Queer in Africa

Sometimes we forget that homosexuality and being queer might be reasonably accepted in the West, but we are only a part of modern humanity… and not even a big part. Many areas of the world regard homosexuality as unnatural and dangerous, and turn LGBTQ rights into a hate-filled rallying call to concentrate power. Africa is one of those places,where being gay is believed to be a modern form of colonialism… in spite of a strong element of queer history in pre-colonial Africa (Huffington Post, 2018)

Last week… not last century, or last year… one of the leaders of an Evangelical Church in Ghana called homosexuality “sexual pollution” (GhanaWeb, 2018)

Apparently some Western nations are considering withdrawing their development support because of the African stand against homosexuality. Again in Ghana, the Speaker of Parliament (and also Reverend) reminded the West that “rich nations” should remember “..the right to good health, nutrition, and peace – vital human rights, which should equally be promoted, protected and jealously guarded” (GhanaWeb, 2018).

What he forgets is that we all have the same human rights. I answered a question related to this last week on Quora (Do you think that the LGBTQ has more rights than people of color?, 2018). Everyone has the same human rights; it’s just that in some times and places, different aspects will overshadow others. Some might be prioritized, but the othrs should not be ignored. It is true that for much of American history, queer rights were not considered significant, and were often abused. But today we know better, and were are an improved society because of it. Just in the past we’ve discriminated against people of different races and genders. We know better now: and when we are aware that any group is less than equal, it deteriorates the entire social web.

The irony, of course, is that this hatred of homosexuality is rooted more in their church, which really was imported and imposed by the West, than by traditional African cultures. As a Christian myself, and a gay Christian at that, I cannot help but lament the modern, continuing impact of our past mistakes. It is one of the reasons I work so hard to maintain my queer theology, and to illustrate that being gay and following God are not a contradiction.

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