African sexualities are dynamic, multi-faceted and resilient. However, people with non-heterosexual sexualities and gender variant identities are often involved in struggles for survival, self-definition, and erotic rights.
Queer in Africa forms an entry point for understanding the vulnerabilities of queer Africans as shaped by social, cultural and political processes, aiming to provide innovative insights about contentious disagreements over their lives. The volume mediates Southern and Northern scholarship, directing attention toward African-centred beliefs made accessible to a wide audience. Key concerns such as identity construction and the intersections between different social forces (such as nationalist traditionalism and sexualities) are addressed via engaging chapters; some empirically based and others providing critical cultural analysis.
Highly interdisciplinary in nature, Queer in Africa provides a key resource for students, academics, and activists concerned with the international support of sex and gender diversity. It will appeal to those interested in fields such as anthropology, film studies, literary studies, political science, public health, sociology, and socio-legal studies.
This is a very welcome and wide-ranging set of original essays that will add to our rapidly expanding awareness of African sexualities. Both academic and activist, the essays help both clarify and move beyond traditional Western theories and categories.
Ken Plummer, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, UK
Queer in Africa is a powerful intervention in the roiling debates around sexuality in the region. I hope it gets widely read on the continent and beyond, not only because it gives a platform to a diverse range of fascinating scholars and activists from countries outside of southern Africa - toward which the literature on queer themes has historically been skewed. But also because the evidence and arguments it presents so forcefully challenge the heterosexism or passive acceptance of gender and sexual binaries that still prevail in so much scholarship (and art) from and about the continent. It is a disturbing fact that "Africa" is often treated as a footnote in queer theory in the Global North, or its supposedly monolithic homophobia as a rhetorical football in homonationalist self-congratulations. Yet even scholars of gender in Africa commonly continue to ignore contests around non-normative sexuality and identity in their research, and to justify their disinterest by the somewhat misleading claim that sexual minorities are a hard-to-reach population. Yes they are, except when one knows or intuits where to look and how to ask questions respectfully. I congratulate the editors of Queer Africa for assembling such a rich tapestry of respectfully asked questions.
Marc Epprecht, Professor and Head of the Department of Global Development Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada