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Routledge Handbook of Queer African Studies
 1138503479, 9781138503472

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of acronyms
Notes on contributors
Introduction
Notes
PART I: Perspectives on care
Plum Leaves
Gloves
1. Traditional African systems of land ownership and their impact on lesbian women
Notes
2. Queering love: Sex, care, capital, and academic prejudices
Introduction
On the production of knowledge about sexuality in Africa
The economy of love
Violet’s story
Conclusion
Notes
References
3. Women who love women: Negotiation of African traditions and kinship
Introduction
Ubuntu as capital
Township lesbians navigate customary marriage and kinship
The infra-politics and cultural labor of sexuality – black township
lesbian women
Conclusion
Notes
References
4. Queer African studies and directions in methodology
Introduction
Methodological debates in Euro-American queer studies
Our own (queer) methodology
Destabilizing discourses and categories
Postcolonial approaches in queer African studies: Archive and resistance
Transnational queer analysis of African societies
Conclusion
References
PART II: Perspectives on participation
Where Men Dwell
¼ Cup Ground Cumin
5. LGBTIQ political participation in South Africa: The rights, the real, and the representation
Introduction
LGBTIQ human rights in South Africa
The Triangle Project and Victory Institute research study
South Africa’s political landscape since 1994
The study: Findings and recommendations
The survey
Civil society findings
Best practices for using invited spaces
Best practices for using invented spaces
Political party findings
Best practice for political parties
Conclusion
References
6. Are you a footballer? The radical potential of women’s football at the national level
Introduction
Women’s football in Africa
The African women’s cup of nations
Nationalism and decolonial struggle: Whither women’s sports?
How sportswomen have come to be national representatives
Ghana national women’s football teams: Acontradictory formation
Conclusion
Notes
References
7. The quest for belonging among male sex workers and hustlers in Nairobi
Introduction
Providing to belong
Being a
husband and lover
Being a
son
Being friends
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
PART III: Perspectives on morality and ethics
Holy Functions
Marked Bodies
8. Can black queer feminists believe in God? An exploration of feminism, sexuality, and the spiritual
References
9. Leaky anuses, loose vaginas, and large penises: A hierarchy of sexualized bodies in the Pentecostal imaginary
Introduction
Pampers as markers, metaphors, and heuristics of penetrability
Leaky anuses
Loose vaginas
Large penises
An unhappy ending
Notes
References
10. Moral agency and the paradox of positionality: Disruptive bodies and queer resistance in Senegalese women’s soccer
Introduction
Context
Methodology
Theoretical framework
Findings
Conclusion
Bibliography
PART IV: Perspectives on techniques and technology
Liquid Lives
Powder, Lace, Tusker
11. Teaching sex times: A space for conversation and knowledge building about sex
Introduction
Ways of working in consent and sex education spaces
Conclusion
Notes
References
12. A man with boundaries: Masculinities, technology, and counterpublics in urban Accra
Introduction
Whatsapp as central form of communication and construction of social networks
Whatsapp, intersectionality, gender, same-sex intimacy, and social norms in accra
WhatsApp as a
counterpublic for same-sex intimacy and gender non-conformance
The post-colonial frictions and WhatsApp as a
space for maneuvering
Conclusion
Notes
References
13. Deconstructing homosexuality in Ghana
Introduction
Theoretical and methodological framework
Overview of literature
Colonialism, sexuality, and taboo
Christianity, Islam, and African traditional religions on homosexuality
Legal discourses on homosexuality
Social institutions and homophobia
Sexuality in educational spaces
Counter discourses on homophobia in Ghana
Reflections
Conclusion
Acknowledgments
References
PART V: Perspectives on neoliberalism
Slate
Strange Seeds
14. Revisiting authoritative accounts of #FeesMustFall movement and LGBTI silencing
Introduction
Methodology
Contextualizing #FMF
Race in context
Intersectionality
Time in context: Past and present
Student voices
Conclusion
Notes
References
15. Sex and money in West Africa: The “money” problem in West African sexual diversity politics
Introduction
The politics of sex and money in West Africa
The specter of Western financial and ideological support in Liberia
The defense of marriage act, mariage pour tous, and NGO politics in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Conclusion
Notes
References
16. Normative collusions and amphibious evasions: The contested politics of queer self-making in neoliberal Ghana
Introduction
Sassoi subjectivities amid ritualized heteronormativities
Sassoi and LGBT human rights politics of rescue
Amphibious subjects or evaders? Sassoi and the making of queer subjectivities
Evading normative collusions and collisions: Sassoi as amphibious subjects
Coda: Scrambled subjects in palimpsestic terrains
Notes
References
PART VI: Perspectives on negotiating social education
Tremors
Nature
17. Adventures from the bedrooms of queer African women
A
conversation with Amina
A
conversation with Chantale
18. “We have sex, but we don’t talk about it”: Examining silences in teaching and learning about sex and sexuality in Ghana and Ethiopia
Introduction
Background and theoretical premises of comprehensive sexuality education
Provision of sexuality education in Ghana and Ethiopia
Methods: Researching sexuality, HIV, and AIDS in Ghana andEthiopia
Silence, culture, and vocabularies: Presentation of data
Discussion and conclusion
Notes
References
19. Caught between worlds: Ghanaian youth’s views of hybrid sexuality
Introduction
Culture and change: The gerontocratic nature of the Ghanaian society
Cultural and religious influences
The effect of social media
The study
Discussion
Conclusion
References
20. Sex panics and LGBTQ children’s rights to schooling
Introduction
School expulsions as a
form of moral panic
Discursive frames and justifications
Rights at stake
Conclusion: What can be done?
Notes
Pods
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Routledge Handbook of Queer African Studies

This handbook offers diverse perspectives on queer Africa, incorporating scholarly contributions on themes that reflect and inflect the trajectories of queer contributions to African studies within and outside academia. The Routledge Handbook of Queer African Studies incorporates a range of unique perspectives, reflecting ongoing struggles between regimes of inclusion and those of transformation premised upon different relational and reflexive engagements between queer embodiment and Africa’s subjectivities. All sections of this handbook blend contributions from public intellectuals and practitioners with academic reflections on topics not limited to neoliberalism, social care, morality and ethics, social education, and technology, through the lens of queer African studies. The book renders visible the ongoing transformations and resistance within African societies as well as the inventiveness of queer presence in negotiating belonging. This handbook will be of interest to students and scholars of gender and sexuality in Africa, queer studies, and African culture and society. Dr. S.N. Nyeck is the book review editor for the Journal of Africana Religions; an Africa Multiple Cluster Excellence Fellow at Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies in Germany; a Research Associate with Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at Mandela University in South Africa; and a Visiting Scholar at Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative at Emory School of Law, USA.

Routledge Handbook of Queer African Studies

Edited by S.N. Nyeck

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, S.N. Nyeck; individual chapters, the contributors The right of S.N. Nyeck to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-1-138-50347-2 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-351-14196-3 (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Swales & Willis, Exeter, Devon, UK

Contents

List of acronyms Notes on contributors

ix xi

Introduction S.N. Nyeck

1

PART I

Perspectives on care Plum Leaves Alexis Teyie Gloves Unoma Azuah 1 Traditional African systems of land ownership and their impact on lesbian women Jennifer Shinta Ayebazibwe

13

15

2 Queering love: Sex, care, capital, and academic prejudices Rachel Spronk

25

3 Women who love women: Negotiation of African traditions and kinship Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki

37

4 Queer African studies and directions in methodology Julie Moreau and T.J. Tallie

49

v

Contents

PART II

Perspectives on participation Where Men Dwell Unoma Azuah ¼ Cup Ground Cumin Alexis Teyie

61

5 LGBTIQ political participation in South Africa: The rights, the real, and the representation Jennifer Smout (Thorpe)

63

6 Are you a footballer? The radical potential of women’s football at the national level Anima Adjepong

76

7 The quest for belonging among male sex workers and hustlers in Nairobi Naomi van Stapele

90

PART III

Perspectives on morality and ethics Holy Functions Alexis Teyie Marked Bodies Unoma Azuah

103

8 Can black queer feminists believe in God? An exploration of feminism, sexuality, and the spiritual Amanda Hodgeson

105

9 Leaky anuses, loose vaginas, and large penises: A hierarchy of sexualized bodies in the Pentecostal imaginary Nathanael Homewood

113

10 Moral agency and the paradox of positionality: Disruptive bodies and queer resistance in Senegalese women’s soccer Beth D. Packer

vi

129

Contents

PART IV

Perspectives on techniques and technology Liquid Lives Unoma Azuah Powder, Lace, Tusker Alexis Teyie

143

11 Teaching sex times: A space for conversation and knowledge building about sex Tiffany Kagure Mugo

147

12 A man with boundaries: Masculinities, technology, and counterpublics in urban Accra Heather Tucker

158

13 Deconstructing homosexuality in Ghana Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed

167

PART V

Perspectives on neoliberalism Slate Alexis Teyie Strange Seeds Unoma Azuah

183

14 Revisiting authoritative accounts of #FeesMustFall movement and LGBTI silencing C. Anzio Jacobs

185

15 Sex and money in West Africa: The “money” problem in West African sexual diversity politics Matthew Thomann and Ashley Currier

200

16 Normative collusions and amphibious evasions: The contested politics of queer self-making in neoliberal Ghana Kwame Edwin Otu

213

vii

Contents

PART VI

Perspectives on negotiating social education Tremors Unoma Azuah Nature Alexis Teyie 17 Adventures from the bedrooms of queer African women Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah 18 “We have sex, but we don’t talk about it”: Examining silences in teaching and learning about sex and sexuality in Ghana and Ethiopia Georgina Yaa Oduro and Esther Miedema

225 227

236

19 Caught between worlds: Ghanaian youth’s views of hybrid sexuality Angela Anarfi Gyasi-Gyamerah and Mathias Søgaard

254

20 Sex panics and LGBTQ children’s rights to schooling Ryan R. Thoreson

266

Pods Unoma Azuah

279

Bibliography Index

280 305

viii

Acronyms

AIDS Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome ANC African National Congress BDSM bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism BURJ Bring Us Rights and Justice CAF Confederation of African Football CODESRIA Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa COPE Congress of the People CSE comprehensive sexuality education DA Democratic Alliance DEC Development Expertise Center DOMA Defense of Marriage Act EFF economic freedom fighter eNCA eNews Channel Africa FGD focus group discussion FIFA Fédération Internationale de Football/International Federation of Association of Football #FMF #FeesMustFall GALA Gay and Lesbian Memory Action GALAG Gay and Lesbian Association for Ghana GALE Global Alliance for LGBT Education GES Ghana Educational Service GNC gender non-conforming HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus HRAC Human Rights Advocacy Center HSRC Human Sciences Research Council IEC Electoral Commission of South Africa IFP Inkatha Freedom Party INGO international non-governmental organization IPU Inter-parliamentary Union IVF in vitro fertilization LEGABIBO The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana LGBTI lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex LGBTIQ lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and queer LGBTQIA+ lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual MBA Master in Business Administration MP member of parliament ix

Acronyms

MSM men who have sex with men NACP National AIDS/STD Control Program NCM New Citizen Movement NDC National Democratic Congress NGO non-governmental organization NPP New Patriotic Party NSFAS National Student Financial Scheme NSFW Not Safe for Work OF The Other Foundation ONUCI United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire PEPFAR US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief PYA Progressive Youth Alliance #RMF #RhodesMustFall SABC South African Broadcasting Corporation SADC Southern African Development Community SAHO South African History Online SAHRC South African Human Rights Commission SANEWS South African Government News Agency SAP structural adjustment program SHEP school health education program SOGIE sexual orientation, gender identity and expression SRC Student Representative Council SRHR sexual and reproductive health rights SRJC Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition STATS SA Statistics of South Africa STD sexually transmitted disease STI sexually transmitted infection STS science and technology studies UCC University of Cape Coast UCT University of Cape Town UG University of Ghana UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UWC University of Western Cape WHO World Health Organization WITS University of Witwatersrand WSM women who have sex with women WSWM The World Starts With Me

x

Contributors

Alexis Teyie is a Kenyan writer whose poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction are featured in Jalada Africa issues, Short Story Day Africa anthologies, and in This Is Africa. Akashic Books published her poetry chapbook, Clay Plates in 2018. Alexis is a co-founder and poetry editor with Enkare Review and works in impact measurement. Amanda Hodgeson is a black queer feminist currently living in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is passionate about research and the narratives of black women. She believes in the power of storytelling and narratives in advocacy, movement building, and creating a world where women, black, queer people, and those living with disabilities can live free and autonomous lives devoid of poverty and violence. As a researcher, Amanda is particularly interested in traditional systems of knowledge. As a writer her focus is on the role of relationships in activism and feminist life practice. Angela Anarfi Gyasi-Gyamerah has been a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, since 2005. She teaches various courses including psychology of learning, social psychology, and applied social psychology. Her research interest is in the area of sexual and reproductive health issues. She recently completed her Ph.D. and her thesis focused on attitudes toward homosexuals and how these attitudes are moderated by religious commitment and morality. She is currently researching sexual minority issues and abortion. She has several years of field experience working with street youth and commercial sex workers under the auspices of Streetwise Project-Ghana and West Africa Project to Combat AIDS and STI (WAPCAS) respectively. Anima Adjepong (pronouns: they/them) is a sociologist whose research examines culture, identities, and social change in West African and the diaspora. As an educator and cultural critic, Dr. Adjepong has written widely about gender and racial justice, LGBTQ rights and organizing, transnational migration, sports, and development. Ashley Currier is Professor and Head of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She is the author of Out in Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) and Politicizing Sex in Contemporary Africa: Homophobia in Malawi (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Beth D. Packer was a visiting graduate student researcher at the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley from 2013–2017 and received her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2019 from the École Des Hautes Études En Sciences Sociales in Paris, France. She has conducted research xi

Contributors

on gender and development in India and Senegal. Her current research explores the articulation of gender, Islam, and sexuality in urban Senegal through the lens of women’s soccer as a site of transformational politics. She is interested in ethnographic methods, gender and sexuality studies in Muslim cultures, sport and embodiment, Islam and West Africa, postcolonial feminist theory, political sociology and anthropology, and the sociology of deviance. C. Anzio Jacobs is a consultant at PLUS LGBTI+ Business Network in South Africa. Esther Miedema is a lecturer in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is a member of the AISSR Research Group Governance of Inclusive Development (GID). Esther’s research focuses on questions of gender, sexuality, political economy, and international development. Her research concentrates on health and gender-based violence with a particular interest in the genealogy of, and interactions between, global, national, and local narratives about education, young people, and health, and the ways in which young women and men contest and subvert gendered norms and violence, and inequalities more broadly. Esther is co-principal investigator on the ten-country mixed-method “Her Choice” early marriage program (2016–2020) funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Georgina Yaa Oduro is a senior lecturer with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Cape Coast, Ghana. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from the University of Cambridge, UK. Dr. Oduro research interests include in gender and sexuality, youth and beauty cultures, reproductive health, gender-based violence, the social context of HIV/AIDS, and the health of African women. She has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health where she is undertook research in child prostitution in Ghana. Gina is among the 2016–2017 badge of Takemi Fellows in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Heather Tucker holds a Ph.D. in Gender Studies with a focus in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Central European University in Budapest. Heather also holds an M.A. in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, Brighton. She is an affiliated researcher with the Centre for Research on Culture and Gender at the University of Gent, Belgium. Jennifer Shinta Ayebazibwe was born and raised in Uganda and now resides in South Africa with her wife and daughter. She is passionate about storytelling and the documentation and preservation of African lesbian experiences. Her stories have made it into Walking the Tightrope: Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa (Tincture, 2016), Emergence: An Artistic Journal Of Women and Gender Non-conforming People and Queer Africa 2 New Stories (MaThoko’s Books, 2017). Jennifer Smout (Thorpe) is a feminist writer and researcher based in Cape Town, South Africa. She has worked with civil society, parliament, donors, and research institutions to promote gender equality and to address violence against women in South Africa. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town, and a Master’s in Politics with Distinction from Rhodes University.

xii

Contributors

Julie Moreau is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. Her work focuses on the expansion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in comparative perspective. Kwame Edwin Otu is an Assistant Professor of African-American and African Studies at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. He earned his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Syracuse University. Kwame’s research, which draws on his own experience as a self-identified black, gender non-conforming queer man, has received several prestigious awards and fellowships. These include, among others, a Wenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and the Carter G. Woodson Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. In 2013, Kwame was selected as one of 30 Laureates to participate in the South–South Institute, a tri-continental forum that brings together scholars from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Prior to receiving this award, the American Anthropological Association named him an Emerging Leader in Anthropology for the Association of Queer Anthropology Section. He wrote and acted in the award-winning short film Reluctantly Queer, which was the result of a collaborative project between him and Ghanaian-American filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu. An epistolary short film chronicling his experiences as a gay man in the United States yearning for the love of his mother in Ghana, the documentary was a finalist in the Short Films segment at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival. Kwame fuses his academic interests with his love for the arts and activism. For him, these pursuits blend and bleed. Mathias Søgaard holds a Master’s degree in African Studies from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He frequently writes opinion pieces on sexuality in Africa. Matthew Thomann is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Memphis. His work focuses on sexuality and the politics of health in sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, focusing on subfields of medical anthropology, public health, and queer anthropology. Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah is a writer and blogger. She is the co-founder of Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, an award winning blog that focuses on sex and sexualities. She has been published widely with features in the Guardian, Feminist Africa, and This Is Africa. Nana works as Senior Communications Manager at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development. Previously, she worked as a communications specialist at the African Women’s Development Fund. She is the author of a Communications Handbook for Women’s Rights Organisations (AWDF, 2010), is co-author of Creating Spaces and Amplifying Voices: The First Ten Years of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF, 2010), and the editor of Women Leading Africa: Conversations with Inspirational African Women (AWDF, 2011). Naomi van Stapele is an Assistant Professor in Urban Governance and Development Policy at the International Institute for Social Studies (ISS) in the Netherlands. One of her current research project looks at the role of gangs in countering “terrorism” in Kenya. Another current research projects explores and further develops an innovative research method called community-led research and action (CLRA) together with gang members and (gay, male) sex workers in Kenya to evaluate and adapt the theory of change of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This method builds on participatory action research and combines knowledge collaboration with action and measuring change. In a recently concluded xiii

Contributors

four-year long research project, she studied economic uncertainty and (experiences of) violence among female and gay male sex workers in Kenya and Ethiopia. Her Ph.D. research explored the role of gender, economic uncertainty, and political violence among gangs in Kenya. Cutting across all these projects is a focus on solidarity practices among and between multiple marginalized groups in highly volatile contexts, and how these groups imagine and develop alternative economic, social, and political action. Nathanael Homewood is a Lecturer at Rice University and the Coordinator of the Religious Studies Review. Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow on the GlobalGRACE project, housed at the Africa Gender Institute and the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies – University of Cape Town, as well as the NGO – SWEAT. GlobalGRACE research engages with gender and cultures of equality through arts-based approaches, and has partnerships in five countries namely: Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. She holds a Ph.D. in Gender, Media, and Culture from the Graduate Gender Studies Program – Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her doctoral project focused on the construction of female same-sex sexuality of black women in various Townships of Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa. Phoebe was also a Lecturer at Utrecht University and taught on the Graduate Gender Studies Program, feminist theory, and research methods. She holds a double M.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies through Utrecht University in the Netherlands and University of Hull, the UK, as part of the Erasmus Mundus Gender and Women’s Studies program. Prior to this, she worked in various fields including gender, HIV and public health with agencies such UNDP, UNAIDS, and WHO. Phoebe was born in Uganda but considers herself a “nomadic subject” having lived in several continents. Rachel Spronk is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Ryan R. Thoreson is a Clinical Lecturer in Law and the Robert M. Cover-Allard K. Lowenstein Fellow in International Human Rights at Yale Law School. His work focuses on sexual and reproductive rights, children’s rights, and LGBT social movements in the United States, the Philippines, and South Africa. He is the author of Transnational LGBT Activism: Working for Sexual Rights Worldwide (University of Minnesota Press, 2014). S.N. Nyeck is the book review editor for the Journal of Africana Religion; an Africa Multiple Cluster Excellence Fellow at Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies in Germany, a Research Associate with Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at Mandela University in South Africa, and a Visiting Scholar at Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative at Emory School of Law, USA. She writes about government outsourcing, sexuality, and politics in Africa. She is the editor of Public Procurement Reform and Governance in Africa (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016) and co-editor with Marc Epprecht of Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory and Citizenship (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013). S.N. holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California Los Angeles, USA.

xiv

Contributors

Tiffany Kagure Mugo is co-founder and curator of HOLAA!, a Pan Africanist hub that advocates for and tackles issues surrounding African female sexuality. HOLAA! seeks to allow women the space to speak about their sex and sexuality (whatever it may be), while also equipping them with the tools to manoeuver the online space. Tiffany is a media consultant, a contributor to various anthologies, the Mail, the Guardian and This Is Africa, writing articles on sex and politics. She is a previous Open Society Youth Fellow. She enjoys being a polymath for no pay as she ponders the existential crisis the world is going through. T.J. Tallie is Assistant Professor of History at the University of San Diego, USA. Unoma Azuah teaches writing at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Valdosta, GA. Her research and activism focus on LGBT rights in Nigeria and she is the Editor of Blessed Body: Secret Lives of LGBT Nigerians (Cooking Pot Publishing, 2016). Her writing awards include the Hellman/Hammett Award; the Urban Spectrum Award for her debut novel, Sky-high Flames (PublishAmerica, 2005; eBook version by Cooking Pot Publishing, 2018), and the Snyder-Aidoo Book Award for her novel, Edible Bones (Demarche Publishing LLC, 2013). Her undergraduate degree in English is from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She has an M.A. in English from Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH and an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed received her B.A. in English and Spanish from the University of Ghana. She completed her Master’s degree at Michigan Technological University’s Rhetoric and Technical Communication program. Wunpini is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Mass Communications with minors in African Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on feminisms, development communication, broadcast media, new media, and film in Ghana.

xv

Introduction S.N. Nyeck

Early initiatives for an Africanist contribution to queer studies launched in the 2000s sought to create more synergies between the then emerging networks of activists and universitybased scholars in order to produce grounded theories and narratives that place Africanist experiences at the center of conversations about gender and sexual identity. The early fora that served as incubators for this integrated vision did not survive the test of time, and scholarship and activism seem to have grown in separate directions (though not in absolute terms) each following the pressure of its trade. More than ten years after the inception of a vision of an Africanist scholarly network on queer studies that led to the publication of Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, and Citizenship (McGill University Press, 2013), co-edited with Marc Epprecht, I am delighted to introduce this handbook to the public as a synergy of perspectives on matters that the contributors deem pressing. This handbook is intentional in bringing together the writing and voices from academia and society at large and in so doing, seeks not to provide a survey of the field of African queer studies, or a definitive lexicon on practices and identities. Rather, authors have been invited to share perspectives on themes that reflect and inflect the trajectories of queer contributions to African studies within and outside academia. Noticeably, unlike early writing on gender and sexual identities in Africa dominated by a human rights framework, contributions to this handbook show the ways in which perspectives on identities are domesticated on the African continent and leading this shift are activists and members of civil society at large. Thus the handbook is positioning contributions from outside academia as gateways through which knowledge and theories flow from. The readers would appreciate, it is hoped, the unique contributions of a broader Africanist community in conversation with itself and continuously placing its queer subjects at the intersection of political, cultural, socio-economic realities and possibilities and not just abstracted concepts. This is to say that queer lives in Africa are not just defined by ideology, but also by their resourceless-ness, resourcefulness, and resilience. No preferential framework or identifiers were imposed on the contributors in the process of writing a queer subject and its linkages to Africa’s societies and institutions. Queer, homosexuals, lesbians, LGBTIQ, and other acronyms are used in different chapters as authors see useful. In this introduction, I use the term queer as a nonexhaustive umbrella for non-heteronormative sexualities and gender identities. What is 1

S.N. Nyeck

important as one approaches these chapters is to retrieve the points of convergence and divergence between traditional concerns within African studies and the unique perspectives that a queer lens brings to these interests. While “queering” Africa is important to some contributors, “Africanizing” queer studies is paramount to others. Still, other contributors see the task of retrieving humanity out of all binaries quintessential. The diversity of perspectives offered in this book reflects ongoing struggles between regimes of inclusion and those of transformation premised upon different relational and reflexive engagements between queer embodiment and Africa’s subjectivities. All sections of this handbook blend contributions from public intellectuals and practitioners with academic reflections. It is a deliberate choice to open up all sections with poetry followed by a contribution from an activist or public intellectual before reverting to scholarly contributions. This structure is intended to showcase the diversity of voices and to incite a renewed appreciation of public thinkers and activists’ insights; perspectives that often challenge circular understanding of gender identity and sexual diversity subjectivities in Africa. Activists and public thinkers topically stretch the frontiers of queer studies in Africa. Poetry opens up perspectives explored in this book to remind us of Africa’s creative interiority and of the necessity to “learn to bear the intimacy of scrutiny and to flourish within it.”1 Azuah, an Africanist scholar, and Teyie, an Africanist artist and feminist activist, guide this poetic enclosure of queer visions within Africa’s soul poetically and intimately as they give life to forms, names, feelings, concepts, and bodies fully Africans and fully present in sublime stanzas. Part I regroups reflections on the notion of care inflected by the acknowledgment of gender identity and sexual diversity in Africa. How has scholarship cared for or attended to the idea of queering Africa? It has, according to a leading thinker in the field, Stella Nyanzi, been loaded with Westernized frames of reference that insist on the creation of a distinct sexual subject as the prime focus of analysis. Yet, Nyanzi contends, such a narrow understanding prevents us from capturing the nuanced ways in which non-gender conforming modes of being often take hold of relational selves including hetero-cisgendered selves in Africa.2 Nyanzi has raised awareness about possible traps and series of misrecognition that could force queer studies of Africa on a “narrow path” that essentializes (although seeming not to do so) the body and the ways in which gender and desire intersect. Following Nyanzi, attention to what has been termed elsewhere “politics of hyphenation and queered friendship in Africa” is helpful to “understand the practical and rhetorical implications of plurality and the connections between [gendered,] sexualized identities … and citizenship beyond mere coexistence.”3 Reflections on care start with Ayebazibwe’s inflection of Nyanzi’s concerns by focusing not so much on political/civil rights, but on access to property and land rights for lesbian women in Africa. Wielding personal experience and broad analysis, the chapter tackles the issue of land rights yet to seriously enter academic research on queer Africa. Ayebazibwe is able to make the case for what she sees as a perennial problem of economic disenfranchisement, especially in rural areas. As long as sexuality can be leveraged as blackmail4 “vulnerability places same-sex relationships at the periphery of the justice system,” she contends. This chapter invites the readers to consider queer death5 and denial of burials6 in Africa as matters of unequal land rights also critical to queer living and economic wellbeing. Land and economics are in this chapter correlated zones of intimacy for reciprocal care and belonging that should become important to the concerns of queer life in Africa. Spronk foregrounds her chapter in Nyanzi’s call for the “widening of the thematic” in interpreting interrelational bodily and non-bodily categories of queer care in the 2

Introduction

production of knowledge in Africa. Rising up to this invite, Spronk first locates in ethnocentric research on sexuality in Africa, a pervasive bifurcation between “intimacy and the economy as separate spheres of social life.” Second, she submits to rigorous empirical test Euro-American ideals of love to demonstrate that intimate attachments trigger and transform material reciprocity that structures human relationships. When the transactional is recognized as universally structuring relationships, categories including but not limited to sex, allow one to capture the paradoxical nature of sexuality as desire in transaction. Furthermore, the transactional as loving care invites scholars to attend to micro and macro dynamics within and beyond the body’s libidinal investments in particular desires. Thus, if one could conceive of a foundational body constitutive of an African queer experience, it would be a material reality of poly-reciprocal relationships that speak to a canvas of possibilities that Nyanzi’s critical queer scholarship outlines and Spronk’s contribution here enfleshes. This chapter is not concerned with delineating what is queer, but rather with what is negated as not queer enough in current scholarship, a negation Spronk names “academic prejudice.” Kisubi Mbasalaki takes an ethnographic journey into 31 townships in Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa, to unpack lesbian everyday negotiations with African traditions. She puzzles about lesbians insistence on traditional marriages and reliance on kinship “allyship” when customary authorities seem to reject the constitutional projection of LGBTI persons as such. What sorts of meanings and “careful” enactments of belonging explicate both lesbian embrace of culture and their simultaneous attempt to change it through everyday forms of resistance or “infra-politics”? The chapter contributes to thinking critically about queer belonging as not limited to individual consumption and proclamation of rights guaranteed under liberal constitutional regimes. Indeed both the state and culture imperfectly accommodate lesbian life and aspirations in South Africa. Yet, Kisubi Mbasalaki takes seriously the task of engaging with belonging, where it is felt, lived and experienced, not just from where it is conceptualized. It turns out that for black lesbians in South Africa, amorous commitment to another is affirmed in ways that recognize rather than deny the unique stimuli that culture and kingship bring to social life. Although the South African constitution affords the right to same-sex marriage, “customary marriage was the preferred choice, as opposed to civil union, which was hardly ever spoken of or discussed,” among the subjects interviewed in this chapter. One possible understanding of this preference is that unlike the state, customary and kingship relations give lesbians a sense of agency in the making of an existence that is not prepackaged. The interviewees’ perspectives on care affirm the creative possibilities of self-definitions in conjunction with adaptive performances of existing heterosexualized social norms. Highlighting this point is the careful analysis of butch/femme relations among township lesbians. The butches appropriate and enact township masculinities within lesbian relationships and as such, maintain a performative status quo on gender relations. Butch masculinities simultaneously reenact and critique gendered norms by placing a limit on the pretense of a revolutionary conceptualization of lesbian intimacies in the townships. Together, the femmes and the butches transform kinship relations through social maternity. That is to say, women in same-sex relationships garner support from family members, friends and neighbors who know they are lesbians … the social role of mother and participation in community life … seem to hold more importance than sexuality per se … [and] confer the power to negotiate social belonging. 3

