in Africa, claims that homosexuality is “un-African” are being used to justify violence and exclusion. This article, based primarily on a discursive analysis of public media sources, delves into various cultural logics that reveal the tensions and contradictions in Ugandans' widespread opposition to homosexuality. U.S. evangelical influence, postcolonial amnesia in regard to “tradition,” fertility concerns, and human rights exceptionalism drive this moral panic over issues of sexual diversity. Such sentiments must be addressed by confronting neocolonial religious influence and cultivating renewed respect for human rights and Africa's history of sexual diversity.


En 2009, la présentation d'un projet de loi anti-homosexualité dans le parlement ougandais a rallumé un sentiment d'homophobie à travers le pays. En dépit d'un historique bien documenté sur la diversité sexuelle en Afrique, des rvendications déclarant que l'homosexualité va à l'encontre de “l'identité africaine” sont utilisées pour justifier des actes de violence et d'exclusion. En se basant principalement sur une analyse discursive de sources provenant des media publiques, cet article étudie de manière approfondie les différentes logiques culturelles qui révèlent les tensions et contradictions émanant de l'opposition généralisée des ougandais contre l'homosexualité. L'influence évangéliste américaine, l'amnésie postcoloniale de la “tradition,” les problèmes de fertilité, et la crèation d'exceptions concernant les droits de l'homme sont les moteurs principaux de cette panique morale concernant la question de diversité sexuelle. De tels sentiments doivent être remis en question en confrontant l'influence religieuse néocoloniale et l'encouragement d'un respect renouvelé pour les droits de l'homme et l'historique de la diversité sexuelle en Afrique.

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