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One finds that in the power to convene the orthodox and the progressive, the status quo and self-definitions, contradictions and convictions, lies the transformative sensibility that care and caring as queer work unveil. Bringing about social transformation suggests investment in long-term strategies of embedding queer presence in relevant social contexts and networks. Lesbians in the townships of South Africa summon and channel conversations and practices that open up spaces and feeling of belonging to a network of relationships that witness the resilience of their lives. In the acts of convening and witnessing one may then hear, as Kisubi Mbasalaki suggests, echoes of Ubuntu as both imagination and cultural praxis based upon the idea that where members of a community begin to co-witness each other’s realities there are planted the seeds of mutual transformation and inclusion. Hence female masculinities and femininities in the townships could be seen as buffering the cultural gaze to reveal its best intention and end goal: “I am because We are.” What may traverse and survive this process of undertaking the “cultural labor” necessary so that the “I” of queer self-identifications and the “We” of communal hesitations become part of a process of co-witnessing humanity is up to future generations and scholarship to “care-fully” and substantially delineate from a position of “cultural humility” as a methodological practice that Moreau and Tallie articulate in the closing chapter of this section. Indeed, queer studies of Africa are not totally immune against the distortions of decontextualization and unaccountability often embedded in global power relations, including in academia. Reflecting on the metaphor of the three blind men and the proverbial elephant, Francis Nyamjoh once posited that the story reveals not the potency of physical blindness, but “that which comes from preconceptions, prejudices and assumptions about what constitutes reality, a blindness of which all humans are guilty.”7 Human guilt, however, has never deterred humankind from collective projects that facilitate encounters with differences, state-building being one exemplar. Thus, while the question of “how does one keep one’s perception in check in order to justice to encounters with difference?”8 is political at its core, Nyamjoh also reminds us that it is equally important to consider that such a queer elephant (if it could speak) might reveal surprising perspectives on it being perceived and represented. Accounts for the impossibility of knowing the queer elephant by one or many blind men must therefore be entertained as well as dimensions of being an elephant that are beyond appearances, Nyamjoh recommends.9 Part II regroups reflections on the notion of participation to reveal not so much the injustices done to subjectivity, but the collective benefits that Africa’s non-speculative encounters with queer difference adds to its political and socio-economic wellness. Exemplifying Nyamjoh’s call for Africa to encounter its proverbial queer elephants experientially and not speculatively is Smout’s (Thorpe) analysis of the potential practical and democratic gains for increase representation of LGBTIQ candidates in political parties in South Africa. Despite constitutional protections, lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer voters remain an untapped constituency in political parties representation in South Africa. Put differently, constitutional rights in South Africa are not necessarily experienced as full inclusion in political party membership and ranks. A 2017 online survey of 845 LGBTIQ-identified respondents in South Africa shows that all respondents are committed to strengthening state institutions through democratic means and 50% think LGBT leadership at the party level is confidence enhancing. Based on estimates of the size of LGBTIQ voters in South Africa, Smout (Thorpe) demonstrates that a block vote from this constituency may secure a political party 10 to 17 seats in the national parliament. Why then have political parties underestimated or underengaged with this 4

Introduction

electoral group? Thorpe rightly notes that at stake here is a matter of “increasing the visibility of LGBTIQ persons as an interest group capable of affecting the decision-making of other heterosexual colleagues in the parliament in ways that advance equality and human rights” for all. Inclusion then acquires full meaning when difference in Africa not only votes, but also becomes part of decision-making processes that influence society in general. Calls for creating “invited spaces” for LGBTIQ representative leadership in South Africa define political representation as a right and opportunity to steer decision-making toward a more inclusive public policy. Interviews with party leaders as well as analyses of formal agendas show parties’ formal commitment to human rights for LGBTIQ without explicit policies that address the problem of rank-and-file representation. Democracy should benefit from inclusive representation of LGBTIQ persons in party leadership in South Africa. Adepong takes us to Ghana to wrestle with the politicization of sport as a national project of anti-colonial resistance and patriarchal affirmation. The author exposes the “contradictory nature of the sportswoman as national representative” especially in football where women are expected to conform to the ideals of femininity to prove themselves worthy of national trust. The chapter demonstrates that sportswomen occupy a schizophrenic space within the Ghanaian society as they constantly bounce between hyper-idealization and abjection discourses where the nation is viewed as perpetually engaged in meta struggles of decolonization. The physical strength that might secure victory for a women’s football team is simultaneously the Achilles heel of she who embodies such strength. As Adepong notes, “although women play sport and always have, it remains an area in which their participation meets with skepticism, unequal allocation of resources, and policing of their gender and sexuality.” How then, does women’s participation in sports hold a transformative potential for a more inclusive citizenship that admits plurality of gender and sexuality in Ghana? Rather than offering a formulaic answer, Adepong makes an anthropological descent into the interrogative intimations that investigative gazes in Ghana subject queer bodies to. “Are you a footballer?” – the question directed at Adepong at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport serves as a point of departure to analyzing socio-political interrogations of gender in sportswomen. The issue is not the question in itself, but the implied trajectories of possible responses. Thus one learns that questions such as “are you a footballer?” are never about football as much as they are about determining whether one is a lesbian or gender nonconforming person; whether one’s masculinity overflows the boundaries of a football field. Anxieties about women’s involvement in sports dominated by men explain why women spokespersons in Ghana often have to defend themselves publicly by emphasizing, “We are not lesbians!” Thus in the rhetoric of skeptical interrogations of sportswomen’s bodies and libidinal intent, Adepong finds negative enchantment of possible responses. Unidirectional questions eliciting defensive responses rob sportswomen in Ghana of the opportunities to question power, especially power that differentially allocates resources in ways that make women’s football less competitive than men’s. From this perspective, queer and non-queer sportswomen in Ghana contribute to a more inclusive and participative citizenship in their advocacy for equitable distribution of resources,10 as has been found elsewhere.11 Van Stapele researches strategies of belonging among gay men sex workers and straight men hustlers who engage in petty crimes to show that despite occupational differences these two groups share similar anxieties about their masculinity. Parallel lives observed, nevertheless converge in “the imaginary of ‘the male provider,’ which constitutes the foundation upon which their self-appraisal as men rested,” Van Stapele notes. Hence, anxiety-laden identification with gender norms associated with heterosexual men as providers, cautions against overreliance on oppositional logics of a fixed African manhood. Put differently, it is 5

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neither sexuality nor morality that drive self-determination for male sex workers and hustlers in Nairobi, but their imagined destinies as providers for family members and lovers. Also interesting is the finding that while male sex workers and hustlers consider female providers an anomaly, their adherence to a shared ideal of the male provider “breaks open imagined differences between ‘straight’ and ‘gay.’” All these men ask for and receive monetary favors and other goods from older, powerful, or wealthier men, despite the fact that such requests are perceived as “female practice.” Thus the utilitarian/transactional nature of relationships encoded in everyday acts of surviving police brutality and HIV among sex workers and street hustlers in Nairobi, lends itself to a nuanced understanding of how self-determination remains important to the construction of masculinities irrespective of sexual/gender identity and practices in urban Kenya. Chapters in Part III offer perspectives on morality and ethics. Gender identity and sexuality debates are deeply informed by religious beliefs in Africa. While in fact the continent remains a repository of diverse religious beliefs and practices, African clergymen have often led or condoned global dissent on welcoming queer persons into communities of faith, especially within the Christian tradition. Writing about what he terms “US culture war battles,” Kaoma has traced the rise of homophobia within African churches back to global networks of conservative theologies and finance; a domestic conflict between mainline protestant progressive and conservative churches in the US whose collateral damages are sexual minorities in Africa, Kaoma has argued.12 While analyses of faith-based homophobia often focus on the institutional determinants of conservative or inclusive messaging, Hodgeson, in this section, reminds us that spiritual journeys are often personal and carry with them the seeds of their own critical reevaluation and reformation. The critical debates, engagement, and distancing within faith-based communities will always be a constant as long as human experiences remain imperfectly understood and appreciated based on doctrinal positions and not on real encounters. But Hodgeson’s voice in this section interrogates both the church and feminism, the church and the liberal subject that needs no spiritual/transcendental referent to assert its being in the world. Can a black queer feminist believe in God, Christian or otherwise? Hodgeson’s perspective is creative and suggestive: Feminism and spirituality come together to affirm the self, to accept the self for what it is, but also to locate the self within a bigger community of others invested in our betterment, our uplifting, our enlightenment and happiness. Feminism and spirituality understand and locate the sites at which the self is under attack or diseased and show the path to (re)creating solutions that begin to heal the individual and the community … my feminism and spirituality are two sides of the same coin. They make room for my multiple and ever growing and changing identities to give me the tools to make sense of the universe around me and myself. Queer relational possibilities would be well-served by exploring, if at all possible without prejudices, Africa’s interiority as a necessary spiritual and transformative path that inspires questions and responses that “lie within one’s soul,” or as Hodgeson puts it the “bigger picture.” Where Oduyoye has contended that feminism is a “precondition for a Christian anthropology that does justice to the humanity of women,”13 Hodgeson helps us take stock with the deconstruction of the self and systems as a precondition to building a queer ethic based on mutuality;14 a recognition of material and transcendental imperatives that animate life as Africanist and humanistic in essence.15 6

Introduction

Contrasting Hodgeson’s exposition, Homewood sheds light on problematic theology that animates Pentecostal imaginaries in Greater Accra, Ghana, based on ethnographic fieldwork with churches between 2015 and 2016. In Greater Accra, “the devil is everywhere” and takes possession of society through demonic penetration of the body. While the porosity of the body is often seen as positive within Pentecostal imaginary, especially as a conduit for the Holy Spirit, any other type of bodily penetration outside of a given norm creates a hierarchy of beings. Still, the body and its orifices escape simplistic antiqueer renderings as battlegrounds for different kinds of spiritual influences and as objects of intense ritualistic enactments. That is, “the manner in which the Pentecostal hierarchical system around penetration erases the distinction between body and spirit offers the possibility of erasing other binary oppositions,” Homewood submits. The chapter then invites the readers to consider possible ways of addressing hierarchy and binarism often imposed on theological hermeneutics of gender and sexuality. Perhaps a nuanced and integrative approach to queering spiritual and political imagination could make use of fruitful intercultural juxtapositions and conversations between the best of non-binary inventiveness in African and Christian theologies/ cosmologies. Queer bodies in Africa are deeply spiritual. Closing this section on morality, Packer’s analysis appreciates the techniques of cultivating moral selves as a process of theologizing from below among Senegal’s women soccer players. Parker documents the many stigmatizing labels that queer women soccer players experience in Senegal (see also Adepong in this volume) but finds in Islam a unique source of transformative imagination. If through sports queer women challenge male domination, they do so by “fashion[ing] themselves as both queer and pious Muslim subjects.” Senegalese queer women soccer players “embrace stigma” by becoming the theologians of their own pain and by encoding their bodies as sites of socio-political visions of transformation. Part IV brings together contributions that evaluate the role that new technologies of information and communications play in accommodating counter-spaces for gender identity performance in West Africa. Mugo reflects on the emergence of transnational online communities as a result of increased queer use of social media for positive sex education in Africa. Mugo draws insight from her involvement with Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women and HOLAAfrica, two online platforms that promote safe spaces, uplifting conversations between queer women on healthy sex and sexuality. What this chapter shows is that while queer presence remains contentious in the public sphere and in some African countries, young queer persons increasingly turn to non-institutionalized sources of knowledge available via the Internet. The digital space then becomes a “parallel public sphere” that reinvents and reinterprets African queer identities through solidaristic communities of learning. As the ethnographic work of Tucker shows in the second chapter in this section, social media networks such as WhatsApp are used in Ghana to create counter-publics, or parallel spaces for queer self-definition in non-oppositional ways. Mobile phone applications therefore allow counter-discourses and affirming images about same-sex intimacy with the goal of transforming self-image through online support. Mobile technologies mitigate the impact of homophobia through queer appropriations of the cyber space as a platform for virtual belonging and “mobile intimacy.” Closing this section, Mohammed’s investigation of the online contents of two major radio stations in Ghana, Joy FM and Citi FM, shows that same-sex intimacy still draws condemnations from cultural and political leaders of all stripes. How economics and politics shape queer representative agency16 and ability to negotiate day-to-day survival, community engagement, and intimacy is explored in Part V. How have national economic policies that increasingly rely on the market to provide for 7

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affordable education, employment, reliable health services, and so on impacted queer life in Africa? Anzio focuses on the student protest movements #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall in 2015/2016 South Africa to investigate the heteropatriarcal narratives of the “fallist movement.” While queer persons are often viewed as mainly concerned with a single issue of identity politics, Anzio shows that such a perception does not account for the many ways in which queer voices participate in broader national reforms but end up being suppressed in final authoritative accounts. Detailing his involvement with the fallist movement as a protester, an organizer, and researcher, Anzio painstakingly accounts for the ways in which the intersectional frames of student protests of 2015/2016 quickly became a matter of contention when women’s and queer voices claimed leadership roles (see also Smout (Thorpe) in this volume). At stake in South Africa, as elsewhere on the African continent, is the question of queer archives in national struggles for social justice. The student protests of 2015/ 2016 sought to address issues of affordability of higher education due to economic disparities. In this chapter Anzio analyzes student strategies of protest, the decision-making of three prominent institutions of higher learning (the University of Western Cape, the University of Cape Town, and the University of Witwatersrand) and critiques both institutional and revolutionary politics that though centered around distributive justice, race, and gender, still insufficiently include queer voices in South Africa. That “race is not our only oppression” is widely understood in South Africa and the challenge there is to work toward economic justice without reifying other injustices. As Anzio puts it: attention needs to be given to the way in which we construct movement as well as the way we quickly quell internal resistance. A paradoxical stance on justice and inclusion means we denounce some injustices while reifying others. Things need not be this way. Thomann and Currier probe the perception of sexual minorities as economically affluent in West Africa. This perception constructed in political discourses is tied to the “general perception that Western development aid goes to LGBTIQ in order to impose cultural practices and beliefs that are antithetical to … continental values,” Thomann and Currier explain. Thus the conflation of economic prosperity with queer life in West Africa gives rise to specific forms of political, religious, and social resistance that often co-opt the discourse against corruption as a rallying cry against queer rights activism. What this chapter unpacks is the disconnect between visions of development that integrate human rights as a general principle but that exclude in practice the contribution of queer persons to development. From Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Cote d’Ivoire, economic suspicion placed upon sexual minorities and transgender persons is costly because it heightens homophobia. Where economic opportunities are taken as a zero sum game, international funding that goes to queer organizing and issues creates local resentment because it is perceived as a financial divestment from more legitimate priorities. In an era of post structural adjustments and shrinking government intervention in social life, contention about resource allocations constantly put queer communities in West Africa under attack. This chapter helps one appreciate the necessity of17 and challenges in implementing an inclusive development agenda that takes sexual and gender identity diversity seriously in West Africa. Otu ends this section with a reflection on queer self-making as a process of negotiating belonging in neoliberal Ghana. In this chapter, Otu juxtaposes normative tropes of identity formation with their underlying complexities among the sassoi, effeminate men (although not exclusively) of Jamestown, Ghana. He draws on African social theory and criticism to ethnographically interpret urban ritualized spaces (such as outdoorings, weddings, festivals, 8

Introduction

funerals, puberty rites) as self-fashioning opportunities for the sassoi. These ritualized spaces make sassoi subjectivity “not only queer, but particularly Ghanaian” in the sense that they showcase modalities of queer self-making predicated upon finding a balance between communal imperatives and individual’s aspirations. Otu’s chapter shifts from familiar narratives of queer victimology in Africa to highlight the unfamiliar ways in which sassoi men negotiate economic independence and belonging in society, including within communities of faith through camouflage and blunt displays of the selves as “scrambled [neoliberal] subjects.” For the sassoi in this chapter, “hybrid is the new breed.” Part VI offers perspectives on social education, or the ways in which queer initiatives and other social institutions broker knowledge about gender identity and sexual diversity in Africa. Darkoa starts off with a personal reflection on the self. She narrates her socialization as a bisexual woman grappling with convenience and vulnerability in asserting herself as a gender-fluid person. Interviews with other queer women in Egypt and Haiti/ Canada bring a diasporic perspective on the ordinariness and complexities of gender and sexual identity formation and negotiation. Yaa Udoro and Miedema introduce the readers to community learning in the classroom at basic, secondary, and university levels in Ethiopia and Ghana. They discuss how culturally inflected silences and vocabularies inform sex education, and gender norms and identities. Key to their interest is whether or not knowledge, teaching, and learning about sex and sexuality become more inclusive as students graduate from one level to another. In Ghana, sexual education is integrated in the social sciences curriculum at all levels of education, whereas in Ethiopia, only the primary and secondary levels include sexual education heavily focused on biological rather than social dynamics. Through ethnographic surveys of lecturers, students, parents, and administrators, two key findings about sex education emerge. First, personal characteristics and background rather than the level of education, gender, and age, impacted the lecturers’ lexical choice and attitudes toward the use of silence or innuendo as pedagogical strategies in Ghana. Second, students’ comfort levels and curiosity about sex education in basic and secondary schools in Ethiopia are correlated with the sense of safety that the teachers are able to convey. These findings remind us of the reality and power of internalized biases in explaining avoidance of integrated learning about human sexuality and gender diversity. Moreover, they also remind us of the reason why sexuality is important to educational curriculum: It is in demand because it is the most natural experience for all. The chapter explores the many preventive reasons why sex and sexuality education matter in African schools and understands how internalized biases deter the educators’ zeal to discuss sex in general. It is not just the university as an institution that needs to change in terms of destigmatizing sexual education. This chapter shows that teachers and lecturers are in need of professional training opportunities that enable them to effectively engage in honest conversations in the classroom about human sexuality today. The reality in many African societies is that younger generations live in a hybrid world where information is increasingly accessible. Guyasi-Guyamerah’s and Søgaard’s interviews of young adults (16 to 28 years old) in Ghana show that the general population and collegebound young adults favor social openness to discussing and understanding human sexuality. They see institutions of higher learning playing a key role in the socialization of learning but remain realistic about the limitations of institutional reform (by law or political mandate) alone. Socializing queer lives as a community learning process entails, from the evidence presented in this chapter and non-exclusively, understanding how the family and social maternity matrix (see also Kisubi Mbasalaki in this volume) mitigate and at times outweigh homophobic considerations. 9

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Formal comprehensive sexuality education remains contentious in Africa and Thoreson’s concluding contribution to this handbook documents continent-wide cases of sexual panics over same-sex practices or gender identity, targeting LGBTQ youths in schools in Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Malawi, Nigeria, and South Africa. Expulsions and suspensions are common treatments for young queer pupils and if in South Africa students sometimes succeed in legally contesting egregious treatments, such a remedy is not an option elsewhere. Fear of contagion often prompts school administrators in selected countries to take drastic decisions that are detrimental to the education of students labeled or outed as queer. Thoreson rightly observes, while suspensions impair the right to education in an immediate way, they also have deleterious effects on other rights throughout the lifespan. Where students rely on educational attainment and credentials to secure employment and socioeconomic rights to work, housing, and healthcare, depriving LGBTQ youth access to education jeopardizes their well-being in an irreversible way. One way of addressing this issue is to adopt a global agenda that leverage creative and constructive solutions to keeping LGBTQ youth in schools. “We are like pods … Pods though one, crack on multiple sides,” writes Azuah in her characterization of queer life in Africa. This handbook shows the many ways in which queer life in Africa cracks following multiple streams thematized in this volume. Care, participation, morality and ethics, techniques and technologies, neoliberalism and social education have been interrogated and analyzed to render visible the ongoing transformations and resistance within African societies, as well as the inventiveness of queer presence in negotiating belonging. Cases and reflections offered here speak of hope, vulnerability, and resilience. Cracking as it may, queer life in Africa is also splitting open the political space for inclusive citizenship. Botswana, following Mozambique in 2015, decriminalized homosexuality in 2019, just as this handbook was being completed. It is hoped that cases and perspectives presented here contribute to demystifying queer agency in Africa’s futures that are bound to be more inclusive and that in so doing, future work will include more trans perspectives missing in this handbook. As Teyie puts it poetically, Africa may tell herself she is too busy now, but it is hoped she won’t forget to come out, tomorrow.

Notes 1 Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2007, 36. 2 Nyanzi, Stella. “Queering Queer Africa.” In Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities, edited by Zethu Matebeni, 65–70. Johannesburg: Modjaji Books, 2014. 3 Nyeck, S.N. “The Autobiography of Things Left Undone: Politics of Literature, Hyphenation and Queered Friendship in Africa.” Transcript, Vol. 1, February (2011): 172–198. 4 Nyeck, S.N. “Mobilizing against the Invisible: Erotic Nationalism, Mass Media, and the ‘Paranoid Style’ in Cameroon.” In Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory and Citizenship, edited by S.N. Nyeck and Marc Epprecht, 151–187. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013. 5 Winner, Steeves. “Gay Muslim Is Dead, But He’s Still Barred from Cameroon Cemetery.” Rights Africa, 2 October 2018. https://bit.ly/2K4TpTu, accessed May 2019. 6 Associated Press. “Even after Death, Abuse against Gays Continues.” Associated Press, 4 November 2010. https://nbcnews.to/2W3RhCZ, accessed May 2019. 7 Nyamjoh, Francis. “Blinded by Sight: Divining the Future of Anthropology in Africa.” Africa Spectrum, Vol. 47, no. 2–3 (2012): 63–92 at 65. 8 Ibid., 65.

10

Introduction

9 Ibid., 65. 10 Tamale, Sylvia. “Gender Trauma in Africa: Enhancing Women’s Links to Resources.” Journal of African Law, Vol. 48, no. 1 (2004): 50–61. 11 Nyeck, S.N. “To Be or Not to Be a Lesbian: The Dilemma of Cameroon’s Women Soccer Players.” In African Women Writing Resistance: An Anthology of Contemporary Voices, edited by Jennifer Browdy et al., 85–89. University of Wisconsin Press, 2010. 12 Kaoma, Kapya. “Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.” Boston: Political Research Associates, 2009. https://bit.ly/2xTDIaL, accessed May 2019. 13 Oduyoye, Mercy. Introducing African Women’s Theology. London: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001, 67. 14 Nyeck, S.N. “Queer Fragility and Christian Social Ethics: A Political Interpolation of the Catholic Church in Cameroon.” In Christianity and Controversies in Contemporary Africa, edited by Ezra Chitando and Adriaan van Klinken, 112–122. New York: Routledge, 2016. 15 Nyeck, S.N. “African Religions, the Parapolitics of Discretion and Sexual Ambiguity in Oral Epics.” Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, no. 155 (2016): 88–104. 16 Nyeck, S.N. “Africa and Neoliberalism.” In Global Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History, edited by Howard Chiang, Anjali Arondekar, Marc Epprecht, Jennifer Evans, Ross Forman, Hanadi al-Samman, Emily Skidmore, and Zeb Tortorici, 1132–1137. New York: Cengage Learning, 2019. 17 Nyeck, S.N. “Stretching the Margins and Trading Taboos: A Paradoxical Approach to Sexual Rights Advocacy in Africa.” In Sexuality and Politics: Regional Dialogue from the Global South, edited by Sonia Corrêa, Rafael de la Dehesa, and Richard Parker. Sexuality Policy Watch, Vol. 1 (2014): 63–95.

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Part I

Perspectives on care

Plum Leaves Alexis Teyie Where are the prophets we were promised? I came looking for them, the messengers, In your breasts. Those painful, exquisite things. Touchstones. I said that and you laughed. So I tried again: refraction. You didn’t find that funny, but listen, Whatever you are, there are certain tasks, The tasks of your life, that cannot be delegated. Submit to life. Apprentice yourself to it—this, of course, Is what I should have said. What happened Instead is this: the bedspread remained Unturned, and the beers unfinished. I should have said, this is our time, now. Enough with the heaviness, the hiding. No more scrounging for love. Are we uglier than everyone else, Crueler, more cowardly? Why all the codes, the sidelong Glances, all that unseemliness. Must we be denied even the mundane, Will we forever be robbed of the simple things. Staging fantasies in counterpoint, I’m no different from anyone else.

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Part I

I prowl the corridors of that memory, Wishing I’d opened a different door, Hoping I’d stayed in a different room. The room that smelled of fennel seeds, Plum leaves and cardamom. That sacred Room, and us, frenzied, wounded. Gloves Unoma Azuah Our lives are five live fingers Etched across a skyline Our lives are like giant gloves in the air But like costumes They have to fit their roles Gloves of grief Gloves of love And gloves for play Glittering across a full hall Fanning laughter across a sea of faces Gloves of grief may not be swapped for gloves of love Some gnarled fingers stay the same Even in bright gloves Roles like tossed dices don’t roll into cracked edges and remain the same.

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1 Traditional African systems of land ownership and their impact on lesbian women Jennifer Shinta Ayebazibwe

Carol P. Christ offers a very useful definition of patriarchy that I will adopt because it encapsulates what is at the heart of this chapter: Patriarchy is a system of male dominance, rooted in the ethos of war which legitimates violence, sanctified by religious symbols, in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality, with the intent of passing property to male heirs, and in which men who are heroes of war are told to kill men, and are permitted to rape women, to seize land and treasures, to exploit resources, and to own or otherwise dominate conquered people.1 Any reference to patrilineal inheritance in this chapter has this definition in mind and highlights the place of lesbian women and all those who are not considered vital, in the perpetuation of patriarchy. “Omushaija n’omushaija,” a Runyakole (Bantu language from South Western Uganda) phrase that literally translates into “a man is a man,” is a common saying that can be found in most Bantu languages. It is also a shared expression in whatever form it manifests itself in the broader patriarchal world: “Be a man!” “you are the man,” “grow some balls!” “grow a pair!” All these injunctions imply the same thing: The inherent superior value attributed to maleness as opposed to femaleness. Put differently, no matter what a woman does, achieves or amounts to, she is believed to never reach equal value, status, and ability to a man. A man by birthright and socio-politically sanctioned beliefs and practices is considered a full person deserving respect, even as a child. Women in most societies are made conscious of their subordinated status to men from birth, lest they somehow believe themselves equally valuable or find a way to change their status. Hierarchical ideas and attitudes toward gender are socially sanctioned and pervasive in education and inform the ways in which resources are allocated even under progressive state constitutions. Women who understand and uphold this patriarchal value system are likely to share in the spoils through their proximity to maleness. They find ways to get closer to the source of power sometimes by reinforcing stereotypical ideas about “feminine charms” and marriage. Those recalcitrant to patriarchy and without alternative route to power often find themselves at the margins of society. For instance, patrilineal inheritance customs and laws 15

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dispossess women in general, and more specifically those without the advantage of male favor. These inheritance systems adversely affect single mothers, widows, lesbian women, and divorcees. More specifically, lesbian women in rural areas become outcasts because they are ineligible for inheritance under such traditions. They often have no option than to either be condemned to poverty, or attempt to pursue life in the cities that provide respite and anonymity but where other gender-based dangers lurk. No data exist regarding land ownership for queer people in Africa or elsewhere since land ownership statistics are generally based on binary heteronormative surveys. The absence of data is not accidental and should therefore be read and understood for what it really implies: That queer people and especially lesbian women have largely been neglected from land survey data and excluded from land inheritance. The omission of queer data on land inheritance is a good indication of how well African communities, especially those in rural areas, treat populations that aren’t male, heterosexual or able to reproduce. Although focus here is on lesbian women, one should keep in mind that on a larger societal spectrum, this category functions symbolically as a placeholder for the deviant and undesirable in society. Hence, lesbian women are the representatives of the marginalized and the discarded and their struggle for land inheritance should be approached from an intersectional perspective. In addition, Africa’s population is still predominantly rural with urban centers generally accounting for only a third of the entire continent.2 It is also true that women make up most of the production capacity in rural areas, especially in food production. Yet, women remain the minority when it comes to land ownership. This inequality therefore makes land a very focal point of contestation and interest in the fight for women’s emancipation, including queer women’s rights. However, lesbian women have been generally excluded from this debate, with the primary focus being heterosexual women. The reasoning behind this heterosexual focus might be valid given that straight women are considered the majority, although no one knows for sure. But examining the position of lesbian women in the struggle for female land ownership in Africa has the potential to highlight the plight of minority groups as well as unearth socio-cultural biases that hinder the process of creating more just and inclusive societies. Systems of land tenure vary from country to country, ranging from individual to collective. But what does it mean to have equal rights to secure land tenure? For the purposes of this essay, I retain the following definition: “Secure rights to land are rights that are clearly defined, long-term, enforceable, appropriately transferable, and legally and socially legitimate. Women’s exercise of these rights should not require consultation or approval beyond that required of men.”3 Land tenure in Africa has gradually shifted away from collective to individual land ownership in line with capitalist economic models that took root after the fall of communism in the late 1980s. This is because not only land is an important factor of production and a tradeable good. It is for this reason specifically that women’s and queer land rights should be entrenched if they are to compete in the resource allocation process and potentially benefit from the free market economic system. The laws governing the process by which land changes hands also vary greatly in Africa, but one finds similarity in clash or obstruction that cultural norms opposed to formal legal regimes or constitutions create. Inheritance is still the primary channel via which land changes ownership and it is also where the disparity between law and custom, men and women is most manifest. Patrilineal inheritance customs, which greatly favor men, make women who don’t fit the heteronormative mold inherent in traditional values (unmarried, single mothers, divorcees, and lesbians) hold the very short end of the stick. In Nigeria, for 16

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instance, even though the constitution protects persons of all gender from discrimination and guarantees equality under the law, customary and religious laws also guide inheritance rights. In Islamic law, for example, which is the only law in nine of Nigeria’s Muslim majority states, the female children get a half of what the male children get; the wife gets a quarter of her husband’s estate after deductions. In the case of multiple wives that quarter is divided equally among them and those who have converted to other religions are disinherited. However, if a wife dies, her estate is automatically transferred to the husband.4 This treatment is ironically still more just in comparison to customary law where female inheritance is not stipulated at all and women are left at the mercy of male relatives. The customary laws are subject to tribal laws and therefore vary based on this basis. Because of their patrilocality these inheritance laws trace their origin and value through males, women are generally excluded from decisions about property transfer or inheritance. For example, Chika and Nneka exemplify how the Igbo women in Nigeria are extremely short-changed when it comes to matters of inheritance when they write, The Igbo customary law is basically patrilineal in nature; and therefore, the cardinal principle of customary inheritance is by primogeniture. Land and landed property, devolve under this system on the males, to the exclusion of daughters and wives. Igbo customary law by implication denies the female genders the right to inherit their deceased husbands’ or fathers’ landed property, thus their inheritance rights are grossly marginalized and jeopardized. In fact, this custom has surprisingly, received judicial approval by our superior courts of record.5 In contrast to Nigeria, Uganda has a very progressive constitution with regard to women’s land rights. The 2004 and 2010 amendments to the Land Act go as far as to stipulate the structure of land management bodies. Accordingly, The Uganda Land Commission must include at least two females among its five members, one-third of the membership of the District Land Boards must be female, and Area Land Committees at the parish level must have at least one female among their four members. Under Section 17 (4) (b) at least one-third of the members of the Communal Land Association must be female. These Associations are corporate bodies which may be formed under the Land Act by any group of persons on any land for any purpose connected with communal land ownership and management of land.6 The rights of the wife are also clearly specified in the Ugandan constitution, in that a husband may not make any decisions related to the family land without the consent of the wife and on dissolution of their marriage, half of their property would be legally hers. In practice however, it is still difficult to enforce these due to patriarchal traditions. For example, Kyembabazi was married to Muhirwe for over 12 years, they live on Muhirwe’s family land in Rubindi – a village in south-western Uganda. Out of four pregnancies she was only able to carry one child to term, a girl. Muhirwe went looking elsewhere for a woman capable of producing male heirs. Luckily, Kyembabazi knew her spousal rights and with the help of friends took Muhirwe to court. He, being a reasonable man, bequeathed her a portion of his land on condition that she live with their daughter. Everyone agreed that Muhirwe had done right by Kyembabazi. It would be unreasonable to expect him to transfer a portion of the family land into her name, she was welcome to stay on the land for 17

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as long as she wished. The village elders approved. In the above scenario Muhirwe is clearly the master of his universe, whereas Kyembabazi’s fortunes are subject to his generosity. Although very small in comparison to the first two countries discussed with a population of just over 1.3 million people, Swaziland deserves a mention in this chapter because it epitomizes the vulnerability of women in general and specifically lesbian women in an unapologetically patriarchal and homophobic society. It is also a perfect example of the implications of denying women rights to land and property given its high rates of HIV, gender-based violence and forced and child marriages. As Brook et al. note,7 The laws of Swaziland greatly restrict women’s rights to land and personal property at all stages of life, discriminating against women on the basis of gender, marital status, and marital regime. Under Swazi law and custom, a chief allocates communal Swazi Nation Land to a woman only through her husband, male relatives, or male children. Because land rights vest in males and women are considered inferior, a woman has no security on communal land, and may be evicted by her husband, her in-laws, and her chief for almost any reason, including adultery, witchcraft, and the inability to bear male children. A woman will also struggle to access private property because she has insufficient economic resources, she cannot register the land in her name when she is married under civil rites, and she requires her husband’s permission to administer the land. Furthermore, a husband married under customary law or civil rites may exercise his marital power to control community property as well as his wife’s personal property and income without her consent, treating her like a minor. A married woman may not sell livestock and crops that she raised, dispose of household items, access her bank account, or obtain a bank loan without the consent of her husband. Finally, at the break up of customary and civil rites marriages, a woman is deprived of property to which she has contributed because she owns nothing of value, her husband can unilaterally dispose of property to deprive her of her share, and the traditional authorities and civil courts unfairly divide the marital estate. From the above it is clear that those women who do not share intimate relationships with men in Swaziland are exceptionally vulnerable. This despite the adoption of the 2005 constitution which claims to protect individual liberties and access to property as well as gender equality under sections 20 and 28 and declares any contrary laws void. Moreover, although Swaziland has undertaken to ensure gender equality by working to change mindsets resulting from social, cultural, and religious practices as a signatory to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on Gender and Development which is a recognition by member countries of the need for gender equality and equity on the path to sustainable development and good governance, in effect little has been done to ensure implementation or change the lived reality of women. The majority of the customary laws in Africa are premised on patriarchal convention. Therefore, even if constitutions are getting increasingly progressive and countries are recognizing the importance of protecting women’s rights to inheritance and property, tradition still poses challenges. The general understanding is that family land and property belong to male relatives who are willing to protect it as a birthright, at whatever cost. Furthermore, except for South Africa where LGBT rights are protected by the constitution and queer people have the right to get married and adopt, a majority of African states either criminalize homosexuality or offer no protection against discrimination. Surprisingly, homosexuality is 18

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not illegal in more than a third of the 56 African states, such as Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, and Rwanda to mention a few. Rights to marriage and adoption or protection against discrimination, however, are generally not provided for under the constitutions of those countries and social discrimination is prevalent. Mauritius ironically offers queer people some protection against discrimination, yet still legally criminalizes homosexuality, mostly through colonial laws where persons guilty of sodomy are eligible for up to five years imprisonment. Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, and Sudan are downright hostile to queer people, with laws either handing them death sentences or long-term prison sentences. If found guilty of aiding and abetting the homosexuals, friends and relatives are also targeted in these states – a policy that further ostracizes and weakens the efforts of lesbian women struggling to get a fair share of community-held resources such as land. The implications of this tension between formally progressive state institutions without social acceptance, or outright repression on all levels are multifaceted. Firstly, queer people are not in positions to create traditional families that are protected and recognized under the law. In some cultures, unmarried people are not considered adults; an attitude that infantilizes the celibates and decreases their chances of success in land disputes. Most lesbians find themselves in this situation. Secondly, queer people in intimate relationships are not able to pool resources in a legally protected union – this undermines their capacity to apply for loans or start businesses. Thirdly, communal land distribution processes are most likely to prioritize heterosexual married couples when allocating land, and it is doubtful that queer people already perceived as cultural deviants will be taken seriously. Fourthly, because in Africa queer people can’t get legally married outside of South Africa, they have no recourse should their relationship fail and disputes concerning property distribution arise. Lastly, lesbian women coming from cultures similar to the Igbo are automatically at a resource disadvantage in a same sex relationship with no possible land asset acquired through inheritance to confer to the relationship. This is because in patriarchal societies men are expected to inherit and oversee family property, whereas women are expected to marry and move to the husband’s family home. This would all be well and good if we lived in a perfect world, but unfortunately or fortunately depending on where one is standing, we do not. Death, gender-based violence, infertility, and most importantly, sexuality to name a few, all come together to make this system unsustainable. In the past African traditions made provision for women who failed at marriage or could not get married. These women, however, were not expected to inherit the same size or quality portions of land as male siblings or make important and binding decisions concerning family land. By way of personal experience, my maternal grandfather owned a substantial amount of land which went to my uncles upon his death, leaving my mother and aunts at their mercy should they not find a husband or should their marital situation not work out. The women in this family were each allocated a male sibling as a guardian of sorts for any negative eventualities. Similarly, my father was one of five children and he and his two brothers inherited all the family land while the female siblings were left in the same precarious position as my mother, except that in the case of my father’s family, no formal arrangement existed to secure my paternal aunts’ wellbeing should marriage fail. Thus my father, as the oldest sibling, would in case of any unforeseen development automatically assume the role of a guardian. Luckily for my mother and all the women mentioned above, heterosexuality came to the rescue and through marriage, they acquired access to land, albeit tentatively. Highly regarded African philosophers like Ramose8 and Menkiti9 have made arguments about the fragmentation of the individual in the Western value systems. These are premised 19

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on the human rights model espoused by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights10 adopted in 1948, which apportions entitlements in bits and pieces, in contrast to the African pre-colonial context where individuals were apparently regarded holistically in relation to those around them as well as the physical environment. Some of the backlash on the continent against women’s and queer rights advocacy is because of these kinds of arguments. Part of the issue with this approach, however, is that men who enjoy a privileged position in the ecosystem have authored the bulk of theoretical content on the continent. The theory of a holistic African personhood is not necessarily inaccurate, but not all animals have ever been equal. Women and minority groups have been sacrificed in patriarchal societies; their silence and oppression used as adhesive for communal cohesion. Even when provisions are made to cater for women and queer persons, they are usually not allocated the same level of importance or freedoms socially. As previously stated, the last decade of the 20th century saw a movement to modernize and reform land tenure systems in Africa in line with the free market capitalist models of development. Constitutions have been amended to empower individuals and end communal land tenure systems.11 Advocacy for the inclusion of women has paid off in some places where formal institutions have complied with the demand for equal rights. However, these changes mainly enforced by state formal apparatuses do not yet penetrate the rural areas as one might wish. Thus, formal change does not always reflect or precede change in the grassroots value systems – which are still very much male-centered. The lived reality of the rural African woman is for the most part still unchanged. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Action Aid, Oxfam, and Women and Land, are doing the work on the ground of educating women about their rights and what avenues are open for them to deal with land disputes. In spite of these efforts, the challenges women face when trying to claim their right to land ownership are daunting. For instance, in the Acholi culture of northern Uganda, a woman is not allowed to own land or any other significant property such as cattle; in fact, the woman herself is considered a man’s property as Scalise notes, among [the] Acholi in Uganda, husbands pay a bride price to their wives’ fathers, and this payment supports the traditional belief that women are the “property” of the husband, since a payment was made for her. This belief underlies the customary land tenure rule that prohibits women from having rights to land independent of their relationship with their father or husband. Acholi men say, “Property can’t own property”, and the notion of women having independent land rights is an anomaly to them.12 Decision-making is inevitably the purview of men in such circumstances. One notes that women’s concerns do not take center stage, regardless of how well meaning or well disposed the men in the tribe are toward women. These traditions automatically marginalize, infantilize, and problematize women. This marginalization is exacerbated by the higher rates of illiteracy in women compared to men,13 which stems from the undervaluation of female potential. Hence, if a choice is to be made between educating male or female children, male children who are considered assets to the family will get priority. In fact, in some instances, the female children are married off very young when the family can’t afford to feed another mouth or to collect the bride price which is then used to educate the male children. In other instances, families see female education as a waste of money, whether they can afford it or not. Subsequently, the high rates of child marriages in some states in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria having the highest,14 lead to double 20

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marginalization of lesbian women unable to negotiate themselves out of forced marriage to men. Very little thought is ever given to sexual orientation and the right to bodily autonomy in such coercive situations. As bad as the situation is for heterosexual women, it is far worse for lesbian women who end up in forced heterosexual marriages. Across the continent as we have seen, customary law is enforced by traditional structures mainly in rural areas. Men still preside over most traditional institutions. Even in the rare instances like the Shambyu Traditional Authority of Namibia, where female representation is part of the traditional dispensation, the highest office of hompa (title of a traditional leader) [is] held by a woman (the late Hompa Angelina Matumbo Libebe), and women [make] up a majority of the Chief Council (eight of 12 members). Additionally, approximately 50% of the village headmen [are] women. Historically, both men and women have served in the capacity of hompa … However, more may be needed to ensure that the positive customary practice of including women in leadership positions strengthens the standing of women who come before these bodies to request land. In the Namibia case, women’s representation in leadership itself was not sufficient to change deeply held customs related to women’s rights to land.15 The above observation highlights persisting patriarchal and heteronormative value systems and how they hold back even the most progressive traditions in Africa. In most cases heterosexual married persons, men and/or individuals with children are most likely to make a convincing case for themselves, in which scenario lesbian women’s chances of acquiring land are very minimal, if non-existent. Issues affecting women are likely to be trivialized unless their male relatives (fathers, brothers or husbands) presented them. Even in contexts such as Uganda where female representation is stipulated by the constitution, it is still the norm in most places that men are considered family heads and subsequently family representatives in land distribution processes. It is usually under their names that the land is registered on behalf of families. Tradition therefore appears to run parallel to modern laws and institutions and its effect on women is at least twofold: Tradition prevents substantive inclusion of women’s concerns in land inheritance despite political representation in some bureaus. Tradition also compels women to defer to men as husbands, fathers or brothers in decision-making. Tradition is therefore debilitating lesbian women who would lack any form of representation in the public domain and don’t share intimate spaces with men. For heterosexual women, however, seduction can still be considered as a way out of destitution, even if tentative. As Tamale highlights, The gendered male “public” space is the key to power, privilege, opportunities and wealth. And the ideological boundary between the private and the public spaces was designed to limit and control women’s access to the resources associated with the public space. It is important to note that while women are generally restricted to the marginal domestic “private” space, men not only have free and easy access, but they are also the bosses in this space. Women’s access to the public space, on the other hand, is extremely limited and is controlled by men. Patriarchy uses several tools including culture, law and religion to safeguard the public sphere as a domain of male hegemony; it will resist any attempts by women who try to make the transition to the public

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sphere … Masculine standards operate as a delicate “glass ceiling” that stops many women from entering the public world.16 Subsequently, if unmarried women, single mothers, and lesbian women succeed in legally claiming their land rights, it is certain to cause antagonism in their families and communities. They will be accused of undermining customs and threatening the proper way of doing things by adopting modern ways usually seen as Western. The logical conclusion here then is that should the harvest be poor or the rain be insufficient, these women are likely to take the blame as punishment for in effect attempting to destroy the patriarchal social order. Additionally, it appears that as with most policies related to human rights, the fight for women’s land rights has been driven primarily by external forces, at least in terms of providing financial and intellectual resources because women generally lack the power to effect this change on their own, especially in rural settings where remoteness and illiteracy impede the capacity to organize. The consequence of externally driven land reform processes is that it has the potential to further undermine women’s agency since it is perceived as an alien imposition threatening traditional gender roles as well as patriarchal authority. Those who intend on protecting the status quo resist at the grassroots level. Unintended consequences abound. Family conflicts are experienced in instances where women inherit as much land as their male siblings. Spiteful relatives might cut off water and main routes by fencing off their portion of land. Consequently, women may feel the need to channel infrastructural development away from their husbands’ family homes to avoid any future complications or disputes; a decision that can potentially impact family and communal cohesion negatively and possibly lead to higher rates of divorce. Also, the criminalization of same-sex marriages throughout Africa serves to further marginalize lesbian women. If a woman’s access to land is dependent on male favor then lesbian women will be even less likely to have access to land or any recourse should their siblings accuse them of homosexuality to deny them of their inheritance. Relatives can use sexuality to successfully evict lesbians with the support of the local officials. This vulnerability places same sex relationships at the periphery of the justice system. What then are the inferences of women and especially lesbian women’s exclusion from land? To answer this question, it is important to appreciate what land means to African people. Aside from the obvious value of land as a crucial factor of production, especially in Africa where subsistence farming is still the main source of sustenance and income, land fosters belonging. There are many rituals regarding one’s birth, maturity, and death that are embedded in access to land. The inability to own land impinges lesbian women’s sense of self and sense of belonging. In this context, women navigate identity precariously, their place subject to relationships with husband, sons or male siblings. Nkosi makes a valuable argument for the importance of land in Africa, In many African families the umbilical cord of a new born baby is buried. In other communities when a boy is circumcised, the foreskin and blood is also buried. The sacredness of land in Africa is further linked to the fact that our ancestors are buried in it. Without land, we would not have a home for a dead body. That is why we kneel barefooted next to the grave when we want to communicate anything to our ancestors, showing a lot of respect for the land on which they lie. When death strikes in a family, no one is allowed to till the land. We mourn until that person is buried. After a funeral, in some cultures, we do not touch the soil with a hoe, do not plough or till the land until a ritual of cleansing the family is performed. Some communities like the AmaZulu, 22

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do not till the land for a year when a member of a royal family has passed away. The Zulu tribe believes that the elders and young men must go to hunt so that a sacrifice can be made to the ancestors before the land where a leader is to be buried is touched.17 In the business setting, land also acts as collateral when acquiring loans from banks meaning that those who own it can invest in infrastructure and expand production, and thereby improve their quality of life. The lack of access to land for women also aggravates other issues such as gender-based violence and domestic abuse. Women are more likely to stay with abusive partners if their autonomy is compromised. And for lesbian women, chances of getting into involuntary sex work, drug, and alcohol abuse may be worsened. I grew up in a context where physically abused women had no other option but to stay in abusive marriages because firstly, the family land had been left to male relatives who saw it as their legacy and were unwilling to share it with their disadvantaged female siblings, and secondly, the implications of landlessness given its spiritual importance as argued by Nkosi and consequences on their children left them with no choice. In the instances where marriages failed and female siblings were forced to return home, relatives would encourage them to return to abusive spouses because their presence upset the delicate balance male siblings would have created on the family land with their spouses. This is how patriarchy robs women of personal agency while making them complicit in their own oppression. There is a need to queer the issue of land reform and to center those who are traditionally left out of this debate in Africa. This demographic might be considered too small and too insignificant given the many problems facing the continent, but doing so has the capacity to bring to the fore biases in the current approach that disadvantage those deemed inconsequential in a patriarchal value system. The current advocacy for women’s land rights has been promoted based on productivity grounds – female empowerment is good for everyone because children are healthier and communities more prosperous when women’s land rights are protected. I do, however, think it is time to expand the discourse by bringing in the queer element. Doing so will add greater depth and unearth underlying presumptions buried in patriarchy which undermine the quality of life of all those not privileged enough to be direct beneficiaries of this system.

Notes 1 Christ, Carol P. “Patriarchy as a System of Male Dominance Created at the Intersection of the Control of Women, Private Property, and War, Part 1.” February, 18, 2013. https://bit.ly/ 2WkUytB accessed May 2019. 2 Kessides, Christine. The Context of Urban Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, from Urban Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implication for Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction. Washington DC: World Bank, 2006, 5, https://bit.ly/2XWd4J4 accessed May 2019. 3 Center for Women’s Land Rights Landesa. Women’s Secure Rights to Land: Benefits, Barriers, and Best Practices. New Delhi: Landesa, 2012, 1. https://bit.ly/2UVmouV accessed May 2019. 4 Olagbegi-Oloba, V.B. “Women’s Right to Land Ownership in Nigeria: A Critical Examination.” ABUAD Journal of Public and International Law Vol. 1, No. 1 (2015): 1–13. 5 Ifemeje, Sylvia Chika and Umejiaku, Nneka. “Discriminatory Cultural Practices and Women’s Rights among the Igbos of South-East Nigeria: A Critique.” Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization Vol. 25 (2014): 18–27, at 21. https://bit.ly/2UVeQIL accessed May 2019. 6 Hannay, Leslie. Women’s Land Rights in Uganda. Center for Women’s Land Rights Landesa, 2014, 4. https://bit.ly/2PKREvF accessed May 2019.

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7 Brook, Kelly, Marika, Maris, Nicolas, Mitchell, and Morao Karen. Women’s Equal Property and Land Rights Hold Key to Reversing Toll of Poverty and HIV/AIDS in Swaziland: A Human Rights Report and Proposed Legislation. The International Women’s Human Rights Clinic Georgetown University Law Center, 2009, 293. www.law.georgetown.edu/international-law-journal/wp-content/ uploads/sites/21/2018/08/1-Womens-Equal-Property-508.pdf. 8 Ramose, Magobe B. “Philosophy of Ubuntu and Ubuntu as a Philosophy.” In Philosophy from Africa: A Text with Readings, edited by P.H. Coetzee and A.P.J. Rou, 230–237. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 9 Menkiti, Ifeanyi. “Person and Community in African Traditional Thought.” In African Philosophy, and Introduction, edited by R. Wright, 180. Lantham: University Press of America, 1984. https:// bit.ly/2WkvfYF accessed May 2019. 10 United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New York: United Nations, 2015. https:// bit.ly/2hTiaDI accessed May 2019. 11 Busingye, Harriet. Customary Land Tenure Reform in Uganda; Lessons for South Africa. International Symposium on Communal Tenure Reform. Johannesburg: South Africa, 2002, 6–7. https://bit.ly/ 2JaND2h accessed May 2019. 12 Scalise, E. “Indigenous women’s land rights: case studies from Africa.” In State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. London: Minority Rights Group International, 2012, 53. https://bit.ly/ 2GTsFSY accessed May 2019. 13 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. “Fact Sheet No. 45, FS/2017/ LIT/45.” New York: United Nations, 2017. https://bit.ly/2y088ab accessed May 2019. 14 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. A Profile of Child Marriage in Africa. New York: United Nations, 2015. https://bit.ly/2kFNdoF accessed May 2019. 15 Center for Women’s Land Rights Landesa and Resource Equity. Gender & Collectively Held Land Good Practices & Lessons Learned from Six Global Case Studies. New Delhi: Landesa and Resource Equity, 2016, 12. https://bit.ly/2GYzpQA accessed May 2019. 16 Tamale, Sylvia. “Gender Trauma in Africa: Enhancing Women’s Links to Resources.” Journal of African Law Vol. 48, No. 1 (2004): 50–61, at 53. https://bit.ly/2DLT9ov accessed May 2019. 17 Nkhosi, Z. “Spirituality, Land and Land Reform in South Africa.” Echoes Issue, 16. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1999. https://bit.ly/2vz3WhB accessed May 2019.

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2 Queering love Sex, care, capital, and academic prejudices Rachel Spronk

Introduction In an important essay called “Queering queer Africa,” Stella Nyanzi (2014) wonders why queer African scholarship follows in the tracks of the Anglophone “loaded westernized frame of the LGBTI acronym,” and argues that queer Africa must broaden its scope so as to “explore and articulate local nuances of being non-heteronormative and non-gender conforming,” but also, crucially, to “demand a widening of the thematic focus for widening knowledge.” Namely, The canvas of possibilities demanding queer production of knowledge from Africa include relationships, pleasure, intimacy, parenthood, education, voice and expression, representation and visibility, housing and shelter, movement, migration, exile and asylum, employment, income generation, livelihoods, family, ritual, health, spirituality, religion, faith, ritual, violence, security and safety, nationalism, ethnicity, and globalization. (2014, 63) Being the “loud-mouthed … Black African heterosexual cisgender woman and mother … [and] Christian,” she describes how she is often misrecognized for not being “queer,” if not accused thereof. Queering the production of knowledge regarding gender and sexuality in Africa implies, according to Nyanzi, to move beyond essentializing understandings how body, desire, and gender intersect (see also Nyeck 2011, 194) and to include the vicissitudes of life that characterize many people’s lives dealing with the heteropatriarchal structures of their societies. In this chapter I engage with Nyanzi’s call and queer the production of knowledge regarding sexuality in African societies by broadening the scope beyond sexual orientation and focus on the deviations and divergences that a sexual life course can take. I will particularly focus on the role of money in relation to love and affection to tease out how “African contemporary realities suggest innovative analytical directions that are of global heuristic value for sexuality studies” (Hendriks and Spronk 2017, 28). Whereas, in many Western contexts, “sexuality” is starting to break down under its own conceptual weight (Halberstam

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2012), scholars in and from Africa have long recognized its limitations as an analytical frame for understanding various sexual and gendered articulations and experiences. In Douglas Clarke’s words: “Africa has a model for queer theory that is largely unexplored in the Western world” (2013, 175). In this chapter I wish to queer the normative implications of heterosexuality that pervades much scholarship1 by focusing on the concept of love. I will question the normative assumptions underlying the frequent use of the term “transactional sex” in relation to Africa so as to queer the concept of love. A Google scholar search of the term “transactional sex” yields 12,400 entries; 89 of the first 100 results pertain to studies on Africa.2 The majority of these articles are written from a public health perspective that has cemented itself as the global health discourse (Koplan et al. 2009). A similar search on Google scholar looking for studies concerning love, erotics or affection in Africa, only finds a handful of references (see also Tamale 2011, 4). This is no coincidence, in Binyavanga Wainaina’s words, “love between Africans is a taboo unless death is involved” (2005, 4). The very fact that love and affection are hardly taken into account in analyses of (same-sex and cross-sex) sexuality renders many explanations of people’s motivations and experiences as instrumental and calculated, hence suspect to a disapproving understanding of the transactionality of sex. The term “transactional sex” emerged in the early 1990s and it was regarded as an important descriptor of HIV transmission by the mid-1990s. Transactional sex is mostly defined as the exchange of gifts, shelter, food, money or any kind of capital for sex. It soon became clear that these exchanges could not be placed under the rubric prostitution as “[t]hese type[s] of relations fall outside the local and western definitions of ‘prostitution,’ the usual focus of studies on the materiality of non-marital sex” (Hunter 2010, 100). Prostitution is generally seen as the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment agreed upon by the transacting parties and it is discursively understood as excluding love. The term transactional sex was introduced to indicate more inclusive and longer-term sexual relationships (Hunter 2010). In the body of literature on this phenomenon there is roughly a division between transactional sex as motivated by the need for survival on the one hand and, on the other, by the desire for consumption. The term “survival sex” is interchangeably used with transactional sex and whereas the former usually implicates impoverished women, the latter has a wider connotation as it implicates a larger group of women who desire to improve their lives in a variety of ways. Based on the Google scholar search results, transactional sex seems to be a specific African phenomenon. This is, of course, not the case, so how then should we read this result? In this chapter I argue that this curious incidence is the consequence of a research tradition in the study of sexuality in Africa that is inflected by the Euro-American ideal of love, which obscures the intimate connection between love and financial support. The area of global health has become one of the major drivers of research on sexuality in Africa and particularly through the extensive research on HIV/AIDS (cf. Izugbara et al. 2010; Undie and Benaya 2008). It is important to understand how its goals favor certain areas of study, such as sexually transmitted infections or sexual violence, and exclude other themes such as erotic pleasure or affection. The asymmetrical production of knowledge is understandable from a public health perspective as the imperative is to reduce illness and social suffering, but it also needs to be analyzed for the effects it produces in understanding people in Africa. In other words, when one reads the academic literature on sexuality in Africa, people come across as rather loveless and instrumental in their relationships. However, this does not tell us anything about people in Africa but more about research agendas and practices. Indeed, in a volume on love in Africa, Cole and Thomas write that “[s]tudies that dissect African sexualities while ignoring affect contribute to Westerners’ persistent 26

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figuring of Africa as the ‘other’ of European enlightenment” (Cole and Thomas 2009, 4). There is thus need to identify ethnocentrism and how it is prone to (re)producing stereotypes and second, to return the outcome and use it to study global Western cultures as one of many in the world; i.e. to use the analyses based on African realities to study EuroAmerican lives. Below I first outline the ethnocentric trends underlying much research on sexuality in Africa that perceive intimacy and economy as separate spheres of social life (cf. Zelizer 2005). Then I present the life story of Violet, a Ghanaian woman whom I met during my research in 2011/12. Violet was a divorced mother of three children who successively engaged in sexual relationships with men when she needed financial assistance. A transactional perspective would explain her choices as calculating and/or a victim of double moral standards where women can use their sexual capital in exchange for financial favors, and it would likely not include the affection, pleasure, and companionship that such a relationship generates. In contrast, Violet’s life story brings into perspective how love and money are not mutually exclusive but are, in contrast, interdependent and mutually constitutive. Such an economy of love focuses on the way ideologies of affection intersect with material practices of care. This is in contrast to much Western scholarship, as Zelizer (2005) has argued, and therefore we need to “desacralize” love (Cole 2009) in scholarship and investigate how ideologies of intimate attachments intersect with an ideal of material reciprocity that structure relationships.

On the production of knowledge about sexuality in Africa Scholarship is the authoritative and legitimate site for the production of knowledge but it is less a neutral ground than it is often assumed to be. Science and technology studies (STS) consider science as “a set of practices that are shaped by their historical, organizational and social context” (Law 2004, 8). Scholarly knowledge comes from somewhere; it is produced in a variety of practices, in universities, research institutes, expert centers, consultancy reports, and scientific publications. These practices do not take place outside social contexts, but are shaped by it, and also shape the frameworks in return. They do not merely describe, but they make themes out of data, and in so doing they co-produce reality. The study of sexuality in African society is historically rooted in the field of public health, from concerns regarding population growth and environmental degradation to gender equality and reproductive health. Since the 1990s, the study of sexuality has taken a high flight and has diversified to meet different social and health questions. While this is not problematic in itself, the fact that sexuality came only to be studied as a problem (of sexually transmitted infections, of unwanted pregnancies, of violence, etc.) is problematic. The dominant focus on social problems and injustice in research on gender and sexuality has resulted in an epistemological loop where affection has become excluded, and where problems have dominated our way of understanding social life in African societies. It has resulted in a limited understanding of people’s behaviors, experiences, and motivations. The way transactional sex is overrepresented is not reflecting a “reality” we can find out there in Africa, it is the product of particular research patterns. Since early colonialism, Westerners have been preoccupied with the morality of the sexuality of people in Africa and particularly with what they deemed harmful practices such as clitoridectomy or polygyny and, consequently, “[t]he white man’s mission appeared to be both the ‘liberation’ of women and the ‘improvement of morals’” (Chanock 1985, 28). In the postcolonial era, the newly independent states participated in the creation of international 27

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bodies while setting up the much-needed health infrastructures (which the colonial administration did not) to reach all their citizens. In this era the promise of progress by eradicating poverty, contesting women’s suppression, and securing healthcare for all was tremendous and multilateral institutions such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were instrumental in fostering the idea of modernization to develop postcolonial countries from the 1970s onward. Clitoridectomy, for instance, became reframed as female genital mutilation and while polygyny was not an explicit question in health frameworks, the concern with population growth was accorded to it. Currently, the scale of what have become the numerous institutions and intersecting networks of global health is impressive. The goal, to provide health and wellbeing for all Africans is crucially important of course, yet it is also important to look at the underlying premises that have guided and continue to guide these objectives. My point is not to defend clitoridectomy or polygyny; instead, I want to take issue with the representation of “African” cultural peculiarities that undergird many public health efforts. The way AIDS has framed the perception of sexuality is important to outline here (cf. Tamale 2011) as the HIV/AIDS research field has tremendously affected the course of sexuality research in Africa and has been foundational for the emergence of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHS). According to Packard and Epstein (1991), the development of medical research on AIDS in Africa resembles earlier efforts to understand the epidemiology of tuberculosis and syphilis in Africa. In all three cases, early research focused on the question of why these diseases exhibited different epidemiological patterns in Africa to those exhibited in the West. Early explanations of these differences focused on the peculiarities of “African” behavior, while largely excluding the wide range of contextual factors. Packard and Epstein analyzed how these initial perceptions shaped the subsequent development of AIDS research, encouraging a premature narrowing of research questions. As early as 1991, the authors warned that, as has happened in the research on tuberculosis and syphilis, this early narrowing down might generate inadequate and inappropriate responses to the AIDS epidemic and limit our understanding of the disease. However, their warning did not seem to do anything to reconfigure the general scope of AIDS research, probably because of the pressure to act immediately on the imminent crisis. This pressure revived colonial constructions of black sexuality in the attempt to explain the heterosexual character of AIDS (Epprecht 2008); the idea of “Africans” as being sexually promiscuous by nature became a discursive reality once again (Aina 1990; Patton 1992). In other words, scientific knowledge is not objective or free from the effects of history and global hierarchical social relations. Research on sexuality in relation to AIDS (and other public health concerns) is incomplete because it harbors omissions in the knowledge it has produced (Izugbara et al. 2010; Undie and Benaya 2008). In short, a series of stereotypes seriously impedes research on African societies. One concerns the idea of Africans as a one population; i.e. we speak about Africa as a category (Ferguson 2006) in a way we never speak about Europeans or Asians. Second, the idea of the naturally polygynous African man is pervasive throughout the literature (Nyanzi et al. 2009; Spronk 2014). Third, the representation of the victimized African woman complements the former (Luke 2005). Interestingly, in the usage of transactional sex one can discern an interesting paradox. Whereas much of the global health discourse is focused on empowering African women, the subtext of transactional sex is that the same women are strategic and calculating agents when it comes to improving their lives by means of sex. Fourth, there is a prevailing impression that marriages in Africa are loveless due to, what Caldwell et al. infamously called, “lack of female pleasure” as a result of African descent systems that prioritize the family over the marital couple (1989). While their “African sexuality” thesis did not 28

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leave much space for the many variations and diversities that exist on the African continent, their thesis was eagerly taken up in public health and development sectors, as it appeared to offer an explanation for Africa’s supposed difference in the face of the imminent HIV crisis (Aina 1990; Iliffe 2006). Another trend is that most studies, if not all, focus on the impoverished groups of people in Africa. Focusing on the plight of marginalized groups is very important, but if this becomes the only area for social science research it lumps together a continent so diverse that it forecloses other important avenues of knowledge. As Murray and Myers (2007) state, we need to be more careful with taking the “degraded features of life” as the main foundation from which to study life in Africa, so as to avoid the stereotype of Africans as destitute and in need of help. These trends, from the focus on sexuality as a moral question to studying sex only as a problem, and the production of a monolithic African universe as poor are informed by what Mudimbe has called “the paradigm of difference” (1994). For centuries, EuroAmericans have viewed Africans as embodiments of all that they disdained: Foreignness, savagery, and irrationality. These views have been perceptively channeled into the biomedical languages of pathology (Vaughan 1991), and especially particular pathologies that belie Africans mostly, such as AIDS (Patton 1992). Furthermore, the ethnocentric perspective on love that informs many studies skews the understanding of the construction of a peculiar “African” transactional sex, exacerbates the prejudice. Hunter’s seminal book Love in the Time of AIDS (2010) effectively dispels many stereotypes impeding sexuality research in relation to AIDS by providing a historical account of the ways migration and severe economic decline have affected communities, families, and gender relations. In other words, rather than looking for cultural explanations of something typically African, a historical and material account of social life is needed to understand how a phenomenon called transactional sex is the result of structural violence across generations (see also Silberschmidt 2001). Nevertheless, while providing an account of the economy of the ways love and material reciprocity are related, studies such as Hunter’s do not address how and where affection functions in relationships.

The economy of love According to Zelizer (2005), in the global West, intimacy and economy are often seen as separate spheres and hostile worlds. The twin ideals of love as free from material interest and business as free from personal feelings are a pervasive truth in Western public and academic discourse. The idea that love transcends the financial union of a couple is a carefully kept ideal, despite its daily realities that show that they often sustain each other. The phrase “true love is blind” defines intimacy as rooted in an intangible and authentic emotion, a deep-seated affection that cancels out any calculable intention (Illouz 1997). In other words, economic exchanges between lovers expose a union that should, instead, be grounded in uncorrupted passions; only then will it be represented as true love. This understanding of love is intertwined with Christian ideals of humility and self-sacrifice: One is not supposed to love another for material gain or fame, one is supposed to love selflessly (Lindholm 2006). The need to desacralize love from its Euro-American inflections becomes imperative (Cole 2009) as such notions of love rule out any connection between financial assistance and communicating affection, leading to misunderstanding of the interconnections between love, sex, and money in different African societies, and beyond. In her work on intimate relations in Madagascar, Cole analyzes the interconnection between affective attachment and material reciprocity and its importance to the social fabric of society (2009). At the turn of the century, economic conditions have made it difficult for 29

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relationships to fulfill emotional and material needs and women negotiated notions of romantic love to gain money from their relationships to support others. Cole emphasizes the political economy of love and thus how people bargain economic possibilities in relation to their intimate partners. Her analysis privileges the importance of material reciprocity, possibly because she focuses on the limitations of making a living in a strained economy, while paying less attention to the emotional and affective qualities of these relationships. Passionate feelings are not part of the analysis, while they are probably crucial to people’s lives to sexually engage with another. Such an affective quality of the economy of love privileges experiences of desire, fondness, and sensations. The question thus is how to incorporate the affective qualities of intimacy in the notion of the economy of love. Hendriks (2016) is similarly concerned with the question how to understand erotic urban life and its intimate connection with the circulation of money in the democratic Republic of Congo. In his work on male sex–sex desires, he prefers to speak of a (homo)erotic economy rather than a sexual economy: [w]hile the sexual economy might evoke the direct or indirect exchange of sex for money and gifts, the homoerotic economy is not merely an “economy” because it gives rise to money and gift exchanges. It is rather an extant and imaginary network of interrelated subject positions that are libidinally invested and entangled in the usually unspoken homoerotic affordances of everyday urban life that largely exceed actual sexual contact and resonate with broader societal changes producing their own dynamics of desire. (2016, 233) Hendriks emphasizes the need to broaden up the notion of economy beyond an instrumental understanding of reciprocity, which is exactly what impedes the usage of the notion transactional sex. Instead, sex and capital are intimately connected in affective and erotic rather than calculated ways. Affection is crucial to the erotic economy, from having fun to being mesmerized, from being desired to being cared for, from manipulating to being manipulated, from making love to loving. Economy (from the Greek words οίκος, meaning “household” and νέμoμαι, meaning “to manage”), understood in its broadest sense, is the social domain of practices, imaginations, discourses, and material expressions, usually associated with the production, use, and management of resources, but it can also be used more figuratively. Managing a household, one’s personal life, a sexual affair are all naturally imbricated with the material qualities of social life, but it is perhaps the affective qualities such as desire and imagination that are the engine behind the particular choices. In Nyanzi’s words, we should queer sex so as to be able to focus on a larger economy of erotic desire. In order to do so I propose to look deeper into the notion of care as the central axis between love and sex(ual) desire. Caring for someone and being taken care of are importance affective practices to evaluate an intimate relationship and hence the meaning of love. Violet’s life story, focusing on her love relationships, shows how care and capital are intimately connected and mutually constituted.

Violet’s story In 2011 and 2012 I conducted fieldwork on the developments of social mobility and changing patterns of gender and sexuality on the southern coast of Ghana. I focused on ideas and practices of love and sexuality from an intergenerational perspective, in order to chart changes starting with late colonialism, through early independence, post-coloniality, and up 30

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to the current era of globalization.3 Together with two research assistants we collected 63 life stories and through these individuals we collected their family histories, with the youngest being 21 years and the oldest 89 years old. Violet, a pseudonym, was 41 years old in 2011 and her (cross-sex) sexual biography matches the definition of transactional sex to a large extent. She has had shifting relations in the course of her life and many of these were underpinned by the flow of financial assistance from her male partners. In 2011, when I met Violet, she was divorced and mother of three children. She was a junior manager in an international company while studying for an Masters in Business Administration (MBA) to upgrade her qualifications. She lived in a lower middle-class neighborhood and was making arrangements to move to a larger house and finer neighborhood. She referred to herself an “achiever”: “everything you see right now is the result of being an achiever. If not for my personality, I would not have reached so far.” Violet started her life story explaining her noble background, as her father’s family is part of the nobility in a certain town.4 She lived with him from the age of 8 to 15 until he died, living in comfort due to her father’s relative wealth. Her parents had been separated for a long time and her father was living alone at the time of this death. In the matrilineal family system, Violet mother’s family should take care of her and her siblings, although people deal very flexibly with these principles from case to case. When her father died, his family was not obliged to take care of her. Violet left to live with her mother’s family but without the protection of her mother, who was a trader in Nigeria, she was treated as a house-help. While living with her father, Violet attended a private school and did extremely well, she was always came first in class. “That gave me the confidence I needed later to know I could always to better,” she said. She had to leave her school and attend one of the public schools, but Violet often missed class because she was forced to work at the house or sell goods on the market. She was sometimes beaten, often went hungry to bed, and was otherwise mistreated. Yet, Violet clung to her school as she realized that schooling would be the way out of a miserable life. Sometimes she would escape to one teacher’s house to be consoled, sleep before an exam or just to get away. This female teacher realized her predicament and pleaded with the family to let Violet stay with her in the year of her final exams, and that is how it happened. Violet was again first in class and sought admission in one of the prestigious secondary schools of Ghana. She was admitted but she had no money to pay the school fees, which angered and saddened her enormously. Nevertheless, she went to register the first day of school, hoping for a miracle, she said. She only had part of the school fees and when she explained the situation to the registrar he reacted in a very understanding manner and offered to pay the remaining amount. She was surprised and grateful and also realized that such a gesture did not come without strings. “But I didn’t care, I wanted to go to school,” Violet said. To make a long story short, Violet married the registrar, as it was also a good way to leave her family’s house. But as she stated, I didn’t love him I think, at first I was grateful to him. But he was so good to me and I got to love him, we took care of each other. For the first time after my father died I had somebody who truly cared for me, liked to see a smile on my face. He fed me, clothed we well, and was proud of me. He gave me back my confidence. He has been very important to me. In her last year of secondary school she got pregnant, but finished school again with high marks. It didn’t take long after her pregnancy before she realized her husband had another

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girlfriend. “I didn’t mind at first, it happens. I was happy with my firstborn, we had a good life, I was getting ready to go to university,” Violet recounted. She got admitted to study economics and during her undergraduate years she gave birth to her other two children. During these years the couple grew apart; “he was not taking care of us anymore, he was spending his money on other women instead of his children. I came to see him as the lousy man he is,” Violet said. At university she got to know a professor who took an interest in her; “he fell in love with my brains.” The professor was 23 years her senior, a man, and they started a relationship. She found in him what she missed at home: A listening ear, an advisor, and somebody to go out with. She could always call him to vent her frustrations; he always made time for her. Whenever she had to make a decision regarding her children, career or other matters she would never decide before having consulted him. They would spend a Sunday at the beach every now and then, he took her along to conferences or workshops, and he loved buying her presents, from clothes to small items like special waist beads (also known as belly beads). Violet told me several times how Prof., as she called him, liked buying her waist beads, which is a very intimate present for lovers to exchange. The fact that the Prof. liked going out of his way to buy special waist beads was a sign of his dedication to Violet. And as her husband became increasingly unreliable she became further involved with Prof.: He was more of a husband than my real husband, who became more and more irresponsible … He didn’t give me any pocket money [household money], we never saw him and imagine! Prof. started paying for the kids’ school-fees! We really loved each other. After giving me a hard look, Violet added, “you might not agree, but I loved him because of the way he cared for me.” The need to explain herself further suggests that Violet was reacting to the hegemonic notion that she was in the wrong by being someone’s mistress, and that she was thus syphoning capital from the legitimate partner, a practice strongly condemned in Ghanaian public opinion. Paying school-fees is a particularly symbolic act. More than paying for food, paying school-fees is pivotal to being a respectable father. If a man does not pay the school-fees of his children anymore, he is considered an “irresponsible” father and, by default, husband. It is generally phrased as “he doesn’t love his children,” and so Violet also talked about her husband: I believe he loved me once … yes, he did. When our firstborn was born he was so happy, and proud, he bought me all kinds of presents to show how happy he was. I dunno, something changed along the way, he … he came to see me as a house-help or something, he didn’t respect me anymore. Prof., in contrast, started acting as the father of the children and took over the role of Violet’s husband. They were intimate lovers for six years and these years “were very happy years; he showed me again what love is about,” Violet acknowledged. He also supported her to get divorced, which is very uncommon in Ghana. Couples get separated but hardly do they divorce. For Violet, divorce meant that she was in control, and not at the mercy of a man who acted “irresponsible and foolish.” A few years after her divorce, Violet started wanting to get married again, as she said, “I was happy with Prof., but I wanted a real relationship, not a secretive one.” She left Prof. to be alone and although their sexual 32

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relationship ended, they continued being close friends, in her words “no sex but only friendship.” During the course of my fieldwork I noticed how with every major decision she consulted Prof., concerning getting a loan, changing jobs, and schooling of the children. She always spoke fondly of him. After a few casual relationships Violet gave up on the idea of getting married, as she realized she would have to compromise something very precious: Her independence. Her relationship with Prof. worked out very well because she was not obliged to him as a wife would be, which strengthened their relationship. A couple of years ago she met Kwamena, via friends, a married man. They liked each other immediately and they became very close friends, and not much later lovers. During my research I was able to observe their relationship. Kwamena did not know I knew about it and we always met as Violet’s mutual friends. It was hard for Violet to explain why she was so fond of Kwamena. He was her first lover who was more or less of the same age, he shared his worries with her too, they spent a lot of time together stealing moments in between jobs and family obligations, and sharing the same kind of humor. He knew every movement she made during the day, and she knew his, they were constantly calling and text messaging each other. She planned everything with him: Her household budget, the choice of schools for the children, complicated family business, and so on. As she was in the process of building a house, she consulted him about every single decision, from the plot to the building materials to the kinds of trees she would plant as the border of the plot. He also helped her financially. According to Violet he enjoyed supporting her because he admired her for the way she organized her life as a single mother and “made decisions like a man.” A few months into my fieldwork his wife started having suspicions and confronted Kwamena with his unfaithfulness. He denied it and Violet and he decided to keep a low profile. However, one day Violet met his wife at the parking lot of a supermarket and the woman charged at her, screaming and hitting her with a bag. Violet was furious but managed not to respond and drove away. She was so humiliated though and scared of what people might think of her that she decided to break up with Kwamena. He simply refused, saying he could not live without her. After a few weeks he asked a mutual friend to talk to Violet and convince her not to leave him. Violet told me about this episode when we were driving in the car. She sounded irritated. She was annoyed with the fact that Kwamena drew in others; she was maddened that she was confronted for being someone’s mistress; her pride was hurt. She ranted on, explaining how she was getting tired of the relationship anyway, how it was time for a new lover, and so on. When I responded that Kwamena probably would do anything not to lose her she grew quiet. I asked her whether she missed him and she said quietly; “damn I do … god I miss him …”

Conclusion Currently, global health efforts continue to play a central role in sexuality research in Africa. But while health is obviously an important concern for many actors on the continent, such policy-driven studies often narrow down other research questions. Their constant framing of sex as a “problem” – as the cause of unwanted pregnancies, HIV infections, sexual violence, so-called female genital mutilation, and other human rights violations – stimulates an instrumental approach to sexuality, whereby sex becomes de-eroticized to an act devoid of meaning and feeling. Moreover, the language of “crisis” and “urgency” leads to a widespread use of rather limited methodologies – such as surveys, questionnaires, and rapid-assessment approaches – that cannot adequately explain the causes, feelings, and motivations behind the 33

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patterns they detect. In Sylvia Tamale’s words, “researching and theorizing sexualities beyond the tired polemics of violence, disease and reproduction and exploring their layered complexities … will lead to fresh conceptual insights and paradigm shifts” (2011, 30). We need, thus, to develop an inclusive research program on sexual and gender justice in dialogue with, but not dependent, on the SRHR (sexual and reproductive health rights) framework. In the spirit of Stella Nyanzi, queering the production of knowledge about sexuality in African societies implies rethinking our theoretical repertoires. Queer is not limited to LGBTI studies or non-normative sexual orientation and, as Nyanzi suggests, the vicissitudes of life provide new avenues for queering our concepts. As she explained (2014, 62), this may meet some resistance as a hegemonic meaning of queer has been established in alliance with LGBTI rights. According to Nyeck, such frictions are productive as “[t]he idea of queerness must remain paradoxical in Africa in order to safeguard it critical nature and ability to puzzle” (Nyeck 2011, 195). Love and money are not mutually exclusive in Ghana, as Violet’s story narrated above exemplifies. To the contrary, a (same-sex and cross-sex) lover’s or spouse’s affection is understood through notions of “care” and “responsibility.” The employment of care means that being attentive to someone’s wellbeing and acting upon the desire to see a loved one flourishing, emotionally and materially, is pivotal to a good bond. A true lover, therefore, will make efforts to see the other happy, comfortable, and healthy. These labors are considered the backbone of responsibility toward beloved ones and signify the importance of devotion and passion. Love fundamentally means caring and is thus the effect from certain practices that imply monetary flows. As we can learn from Violet’s account, the way love is interconnected with resources is crucial to people’s self-perceptions as well as in the evaluation of social life. Moreover, sex and passion are part and parcel of love, care, and capital. This is in contrast to the Western system where the ideal of love puts passion, sexual exclusivity, and freedom from (supposedly) mundane dealings as superior to the financial union. In this cultural logic, the ability to “love” in an “enlightened” way becomes then a “foundational event” for constituting free and self-governing subjects (Povinelli 2005). The notion that love is ephemeral and beyond the materiality of mundane life and that sex in relation to such a love is respectable and preferable became hegemonic in the previous century (Hekma 2008), whereby sex outside of a love relationship is considered substandard, because it is loveless. This is the bottom-line concerning the prejudice as expressed in the notion of transactional sex, which is seen as loveless by definition and loveless sex is inferior sex. In conclusion, the use of the notion of “transactional sex” in studies on Africa is prejudiced by a particular ideal of love. It prevents scholars from recognizing the mutually reinforcing connection between love and financial support. Love is not free from material interest; love is expressed through material attentiveness. The economy of love implicates the multifaceted, open-ended, and poly-reciprocal nature of sex, materiality, and affection within relationships. Violet evaluated her relationships in terms of company; friendship and support from her past lovers in terms of sex, care, and capital. Her attitude can be misunderstood as calculative when one reads love as beyond material desires and when one considers proper sexual behavior as exclusively related to (an idea of) free love. Yet, as Zelizer points out, this is a carefully kept ideal in the global West, despite the fact that the diversity of amorous relationships suggests otherwise (2005). The fact that Prof. continued to take care of Violet was the confirmation of his enduring love for her, beyond the inclusion of sex. Love is thus both emotional and material; a caring partner will notice the plight of the lover and will subsequently take responsibility and act upon it. 34

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The principle meaning of the economy of love therefore includes emotional qualities of love – how people are lovesick, desirous, and considerate – in other words, how desire, fondness, and sensations are interconnected with the material qualities of love – how people care and how this is (also) expressed through capital.

Notes 1 One way to queer heterosexuality is to perceive the term as a descriptive cultural term from the global West that has become hegemonic and use the term cross-sex and same-sex, but it goes beyond the scope of this chapter to provide a detailed analysis. In this chapter, the terms cross-sex and same-sex are used rather than heterosexuality and homosexuality as the latter pertain to a certain cultural history that is not universal. Sexuality as in “my sexuality” is the invention of 19th century European sexology. It denotes a very specific way of producing and organizing knowledge about sex, which first gave rise to the supposedly deviant category of the “homosexual” and, only later, to its supposedly normal mirror category of the “heterosexual”. According to Foucault, the scientific study of sex thus produced “sexuality” when it transformed the (sinful) erotic practice of sodomy into a sexual identity: while “[t]he sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species” (Foucault, 1978, 43). In this article the term sexuality is used to refer to the assemblage of the human capacity to be sexually aroused and have erotic experiences; conscious or unconscious impulses, desires and fantasies; sexual behavior and/or sexual practices. 2 Accessed 1 March 2019. Of the eleven studies not focusing on Africa, three were from the same group of authors focusing on Vietnam. 3 In my study I have focused on family histories and people’s life-story herein, and hence I take ethnographic studies on personal life stories as starting point (Clark 1994; White et al. 2001). I was based in a small city like Tema but travelled throughout Ghana to interview people. The aim was to select a group of people from different ages, different ethnicities, and with different employment. The result is that all people lived in urban environments, a requisite for middle classes as the infrastructure of employment, professional networks and access to cosmopolitan lifestyle practices are usually located in urban areas. They did not come from wealthy or elite backgrounds, though there are significant differences between families’ capital and resources. I do not only use pseudonyms to protect my interlocutors, I have also changed ethnicity, marital status, religion, occupation, residence and exact data / periods when they were not directly relevant so as to avoid any possible exposure. 4 Ghanaian chieftaincy is well known for being a powerful and important institution and the dominion of royal families. Although these families are privileged, not all members are necessarily wealthy.

References Aina, Tade. “The Myth of African Promiscuity.” In Blaming Others. Prejudice, Race and World-Wide AIDS. Edited by Renée Sabatier, 78–80. London: Panos Publications Ltd, 1990. Caldwell, John, Pat Caldwell, and Pat Quiggin. Disaster in an Alternative Civilization: The Social Dimension of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. Caberra: Australian National University, 1989. Chanock, Martin. Law, Custom and Social Order: The Colonial Experience in Malawi and Zambia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Clark, Gracia. Onions Are My husband: Survival and Accumulation by West African Market Women. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. Clarke, Douglas. “Twice Removed: African Invisibility in Western Queer Theory.” In Queer African Reader, Edited by Hakima Abbas and Sokari Ekine, 173–185. Cape Town: Pambazuka Press, 2013. Cole, Jennifer. “Money, Love and Economies of Intimacy in Tamatave, Madagascar.” In Love in Africa. Edited by Jennifer Cole and Lynn M. Thomas, 109–134. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Cole, Jennifer and Lynn M. Thomas. Love in Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Epprecht, Marc. Heterosexual Africa? The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of Aids. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2008. Ferguson, James. Global Shadows. Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, An Introduction (translated by Robert Hurley). New York: Pantheo, 1978.

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Halberstam, Jack. Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal. Boston: Beacon Press, 2012. Hekma, Gert. “The Drive for Sexual Equality.” Sexualities Vol. 11, no. 1, (2008): 51–55. Hendriks, Thomas. “SIM Cards of Desire: Sexual Versatility and the Male Homoerotic Economy in Urban Congo.” American Ethnologist Vol. 43, no. 2, (2016): 230–242. Hendriks, Thomas and Rachel Spronk. “Rethinking Sexuality from Africa.” CODESRIA Bulletin no. 1&2, (2017): 28–33. Hunter, Mark. Love in the Time of AIDS. Inequality, Gender, and Rights in South Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010. Iliffe, John. The African Aids Epidemic. A History. Oxford: James Currey, 2006. Illouz, Eva. Consuming the Romantic Utopia. Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. Izugbara, C., C. Undie, and J.W. Khamasi. Old Wineskins, New Wine: Readings in Sexuality in Sub-Saharan Africa. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010. Koplan, J., et al. “Towards a Common Definition of Global Health.” The Lancet Vol. 373, (2009): 1993– 1995. Law, John. After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. London: Routledge, 2004. Lindholm, Charles. “Romantic Love and Anthropology.” Etnofoor Vol. XIX, no. 1, (2006): 5–23. Luke, Nancy. “Confronting the ‘Sugar Daddy’ Stereotype: Age and Economic Asymmetries and Risky Sexual Behavior in Urban Kenya.” International Family Planning Perspectives Vol. 31, no. 1, (2005): 6–14. Mudimbe, V. Y. The Idea of Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. Murray, M. and G. Myers. Cities in Contemporary Africa. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Nyanzi, Stella, et al. “Male Promiscuity: The Negotiation of Masculinities by Motorbike Tax-Riders in Masaka, Uganda.” Men and Masculinities Vol. 12, no. 1, (2009): 73–89. Nyanzi, Stella. “Queering Queer Africa,” in Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities. Edited by Zethu Matebeni, 61–66. Johannesburg: Modjaji Books, 2014. Nyeck, S.N. “Autobiography of Things left Undone: Politics of Literature, Hyphenation and Queered Friendship in Africa.” Trans-Scripts Vol. 1, no. 1, (2011): 172–200. Packard, Randall M. and Paul Epstein. “Epidemiologists, Social Scientists, and the Structure of Medical Research on AIDS in Africa.” Social Science and Medicine Vol. 33, no. 7, (1991): 771–783. Patton, Cindy. “From Nation to Family: Containing African AIDS.” In Nationalisms and Sexualities. Edited by Andrew Parker, Mary Russo, Doris Summer, and Patricia Yeager, 127–138. New York: Routledge, 1992. Povinelli, Elizabeth A. “What’s Love Got to do with it? The Race of Freedom and the Drag of Descent.” Social Analysis Vol. 49, no. 2, (2005): 173–181. Silberschmidt, Margrethe. “Disempowerment of Men in Rural and Urban East Africa: Implications for Male Identity and Sexual Behavior.” World Development Vol. 29, no. 4, (2001): 657–671. Spronk, Rachel. “The Idea of African Men. Dealing With the Cultural Contradictions of Sex in Academia and in Kenya.” Culture, Health & Sexuality Vol. 16, no. 5, (2014): 504–517. Tamale, Sylvia. Editor. African Sexualities. A Reader. Oxford: Pambazuka Press, 2011. Undie, Chi-Chi and Kabwe Benaya. “The State of Knowledge on Sexuality in Sub-Saharan Africa.” African Feminisms Vol XX (2008): 119–154. Vaughan, Megan. Curing their Ills: Colonial Power and African Illness. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991. Wainaina, Binyavanga. “How to Write about Africa.” Granta Vol. 92, no. 1, (2005). https://bit.ly/ 2GZMV6H accessed May 2019. White, Luise, Stephan E. Miescher, and David W. Cohen. African Words, African Voices: Critical Practices in Oral History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. Zelizer, Viviana. The Purchase of Intimacy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

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3 Women who love women Negotiation of African traditions and kinship Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki

Introduction In one social media post by Tshwane LGBTQI Facebook group are customary wedding pictures of a young black lesbian couple.1 Friends and family flank the happy couple and appear to be in a festive mood. It is a beautiful sight, set against the backdrop of a bustling township. From the pictures, it appears to be a customary wedding, as opposed to a religious or civil one.2 Prior to the wedding ceremony, the ilobolo (bride wealth) negotiations and transmissions thereof would have been ironed out.3 These negotiations are usually conducted between the elders from both the bride and groom (a butch identified lesbian in this case) families. These pictures exemplify a traditional cultural activity, which forms the basis of this chapter. Such traditional occurrences are approached here through a careful analysis of samesex relationships and desires amongst black township women, how they negotiate customary marriage and kinship set against the backdrop of their everyday lives. The everyday lives of black township women in same-sex intimacies take place against the backdrop of apartheid/post-apartheid, heteropatriarchy, high levels of poverty, neoliberalism, globalization, and heterosexism. Their everyday lives are performed in a context in which dominant discourses and tropes overwhelmingly claim that same-sex relations are unAfrican. How then are African traditions, such as customary marriages, featured in the opening lines of this chapter, reconciled among women in intimate same-sex relationships, especially in a context where the South African National House of Traditional Leaders openly condemned the Constitutional Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriages? Is it primarily because this decision would go against ilobolo practices? How do women in samesex intimacies navigate their way around such heteronormative traditions? How does legal permission and traditional interdictions coming from certain corners interfere with and shape black women’s interpersonal relationships, kinship, and community at large? These questions foreground and mark this cultural terrain as a site of struggle in South Africa where strategies popularizing the fiction that homosexuality is a “white thing” deny the very (contemporary and historical) existence of African people in same-sex intimacies. In this case, the dominant trope of homosexuality as being “unAfrican” that prevails in contemporary South Africa places black women and men in same-sex relationships outside of

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African-ness. Livermon (2012) underlines this alienating dynamic as the racialization of the queer body as white and the sexualization of the black body as straight. Under this formulation, Livermon further notes, The idea that same-sex sexuality is somehow un-African and alien to African cultural traditions … [thus suggesting that] if tradition is represented as that which is authentically and unproblematically African, then same-sex sexuality is its direct opposite – its constitutive outside … [B]lack queers cannot exist as part of African cultural practices represented by tradition. They can only be some manifestation of cultural loss, and ultimately alienation, from African subjectivity. As a result, black queers become visible manifestations of cultural taint that exist to be excluded at best, or as the quote from Jacob Zuma indicates subjected to forms of bodily violence at worst. (2015, 16–17)4 The cultural struggle rages in the everyday lives of women in same-sex relationships through the implementation of the constitution (and public policy), at the workplace, on township streets, and in their homes. This chapter is premised on the idea that culture and questions of identity have been at the heart of the most intense battles facing African people in samesex relationships over the past decade or so. As Kelley (1997) reminds us, as the global economy grows, the cultural terrain becomes even more crucial as a site of struggle. In this way (and in a quest for recognition), black township lesbian’s everyday struggles produce everyday forms of resistance, at home, at work, and on townships streets. In identifying these everyday forms of resistance, I am influenced by the scholarly work of political anthropologist James C. Scott (1990). Rather than seeing “resistance as organization,” Scott looks at less visible, everyday forms of resistance (Chin and Mittelman 1997).5 Scott defines the infra-political as the cultural and structural substratum of those more visible forms of action that attract most scholarly attention. Everyday resistance, which Scott calls “infra-politics,” can be variously quiet, dispersed, disguised or otherwise seemingly invisible (Vinthagen and Johansson 2013). Everyday resistance is about how people act in their everyday lives in ways that might undermine hegemonic power structures. As such, these forms of everyday resistance are not easily recognized, as with public or otherwise collective resistance – such as rebellions and demonstrations. Noting that the conduct and meaning of resistance are culturally embedded, I will argue that black township lesbians resist everyday heterosexism and homophobia, while simultaneously creating spaces of belonging in the performance of everyday life. I work with heterosexism rather than prejudice or discrimination precisely because it captures the role of heterosexual privilege in acts of prejudice and discrimination in addition to drawing out the structural and systemic dimensions. It also enables a perspective on how people who are gay, lesbian, and bisexual internalize heterosexist thought and action. In fact, close attention to social realities of black township lesbian women in South Africa echoes what bell hooks (2013) describes as “imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy;” a concept that I suggest is inescapably entangled with heteronormativity, each being constitutive of the other. Through their undertaking of what I refer to as cultural labor, black township lesbians (re)produce spaces of belonging in their communities, therefore contributing, not only to the township, but also to African cultural capital, thus underwriting the very culture that often rejects and expels them. This chapter discusses how black township women in same-sex relationships navigate the cultural terrain of customary marriage and kinship, all set in heteronormative traditions in township social spaces against the backdrop of Ubuntu, which is central to everyday 38

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encounters and experiences. This chapter draws on research carried out in 2014 as part of a doctoral study that relied on interviews, focus group material, as well as ethnographic observations from 31 townships both in Cape Town and Johannesburg.6 I will begin by unpacking Ubuntu as capital – as a conceptual tool and cultural language that offers me a located avenue to engage with the narratives of marriage and kinship. Following which I will present the interview and focus group material on how black township lesbians in South Africa negotiate this cultural constituency against the backdrop of everyday heterosexism. I will then firm up this discussion by focusing on why I code some of the narratives as the cultural labor of black township women in same-sex relationships, prior to concluding.

Ubuntu as capital Belonging came out as a central narrative from black township lesbian women who participated in this study, which I situate within Ubuntu kinship. Along similar lines, van Zyl (2015) works with Ubuntu, in the framework of “Ubuntu freedom” as primarily referenced through kinship and therefore associated with belonging to a community. Marriage and lineage are embedded in this. In other words, “in Ubuntu kinship, relations of intersubjectivity are central focus and fertility is the spiritual nexus between past and future” (van Zyl 2015, 7). Therefore in Ubuntu kinship, African marriage occupies both the framing of belonging in the extended family or clan as well as a counterpoint for regulation and surveillance (van Zyl 2015; Yarbrough 2014). But before I unpack Ubuntu as capital, it is important to pay attention to differences and inconsistencies between Ubuntu ideology and ubuntu praxis. What Gouws and van Zyl (2015) categorize as “Ubuntu talk” is the ideology and is largely inclusive, supposedly nondiscriminatory.7 This is precisely what Praeg (2014) refers to as Ubuntu (emphasis on the capital U) as a set of theories and ideologies that attempt to make sense of the precolonial lived experiences of African people. For Praeg, ubuntu (ubuntu do) is a cultural praxis; a historical practice, or an activity producing particular kinds of human beings, namely those who have ubuntu. Praeg further suggests that there was a time when ubuntu was a lived experience in precolonial Africa. However, clarity is lacking on what form ubuntu historically took, not least due to lack of historical empirical data. Available data colonialists produced come to us loaded with certain assumptions. It could be said “Ubuntu talk” and “ubuntu do” are in entanglement in contemporary South Africa. In this context, this juxtaposition shows the changeable and shifting nature where in certain instances, full immersion and belonging may be attained. Drawing on Bourdieu’s (1986) notion of social capital, I code the “recognition end” of this juxtaposition – “Ubuntu capital.” Hence capital manifests in recognition and belonging, yet the meeting of the two – their entanglement brings out the complicated nature of Ubuntu capital, it may be attainable however not constant. Therefore, on the one hand, there is inclusion such as Puleng’s narrative, which will be discussed at length in the next section, yet on the other hand, certain instances and interactions lead to exclusion. The dynamic nature that makes capital attainable, yet unattainable due to the mechanisms of everyday inclusion and exclusion regimes, also makes for contemporary expressions of ubuntu in South Africa. In this entanglement, both Praeg (2014) and Gouws and van Zyl (2015) note how politics and power are embedded in Ubuntu talk and ubuntu do. In South Africa, I read this entanglement through intersectional prisms coded in imperialism, capitalism, patriarchy, and heteronormativity. It is in the context of these intersections that one notices ubuntu praxis failing women as evidenced in the high levels of violence against women (Gouws and van Zyl 39

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2015) and the exclusion of black queer bodies from Africanness further evidenced in the war on butch-identified lesbians through extreme violence as well as exclusions from traditions such as customary marriage.

Township lesbians navigate customary marriage and kinship Marriage is a powerful mechanism for social belonging, for the community’s acknowledgment of a binding relationship. Thus, globally, struggles for same-sex marriage are the ultimate target for many fighting for LGBTQI equality. Many black township women in same-sex intimacies who participated in a study conducted in Cape Town and Johannesburg expressed their desire to eventually get married in the future. Customary marriage was the preferred choice, as opposed to civil union, which was hardly ever spoken of or discussed. Participants who were married had done so through traditional marriage. This then begs the question, how do African township lesbians maneuver gendered and heterosexist customs surrounding customary marriages? How is this maneuvering deployed as hidden transcripts or everyday resistances employed to manoeuver around gendered traditions such as ilobolo, while creating spaces of belonging? Below, I will elaborate on the ways in which “hidden transcripts” are detected in lesbian relationships such as butch/femme relationships as well as negotiation of kinship where allyship becomes central in these predominantly heterosexist traditions. With regards to coupling, the commonly expressed form was through butch/femme or butch/straight woman relationships. The gender expression therefore plays within the prevailing binary that endorses localized township masculinities and femininities. In an environment where heteropatriachal hegemonies prevail, the patriarchal family has become naturalized in contemporary South Africa. Same-sex relationships like these, even though shaped within the prevailing gendered binaries, become a hidden transcript, especially in this context where the dominant trope affirms homosexuality as unAfrican. Following everyday resistance and hidden transcript prisms, butch lesbians in South African townships perform a specific township’s masculinity.8 The butch lesbian and role can be “most usefully understood as a category of lesbian gender that is constituted through the deployment and manipulation of masculine gender codes and symbols” (Rubin 1992, 467). This then makes both butchness and masculinity performative roles with codes and symbols available for the use of anyone, regardless of biological sex (Butler 1990; Halberstam 1997, 1998). Butchness hence characterizes how butch lesbians define their appearances and shape their social interaction within masculine prisms in their specific locales. Like Swarr (2009), I argue that township butch lesbians’ self-definitions must be understood in relation to township male heterosexual masculinity, where township butch lesbians take up on masculinity like heterosexual masculine men. They both draw on/share similar symbolic resources, technologies, and strategies to negotiate and accomplish masculinity in their everyday lives. To undertake cultural labor, butch lesbians work with similar symbolic resources to produce and perform masculinity. For instance, most couples that participated in this study referred to themselves as “husband” (husbian) and “wife.” Although they appear to cement heterosexual relationships by co-opting heterosexual signifiers, they are in fact highly destabilizing this status quo. The status quo that privileges certain bodies – male-bodied subjects as the only ones that produce masculinities. Yet in this male role, butch lesbians have financial obligations to their partners/wives and their families as the main providers. In addition, butch lesbians are also often expected to be exempt from housework, laundry, and cooking. In fact, this queering of the heterosexist status quo is enforced so much so that a butch lesbian dating another butch lesbian is a no go for some, as exemplified in the conversation below: 40

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APHIWE:

We are women that love each other and that’s all, but then the problem is that she won’t want to be with me, even if I’d talk softly and be all girly. Even if I say I love you, she would say “No, you [are] Butch,” which becomes a worry. LINDELWA: And [she would] say: “I can’t love another man.” ESIHLE: And [she would] say: “I don’t sleep with other men.” [Laughter] ANATHI: Serious! If a butch wants another butch, chances are the other is going to say “No I don’t sleep with other men” and people would even say it out loud: “I don’t sleep with other men.” PHOEBE (AUTHOR/INTERVIEWER): Oooohh! I don’t sleep with other men? ANATHI: Yes! Saying you [are] making me a moffie [gay man], I’m not gay. Whereas you [are] already part of the LGBTI family.9 (Focus group discussion in Khyamandi Township, 2014 Cape Town) For a butch lesbian being in an intimate relationship with another butch was equated to being a moffie at that time, a case of queering up the queer.10 The coupling of butch lesbians may represent itself as a heterosexist conformist logic, yet it is also a powerful subversion of normative ideas on gender and sexuality. I code this a reflection of a majoritarian politics of belonging through a hidden transcript of same-sex desire that manifests itself as a public transcript of a butch lesbian dating women, and not a fellow butch, thereby cementing a certain form of heteronormativity, albeit a queered one. As per van Zyl (2015), traditional belief systems are organized around the needs of communities and structured around Ubuntu kinship including lineage, all of which underlay economic and political alliances. Children for instance, bind people into webs of social obligations stretching from their ancestors into the future, tying people’s sexuality as reproduction and therefore inextricably linked to wider social responsibilities to the community. Here I note a key emergent theme of children, how the lesbian couple will have a child/ children. Take for instance Deneo, a femme identified lesbian who was married to the love of her life, Palesa, a butch identified lesbian, through customary marriage with the blessing of their parents and family. Both are from Ratanda Township in Johannesburg. Deneo recalls a conversation she had with her father as the customary marriage conversation was being initiated. During a focus group discussion, she vividly recalls how the conversation about having children was raised: [B]efore we got married when I was talking to my parents then my father was like … was like, so what about the grandchildren? I would love to have one. And I was like, that one is not a problem, as much [sic] as we can negotiate lobola (ilobolo), then we can still negotiate the baby thing. So, that’s how it went. Maybe it’s because my parents understood me better, that’s why we came to that point that they understood that I am still going to have a baby. Even if it’s going to be a different one, then they will just going [sic] to be happy that there is going to be a child in the family that will be said it’s a Palesa’s child. The entanglement of marriage, having children, ancestry/lineage is noted in lesbian relationships situated within Ubuntu kinship. However, because same-sex partnerships are deemed not to be primarily procreative units, contrary to popular assumptions, bearing of a child becomes a negotiation as the above-quoted informant states. Yet, like Deneo and Palesa, other informants prefer in vitro fertilization (IVF) and adoption, two reproductive possibilities that add to the dimensions of negotiation between the couple and their families, the butch identified lesbian, and her in-laws. The general expectation was that it was the femme 41

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who would carry the child and not the butch lesbian.11 There were creative ways for butch lesbians being genetically, albeit indirectly involved in the child-making process. For instance, the biological brother of the butch could be asked to be the sperm donor. Although IVF was financially out of reach for the same-sex couples I spoke to, some expressed that they would endeavor to save up for it. The conversation below draws out some of the above-mentioned issues: (AUTHOR/INTERVIEWER): So, going back to the family issue … Is motherhood important? PULA: I for one [think that] being a mother is very important, as lately I have been doing research on in vitro [fertilisation] and how does it work [sic]. PHOEBE: So, don’t you want to carry the child? PULA: I want to carry the child by myself and I think for me it will be very important and I think it can be a very important and a nice experience that I could say I am very proud to be a parent and to show the world that I am very proud to be a lesbian mom as well … THLOKOMELO: Coming to that one, yes, being a mother is very important, as we have been raising our sisters’ children and our brothers,’ [and] it has been a nice experience. Hence, carrying a child will be a good experience and carrying one will also be very nice and as yourself knowing that you have helped somebody’s child, we have been going around visiting orphanages and seeing those kids. They are so lovely and you [would] so love having one of them … NTHABISENG [A BUTCH LESBIAN]: Family is good, being a father. I also want to be a father one day on Father’s Day. There comes that time with your partner; who is going to carry [the child]? If maybe at home, my girlfriend’s home, they won’t understand the way science works. That a female get the baby or they want her to be penetrated and I don’t want it like that. It’s where it comes to the situation that I will be happy to be a father in the way that she gets pregnant but the way she said, but I think there it comes with an agreement because I would love to have my own baby [and] teach her or him whatever. But it will depend according to whatever we have like currency, like if we go for in vitro [IVF], it will cost like 30 thousand rands. How can I [pay for that?] Either then adoption will be the best thing. I once came to a situation whereby at home they told me that, Ntabiseng, we have accepted you as a lesbian. And at home we are all boys from my uncles, so I am the single lady to all the family. So, they made a meeting and say [sic] okay, we have accepted you as a lesbian, could you do just one thing for us? Just have a baby. And then [it] comes to the situation that I have to separate with my family as now [I] am staying around, I am not staying [at] home because of that. And that is the challenge that I am facing: If I have to stay at home at … [my] family, then I have to get pregnant. TLOTLISO: Maybe you can sit them down and tell them that there is science, there is technology and there is one, two, three, you can still have a baby, but then from my girlfriend. You said that you understand that I am a lesbian, but this is how I am going to bring the child that you need. So, your mother wants a grandchild, [and] then that would show that this is Ntabiseng’s child. At the same time your girlfriend will be pregnant and you as the father will also be happy towards the situation … NTABISENG: They want … [my child], his or her blood … In the family there is this person who is going to understand you better and that’s my brother, I come after him. I once sat down with him and talked to him and he said: You know how difficult it was to accept you as you are, since we are traditional people from KZN [KwaZulu Natal] and how people look at us? How difficult it is when we have family gatherings and we understand PHOEBE

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that you are going to come and acting like a boy? And then if you [are] going to come again with technology … and things like that, I think that I am pushing them harder. (Focus group discussion, Ratanda Township, 2014 Johannesburg) The above conversation draws out the centrality of motherhood and fatherhood as well as the tensions between the traditional and the modern in relation to this, at the core of which lies a sense of belonging. On the one hand, having a child confers upon some women in same-sex intimacies a legitimate call for acceptance, as in the case of Ntabiseng, drawing upon the Ubuntu capital of kinship. Yet, Ntabiseng, a butch lesbian, is unwilling to carry the child herself. On the other hand, the part played by the male in the traditional conception of a child induces discomfort with some lesbian women, as in the case of Pula, who prefers IVF, even though it is the more expensive option. IVF and new reproductive technologies, albeit within globalizing frameworks, confer new possibilities for women in same-sex intimacies who want to become parents. However, are these possibilities attainable, with the meagre economic resources to which many lesbian women have access? In addition, the above excerpt demonstrates that adoption is another possibility considered by some of the participants; an approach that poses its own challenges in relation to some matrilineal and patrilineal traditions that place emphasis on blood and biological lineage. Both these new technologies clash with tradition and expectations of how to conceive a child. Even allies, such as Ntabiseng’s brother, may find it difficult to accept new technologies – a difficult dynamic, creating a space of uncertainty. New reproductive technologies as well as the possibility of adoption could be read in the context of resistance to the traditional/conventional expectation of the conception and birthing process. Technology allows same-sex couples to resist heteronormative family as well as its particular way of raising children, all of which share various entanglements in a context of surveillance structures set up within Ubuntu kinship. This framing of Ubuntu kinship lays out such clear boundaries and regulatory structures, such as how to have a child, even in spaces where there is some form of recognition and belonging for women in same-sex intimacies, shifting those rigid expectations/boundaries becomes difficult. Thus while new technologies and reproduction can be said to be part of hidden transcripts of subversion surreptitiously challenging ideological domination, the economic status of women in same-sex relationship does not always allows for the full use of technologies. Thus negotiation becomes a more subtle ways to gaining concession and shifting boundaries of belonging in townships. Scholars have argued “throughout history, Zulu married women who were paid ilobolo for who bore children have received considerable recognition in their communities in addition to gaining a certain status as well as being awarded domestic powers” (Rudwick and Posel 2015, 292). Having a child confers upon some women in same-sex intimacies a legitimate call for acceptance buying into the Ubuntu capital of kinship in the South African context. Having a child also provides the same-sex couple with an enhanced social standing with regard to their extended family and community neighborhoods. On this subject, based on her research with black lesbian women, Matebeni (2011) notes that women in same-sex relationships garner support from family members, friends, and neighbors who know they are lesbians, who then become allies in the struggle against everyday heterosexisms. Hence, the social role of mother and participation in community life, which seems to hold more importance than sexuality per se, confers to lesbian women with a child, regardless of how the child was conceived, the power to negotiate social belonging. 43

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Ubuntu praxis is therefore expressed through communal interdependencies: Sharing, reciprocal obligations, and responsibilities, which are recognized to circumscribe freedom. Because of the way ubuntu praxis is currently lived through heterosexism, excluding those deemed non-heterosexual, having allies within kinship becomes very important for people in same-sex relationships. When one has allies like Dineo and Palesa, negotiation within heterosexist institutions such as customary marriage is likely to succeed. Allyship then allows the unfolding of cultural labor at work collectively to gain inclusion, recognition, and belonging. With no, or few allies, a butch lesbian ilobolo negotiations may collapse because the family of the soon-to-be bride refuses to welcome her as the groom/marriage partner. The reverse is also true. In the previous case, Puleng had allies in her family, but her fiancée had none in hers and Puleng’s ilobolo proposal was turned down. The consequences of not having supportive allies can best be illustrated in the voices of the informants (Puleng from Thembis Township) as follows: [M]y girlfriend was straight when I met her … my girlfriend’s family, they don’t approve of our relationship. I love her, [but] due to the way her family is treating me I lose my interest … Why? Because like I keep on loving her and when her family want[s] something from us they act as if they care and once we give them that something that they want, they are out of our lives, and when we have problems both families must contribute. My family is cool, my sisters and brothers they are cool with the way that I am because I grew up the way that I am now, my family is very supportive. And then we once had this lobola (ilobolo) negotiation stuff for my girlfriend and stuff, and they turned us down. The above excerpt highlight what Yarbrough offers as reasons for ilobolo’s importance as “building caring relationships between the families, constructing appropriate ethnic and gendered identities, and maintaining good spiritual relations with deceased ancestors” (2014, 17). Arguably, Puleng gets recognition as a provider. She is gainfully employed and takes the responsibility of being a provider to her kinship seriously. Still, Puleng’s masculinity, and by extension sexuality, is threatened and rejected (Swarr 2012) when the ilobolo negotiations collapse, thereby obliterating Ubuntu freedom when black queer bodies such as hers, are maintained outside of socio-cultural institutions.

The infra-politics and cultural labor of sexuality – black township lesbian women Rudwick (2011) notes that when and how exactly the myth that homosexuality is unAfrican emerged is difficult to ascertain. Tushabe (2016) reads the statement of “homosexuality is unAfrican” through a de-colonial reading of history, locating it in the interconnectedness of language and cultural knowledge systems reproduced through historical, political, economic, and social dynamics. Several (queer-friendly) scholars and activists have refuted the argument that homosexuality is a perversion that was introduced to Africa (Nyeck and Epprecht 2013). Along similar lines, several scholars (Epprecht 2004; Gunkel 2010; Murray and Roscoe 1998) have demonstrated how the legacies and cultural imperialism of (post)colonialism and apartheid have shaped the complicated relationship between race, gender, and sexual dynamics in postapartheid South Africa, thus consequently spilling into ubuntu dynamics. Ubuntu do/praxis hence supports heteronormative tropes, legitimizing the rejection of the perceived homosexual as alien in the community, especially when homosexuality is perceived as a Western invention 44

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that former colonizers imported to Africa. All this contributes to the unstableness of Ubuntu talk and ubuntu do, embedding them in power structures that exclude, as we note in the case of Puleng whose lobola negotiations failed, and sometimes violate certain bodies. And this is why infra-politics is central in understanding how black township women in same-sex relationships resist these power structures while simultaneously creating spaces of belonging within these very structures that exclude them. When everyday resistance is evoked, it may expose the instability of terrains, such as those of heterosexuality, and cultural traditions imbued in this. The inherently instable character of these practices implies there is room for those constituted as “outsiders” by those very practices/terrains to utilize them as tools in their emancipatory struggle, such as the narratives of black lesbians women discussed here. Therefore in these cultural traditions and practices of ilobolo and lineage embedded in Ubuntu kinship where sexuality is only denoted through heterosexual/heteropartriachal prisms, recognition, and belonging by black lesbians who are deemed as “outsiders” has to be “worked” at. The emphasis here is on the laboring – the working at through negotiations and seeking inclusion in these predominantly heterosexual spaces exposing slippages. Therefore, the usability of Ubuntu kinship, and the negotiation of belonging in these predominantly heterosexual spaces where work/labor has to be put in for recognition by black township women in same-sex relationships is what I consider as the “undertaking of cultural labor.” My use of the term cultural labor here is informed by the work of Maxwell and Miller (2006), who see it as more than merely a repository of textual signs or everyday practices, because it provides the legitimizing ground on which particular groups (i.e. ethnic minorities, gay, lesbian, or disabled people) articulate deficits, claim resources, and seek inclusion in national narratives and in this case, the cultural and national narrative. Against this backdrop, black township lesbians articulate slippages in ubuntu heterosexist frames by undertaking cultural labor. In doing so, they create spaces of belonging. As in the case of butch lesbians who draw on available resources in order to, for instance, articulate female masculinities in their role as “husbian” – the provider in the butch/femme or butch/straight woman dynamic. This becomes an articulation of cultural labor to seek inclusion in the masculine terrain. In addition to this, having a child was both desirable and also, as we saw in the case of Dineo and Palesa, offered a legitimate call for acceptance in Ubuntu kinship which I code cultural labor. But the entanglement between Ubuntu do and ubuntu praxis discussed previously produces a shift where recognition is not constant, this has implications on cultural labor in that it has to be consistent or perpetual. Cultural labor therefore not only offers spaces of belonging for black lesbians in these predominantly heterosexual practices and constituencies but also exposes their instability, usability, and possibilities for reconstruction.

Conclusion Despite the heterosexist and homophobic denunciations of traditional leaders, community members, and some political figures, black women in same-sex intimacies (and their allies) are making use of tradition to situate their queerness within established South African cultural contexts. A reconstruction of tradition is in order to create the possibilities of a contemporary, more demonstrative black queer subjectivity. This idea of reconstruction has been treated in this chapter as implying a form of collective cultural labor to create spaces of belonging in South Africa. For some, such a reconstructive cultural labor is useful, while for others, homophobic and heterosexist wall remain too virulent to permit similar engagement with culture and society. Reconstruction then could be read as a hidden transcript, while simultaneously representing 45

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a space in which black township women in same-sex intimacies are claiming traditional resources as a means to securing inclusion. Having allies, such as siblings or family members, plays a key role in facilitating these processes and spaces of inclusion. These allies also undertake cultural labor, and in that process, create spaces of belonging for black queer subjectivities, honing in on Ubuntu capital. This is by no means a case of assimilation, referred to by Duggan (2002) as homonomativity. Rather, such cultural labor exposes the holes within Ubuntu heterosexism while simultaneously claiming and contributing to the strategic use of Ubuntu capital.

Notes 1 For the picture, see Tswane lgbti Tswane Facebook group (2016). 2 Customary marriages in South Africa became formally recognized with the enactment of the Recognition of Customary Marriages ACT 120 of 1998; a statute through which marriages performed under African customary law, including polygamous marriages, are recognized as legal marriages. Stats SA (2011) reports a decline of 41% in customary marriages to 5,084 in 2011. 3 Lobolo or Lobola (ilobola) in Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa, and northern and southern Ndebele (Mahadi in Sesotho, Roora in Shona, Magadi in Northern Sotho, and Lovola in Xitsonga), sometimes referred to as “bride wealth” or “bride price,” is property in cash or kind that a prospective husband or the head of his family undertakes to give to the head of a prospective wife’s family in consideration of a customary marriage. Given the intimate connection between power relations and custom, women’s efforts to claim their rights are bound up with issues of culture (Geisler 2000; YuvalDavis 1997). Certain traditions like ilobolo have been questioned as discriminatory to women, and some wonder whether these practices contradict the constitutional principles of gender equality (Nhlapo 1991). Lobolo is central to some traditional ways of African life. Lobolo is an enduring custom that offers insight into past and present gender and power relations. It has survived colonial and missionary cultural attacks and changing economic and political structures (Shope 2006). 4 Jacob Zuma, while still deputy president of the ruling African National Congress, declared that same-sex marriage was a “disgrace to the nation and to God”, and that when he was growing up, a gay man would never have stood in front of him, as he would “knock him out” (Ismail and SAPA 2006). Zuma later apologized to the gay community for these statements. 5 The concept of infra-politics was most clearly articulated by anthropologist James C. Scott in his 1990 publication Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. Vinthagen and Johansson (2013) note how Scott fundamentally transformed our understanding of politics, placing the ordinary life of the subaltern firmly on the political agenda: What matters is how people are acting and not what their intentions might have been. In other words, whether these acts or behaviors are consciously performed or not is not important. Rather, what counts is that they challenge and disrupt the status quo. For Scott, subaltern forms of resistance produce “hidden transcripts” that critique or challenge power in its intersectional predicament, thus escaping the dominant, and contrasting with “public transcripts” of power relations. “Infra-political acts thus operate insidiously, beneath the threshold of political detectability” (Marche 2012, 6), Scott insists. Such infrapolitics need not be organized or even intentional to be significant. 6 Data drawn on here were part of a doctoral research where data were collected from 31 townships in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. I employed a mixed-method approach of quantitative (209 questionnaires) and qualitative (32 in-depth interviews and 12 focus group discussions) as well as participant observation. 7 Praeg also sees Ubuntu not only as localized (African), but also through global prisms, and hence notes: “To call Ubuntu Ubuntu [Ubuntu talk] a glocal phenomenon means recognizing that global discourses (Christianity, Human Rights and so on) give a particular expression to the meaning of the local traditions such as ubuntu [ubuntu do], but in a way that also allows the resulting Ubuntu to feed back into the global discourse as a locally based critique and expansion of those very discourses. The result, I argue, is that Ubuntu is neither here nor there, neither simply from ‘over here’ nor reducible to what is ‘over there’. It is at once here and there” (Praeg 2014, 37). 8 I note that from North American scholarship and beyond, a number of interlocutors have offered varied positions on the importance of butch and femme categories, including how these categories are

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subversive and expose heterosexuality as both performative and normative; have strong erotic stances; are inherently unstable and conformist; or at times seem to be accommodating conditions of duress. 9 All names of research participants have been changed for privacy purposes. 10 Moffie is/was a derogatory term for gay men (feminine homosexual men) in Afrikaans that has been reclaimed or reappropriated by the Afrikaners and broader same-sex community, just like the term queer was in the West during the 1980s. 11 The fact that butch lesbians challenge the conventional sex/gender/sexuality system in South Africa centers the body, butch lesbian’s bodies underscoring body politics. A theme in line with my research that came out was pregnancy and whether butch lesbian bodies – masculine bodies – would carry babies. Many butch lesbians argued that it was a femme role to carry babies rather than butch lesbian; getting pregnant would problematize their masculinity. However, some butch lesbians were open to the idea of pregnancy and having a child.

References Baraka, Nancy and Ruth Morgan. “‘I Want to Marry a Woman of My Choice Without Fear of Being Stonned’: Female Marriages and Bisexual Women in Kenya.” In Tommy Boys, Lesbian Men and Ancestral Wives: Female Same-Sex Practices in Africa, edited by Ruth Morgan and Saskia Wieringa, 25–51. Johannesburg: Jacana, 2005. Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Forms of Capital.” In Handbook of Thoery and Research for Sociology, edited by John G. Richardson, 241–258. New York: Greenwood, 1986. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge, 1990. Carton, Benedict. Blood from Your Children: The Colonial Origins of Generational Conflict in South Africa. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 2000. Duggan, Lisa. “The New Homonormativity: The Sexual Politics of Neoliberalism.” In Materialising Democracy: Toward a Revitalised Cultural Politics, edited by Russ Castronovo and Dana D. Nelson, 175–194. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2002. Dynes, Wayne R. “Homosexuality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Unnecessary Controversy.” In Ethnographic Studies of Homosexuality, edited by Wayne R. Dynes and Stephen Donaldson, 166–167. New York: Garland, 1992. Epprecht, Marc. Hungachoni: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in South Africa. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2004. Geisler, G. “Women are Women or How to Please your Husband.” In Gender Agency, and Change, edited by V. Goddard. New York: Routledge, 2000. Gouws, Amanda and Mikki van Zyl. “Towards a Feminist Ethics of Ubuntu: Bridging Rights and Ubuntu.” In Care Ethics and Political Theory, edited by Daniel Engster and Maurice Hemington, 165– 186. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Gunkel, Henriette. The Cultural Politics of Female Sexuality in South Africa. London: Routledge, 2010. Halberstam, Judith. “Mackdaddy, Superfly, Rapper: Gender, Race and Masculinity in the Drag King Scene.” Social Text, Vol. 52/53, (1997): 53–79. Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998. hooks, bell. Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice. New York and London: Routledge, 2013. Hunter, Mark. Love in the Time of AIDS: Inequality, Gender and Rights in South Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010. Ismail, Sumayya, and SAPA. “Mixed Reaction to Zuma Apology.” Mail and Guardian Online, 28 September 2006. www.mg.co.za/article/2006-09-28-mixed-reaction-to-zuma-apology Kelley, Robin D.G. Race Rabels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class. New York: Free Press, 1994. Kelley, Robin D.G. Yo’ Mama’s DisFunctional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1997. Khumalo, Siza and Wieringa Saskia. “‘I’m the black sheep of my family …’: Same-Sexuality in the Corners of Swaziland.” In Tommy Boys, Lesbian Men and Ancestral Wives: Female Same-Sex Practices in Africa, edited by Ruth Morgan and Saskia Wieringa, 261–280. Johannesburg: Jacana, 2005. Krige, Eileen Jensen. “Woman-Marriage, with Special Reference to the Lovedu. It’s Significance for the Definition of Marriage.” Journal of International African Institute, Vol. 44, no. 1, (1974): 11–37. Livermon, Xavier. “Queer(y)ing Freedom: Black Queer Visibilities in Postapartheid South Africa.” GLQ, Vol. 18, no. 2–3, (2012): 298–324.

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Livermon, Xavier. “Usable Traditions: Creating Sexual Autonomy in Postapartheid South Africa.” Feminist Studies, Vol. 41, no. 1, (2015): 14–41. Marche, Guillaume. “Why Infrapolitics Matters.” Revue Française d’Etudes Americaines, Vol. 1, no. 131, (2012): 3–18. Matebeni, Zethu. Exploring Black Lesbian Sexualities and Identities in Johannesburg. Ph.D. Thesis. Johannesburg: University of Witwaterand, 2011. Maxwell, Richard and Toby Miller. “The Cultural Labour Issue.” Social Semiotics, Vol. 16, no. 1, (2006): 1–6. Mbiti, John. New Testament Eschatology in an African Background: A study of the Encouter between New Testament Theology and African Traditional Concepts. London: Oxford University Press, 1971. Mburu, John. “Awakenings: Dreams and Delusions of an Incipient Lesbian and Gay Movement in Kenya.” In Different Rainbows, edited by Peter Drucker, 179–191. London: Gay Men’s Press, 2000. Murray, Stephen and Will Roscoe. Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities. New York: St Martin’s Press, 1998. Nhlapo, T. “Women’s Rights and the Family in Traditional and Customary Law.” In Putting Women on the Agenda, edited by S. Bazilli. Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1991. Nkabinde, Nkuzi and Ruth Morgan. “‘This Has Happened since Anciente Times … it’s Something that You Are Born with’: Ancestral Wives Among Same-Sex Sangomas in South Africa.” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity, Vol. 20, no. 68, (2006): 9–19. Nyeck, S.N. and Marc Epprecht. Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory and Citizenship. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013. OUT LGBT Well-being. Hate Crimes Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People in South Africa, 2016. Pretoria: OUT LGBT Well-being, 2016. Posel, Dorrit, Stephanie Rudwick, and Daniela Casale. “Is Marriage a Dying Institution in South Africa? Exploring Changes in Marriage in the Context of Ilobolo Payments.” Agenda, Vol. 25, no. 1, (2011): 102–111. Praeg, Leonhard. A Report On Ubuntu. Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2014. Rubin, Gayle. “Of Catamites and Kings: Reflections of Butch, Gender and Boundaries.” In The Persistend Desire, edited by Joan Nestle, 466–482. Boston: Alyson, 1992. Rudwick, Stephanie. “Defying a Myth: A Gay Sub-Culture in Contemporary South Africa.” Nordic Journal of African Studies, Vol. 20, no. 2, (2011): 90–111. Rudwick, Stephanie and Dorrit Posel. “Zulu Bridewealth (Ilobolo) and Womanhood in South Africa.” Social Dynamics, Vol. 41, no. 2, (2015): 298–306. Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. London: Yale University Press, 1990. Shope, Janet Hinson. “‘Lobola is here to stay’: Rural Black Women and the Contradictory Meanings of Lobolo in Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Agenda, Vol. 20, no. 68, (2006): 64–72. Shutte, Augustine. Ubuntu: An Ethic for a New South Africa. Michigan: Cluster Publications, 2001. Statistics South Africa. Census 2011. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa, 2011. Swarr, Amanda Lock. “‘Stabane,’ Intersexuality, and Same-sex Relationships in South Africa.” Feminist Studies, Vol. 35, no. 3, (2009): 524–548. Swarr, Amanda Lock. “Parodoxes of Butchness: Lesbian Masculinities and Sexual Violence in Contemporary South Africa.” Signs, Vol. 37, no. 4, (2012): 961–986. Tshwane Lgbt Tshwane. Facebook: Tshwane Lgbt Tshwane. 28 February 2016. https://bit.ly/2PPPivK accessed May 2019. van Zyl, Mikki. “Beyond the Constitution: From Sexual Rights to Belonging.” In The Prize and the Price: Shaping Sexualities in South Africa, edited by Melissa Steyn and Mikki van Zyl, 364–387. Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2009. van Zyl, Mikki. A Sexual Politics of Belonging: Same-Sex Marriages in Post-Apartheid South Africa. PhD Thesis. Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University, 2015. https://bit.ly/2JiTRgL accessed May 2019. Vinthagen, Stellan and Anna Johansson. “‘Everyday Resistence’: Exploration of a Concept and its Thoeries.” Resistence Studies Magazine, Vol. 1, (2013): 1–45. Wa Tushabe, Tushabe. “Sexual Rights in Uganda and the Struggle for Meaning in Community.” Journal of Lesbian Studies, Vol. 21, no. 2, (2016): 169–185. Yarbrough, M.W. Very Long Engagements: Legal Consciousness and Persistent Authority and Bridewealth in South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa, 2014. Yuval-Davis, N. Gender and Nation. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1997.

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4 Queer African studies and directions in methodology Julie Moreau and T.J. Tallie

Introduction In the last few decades, scholars informed by queer theory have developed powerful tools for analyzing the production and maintenance of gendered and sexual norms. However, a growing body of scholarship challenges the Euro-American focus within the field. One site of this project is queer African studies, a shifting but coherent aggregate of work by scholars, artists, and activists that seeks to reexamine and recast historic relations of gender and sexuality on the continent. In his discussion of how to conceptualize the archive while thinking through both queer and African studies, Keguro Macharia (2015) addresses the question of methods. For Macharia, methods are hardly self-evident. They are not “objective practices to be applied to inert material” (Macharia 2015, 144). Rather, to consider methodology is itself a “struggle,” a provisional labor (Macharia 2015, 143). Such struggles are particularly loaded, as Sylvia Tamale (2011) has asserted, as methodologies are frequently created within histories of imperialism and violence against black communities (Connell 2014; Matebeni 2013b; Oyewumi 2005). The development of a methodology, then, is “work to be undertaken by many minds and bodies engaged in ongoing conversation, attempting to listen to each other, and willing to take conceptual and methodological risks” (Macharia 2015, 143–4). It is the objective of this chapter to highlight aspects of this ongoing conversation within queer African studies. Embedded in Macharia’s discussion of method is the imperative to do research that generates “conditions of livability” for queers of all kinds (Macharia 2015, 145). Indeed, queer theory has not necessarily taken interest in all queers, focusing on Euro-American subjectivities and experiences. As Stella Nyanzi (2014) has argued, discussions of queer theory frequently run the risk of foreclosing who and how an African queer person can be. What research practices follow from such an imperative? This chapter explores three approaches to queer research emergent in queer African studies literature. First, the literature seeks to destabilize sexuality and identity as analytical categories while recognizing the limits of deconstruction as a methodological practice. Second, scholars often adopt a postcolonial lens to expose persistent colonial dynamics in the research process and resist the urge for universalizing queer frameworks that would obscure these dynamics. Third, queer African studies

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attends responsibly to particular places and locations, while embedding its theorizing in transnational context. We conclude the chapter by suggesting avenues for further methodological development at the intersection of queer African studies and transnational queer studies. Our goal is not to limit and define a “queer African methodology,” as that would be impossible. We also do not suggest that the methodological practices we highlight are completely unique to queer African studies. Indeed, good research and good theorizing often have much in common across disciplines and areas of study. Rather, we hope to explore common concerns around the practice of research in recent queer African studies literature that offer important methodological insights for scholars in any field.

Methodological debates in Euro-American queer studies In 2005, David Eng, Jack Halberstam, and José Esteban Muñoz (2005, 1) set out to clarify the commitments of what they called a “renewed queer studies.” The authors urge that renewed queer studies be framed “within a politics of epistemological humility” (Eng et al. 2005, 15). To do so requires the recognition that the majority of queer scholarship is conducted by and for Western scholars in English. They explain: Scholars writing in other languages and from other political and cultural perspectives read but are not, in turn, read. These uneven exchanges replicate in uncomfortable ways the rise and consolidation of U.S. empire, as well as the insistent positing of a U.S. nationalist identity and political agenda globally. We propose epistemological humility as one form of knowledge production that recognizes these dangers. (Eng et al. 2005, 15) The authors are concerned that the very practice of queer writing can reproduce and reinforce US nationalism and politics by virtue of its focus and circulation. Macharia echoes this claim, asserting that, “we have learned our Butler and Sedgwick and Berlant, but not our Nzegwu and Mama and Oyewumi” (Macharia 2015, 144). Humility is an initial step, a suggested reorientation to, at a minimum, recognize the operation of power in the production of knowledge. Western queer studies scholars are therefore beginning to grasp their own epistemological limitations, but have not fully elaborated a methodological practice that can address these limitations. Kath Browne and Catherine J. Nash (2010) cite a similar problem as they attempt to chart a queer methodology. They argue, “there is a geography to queer thinking, theorizing and identification that often leaves unrecognized the situatedness of academics from the Global North who become ‘international,’ transcendent and adopted, whilst those from ‘elsewhere’ are bound to their location” (Browne and Nash 2010, 7). While “queer” as an analytical approach is “situated inquiry,” or “specific ways of knowing in particular locations,” queer scholarship “rarely recognizes its own location and how it travels” (Browne and Nash 2010, 7). The problem is not inherent to queer studies, or not more so than in any other field of inquiry, but arises when queer studies is decontextualized and unaccountable to its own critique of power. Queer African studies directly addresses and theorizes these issues in the production of queer knowledge.

Our own (queer) methodology In writing this chapter, we struggled with how to delineate the scope of the universe of scholarship we would engage. We searched the Web of Science for the terms “queer” and 50

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“African” in conjunction for the time period of 1900–2017, and returned 141 results (4 May 2017). The vast majority of the results were published in the past five years, suggesting an emerging field of scholarship. Not all 141 pieces are reviewed here. Rather, we used this as a baseline to examine these results for the studies most relevant to our topic and for inclusion in our review. We also included works that did not appear in the search, but that we find especially important to bring into the conversation. As a result, these arguments are necessarily tentative and partial, as the field continues to move and develop. Most of the work we encountered came from the humanities, rather than the social sciences. It is worth noting that pieces about South Africa were overrepresented in the sample of research as well. We must also note that, as two scholars primarily working within Anglophone research, we did not include Francophone and Lusophone scholarship, nor scholarship written in indigenous African languages. Further, the Web of Science is a search engine for mainstream academic scholarship, and thus does not capture all scholarly, activist or artistic production that could be included under the rubric of queer African studies. Before presenting our analysis, it is imperative that we locate ourselves in the racial, gendered, and classed social hierarchies (Goltz et al. 2016) examined in the literature we review. One of us is a social scientist, the other is a historian rooted in the humanities. We therefore bring different perspectives to discussions of methodology. We were each born, raised, and educated in the United States. Julie is a cisgender queer white woman. Her work engages Latin American, African, and North American queer scholarship, and she is interested in thinking about regional distinctions in queer theory and cross-regional exchanges of queer knowledge making. T.J. is a cisgender queer black man. He is interested in such work as part of larger questions of post/anticolonial, diasporic research and the multiple forms of resistance to hegemonic colonial structures of knowledge. While both of our academic research is based in South Africa, we are scholars at universities located in North America and as such benefit from the geographic privilege of our locations within the global North. In this chapter we work to acknowledge the power disparities within the academy that have rendered the global North the production site of theoretical knowledge and often relegated the global South to a source of data (Connell 2014). We recognize that the majority of the authors mentioned are situated in academic spaces within the global North, although that does not dictate that theorizing must be led in global North institutions. Indeed, echoing the critiques of Connell (2014), Macharia (2015), and Salo and Mama (2001), we underline that the productive potential of queer African studies lies within its ability to find theorizing and models within the continent.

Destabilizing discourses and categories The assemblage of scholarship contained under the umbrella of queer African studies offers methodology that destabilizes sexuality, gender, and identity as analytic categories. Given the necessity of better understanding sexuality on the continent on its own terms, however, an immediate tension arises with the methodological choice to use “queer” in relation to Africa. Can “queering,” with its own situated character, constitute a useful methodological choice for the study of African subjectivities? Scholars cite numerous reasons for their hesitation to employ the term queer in relation to Africa. Marc Epprecht (2008, 171) argues that while queer theory may contribute to theorizing sexuality in the context of broader struggles, such theorizing runs the risk of being based in “predominantly Western concerns” that obscure indigenous terminology and power relationships. Similarly, Douglas Clarke (2013) draws attention to the ways in 51

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which queer has aided in erasing African sexual subjectivity. Clarke offers a sustained critique of queer theoretical work produced in North American academia by highlighting its “distinct lack of consideration for African same-sex desiring culture. It is as if Western queer theory attempts to erase both African-ness and African centered homosexuality” (Clarke 2013, 173). For Clarke, this “double erasure” is the result of Western queer theory’s universalizing of the white homosexual subject, an act that then overlooks the complex intersections of ethnicity and race. This universalization is not accidental; indeed, it allows Western queer theorists to position themselves as the authority on sexuality itself. Rather than painting African queer theory in strict opposition to Western queer theory, Clarke’s engagement aims to disrupt “disastrous” binaries such “Africa versus the West” (Clarke 2013, 181). Clarke draws on Franz Fanon and W.E.B. DuBois to call for an “epistemic decolonization” that “repels Western queer theory” to reclaim an “erased African identity” (Clarke 2013, 180). By contrast, Sokari Ekine and Hakima Abbas (2013) opt to use “queer” in part as a response to the West’s representation of the trial of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in Malawi. During the trial, ill-informed journalists, academics, politicians, and international lesbian and gay activists defined the terms of the debate and generated the material conditions in which queer Malawians were forced to work. For Ekine and Abbas, the main goal of the Queer African Reader is to move beyond the simple characterization of Africa as a uniformly homophobic continent and emphasize the individual experience of Africans navigating sexuality among a host of other issues (Ekine and Abbas 2013, 3). To do so, the authors define queer as “a political frame rather than a gender identity or sexual behavior. We use queer … to transform, overhaul and revolutionize African order rather than seek to assimilate into oppressive hetero-patriarchal-capitalist frameworks” (Ekine and Abbas 2013, 3). While the authors recognize the liberatory potential of queer in this political context, they also add that they “use it here knowing the limitations of the terminology in relation to our African neocolonial realities” (Ekine and Abbas 2013, 4). As a consequence, a self-conscious application of queer theoretical frame can help deconstruct Western discourses of “African sexuality,” rather than reinforcing them. Scholars recognize the fraught relationship between Western-derived terms in queer theory and their meaning among contemporary Africans. The imposition of Western categories and linguistic dominance of English and French highlights the cracks in these systems of meaning. Zethu Matebeni and Thabo Msibi (2015) engage debates about language and naming surrounding sexuality in the African context. They explain: words have had a significant role in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Discomforts, public health discourses and critiques of identity categories have contributed toward a growing vocabulary of terms about sexual and gender diversities. Words such as msm (men who have sex with men), wsw (women who have sex with women), queer, and many others continue to circulate globally. At the same time, words that were once derogatory, such as moffie, queer, dyke, istabane, or tranny have been reappropriated by the same groups. (Matebeni and Msibi 2015, 3) Drawing on the work of Ugandan scholar Stella Nyazi, the authors argue that language contains immense power. As a consequence, Matebeni and Msibi place prime importance on questioning and destabilizing the languages and discourses that describe non-normative African sexual practices (Matebeni and Msibi 2015, 4). 52

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Scholars of queer Africa must contend with the notion of “African sexuality” itself, as it has been constructed through racist anthropological, bio-medical, and historical discourses (Epprecht 2013; Hoad 2007). Thus, deconstructing monolithic notions of “African sexuality,” instantiated in and through colonial languages, requires “new ways of listening to how people speak of themselves and bring meaning to their existence. Destabilizing the normative standards that are used to limit how we speak and name ourselves is a necessary eruption” (Matebeni and Msibi 2015, 5). Zethu Matebeni and Jabu Pereira (2014) offer another strategy for thinking queer in relation to African. The authors acknowledge that the term is not widespread and that there has been a conflation of queer with the acronym LGBTI. Rather than engaging directly with the word queer, they engage “African” and instead choose “Afrikan.” They deploy a “k” in the word Afrikan to “emphasize the need to reclaim our existence and being in this continent” (Matebeni and Pereira 2014, 7). Describing multifaceted exclusion and a feeling of alienation among sexual and gender diverse Africans, they write: we have been stripped of our belonging and our connectedness. For these reasons, we have curated our own version of Afrika – a space that cuts across the rigid borders and boundaries that have for so many years made us feel disconnected and fractured. (Matebeni and Pereira 2014, 7) The authors set out a vision of Africa that deconstructs and rejects normative notions of “borders” – both around identity and nation, instrumental in the forms of exclusion they speak of. By breaking these national borders, they also break the borders that geopolitically locate queer in the West. Thus, in reclaiming Afrika, the authors claim queer. Such work upends the presumption of Western queer theorists to apply ostensibly universal categories onto Afrikan subjects by using queer as a shared language of critique and response. Likewise, Stella Nyanzi (2014) examines what “queer” has come to mean in the African context, and what possibilities for its meaning may already be foreclosed. Nyanzi urges an interrogation of the word by way of a discussion of her own positionality. She asks, “where do I fit in this queer world?” (Nyanzi 2014, 61). Nyanzi makes a case for her own queerness by stressing the necessity of an anti-essentialist approach to the term. “Queering queer Africa,” Nyanzi argues, requires a widening of the possibilities for knowledge production, an epistemic broadening. In terms of method, she posits “the methods of queering queer Africa necessarily demand innovation, creativity, multi-disciplinarity and a combination of academic scholarship, social activism and the diverse lived realities of local queer Africans” (Nyanzi 2014, 64). Nyanzi wants to engage a queer theory that is not only capacious enough to include her, but remains committed to an anti-essentialist politic envisioned both in anticolonial and queer writing. As a consequence, critical Anglophone work across the continent, particularly in Uganda and southern Africa, seeks to engage with the colonial histories of naming and framing African identities, languages, and regions. This critical refashioning is extended on a linguistic level to the use of Africa/Afrika, which destabilizes the unidirectional power of naming from English-speaking institutions outside of the continent itself. In a similar vein, Notisha Massaquoi (2013) takes up queer in order to assert African agency. Massaquoi defines queer as “an act of agency and in reference to same-sex desire or any alternative to compulsory heterosexuality” (Massaquoi 2013, 39). Massaquoi proposes a queer African framework in order to problematize the notions of sexual identity and sexual orientation “from an African perspective” (Massaquoi 2013, 39). The framework promises an analysis and engagement with the past, present and future of queer Africans, with Africa 53

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“conceptualized in an expansive and inclusive way” (Massaquoi 2013, 40). Massaquoi uses this framework to understand the experience of queer African migrants to Canada, and makes the case for including the heterogeneous experience of the African diaspora in the ongoing construction of African sexual subjectivity. Thus, a queer approach allows Massaquoi to deconstruct sexual orientation, identity, and “Africa.” Queerness can also be used to deconstruct nationalist narratives of progress on the continent. Jane Bennett and Vasu Reddy (2015) call for the deconstruction of dominant discourses of sexuality as they place South Africa in relation to other African countries. Through this process, they address the complex politics of representing violence and victimization – wanting to call attention to violence against LGBTQ communities, while simultaneously grappling with the consequences of the “act of naming.” The act of naming, they explain, creates homogenous, stagnant categories incapable of addressing the questions of violence scholars wish to confront. Bennett and Reddy call this a “discursive conundrum” (2015, 15). Thus, the kind of work done by Zethu Matebeni (2013b) and Sekoetlane Phamodi (2011) to “deconstruct” violence against black lesbians – one such constituency – is necessary. Matebeni and Phamodi have both argued that sexual violence against South African lesbians, often referred to as “curative” or “corrective” rape, has been constructed as an exceptional form of violence directed at lesbians. This has the effect of creating a particular black lesbian subject, presumed to be poor and victimized, along with a particular black (straight) township male subject as the constant perpetrator. The act of naming in this way limits the parameters in which lesbian representation occurs, thus failing to capture the fullness of lesbian lives. While deconstruction is an important and subversive tool within queer theorization, such work is embedded in social and political realities that shape the meaning and efficacy of that approach. Bennett and Reddy (2015) question the ability of South Africans to deconstruct the idea of their nation as a continental “leader” on LGBTI issues, despite the limitations such a posture of “leadership” poses on the complex interconnections between South Africans and sexual and gender minorities across the continent. As tempting as deconstructing, or “screwing,” the nation may be, such a practice flies in the face of decades of antiapartheid struggle and post-apartheid self-imagination. They write, It may be far too soon to do this; much LGBTI activism in the country draws on the Constitution as a legitimate basis for its advocacy work, and no South African living lacks a family network embedded in what it meant to live underneath the matrix of apartheid policies. (Bennett and Reddy 2015, 19–20) The authors point to Matebeni’s (2014) use of the “k” in Reclaiming Afrikan as an example of effective subversion of the nation as the point of reference for activism and queer organization. Deconstruction is not the only tool that queer theory provides, and may be inappropriate for scholars in certain contexts. Adriaan Van Klinken (2017) warns non-African scholars doing queer African studies work not to allow the deconstruction of sexual subjects – so predominate in Western queer theory – overwhelm their analysis. Van Klinken (2017) contends that when queer theory and African studies are brought into conversation around issues of religion, queer theory’s secular bias is revealed. Van Klinken writes, “queer studies, if it really takes seriously African queer subjectivity, must contend with the fact that many LGBT people in Africa actually identify with the same religious traditions that are so vocal 54

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against them” (Van Klinken 2017, 2). For Van Klinken, this kind of acknowledgment can reformulate critiques of “homosexuality is unAfrican” from a religious perspective that does not pit sexuality and tradition in opposition, as well as account for the Eurocentricism in secular models of LGBT politics (Van Klinken 2017). Ultimately, van Klinken argues that deconstruction must be combined with “commitment to, and engagement with the justice and human rights concerns that members of same-sex and otherwise queer communities in Africa face” (Van Klinken 2017, 2). Otherwise, deconstruction can, once again, become a tool by which the universalized white Western queer subject asserts knowledge over complex social and sexual relations on the continent. In sum, queer African studies sets out a methodology of “queering” that deconstructs hegemonic categories such as “African sexuality” while recognizing that deconstruction as a research and analytical approach can fail to capture aspects of the study of queer African realities.

Postcolonial approaches in queer African studies: Archive and resistance In the literature we examined, a second methodological approach uses postcolonial insights to make visible ongoing colonial logics and power dynamics in the study of queer sexualities. Far from being at odds, “both postcolonial and queer studies speak to the importance of breaking down oppositions and boundaries” (Spurlin 2006, 22). Indeed, Ayo A. Coly (2016) argues that queer is “organic” to postcolonial modes of power and resistance. Queer African studies, therefore, can offer guidelines for exposing legacies of colonial knowledge production and challenging the power relations embedded in them. For example, Sylvia Tamale (2011) examines colonialism’s continued influence on knowledge production about African sexuality. Tamale observes that, “beginning with the first contact with African communities, researchers from the global North maintained a voyeuristic, ethnopornographic obsession with what they perceived as exotic (read perverse) African sexual cultures” (2011, 19). With imperialist zeal, researchers sought information on African sexual practices, always casting them as inferior and “other” to European sexuality. As a consequence, Tamale argues, contemporary scholars of sexuality in Africa must employ research methods and ethics that address postcolonial realities. Participatory methodologies, where research participants are considered co-equal knowledge producers to the researchers, can reveal and challenge colonial influence on knowledge production. Maia Zway and Floretta Boonzaier (2015) explore use of photovoice with lesbian adolescents in South Africa. This methodology, the authors write, “considers the participants as experts of their own experiences and co-producers of the knowledge-making process” (Zway and Boonzaier 2015, 98). Participatory methodologies such as photovoice are designed to meld scholarship and activism, creating opportunities for social change that go beyond the simple “partnership” model (Zway and Boonzaier 2015). Dustin Bradley Goltz and collegues (2016) explore the limits of non-African research on queer African lives in their work on Kenyan activists and media coverage of LGBTI people and issues. Over the course of conducting participatory observations with advocacy organizations and writing their findings, the authors, as Western scholars, encountered obstacles to producing quality research on sexualities in Africa. Fundamentally, the researchers recognized the difficulty of avoiding Western frames of reference during the research process (Goltz et al. 2016, 118). To address this pitfall, the authors advanced “cultural humility,” which recalls the Eng et al. (2005) mentioned earlier, as an approach that privileges the voices, 55

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experiences and perspectives of the Kenyan activists who participated in the study, and does not assume a congruence between participant-generated narratives and master narratives of LGBTI lives already in national and global circulation (Goltz et al. 2016). North–South collaboration alone, therefore, cannot solve the problems caused by global hierarchies of power (Connell 2014; Tamale 2011). Any engagement with questions of coloniality requires reflexivity about these power relations, including those embedded in the language of exchange. Language “poses serious limitations to researchers of African sexualities, who have to collect data in local languages and present their findings in the foreign language of the academy. Inevitably, rich cultural connotations and ambiguities (multiple meanings) are lost in translation” (Tamale 2011, 13). Articulating knowledge about African sexualities in English, for example, alters or even distorts its meaning. The imperative to make African sexualities knowable and intelligible in colonial languages also obscures the importance of silences. Tamale (2011) explains that, in the dominant Western approach to knowledge creation, “voice is valorized and silence constructed as a total blank.” However, “in many African cultures silence can be as powerful and as empowering as speech” (Tamale 2011, 13). Thus, queer can be used as a tool to make strange the Western premium placed on the will to articulation. In an effort to redefine such terms of articulation, several scholars explore the ways in which the work of visual artist Zanele Muholi’s photographs queer existing regimes of representation (Gqola 2011; Matebeni 2013a; Thomas 2010). Pumla Dineo Gqola (2011) argues that Muholi’s work defies readily available classificatory rubrics and compels the imagination in “insurgent and transformative ways.” Thus representation and imagination collide in queer depictions of African sexuality. The goal is not merely representing realities but breaking with existent conventions of representation to make previously obscured or erased ways of being possible. Gqola (2011) examines a portrait series “Beloved” of “two attractive Black semi-naked, dreadlocked women in various poses.” These figures, Gqola (2011, 627) argues, “are neither freakishly pornographically displayed nor case[s] in the stereotype of noble native maidens.” Thus, Muholi allows these figures to enter the archive of African sexualities in a way that reveals the representational regimes that “attempt to both violate and co-opt their lives” (Gqola 2011, 627). Yet, as Gqola (2011, 627) argues, “they are not wholly defined by the terms of such as definition.” Muholi’s intervention, then, works to undo the colonial expectations behind representation by presenting black women in poses that purposefully challenge the eye behind the camera. Similarly, Zethu Matebeni (2013a) examines the ways in which Muholi engages with representations of black lesbian bodies and sexuality. Given laden colonial histories of exploitation, exemplified by the treatment of Sara Baartman, Matebeni explores other ways of “seeing” (Matebeni 2013a, 405). “Without undermining the manner in which the black female body has been positioned and viewed as a site of numerous struggles in post-colonial African discourse,” Matebeni writes, “there exist other ways in which the black body can be seen beyond its colonial constraints and constructs” (Matebeni 2013a, 405). Thus Matebeni, via Muholi’s work, is interested in the possibilities of decolonizing the gaze. In addition to photography, scholars have also taken to problematizing other aspects of archival knowledge production. Thérèse Migraine-George and Ashley Currier (2016) suggest understanding the archive as a place of movement. This can refer both to the fact that many queer African archives are compiled by social movement activists, but also that archives are a “place in process” where knowledge and methodology are continuously redefined (Rohy 2010 in Migraine-George and Currier 2016, 192). For example, April Sizemore-Barber (2017) argues that the South African organization GALA (Gay and Lesbian Memory in 56

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Action, formerly Gay and Lesbian Archives) creates a queer African archive that does not reinforce knowledge hierarchies typical of institutional archives, and addresses Macharia’s concern that archives foster queer life. Citing Deleuze and Guattari, Sizemore-Barber asserts that GALA’s accessibility and avoidance of traditional structures of power has resulted “a rhizomatic process of becoming-archive” (Sizemore-Barber 2017, 118). Sizemore-Barber’s study of GALA challenges and redefines the existing colonial category of the archive as a source of quantifiable knowledge of the Other, instead rendering the archive both a method and object of African queer analysis. Scholars of queer Africa, therefore, draws on postcolonial approaches to expose legacies of colonial knowledge production and queer historic hierarchies of power on the continent, regimes of representation, and archival claims to knowledge.

Transnational queer analysis of African societies The third contribution we explore here is a methodological approach capable of a transnational critique of African contexts. As previously discussed, it is vitally important that “home-grown” critiques be developed, so as not to impute Western queer politics onto African contexts (Tamale 2011, 25). For example, while Western queer studies have focused on homonational dynamics of late, a “postcolonial heteronationalism or even anti-homonationalism can be observed” in African cases (Van Klinken 2017, 1). Indeed, a transnational approach is particularly useful for discussions of homophobia in Africa, a topic that can easily produce reductionist accounts (Currier 2019; Hoad 2007; Thoreson 2014). Situating studies of African sexualities and genders in transnational context permits place-specific analysis while accounting for similarities produced by transnational forces and flows. Thabo Msibi (2011) explores the manner in which homophobia has come to feature in the politics of a continent that never historically pathologized homosexuality. Far from locating homophobia as an intractable cultural problem, Msibi argues “the wave of human rights that has swept through Africa has permitted many to claim a ‘gay’ identity” (Msibi 2011, 55–6). In response to the seeming emergence of a new form of sexual subject entitled to rights, many states reacted harshly, relying on colonial era anti-sodomy laws (Msibi 2011). Msibi thus provides an internal critique of homophobia in Africa that focuses on the anxieties provoked by assertions of political rights on the basis of homosexuality, but also situates these domestic changes in the context of a transnational discourse and practice of human rights. Similarly, Stella Nyanzi and Andrew Karamagi (2015) examine homophobic legislation in Uganda. They lament the dearth of context-specific scholarship on the legislation. However, because of their positionality as Ugandan scholars at Makerere University in Kampala, the authors are able to provide “a nuanced, emic, historicized and contextualized critique of the social-political dynamics within developments of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality legislation” (Nyanzi and Karamagi 2015, 25). After examining the trajectory of the Bill, they posit: The politicization and publicization of recriminalizing homosexuality in Uganda is really about nationalism, sovereignty, morality, propriety, control, political expediency, politicking before voters, foreign relations, bilateral aid, neo-imperial power, human rights, and piety. This question is ultimately about the power to define or resist boundaries of belonging and exclusion in post-independence Uganda. (Nyanzi and Karamagi 2015, 35–6) 57

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The authors elucidate a complex web of factors precipitating the legislation – both domestic and transnational – as well as make clear the complexity of the debate that took place in Uganda, including dissent inside institutions like parliament and judiciary. The researchers long-term embeddedness allows for a deep contextualization that resists “stereotypical generalizations about the homophobic Ugandan nation” (Nyanzi and Karamagi 2015, 37). Thus, African queer methodology insists on the embeddedness of local histories in transnational narratives, not only of the subject at hand, but also of the researcher. To understand rights for sexual and gender minorities in Africa requires analysis of both transnational and local factors. Scholars working in the field of queer African studies use transnational analysis to problematize “rights” and question the extent to which rights-based solutions to injustice against LGBTI people are adequate (Bennett and Reddy 2015, 5). Zahrah Devji (2016) explores the possibility of an “African” approach to the realization of queer rights. The issue invokes the tension around what constitutes authentically African sexuality. Devji locates this tension in the coexistence of two contradictory discourses on African sexuality. The first, the discourse of “sexual colonialism,” claims that queer sexuality is a foreign import. The second, “sexually deviant African” discourse, maintains that diverse African sexualities were improved and disciplined with European and Christian intervention. Both are evident in laws and sexual politics on the continent. Devji juxtaposes the rights available to LGBTQ South Africans and Ugandans and concludes that despite different legal regimes, the everyday realities for queers in both countries bear many resemblances. South Africa’s failure to produce social equality for queers casts doubt on the success of its rightsdriven model of social change. As a result, an African path for queer rights remains “unpaved” (Devji 2016, 363). Devji thus joins scholars who bring attention to the existence of forms of homophobia in South Africa that can usefully be understood through a queer lens and in relation to homophobia elsewhere (De Vos 2015; Henderson 2015; Jagessar and Msibi 2015; Rothmann and Simmonds 2015). In addition to a methodological approach that employs deconstruction while recognizing its limits and adopts a postcolonial stance to understand how knowledge on African sexuality has been produced, queer African studies situates analysis in transnational context to better understand the interplay of transnational and local forces shaping sexualities and genders African societies.

Conclusion This chapter has advanced the claim that queer African studies can provide methodological direction for the future of queer scholarship. The research explored here can destabilize sexuality, gender formation, and identity as analytical categories, further decolonize transnational queer epistemologies, and allow for critiques of contemporary African societies that balance the global with connections to the local. Such an emergent field as queer African studies has much to offer transnational queer theorizing. First, this chapter has demonstrated the methodological benefits for queer theory of centering non-Western thinkers, theorists, and activists. Looking forward, what would it mean to bring Macharia or Matebeni or Tamale or Nyanzi to bear on theoretical concerns in North America, Europe, or Asia? How might anticolonial concerns find shared purchase in the expansive field of critical indigenous studies in North America and Australasia? Second, we take seriously the call for a queer theorizing that prioritizes livability for queer African experiences – assertions also visible in black queer theorizing in North America. Foregrounding the human concerns, the struggles for dignity and life, and the quotidian 58

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politics of survival visible in queer African studies has the potential to radically transform practice in transnational queer studies as well. As the field of queer African studies continues to emerge, its insights must be brought to bear on transnational queer work, particularly to counteract the easy universalizing scholars in the global North so often undertaken. It is then that we can collectively devise work that meets scholarly theorizing and daily activism, work that struggles through the messy lived realities of this (post)colonial world that deconstructs, challenges, and liberates.

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Lima, Alvaro Luis. “Screw the Nation! Queer Nationalism and Representations of Power in Contemporary South African Art.” African Arts Vol. 45, no. 4, (2012): 46–57. Macharia, Keguro. “Archive and Method in Queer African Studies.” Agenda Vol. 29, no. 1, (2015): 140–146. Massaquoi, Notisha. “No Place Like Home: African Refugees and the Emergence of a New Queer Frame of Reference.” In Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, Citizenship, edited by S.N. Nyeck and Marc Epprecht, 37–53. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2013. Matebeni, Zethu. “Deconstructing Violence Towards Black Lesbians in South Africa.” In Queer African Reader, edited by Sokari Ekine and Hakima Abbas, 343–353. Cape Town: Pambasuka Press, 2013a. Matebeni, Zethu. “Intimacy, Queerness, Race.” Cultural Studies Vol. 27, no. 3, (2013b): 404–417. Matebeni, Zethu. “How Not to Write about Queer South Africa.” In Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities, edited by Zethu Matebeni, 57–59. Athlone: Modjaji Books, 2014. Matebeni, Zethu, and Thabo Msibi. “Vocabularies of the Non-Normative.” Agenda Vol. 29, no. 1, (2015): 3–9. Matebeni, Zethu, and Jabu Pereira. “Preface.” In Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities, edited by Zethu Matebeni, 7–9. Athlone: Modjaji Books, 2014. Migraine-George, Thérèse and Ashley Currier. “Queer Studies/African Studies: An (Im)possible Transaction?” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies Vol. 22, no. 2, (2016): 281–305. Msibi, Thabo. “The Lies We Have Been Told: On (Homo) Sexuality in Africa.” Africa Today Vol. 58, no. 1, (2011): 54–77. Nyanzi, Stella. “Queering Queer Africa.” In Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities, edited by Zethu Matebeni, 61–66. Athlone: Modjaji Books, 2014. Nyanzi, Stella and Andrew Karamagi. “The Social-Political Dynamics of the Anti-homosexuality Legislation in Uganda.” Agenda Vol. 29, no. 1, (2015): 24–38. Oyewumi, Oyeronke. “Visualizing the Body: Western Theories and African Subjects.” In African Gender Studies: a Reader, edited by Oyeronke Oyewumi, 3–21. Palgrave: New York, 2005. Phamodi, Sekoetlane. “Interrogating the Notion of ‘Corrective Rape’ in Contemporary Public and Media Discourse.” Consultancy Africa Intelligence 22 November 2011. https://bit.ly/2Jcvnpg (accessed 24 July 2017). Puar, Jasbir K. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Tenth Anniversary Edition). Durham: Duke University Press, 2017. Rothmann, Jacques and Shan Simmonds. “‘Othering’ Non-normative Sexualities through Objectification of ‘the Homosexual’: Discursive Discrimination by Pre-Service Teachers.” Agenda Vol. 29, no. 1, (2015): 116–126. Salo, Elaine and Amina Mama. “Talking about Feminism in Africa.” Agenda Vol. 50, (2001): 58–63. Sizemore-Barber, April. “Archival Movements: South Africa’s Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action.” Safundi Vol. 18, no. 2, (2017): 117–130. Spurlin, William. Imperialism within the Margins: Queer Representation and the Politics of Culture in Southern Africa. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Tamale, Sylvia. “Researching and Theorizing Sexualities in Africa.” In African Sexualities: A Reader, edited by Sylvia Tamale, 11–36. Cape Town: Pambazuka Press, 2011. Thomas, Kylie. “Zanele Muholi’s Intimate Archive: Photography and Post-apartheid Lesbian Lives.” Safundi Vol. 11, no. 4, (2010): 421–436. Thoreson, Ryan R. “Troubling the Waters of a ‘Wave of Homophobia’: Political Economies of Antiqueer Animus in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Sexualities Vol. 17, no. 1/2, (2014): 23–42. Van Klinken, Adriaan. “Queer Studies and Religion in Contemporary Africa: Decolonizing, Post-Secular Moves.” The Scholar & Feminist Online Vol. 14, no. 2, (2017): 1–2. Zway, Maia and Floretta Boonzaier. “‘I Believe that Being a Lesbian is not a Curse’: Young Black Lesbian Women Representing their Identities through Photovoice.” Agenda Vol. 29, no. 1, (2015): 96–107.

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Part II

Perspectives on participation

Where Men Dwell Unoma Azuah There are fruits seasons at this place where only men dwell Harvests call for all to pluck So even women become men in this place where men dwell But when the women arrive The plucking poles are elevated with tightened hips Guttural voices replace the giggle of girls Female bodies are shed for a taste of the seasonal fruits The spaces are occupied by women who settle into privileged premises. ¼ Cup Ground Cumin Alexis Teyie I forgot to come out. The sun was too clean, the songs too perishable. In other words, I was too busy. And nothing grand. Not really. Just the dishes. The taxes. The gynaecologist appointment in Hurlingham. I am told it’s just not done to remain un-out. I don’t think I’m anti-out, it’s just these emails from my 61

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old science teacher need answering. And the harissa needs preparing. And the maandazi for evening tea needs getting to. And the writing too. I won’t forget to come out tomorrow, though. Before bed, I’ll draw up a list of everyone to come out to. I’ll start with that squinty little boy in nursery who stole my Staedtlers. I think his name was Brian. I might find him on Facebook – Ah, but I forgot the cumin!

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5 LGBTIQ political participation in South Africa The rights, the real, and the representation Jennifer Smout (Thorpe)

Introduction Over the past two decades, the global movement towards increasing the representation of women in governments, as well as the representation of ethnic and other minorities, has been premised upon the goals of enhancing democratic ideals. The assumption has been that increased representation of these groups will also increase the representation of issues that affect their lives within public policy in addition to lending legitimacy to specific concerns. However, until recently, little attention has been paid to increasing the representation of sexual and gender minorities within the public sphere and policy. Yet, the “need to represent the communit[ies] at risk becomes more pressing” (Reynolds 2013, 1), given the context of global homophobia and transphobia and their mobilization in political processes such as national election campaigns. Arguably, given the politicization of non-heteronormative sexuality in Africa, instances of homophobia and transphobia are expected to be noticed in the public sphere, including in a country such as South Africa. Despite significant legislative progress since 1994, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and queer (henceforth LGBTIQ) persons continue to face barriers including discriminatory attitudes and violence that operate as deterrent to full political participation in South Africa. But, contrary to expectation given persistent socio-economic discriminations under a progressive constitution, LGBTIQ persons have been courageous in demanding and asserting full political participation in South Africa. It is with the aim of finding out the extent of the political participation of LGBTIQ persons in South Africa that Triangle Project (henceforth Triangle) and the LGBTQ Victory Institute (henceforth Victory Institute) commissioned a research report in early 2017. This chapter discusses the findings of the commissioned research entitled Power and Participation: How LGBTIQ People can Shape South African Politics which the author conducted as a lead investigator (Triangle Project and Victory Institute 2016). The chapter positions these research findings in the context of LGBTIQ human rights and political participation in South Africa. The report reflects on the interest of LGBTIQ persons in increased political

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participation, opportunities for political parties to draw voter support through having clear and defined supportive positions on human rights for LGBTIQ persons, and openness to and support for LGBTIQ persons from politicians across political parties. In general, LGBTIQ persons in South Africa currently exist as an “untapped” political constituency with the power to potentially help a party win as many as 17 seats in the parliament if they were to vote as a block. In a sample size of 845 LGBTIQ interviewees in South Africa who completed an online survey more than half (58.29%) of the respondents felt that more representation of LGBTIQ politicians within parties would mean that their needs could be better addressed. Thus LGBTIQ enthusiasm for electing politicians who publicly defend their interests should been seen as a call to political parties to broaden membership and representation in leadership positions within their ranks. The remainder of the chapter starts with an overview of LGBTIQ human rights in South Africa and follows with a summary of the research findings to conclude with some lessons and key recommendations pertaining to the mechanisms needed to promote LGBTIQ political participation in the country and perhaps in Africa.

LGBTIQ human rights in South Africa Since 1994, South Africa has committed to progressive legislative human rights for LGBTIQ persons through the development of national legislation and through the ratification of international and regional treaties that promote non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (SOGI). Giving full legitimacy to these commitments is the South African constitution, the first in the world to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Yet, despite South Africa’s liberal legislative framework, many LGBTIQ people are trapped within a system where they are socially or economically excluded, and where violence against them is either ignored or encouraged. As a result, LGBTIQ persons continue to be excluded as they experience poverty, poor educational opportunities, and increased likelihood of their further victimization (SAHRC 2012). The Constitution and subsequent legislations create a supportive legislative framework for the exercise of human rights by LGBTIQ people, but it was not created in a manner that was uncontested by various groups. As a result, the lived reality of many LGBTIQ persons differs dramatically from the imagined community promised in legislative frameworks for the protection of human rights. In a 2014 interview, Desiree Lewis, of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape, explained that there is a “disconnect between formal rights and the actual lived experiences of many LGBTIQ people whose lives continue to be deeply influenced by homophobic violence” (Lewis cited in Thorpe 2015, 32). Regrettably, the human rights legal framework that South Africa has in place still inadequately addresses this disconnect. The exclusion that LGBTIQ people face is manifest in different ways and intersects with various forms of discrimination (including race, class, sexuality, and gender). Exclusion is made evident in the differing forms of discrimination white and black LGBTIQ persons experience. As Mary Hames, head of the Gender Equity Unit at the University of the Western Cape, explains, whites, in general, and the black middle-class can ‘afford’ to access and claim their Constitutional rights and privacy, whereas the working and unemployed majority of LGBTI people have become the targets of excessive hatred which often result in rape and/or killings. (Hames cited in Thorpe 2015, 31) 64

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Exclusion is thus linked to and reinforced by existing racial and socio-economic discrimination. Exclusion further suggests that while hate crimes against lesbian women are noticed in all racial groups, the after effects of the Apartheid system and “the related lack of access to essential resources puts black lesbians at a particular risk of hate crimes compared to lesbians in other population groups” (Gontek 2007). Thus, the historical and present realities of race, class, and geography result in different intersections of violence against LGBTIQ people from differing backgrounds (Vance 2011). Persisting socio-economic violence makes certain categories of lesbian women and LGBTIQ persons particularly vulnerable to multiform exclusion. For Dawn Cavanagh, then director of the Coalition of African Lesbians, the way in which this exclusion is described is of critical importance. She notes, “a lot of the focus nationally has been on the impact on young black lesbians. In this respect, language is important – they are described as ‘dropping out’ of school, when the reality is that they are being forced out” (Cavanagh cited in Thorpe 2015, 32). Many respondents in the research (to be described later) also emphasized the “forcing out” or “pushing out” of LGBTIQ persons from active engagement with society. Yvette Abrahams, secretary of Khoelife Cooperative and former commissioner on Gender Equality, stresses that many working class and rural LGBTI people are unable to participate in policy debates because government officials do not do community outreach, or use language that the people in rural areas understand (Abrahams cited in Thorpe 2015, 32). The remedy to the ostracization of LGBTIQ persons is yet to be addressed holistically in the legislation and often lends itself to limited opportunities and systemic inflexibility. Hence challenges to public participation opportunities are compounded for LGBTIQ persons living far from urban centers. Accordingly, it has been recommended that popular “discourses around sex, sexuality, sexual orientation and gender need to be examined and opportunities created for the promotion of a national discourse around rights, development and sexual and gender justice” (SAHRC 2012, 60) beyond urban areas.

The Triangle Project and Victory Institute research study Study background and methodology In early 2017, Triangle and the LGBTQ Victory Institute (henceforth Victory Institute) commissioned the author to research and report on the political participation of LGBTIQ persons in South Africa. This research was conducted between April and September 2017. This research was part of the broader work of Triangle and the Victory Institute aimed at increasing the participation of LGBTIQ persons in the democratic processes in South Africa to achieving equality for all. Triangle and Victory Institute are organizations that are working tirelessly to ensure that the voices of LGBTIQ people are heard in political platforms and that opportunities to participate politically are made available to them. The project’s main objective was to identify the opportunities to increase the political participation of LGBTIQ people in South Africa. This objective included determining whether having openly LGBTIQ elected officials could positively impact the advancement of equality for LGBTIQ persons; identifying trends in the progress, challenges, and best practices for political participation of the LGBTIQ population; identifying best practices to encourage the political participation of black LGBTIQ persons; identifying the voting patterns of LGBTIQ persons during the 2009 and 2014 national electoral cycles; identifying opportunities to increase the number of LGBTIQ people with membership in a political parties’ structures; and identifying whether a political party or a candidate’s support for 65

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LGBTIQ equality negatively or positively affects voters’ support. Additional assignments for this research included training LGBTIQ activists and advocates interested in democratic processes to get more involved in formal political spaces and civil society fora, and creating a platform for the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and best practice around the political participation of LGBTIQ persons. Mixed methodologies were used to get a deeper understanding of the opportunities for and barriers to increasing political participation amongst LGBTIQ persons. The research included structured interviews with nine political party representatives (one from the African National Congress (ANC), three from the Democratic Alliance (DA), one from the Congress of the People (COPE), two from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), two from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)), and six civil society leaders. An online survey of over 800 self-identified LGBTIQ persons detailing their political participation, desktop literature research on political participation in South Africa, and case studies of political party manifesto and policy analyses were other methods deployed to gather information. It is worth noting that securing political party interviews was incredibly difficult, but that this may have been attributable to the conflicted political context within South Africa in June and July 2017. During this interval, opposition parties led a bid to remove South Africa’s then President Jacob Zuma by a vote of no confidence, which was then scheduled for 8 August 2017. As a result, many political party officials were involved in campaigning and lobbying. However, when interviews were secured, political party representatives were extremely open and engaging on the matter of LGBTIQ human rights, even identifying areas where their own parties could do better.

South Africa’s political landscape since 1994 South Africa held its first democratic national election in 1994. Photographs from the elections are iconic, showing the long lines of people who queued up to make their mark. 19.5 million voters arrived to vote on 27 April 1994 (IEC 2017a), now marked as Freedom Day in the South African national calendar. The election was groundbreaking in many ways. For black South Africans, 1994 presented the first opportunity to vote in a lifetime. During Apartheid only white South Africans were permitted to vote. Black, colored, Indian, and other South Africans who were not white did not have the opportunity. The election marked the transition from centuries of colonial exploitation and later apartheid oppression of the majority of the South African population. Similarly, for many women in South Africa it was their first opportunity to vote. Nineteen political parties registered to contest the first democratic election (South African History Online 2014). In 1994, the ANC won elections with 62.65% of the vote and increased this percentage over the next two elections in 1999 (66.35%) and 2004 (69.69%). Over the fourth and fifth national democratic elections, the ANC’s support decreased to 65.9% in 2009 and 62.15% in 2014 (IEC 2017b). After the 2014 elections, the parties with the most seats in parliament were the ANC (249 seats), the DA (89 seats), and the EFF (25 seats), making up over 90% of the seats in parliament. In addition to the shifting representation of parties over time, the percentage of the population who has voted since 1994 has also changed. In the first elections, 19,533,498 citizens voted in the national elections, many of whom were unregistered (IEC 2017c; South African Broadcasting Corporation 2014). In the first democratic election, registration was not required in order to give the maximum number of South Africans an opportunity to vote. In the 2014 elections, 73% of registered citizens voted, with 25,388,082 voters that year. The bulk of those who are unregistered (some 9 million South Africans) are 66

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youth with 16% of 18 to 19 year olds, 46% of 20 to 29 years olds, and 18% of 30 to 39 year olds unregistered at that time (Nicholson 2016). The size of the electorate affects the number of votes are needed to secure a seat in parliament. On average, a political party needs between 30,000 and 50,000 votes to secure a seat in parliament depending on voter turnout (South African Government News Agency 2014). Research by the Other Foundation and the Human Sciences Research Council (2015) estimated that at least 530,000 adults in South Africa identified as either homosexual, bisexual, or gender non-conforming in some way. Thus, if all LGBTIQ voters voted as a block, they could help a party secure an additional 10 to 17 seats, depending on voter turnout. Thus, the LGBTIQ population of South Africa is a significant electoral group that political parties to date have underestimated and under-engaged with, as this research chapter indicates. It is important to note, however, that the reality for many South Africans is more complex than can capture one identity category for representation sake. South Africans face differing challenges and opportunities based on a number of factors including their race, class, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location, and health status. Intersectionality, or “the ways in which institutional power structures such as race, class, gender, and sexuality simultaneously structure social relations” (Meyer 2008, 264), is therefore an important lens in considering both the political participation of LGBTIQ individuals, as well as its potential in changing political parties’ outreach strategies. The 1994 elections results were not only significant for racial representation, but also for increased government’s representativeness in terms of gender. Of the first democratically elected parliament, 27.7% was female (South African Government 2016). Since 1994, South Africa has been a global leader in terms of the representation of women in parliament. As of September 2017, the South African parliament is ranked 10th in the world with 42.1% of women represented in the National Assembly and 35.2% in the National Council of Provinces (IPU 2017). However, progress in terms of increasing women’s representation at a provincial and local levels has not been as effective. As of July 2017, only two of nine premiers (South African Government 2017) were female, and only 38% of municipal mayors, and 39% of municipal councilors were female (Statistics South Africa 2016). An analysis of openly LGBTIQ elected or appointed officials since 1994 reveals that only eight persons are represented in national parliament (Reynolds 2013). Members listed are Mike Waters (elected 1999), Ian Ollis (elected 2009), Zakhele Mbhele (elected 2014), Ian Davidson (elected 1999), Manny De Fritas (elected 2009), Dion George (elected 2008), Lynne Brown (elected 2014), and Marius Redelinghuys (elected 2014). At the time of the research, Lynne Brown was a member of the ANC, whereas all other representatives came from the DA. South African elected the first gay member of parliament (MP) in 1999, and its first (and in the world) openly black gay MP in 2014 (Feder 2014). All of these officials were out at the time of election (Reynolds 2016). Of these eight, the majority (87.5%) are members of the DA, and (75%) are white gay cisgender males. In the Cabinet (at the time this chapter was penned), there is only one openly LGBTIQ minister, Lynne Brown. She is the first openly lesbian woman to be appointed to the executive branch of government. Thus, despite legislative and regional commitments to gender equality and transformation of the public service, the representation of women and LGBTIQ persons remains low. Low political representation is consistent with Reynold’s (2013, 2) findings that of 96 nations analyzed, only 151 LGBT MPs were elected to national assemblies between 1976 and 2011. However South Africa’s historical position as a champion for gender equality on the continent means that minimum standards should not be promoted as the goal. In Reynolds’ 67

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analysis, “the number and presence of LGBT MPs are consistently associated with enhanced national gay rights” (2013, 2). At stake is both a matter of increasing the visibility of LGBTIQ persons as an interest group, and affecting the decision making of other heterosexual colleagues in parliament and in ways that advance equality and human rights for LGBTIQ persons and people in general (Reynolds 2013). The above-listed South African representatives, are from the DA with the exception of Brown, and could have a significant influence on the acceptance of and promotion of human rights for LGBTIQ persons.

The study: Findings and recommendations The Triangle and Victory Institute report has a number of key findings that reflect the interest of LGBTIQ persons in increased political participation, the opportunities for political parties to draw voter support through progressive agenda-setting and membership outreach.

The survey The majority of the respondents (96.46%, n=845) identified as South African citizens. An equal number of respondents were between 18 and 25 (32.85%, n=286) and between 26 and 35 (32.85%, n=286) years old. Additionally, almost one-fifth (17.01%, n=149) of respondents were between 36 and 45 years old and just over one-tenth (12.10%, n=106) were between 46 and 55 years old. Few respondents were older than 55 years old (5.6%, n=49). The majority (94.41%, n=827) did not have a disability. The majority of the respondents who participated in the survey self-identified as gay (51.82%, n=454). This is in all likelihood attributable to the circulation of the survey on Grindr, the world’s largest gay social network app. Additionally, just over one-fifth (20.66%, n=181) identified as lesbian, and slightly fewer respondents (16.55%, n=145) identified as bisexual. In response to the question on gender identity, the majority of the respondents identified as queer (23.17%, n=203), ciswoman (17.69%, n=155), or cisman (24.66%, n=214). Finally, general racial demographics in South Africa are as follows as of 2016: 80.66% are black African, 8.75% are colored, 2.57% are Indian/Asian, and 8.12% are white (Statistics South Africa 2016). However, the survey respondents for this particular study were predominantly white (61.76%, n=541), with just less than one-fifth (19.86%, n=174) respondents identifying as black, with the remainder identifying as colored (12.10%, n=106), or Asian or Indian (4.11%, n=36). Findings from the survey were (Thorpe 2018): •





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Voting is the most frequent way that the respondents participated politically. The majority voted in the previous three elections. Those who did not vote primarily did not do so because they were not registered, not interested, or disillusioned. This speaks to the need for political parties to engage LGBTIQ constituencies around voter registration time to try to increase participation. No respondents cited their sexual orientation or gender identity as a reason for not voting. Few respondents were members or volunteers of political parties. There is the opportunity for political parties to draw voter support by engaging with LGBTIQ issues and ensuring that their party policies, manifestos, and practices are supportive of human rights for LGBTIQ persons. LGBTIQ respondents, like other South Africans interviewed in similar surveys, were most concerned with the issues of education, basic services, and jobs when voting,

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• •

although this varied slightly by race. For white respondents leadership, basic services, and jobs were listed as the most important. For black respondents education, basic services, and jobs were listed as the most important. Black respondents were also most likely to indicate that LGBTIQ issues were important to them. This shows that the black LGBTIQ community is specifically interested in parties’ stance on gender expression and sexual orientation when going to the polls. Less than half of the respondents had any contact with their local government representatives, indicating a need and opportunity for more political engagement at this level. There is the need for political education on the opportunities for engagement including the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) processes, and the use of gender and youth desks to report concerns. Awareness-raising on ward and local municipality meetings and processes would be a useful way for local government to increase LGBTIQ participation at this level. Despite low levels of interaction with local government, when the respondents were asked whether they would like to participate further in politics, 45.33% indicated that they would. Most participants did not feel that political parties were performing well with regards to LGBTIQ issues. A significant number were not sure of the party’s performance, perhaps suggesting a lack of awareness of political parties’ decisions and performance. More than half (58.29%) of the respondents felt that more representation of LGBTIQ politicians within parties would mean that their needs would be better addressed. This points to an opportunity for political parties to encourage LGBTIQ members within their parties to take up leadership positions in order to encourage party support by LGBTIQ voters.

Civil society findings Interviews with civil society and political parties reflected the changing political landscape of South Africa since it became a democracy. There was a sense among civil society respondents that political parties were an important source of political power, and thus necessary stakeholders in the advancement of human rights for LGBTIQ persons. Respondents made clear that barriers continued to exist in the making of legislative provisions to protect human rights for LGBTIQ persons a lived reality. The barriers they described included (Thorpe 2018): • • • •

The personal beliefs of state service providers and politicians that might conflict with constitutional commitments to SOGI rights. Homophobic and transphobic narratives in Africa, and a lack of support for human rights of LGBTIQ persons on the continent, as well as South Africa’s desire to be an influence on the continent in order to advance its political interests. Pervasive prejudice and discrimination of LGBTIQ people in South Africa that make their political participation more difficult. A lack of a coherent LGBTIQ-led human rights movement, and hence a lack of sustained political pressure from civil society on government. This was explained as being linked to challenges in access to funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and hence a focus on internal survival rather than programmatic or advocacy issues; a lack of partnership between NGOs, and the absence of linkage between various focus areas of operations (e.g. violence, inequality, poverty). For one respondent, this need to 69

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• • •

work in silos was in part linked to shifts in the funding climate, internationally and locally. Additionally, more attention needs to be paid to the inclusion of organizations and representatives from outside the major urban centers and across a broader range of provinces, to ensure that the geographical bias within these spaces is addressed. The limitations of and challenges to elected/appointed LGBTIQ officials’ ability to drive progress on the human rights of LGBTIQ persons and keep these issues on the agenda. The backlash to legislative equality and visibility, and the failure to implement social programs to promote human and socio-economic rights. Violence that makes it difficult for LGBTIQ people to live openly in their communities and to participate politically.

A number of key findings emerge from the civil society interviews that point to the opportunities for increased political participation as well as some of the challenges that must be addressed to facilitate future engagement of LGBTIQ persons. The interviews highlighted that although there have been a significant number of legislative milestones to advance human rights for LGBTIQ persons since 1994, these were often driven by civil society activism rather that government proactivity. The increased public and legislative visibility of human rights for LGBTIQ persons was linked to strong partnerships and networking within civil society organizations promoting human rights for LGBTIQ persons, often giving place to strategic partnerships with non-LGBTIQ organizations such as the women’s lobby (Thorpe 2018). A lag in state-led awareness raising projects to complement these legislative advances has resulted in a backlash against LGBTIQ human rights, and LGBTIQ persons have experienced violence and stigma. Throughout the interviews with civil society representatives, there was a focus on the difference between invited and invented spaces. Invited spaces were those created by external stakeholders such as government and donors, and invented spaces were those that civil society could create in order to self-promote the participation of LGBTIQ persons. Best practice methods for using each type of space are summarized later in this chapter. In terms of increasing the political participation of LGBTIQ persons, the respondents identified the need for strengthening and being pragmatic in invited spaces, identifying space for LGBTIQ activism within existing broader social movements, and making use of all levels of government (not just the national level). The local government level was experienced as the least progressive level of government, and the respondents pointed to the need for more activism and engagement at this level. However, across government levels, many civil society representatives highlighted the importance of inside and outside strategies to advance human rights for LGBTIQ persons, and the use of both invited and invented spaces for activism and lobbying. Civil society respondents perceived a shifting of the political landscape and political priorities. While there had been an increased number of invited/formal efforts to address human rights for LGBTIQ persons, these have not necessarily been inclusive expansive to seriously take into consideration the trans-specific struggle. In addition, there was often limited follow up on commitments made. At the same time there was a perception that the government has not maintained a clear policy position on the regional and international stage. Most engagements with the LGBTIQ community had an urban bias, and there was a need for a more inclusive approach both from the state and from within advocacy communities. The respondents identified that political participation can have downsides (co-optation and rubberstamping), however, there was also a sense that these downsides could be mitigated through partnering, planning, and understanding political cycles. Civil society leaders 70

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were equally ambivalent regarding the willingness of political parties to take a clear stand in support of human rights for LGBTIQ persons. However, all respondents felt that engaging with political parties could nevertheless be beneficial, and noted a number of best practice recommendations for political participation (further detailed below). The respondents felt that LGBTIQ elected/appointed officials had an important symbolic value in terms of promoting the representation of LGBTIQ persons, however they affirmed that there was a need for a more sustained activism and advocacy for human rights for LGBTIQ persons by these officials. Hence, a need to strengthen and rebuild the civil society sector was identified. Suggestions made by civil society leaders included caucusing and working collectively, and addressing the race, class, gender, and power dynamics within its ranks. The competition for funding was noted as a barrier to more collective work.

Best practices for using invited spaces • • • • •



• •

Build relationships: Use the opportunity to build relationships in government with those willing to make a difference. Don’t wait for an invitation; reach out! Show up: Getting your name/your organization’s name onto the mind of the government/politicians is important. You won’t have a voice if you’re not there. Your approach matters: It’s important to go to these spaces with a willingness to engage, but there is also a need to know what your bottom line is. Use the invited spaces to build your own networks and solidarity: Often these spaces provide an opportunity for organizations and individuals to network and build relationships. Don’t be apologetic about what you’re asking for: Organizations should not compromise to make government feel more comfortable. Sometimes more radical action (e.g. a protest in these spaces) might be more effective. Go to the table, be critical, and don’t assume that they will take everything you say into account. Send representatives who will represent the broader group: Representatives in invited spaces should be aware that they are not just there to represent their own organization, but should be thinking of the entire sector, and encouraging government to be more inclusive. This requires relationship building within the LGBTIQ activist sector, and for these representatives to caucus before meetings. Be supportive of LGBTIQ politicians and party representatives: The trend has been to consider those who enter these spaces as sell-outs, when they should be seen as partners. Build relationships with LGBTIQ political representatives and support them. Be humble and pragmatic: Don’t assume that everyone understands the issue, and at the same time don’t assume that everyone is “an idiot.” Create a context of information sharing and honesty (Thorpe 2018).

Best practices for using invented spaces Some of the suggestions (Thorpe 2018) were: • •

Keep the pressure on the issue: Raise public awareness of the issue of human rights for LGBTIQ persons, and don’t mitigate what you/your organization’s saying because of government networking. Practice radical equality: Shift the decision-making power back to the people affected by the decisions, and make sure that the representatives of your organization are empowered, informed, and involved. 71

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• • • • • •

Be clear in your communication and use all avenues: Use communications capacity to understand different audiences and media platforms, and reach out to people where they are. Know your issue and your stakeholders: Map out all stakeholders to make sure you reach everyone who could be involved in supporting your issues, including political parties. Take the issue to communities and build your movement from the ground up: Ensure that people in communities are aware of why this issue is important. Reach out to government strategically: Ensure that you target the right level of government, and map where the decision-making power lies. Include political parties: Invite political parties to your events/engagements, and keep them aware of LGBTIQ issues by regularly sharing information with them. Consider taking up membership of a political party: Use your membership to influence discussion and raise LGBTIQ issues at these platforms.

In sum, the respondents from civil society pointed out a number of strategies that should be employed to strengthen the LGBTIQ sector and build solidarity among organizations. Additional suggestions included working together on funding applications, sharing resources, addressing internal power dynamics, and planning for long-term victories.

Political party findings Five political parties that had significant representation over the two national elections were selected for analysis. Nine interviews were conducted with their representatives in June and September 2017. The aim of the interviews was to assess political party openness to LGBTIQ participation, the role of elected and appointed officials, the barriers to access for LGBTIQ persons, and the opportunities for political engagement going forward. The parties selected were the ANC, DA, EFF, IFP, and COPE. Political party respondents expressed clear support of human rights for LGBTIQ persons during the interviews conducted for this research. However, few parties had developed explicit policies or dedicated structures to address LGBTIQ concerns, or encouraged the participation of LGBTIQ individuals. Table 5.1 provides a summary of the parties’ formal commitments to LGBTIQ persons (Thorpe 2018).

Table 5.1 Parties‘ formal commitments to LGBTIQ persons ANC

COPE

DA

EFF

IFP

Commitments Mention of to non-sexism, LGBTIQ however, no issues in the explicit menConstitution tion of LGBTIQ persons

Discourages intolerance including sexism, and highlights equality before the law, but no mention of LGBTIQ issues

Founding documents prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation

Founding manifesto commits to ending discrimination against women and “all other gendered persons”

Mentions sex discrimination, but not explicitly sexual orientation or gender

Mention of LGBTIQ issues in election manifestos

Commits South Africa to gender equality, but doesn’t explicitly mention LGBTIQ issues

No, but mentions on website

No

No

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No

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Although some noted that more could be done, other respondents argued that segregating human rights for LGBTIQ persons from other human rights concerns could result in stigma. Parties differed in their assessment of whether increasing the number of LGBTIQ representatives within their parties would increase or decrease their voter support, but even those who suggested that it could result in a decrease attributed this to societal conservatism rather than a lack of party support for human rights for LGBTIQ persons. The political party interviews revealed party openness to engage at face value, despite a lack of overt policy to promote human rights for LGBTIQ issues specifically. Some of the key messages that came from the political party representatives were. • •

• •



• •

Parties reflected that the introduction of such policies or deliberate engagements by parties could be of benefit. Some parties felt that it would be more effective to mainstream concerns regarding human rights for LGBTIQ persons across existing policies rather than create standalone LGBTIQ policies, in the same way that many parties consider the impact of policies on women or the youth for example. All parties were aware that they were located within communities of voters who might be more conservative than their political party values, and that this required sensitization both within the party and the communities in which they worked. All parties indicated openness to engaging with LGBTIQ organizations and individuals using various political platforms. This indicates the opportunity for LGBTIQ organizations to reach out to political parties around such opportunities namely, ward and branch meetings, and party imbizos (a gathering of people, for example a community meeting focusing on a particular topic). Parties indicated support for their LGBTIQ members and officials, whether they were openly out or not. It was noted that the existence of previous LGBTIQ leaders made current LGBTIQ leaders feel more confident, because a precedent had been set. This points to the need to promote and support LGBTIQ leaders. Some representatives emphasized the need to incorporate LGBTIQ concerns across branch structures to promote better awareness and understanding of SOGI, and to ensure that both urban and rural branches promoted human rights for LGBTIQ persons. Where parties do not have any LGBTIQ members this prevents them from electing an LGBTIQ leaders. At the same time, not having any openly LGBTIQ leaders can prevent parties from attracting LGBTIQ members. This speaks to the importance for parties to articulate a clear message in support of human rights for LGBTIQ persons, in order to attract LGBTIQ members.

Best practice for political parties Political parties made recommendations about how they could enhance opportunities for LGBTIQ persons to participate in politics, and how they could make their parties more proactive in human rights for LGBTIQ persons, including: • •

Introducing a deliberate policy to encourage LGBTIQ participation, or mainstreaming LGBTIQ interests throughout existing policy. Promoting LGBTIQ leaders within the party.

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Jennifer Smout (Thorpe)

• • • • •

Incorporating respect for the human rights of LGBTIQ persons in party manifestos and constitutions. Taking into account the need to be inclusive of gender diversity when considering the party’s gender quotas and gender balance. Inviting LGBTIQ organizations, constituents, and interests groups to make presentations to the party. Pursuing the political education of party members, including sensitization to human rights culture and the human rights of LGBTIQ persons in particular. Holding accountable party members who do discriminate.

Conclusion The Triangle and Victory Institute’s study shows that LGBTIQ persons in South Africa have the desire to participate politically, and that they would participate more often if spaces were openly supportive of their human rights and if political parties promoted diverse leaders. As voters, they represent an untapped constituency for political parties that could have a powerful impact on party support and voting behavior. The study also showed the value in engaging in research of this kind on the continent where perceptions of SOGI rights often focus on narratives of fear, stigma, and exclusion. This study showed the active participation of LGBTIQ individuals and organizations in South Africa’s democratic culture, and the influence that they wield in the future with more political leadership within democratic party system.

References Abrahams, Y. “Electronic Interview.” Cited in The Protection and Promotion of LGBTIQ Rights in South Africa and Beyond: The Role of the South African Parliament, edited by J. Thorpe. Cape Town: Research Unit/Parliament of South Africa, 2014. Cavanagh, D. “Telephone Interview.” Cited in The Protection and Promotion of LGBTIQ Rights in South Africa and Beyond: The Role of the South African Parliament, edited by J. Thorpe. Cape Town: Research Unit/Parliament of South Africa, 2014. Feder, J. “Africa has its First Black Out Gay Member of Parliament.” Buzzfeed, 30 May 2014, https:// bzfd.it/2U2bveB accessed May 2019. Gontek, I. “Sexual Violence against Lesbian Women in South Africa.” Master Thesis, 2007. For a copy of the thesis see https://bit.ly/2TJCZ9q. Hames, M. “Electronic Interview.” Cited in The Protection and Promotion of LGBTIQ Rights in South Africa and Beyond: The Role of the South African Parliament, edited by J. Thorpe. Cape Town: Research Unit: Parliament of South Africa, 2007. IEC (2017a) “National Election Results 1994.” Available at www.elections.org.za/content/uploaded files/NPE%201994.pdf IEC (2017b) “National and Provincial Election Results 1994–2014.” Available at www.elections.org.za/ content/Elections/National-and-provincial-elections-results/ IEC (2017c) “National and Provincial Election Results.” Available at www.elections.org.za/content/Elec tions/National-and-provincial-elections-results/ Inter-parliamentary Union. “Women in National Parliaments: Situation as of 1st June 2017.” https://bit. ly/191raMn accessed May 2019. Lewis, D. “Electronic Interview.” Cited in The Protection and Promotion of LGBTIQ Rights in South Africa and Beyond: The Role of the South African Parliament, edited by J. Thorpe. Cape Town: Research Unit/ Parliament of South Africa, 2014. Matebeni, Z. “Telephone Interview.” Cited in The Protection and Promotion of LGBTIQ rights in South Africa and Beyond: The Role of the South African Parliament, edited by J. Thorpe. Cape Town: Research Unit/Parliament of South Africa, 2014.

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Meyer, D. “Interpreting and Experiencing Anti-Queer Violence: Race, Class and Gender Difference among LGBT Hate crime victims.” Race, Gender, and Class, 15, ¾, 2008: 262–282. Nicholson, G. “Despite Registration Challenges IEC insists its on a (voters’) roll.” The Daily Maverick, 3 March 2016. https://bit.ly/2OchTdL accessed May 2019. Other Foundation and HSRC. Progressive Prudes: A Survey of Attitudes Towards Homosexuality and Gender Non-conformity in South Africa. Johannesburg: Other Foundation and HSRC, 2015. Reynolds, A. “Representation and Rights: The Impact of LGBT Legislators in Comparative Perspective.” American Political Science Review (May 2013): 1–16. https://unc.live/2ZTxpRa accessed May 2019. South African Broadcasting Corporation (2014) Trends in Electoral Participation 1994–2014. 26 August. Available at www.sabc.co.za/news/a/73f2b880453d2534855d95a5ad025b24/Trends-in-electoralparticipation,-1994–2014 South African Government. Women’s Month 2016. Pretoria, South Africa, 2016. https://bit.ly/29GPc6K accessed May 2019. South African Government. Premiers. Pretoria, South Africa, 2017. www.gov.za/premiers accessed May 2019. South African Government News Agency. 2014 Elections: Seats in Parliament. Pretoria, South Africa, 2014. https://bit.ly/2Fj0Wue accessed May 2019. South African History Online. List of the political Parties in 1994. Cape Town, South Africa, 2014. https:// bit.ly/2Hulz9Y accessed May 2019. South African Human Rights Commission. Commentaries on Equality: Race, Gender, Disability and LGBTI Issues. Braamfontein, South Africa, 2012. https://bit.ly/2U2dsYt accessed May 2019. South African Human Rights Commission. Equality Report: Commentaries on Equality: Race, Gender, Disability and LGBTI Issues. Braamfontein: The SAHRC, 2012. Statistics South Africa. Gender Equality: Have Municipalities Walked the Talk? Pretoria, South Africa, 2016. www.statssa.gov.za/?p=8137 accessed May 2019. Thorpe, J. Power and Participation: How LGBTIQ People Can Shape South African Politics. Cape Town: Triangle Project and Victory Institute, 2018. Triangle Project and Victory Institute. Terms of Reference: Best Practice Guide to Include LGBTI Issues into the Political Parties. Cape Town: Triangle Project and Victory Institute 30, 2016. Vance, K. “Gender-Motivated Killings of Women on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” ARC International Presentation before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, June 2011. https://bit.ly/2UWTIBF accessed May 2019.

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6 Are you a footballer? The radical potential of women’s football at the national level Anima Adjepong

Introduction In December 2016, two border patrol agents at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport stopped me. I was trying to check into my British Airways flight back to Austin, Texas where I lived at the time. After scanning my US passport, which identifies me as born in Ghana, the male agent, who told me his name was Perry Donkor, called his colleague to also come review the document.1 As Ann Drury made her way over, Perry asked me, “are you a footballer?” Tersely, I answered, no, aware that I was about to experience the kind of harassment that agents of the heteropatriarchal state impress upon their victims (Alexander 2005; Arnfred 2004; Currier and Cruz 2014). After being held unreasonably long, questioned about my gender, and forced to present additional forms of ID, which without explanation Perry took multiple photos of, I was finally allowed to check in for my flight. The experience of harassment by border patrol agents is not a new one, and transgender scholars and activists have spilled much ink advocating for better treatment of gender nonconforming people and other sexual minorities (Ekine and Abbas 2013; Nyeck and Epprecht 2013; Tamale 2011). But this essay is not about the harassment of trans*2 people or the state’s hyper-surveillance of those who attempt to cross borders. Instead, I focus on the question “are you a footballer?” as an entry point into the paradoxes of national women’s football team in Ghana. This question, while seemingly benign, gestures towards forms of gender harassment that transmasculine people face. The question also reveals a slippage between sportswomen’s masculinity and the specter of the mannish lesbian, which puts these women at risk of homophobic and transantagonistic violence. I begin with a brief review of the scholarship on women’s football in Africa as a cultural phenomenon, and map out a history of the African Women’s Cup of Nations. Locating sport within the context of decolonial and nationalist projects, I show the problematic ways in which sportswomen are located in these struggles. Of note, in 1957, after Ghana declared independence from British colonial rule, Kwame Nkrumah overtly politicized football in the service of creating a Ghanaian national and pan-African consciousness (Darby 2013; Otoo

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2014). For Nkrumah, football’s popularity was a vehicle for decolonial contest through which the Ghanaian nation and the African continent could reject European rule and assert themselves as autonomous players on the world stage. Perry’s question at the border leads me to consider how the Ghanaian women’s football team offers insight into the contradictory nature of the sportswoman as national representative. This case opens up to a reflection on sport, gender, and national identity in the heteropatriarchal state. By heteropatriarchal state, I am referring to the twin processes of heterosexuality and patriarchy through which the state constructs its legitimate citizen (Alexander 2005; Alexander and Mohanty 1997 [2013]; Ferguson 2004; McClintock 1995). The heteropatriarchal state produces unequal power relations between properly gendered subjects (preferably male) and the women and children who rely on them. Within this context, women’s football exists as a transgression of normative gender and sexuality. As such, its visibility at the national level creates a tension and anxiety of citizenship and national identity. Nevertheless, the sport also holds radical transformative potential for a more inclusive citizenship that admits a plurality of gender and sexuality.

Women’s football in Africa Women’s football in Africa has a long unsung history, but a small number of scholarly publications have addressed the cultural significance of this sport.3 For example, Chuka Onwumechili (2011) writes about how in the urban centers of colonial Nigeria, women were playing football as early as 1930. Newspaper reports about the women’s game treated it as a novelty, and increasingly, as a challenge to men’s masculinity and heteronormative ideas about a woman’s place in society (Onwumechili 2011).4 Men’s policing of the women’s game was a product of colonial laws, which banned women from the game, along with religious exclusions and indigenous heteropatriarchal practices (Onwumechili 2011; Saavedra 2003). Likewise, focusing on South Africa, Cynthia Pelak (2005, 2010), Mari Engh (2010, 2011, 2015), Cassandra Ogunniyi (2014, 2015), and Lucy Mills (2010), among others, have examined how discourses of heteronormativity, gendered athleticism, corporatization, and media representation shape women’s participation in, and experiences of, football. These studies also provide insight into how sportswomen navigate inequalities of race, class, gender, and sexuality through their involvement in sport. Studies about women’s football in Africa provide a solid foundation for understanding the dynamic nature of African societies. Martha Saavedra’s (2003, 2007) research on women’s football (and basketball) in Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa has reviewed the development of the sport in these countries, rejecting claims that “African traditions” act as barriers to women’s sport. Saavedra’s research also considers how women in Muslim societies experience sport (see also Baller 2007 and Chapter 10 in this book). Likewise, Monia Lachheb (2008; Lachheb 2013) has done similar work on women’s football in Tunisia, paying special attention to how the normative embodiment of feminine gender is imposed on women’s socialization into the sport. Outside of the continent, Sine Agergaard and her colleagues (Agergaard and Botelho 2014; Botelho and Agergaard 2011; Engh et al. 2017) have examined the meanings of women’s football labor migration, how athletes navigate their new environment, the global economic consequences of migration, and the difficult intimate personal decisions that players must make. Taken together, this body of scholarship provides important insights into the cultural significance of women’s football, how players and fans experience the game, and the ways in which it transforms intimate, social, transnational, and economic relationships. These works 77

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also show how players are expected to conform to heterosexual femininity in order to legitimate their belonging in the sporting field. Despite their important interventions into women’s sports, these studies’ focus on women appear to shy away from similar questions of state politics and nationalism that research about men’s football addresses (e.g., Alegi 2010; Darby 2000; Darby, Akindes and Kirwin 2007; Onwumechili and Akindes 2014; Vidacs 2010, 2011). Without attending to these issues in relation to women’s football, the sport appears apolitical and only of concern to women. In considering the political import of the African Women’s Cup of Nations,5 I take seriously the active role of women’s football in state and nationalist politics on the African continent.

The African women’s cup of nations The African Women’s Cup of Nations is a continental championship where much of the cultural politics of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation are produced, contested, and reshaped.6 The Confederation of African Football (CAF) first staged the women’s championship in 1991, as a precursor to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Women’s World Cup. British journalist Carrie Dunn (2016) suggests that the growing popularity of the women’s game encouraged FIFA’s to create a women’s World Cup in a bid to take control of the increasingly profitable sport. Until then, the international football association was clear that they had no interest in the women’s game (Dunn 2016, 13; Williams 2013, 2014). The establishment of the global international women’s tournament and the CAF Women’s Cup of Nations also spurred the creation of several African national women’s teams (Saavedra 2003). The African Women’s Cup of Nations is an important continental football tournament that also has implications for football on the global scale. Yet very little in-depth scholarship has examined this topic. In fact, a quick search suggests that Ogunniyi’s (2014) “Perceptions of the African Women’s Championship” is the only academic publication in English to examine the tournament as an avenue for understanding questions about the broader culture. South Africa hosted the African women’s football tournament just three months after hosting the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2010.7 Despite this temporal proximity, the women’s tournament received very little media coverage and the matches were not played in the same newly constructed stadiums as the men’s games (Ogunniyi 2014). In a survey about perceptions of the women’s game, Ogunniyi found that respondents overwhelmingly identified women footballers as “an anomaly,” and were treated as such through poor media coverage, underfunding, and limited access to playing spaces. From this research, Ogunniyi concludes that in the public eye, football remains a man’s game. From its history, it appears that the impetus for the African women’s football tournament is remarkably different from the men’s. As scholars of football and pan-Africanism have noted, CAF’s founding and the establishment of the Men’s Cup of Nations was part of an anti-colonial effort and a push for continental identity (Darby 2000, 2013; Fletcher 2016). In 1956, CAF’s founding members, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Sudan, were the only African nations not under direct colonial rule.8 The important role that football played in the African decolonial project mirrors cricket in the Caribbean Islands. C.L.R. James (2013 [1963]) foundational sport sociology book, Beyond a Boundary offers a critical analysis of colonialism, decolonial struggle, masculinity, and race relations in colonial Trinidad and Tobago (and the Caribbean more generally). For James (2013 [1963], 41), cricket shaped the lives of at least two generations of Trinidadians, informing their political organizing, interracial relationships, and even their “most intimate personal lives.” This experience of cricket is not 78

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unlike the role of football in postcolonial Africa. The history of men’s football, like cricket, locates it squarely within a political struggle for liberation. In this context, the heteromasculine construction of the sport in the service of black cultural resistance turns that struggle into a men’s issue, thereby marginalizing women’s active participation. From this perspective, the women’s game appears to emerge as a product of heteropatriarchal charity and capitalist greed on the part of CAF and FIFA (Dunn 2016; Onwumechili 2011; Saavedra 2003).

Nationalism and decolonial struggle: Whither women’s sports? Accounts of decolonial and anti-racist struggle through sport often neglect how women positioned themselves in these contests (Carrington 1998, 2010; Hartmann 2003). Consequently, women appear indifferent to the broader political and cultural struggle inhered in sports. Yet a critical feminist reading of these sport accounts indicates otherwise (Adjepong 2018a; Carby 1998; Naha 2012). For example, in a review of how James (2013 [1963]) represents women’s interest in cricket, I argued that women’s restriction from the playing field did not preclude their investment in the social and political contest in Trinidad and Tobago (Adjepong 2018a). Instead, I asked, how women could have remained unaffected, if indeed cricket shaped the political, intimate, and social lives of all West Indians. By re-reading Beyond a Boundary, I suggested that when women ask about the results of matches, followed the careers of particular black players, and provided domestic support for players and spectators, they were actively participating in the decolonial struggle. From the position of the middle-class women in James’ life, their participation in political life vis-à-vis sports was circumscribed to domesticity. Nevertheless, recognizing that colonialism shaped women’s lives as much as men’s means paying attention to how their active resistance occurred beyond the boundary. Feminist analyses of sport challenge normative accounts of decolonial struggles that reproduce a heteropatriarchal nation in which women appear as merely incidental to national and decolonial projects (Alexander and Mohanty 1997; Mama 1995; McClintock 1995). These decolonial and nationalist struggles project an imagined community in which women appear as handmaids of the revolution, and then later, as keepers of national memory through claims about tradition and a state investment in the heteropatriarchal family. As Amina Mama (1995, 37) notes, women have always fully participated in national liberation struggles, “whether or not the struggle included a commitment to women’s liberation,” which it often did not. Importantly, normative constructions of nationalism are not exclusive to decolonial states. Instead, the nation almost always “depends on a powerful construction of gender” that denies women and men “the same access to the rights and resources of the nation-state” (McClintock 1995, 353); women’s citizenship is often mediated through their relationship with a man, whether as wife, mother, or daughter (Alexander 2005). Focusing on the Bahamian legislation against same-sex sexuality, prostitution, sexual assault, and sexual violence, sociologist M. Jacqui Alexander (2005) makes the case that a “heteropatriarchal recolonization” occurs in the postcolonial context. Here, whilst power is wrested from the white colonial state, the black nationalists that take up their place produce citizenship and national belonging as heterosexual and aligned with patriarchy. Sports are often a space in which masculine hegemony and heterosexuality are affirmed (Connell 2005 [1993]; Messner 1990; Onwumechili 2011). Consequently, as a tool of decolonial struggle and instigator of nationalist sentiment, sport often reproduces and reflects women’s marginalization as athletes and citizens. Although women play sport and always have, it remains an area in which their active participation meets with skepticism, unequal 79

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allocation of resources, and policing of their gender and sexuality (Cahn 2015 [1994]; Engh and Potgieter 2015; Engh 2011; Griffin 1998). When women play sport as national representatives, their participation is cast in terms that sustain the heteropatriachal confines of national belonging (Chisholm 1999; Ogunniyi 2014; Pelak 2008). In other words, unless she conforms and subjects herself to the heteropatriarchal state, a sportswoman has a difficult time serving as national representative.

How sportswomen have come to be national representatives A prominent example of how sportswomen are cast in the role of national representatives and heteropatriarchal subjects is in the gender panic associated with the South African runner Caster Semenya. The International Association of Athletics Federation accused Semenya of not being a woman and asked her to undergo “gender testing” in 2009 (Longman 2016). Despite a prevailing belief that gender is binary and can be scientifically determined, gender is not a medically verifiable construct (Fausto-Sterling 1992, 2012). Sex-segregation in sports sustains heteropatriarchal beliefs about women’s sporting abilities by reifying masculine hegemony and gender as binary (Camporesi 2017; Karkazis et al. 2012). Whatever the results of Semenya’s tests, she continues to compete as a woman, and won gold medals in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Women’s 800m Final at the Olympics and Paralympics Games. In Semenya’s case, an outspoken group of South Africans including Athletics South Africa, the sport’s national governing body, rallied around the athlete. A hyper-feminine Western style makeover, chants labeling Semenya as “our girl,” and claims that binary gender is inherently “African,” disciplined Semenya into a heterosexual femininity that aligned with the heteropatriarchal state (Dworkin et al. 2013; Hoad 2010; Nyong’o 2010).9 These discursive moves consequently constructed her as a legitimate representative of the rainbow nation through her conformity to binary gender. In order to make Semenya a viable national representative, the sports commission and the nation as a whole recalled a historical legacy in which black women’s bodies are marked as aberrational and indigenous African cultures, genders, and sexualities are colonized by Western norms (Brown 2015; Cornwall 2012; Hoad 2010; Macharia 2009). Here, Semenya had to be retrofitted into a narrow perception of heterosexual African womanhood in order to be claimed as “our girl.” This retrofitting is illustrative of how heteropatriarchal recolonization occurs. Less popularly reported on is a similar panic around Guinean footballers Genoveva Anonma, Salimata Simpore, and Bilguisa Simpore (Borzi 2011; Sheringham 2015; Smithies 2011).10 Unlike the Semenya case, when the Ghanaian, Nigerian, and South African football teams accused the Guinean women players of being men, team officials removed the sisters from the roster. However, Anonma, who is the only Guinean player to play professionally outside of the country, on the German team FFC Turbine Potsdam, continued to play (Anally 2011a, 2011b; Hassett 2011). Football officials in Germany dismiss any allegations that she is a man (Ahmed 2015). Anonma reports a humiliating requirement to strip down naked in front of CAF officials to confirm that she was indeed a woman (Selby 2015; Sene News 2015). Reporting on Anonma’s case, sports journalist Shireen Ahmed (2015) remarks on the fact that “Gender testing is not uncommon in football, particularly in cases of exceptional talent in the women’s game.” Accusations that women transgress normative gender roles when they play any sport well reproduce the idea that sport is “a man’s game” and women’s involvement is trivial and transgressive. Football enjoys a global reputation as a man’s game. Consequently, as with other sports coded as masculine and therefore for men, women’s participation is regularly disciplined to 80

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police the boundaries of gender and sexuality (Cahn 2015 [1994]; Griffin 1998). Whereas in athletics, as in the case of Caster Semenya, officials and national groups could reframe the discourse (and consequently the athlete) to fit a heteropatriarchal narrative, the assumption that football is inherently a man’s game does not easily lend itself to such reframing. Incidences of gender testing, withdrawing players from the roster, rape and other instances of sexual violence against athletes, salary inequities, and countless other dehumanizing practices described above are illustrative of how the heteropatriarchal state and a male-dominated sport culture refuses to accept women as national representatives unless those women remain docile subjects (see also Adjepong 2018b). From what precedes, drawing from postcolonial feminist scholars, I have outlined how the nation imagines itself as a community of men. I showed how, because women’s belonging in the nation is mediated through adherence to heteropatriarchal law, sportswomen as national representatives must either be subjected to heteropatriarchy or punished for their nonconformity. In other words, I have argued that a national women’s sports team is a paradox in its capacity to simultaneously reproduce the heteropatriarchal state and promote women who challenge this formation. Football’s reputation as a man’s game, and in the African context, as a sport that inspires decolonial struggles, nationalist, and pan-African sentiments, offers an excellent case through which to explore how the heteropatriarchal state imposes itself on women’s sport. The remainder of the chapter considers the controversial cultural space that the women’s football team takes up in Ghana. Ghana’s case is an opportunity to map out and reflect on how the state can reimagine itself beyond heteropatriarchy and toward gender and sexual equality. In 2018, Ghana will host Women’s Cup of Nations for the first time at the tournament’s thirteenth staging. Hosting the African Women’s Cup of Nations presents Ghana with the opportunity to begin to expand its boundaries of belonging to fully include all those perceived as contraveners within the heteropatriarchal state.

Ghana national women’s football teams: A contradictory formation Formed in 1991 Ghana’s women’s national teams comprise the Black Queens, Black Princesses (U-20), and Black Maidens (U-17). The three teams fall under the jurisdiction of the Ghana Football Association, which also manages the five teams on the men’s side. Despite its relatively short existence of 26 years, the Black Queens were the first of the Ghanaian teams to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 1999 (Kove-Seyram 2014). In the years since the team was established, and despite its struggles around appropriate coaching and resources, salary holdups, lack of media coverage, and corporate sponsorship, the women’s national team is one of the best on the continent (Allotey 2015; Amegashi 2017; Football Ghana 2016a, 2016b; Gyamera-Antwi 2016). In 2017, FIFA ranked Ghana’s senior team, the Black Queens, the second best in Africa. Nigeria and Cameroon ranked first and third, respectively (FIFA 2017). The roster for the women’s national team is filled from the ranks of the National Women’s League, which debuted in 2012 (Gyimah 2012). According to the chairperson of the National Women’s League board, at the time of its launch, the league had no corporate sponsorship, relying solely on government funding, which was rarely sufficient (Gyimah 2012). Prior to the National Women’s League, the Ghana Football Association had organized three zonal leagues in which women’s teams could participate. These leagues only covered some regions of the country, leaving most prospective players without a league of

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their own. Now, with the National Women’s League, women footballers can play in one of 12 clubs distributed across the country. Over the years, women’s football has made strides in Ghana. Yet in a capitalist state, women’s labor, particularly in the service of the state, is complicated. Roderick Ferguson’s (2004) proposal for a queer of color critique is productive for understanding this complexity. Ferguson illustrates how capitalism as a “formation constituted by discourses of race, gender, and sexuality,” demarcates women’s labor as surplus labor (2004, 11). As such, women’s work outside the home is undercompensated and undervalued in ways that shore up the heteropatriarchal family and positions women’s rightful place as in the home. Within capitalism, a racialized “natural division of labor symbolized by the heterosexual and patriarchal family” forms the basis of society (Ferguson 2004, 6). This division of labor positions women (and racialized people) as outside of the capitalist workforce and therefore devalues their productive output. In blunt terms, women are paid less than men for doing the same work and this devaluing occurs across intersections of race, sexuality, and geographic location. Understanding women’s position within a capitalist heteropatriarchal state helps us to make sense of why the women’s football league, for example, has difficulty attracting corporate sponsorship and also receives significantly less funding from the government than the men’s team. Despite being underfunded and marginalized in the media, the women’s team is, nevertheless, expected to represent the Ghanaian heteropatriarchal state as legitimate citizens. In order to fulfill this expectation, the players must conform to the heteropatriarchal state. Within this climate, the question arises: Are they lesbians? In Ogunniyi’s study mentioned above, as well as highlighting normative public perceptions about women’s football in the South African context, her research also empirically shows the link that people make between women as footballers and women as lesbians. As she writes, These narratives make a direct link between playing a “man’s game” and looking like a man to having sexual relations like a man (with other women), thus linking their lack of feminine features with not being fully female and therefore positioning them as “mannish” both in sport and sexual choices. (Ogunniyi 2014, 544) The link between footballer and mannish lesbian is one that inspires the question “are you a footballer?” to transmasculine women, and “are they lesbians?” to women footballers. This question, while seemingly about sexuality is also a question about a perceived gender transgression. Because women who play football are seen to be transgressing gender and may sometimes also embody masculinity, the accusation of lesbianism is an attempt to discipline them by forcing a disavowal of same-sex desire and a modification of their bodies to fit heterosexual femininity. Players and spokespersons insist, rather emphatically, “We are not lesbians!” (Appiah 2016; Baako 2017). Nevertheless, coaches and other team officials claim “lesbianism … is a big problem and very worrying” (Owusu-Bediako 2016). This concern is as much about women’s gender presentation as it is about whether or not players are actually having sex with one another or with other women. The idea that sportswomen are “lesbians,” understood through their embodiment of masculinity, is neither exclusive to football nor to African women’s sports and reveals an ongoing policing of normative gender through the construction of sports as a man’s space (Cahn 2015 [1994]; Engh 2011; Ogunniyi 2014). Contradictory statements from players and officials are illustrative of the gender and sexual anxieties that surround women’s involvement in this sport. Whether or not players are lesbians is largely irrelevant to how they play the game. However, underfunding 82

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women’s sports, especially at the national level, is one way the heteropatriarchal state can police women’s gender and sexuality. The scarcity of funding and other material support limits women’s access to sports. Limited access and resources further prevents sportswomen from taking on the role of national representative. Insufficient resources construct the women’s game as diminutive, especially when compared to the status, privilege, and attention that men’s football receives from state and corporate sources. Despite inconsistent treatment, unctuous claims from the government and sporting associations about the importance of women’s football, coupled with symbolic but rarely any material moves to promote the sport, situate the heteropatriarchal state and its agents as benevolent godfathers. Women’s football, especially at the national level, challenges the heteropatriarchal state by making queerness visible. To note that the sport makes queerness visible is not to suggest that the players are, in fact, lesbians. Instead, this visibility is amplified by some athletes’ physical muscularity, which has been naturalized as inherent to men and masculinity, and constructed as antithetical to respectable heterosexual femininity. When women embody such power, they are seen to transgress normative gender. Women footballers embodiment of physical strength, although necessary for their trade, must also be apologized for because it transgresses norms for heterosexual femininity. The felt need to assert that “no, we are not lesbians!” is also due in part to the popularly held belief that a woman who plays football is a disgrace to her family and community because she rejects middle-class domesticity and takes on a role perceived as masculine (i.e., gender nonconforming). Human Rights Watch reports from Ghana (2018), Kenya (2015), South African (2011), and Cameroon (2010) have shown the connection between women footballers, accusations of lesbianism and exposure to physical (including assault and rape) and emotional violence, and work-place discrimination. These are not trivial concerns and reflect the dangerous terrain on which women identified as lesbians cum footballers or vice versa must navigate to freely belong within the body politic. Women’s footballers’ butch masculinity can heighten anxiety and concern around the visibility of queer sexuality. In a recent interview with Al Jazeera (2017), Ghanaian President Nana Akuffo-Addo was clear that decriminalizing same-sex sex was “not on the agenda” for Ghana. However, he intimated that with the right amount of political pressure from social movements, the Ghanaian government might revisit the question of legality. This response to the interviewer’s question about “freedom of expression” appears to be mere lip service to the idea of freedom, since no political action has been taken to create the space for such organizing to be possible. In Ghana’s homophobic political climate, pastors have threatened spiritual warfare against queers (Agyeman 2017), the government refuses to listen to any interest groups or provide protections (Akwa 2017; Brakopowers 2017), and queers are harassed on the streets. Likewise, across the continent, with the renewal of anti-homosexuality bills in Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, and elsewhere, it seems that the presence of a single queer threatens to topple the entire political project of modernity and nation building on the African continent. Players are conscious of the intensified surveillance that they face should their bodies and actions fail to conform to heterosexual femininity. It is important to note that not all women who experience same-sex desire also embody masculinity. The equation of women’s masculinity with same-sex desire erases those women whose gender conforms to expectations of heterosexual femininity, whilst their interests lie elsewhere. That said, the heteropatriarchal state’s power over sportswomen’s gender presentation and sexuality helps consolidate its authority and reifies definitions of who belongs in the nation. To illustrate, in a study of anti-homosexuality laws in India, Jyoti Puri (2016) shows how as the state withdraws from one area of governance through privatization and neoliberal reforms for example, it expands into legislating gender and sexuality as a way to affirm its authority. Reflecting on why 83

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anyone, especially the Ghanaian Football Association’s administrators and coaches, should care about the gender expression and sexual orientation of women footballers begins to illuminate the state’s heterosexual and patriarchal investments. Understanding how these investments operate through the popular cultural context of football can serve as a foundation for finding the tools to usher in greater gender and sexual equality.

Conclusion “Are you a footballer?” The appropriate response, meant to explain and excuse masculinity in, presumably, the wrong body, is yes. Yes acts as a rhetorical defense for the transgression of embodying masculinity, insofar as that yes also acquiesces to the demands of the heteropatriarchal state and its agents. To answer no, as I (perhaps foolishly) did, was to reject the cultural frames that would legitimize my embodiment of masculinity. The contradictions of the women’s national team lie in the binary options the state presents them. On the one hand, they must represent the state as athletes (popularly imagined as men). On the other hand, they must represent the state as wives and mothers within the context of heterosexuality. Although this is a false binary, the heteropatriarchal state and the culture as a whole sustain it through the construction of football as a man’s game. Nevertheless, in order to be successful, women football players must train their bodies to be physically strong and muscular. This physicality, normatively perceived as masculine (and exclusive to those assigned male at birth), challenges the ability to represent a heteropatriarchal state that demands particular expressions of heterosexual femininity from women. The question, “are you a footballer?” is a reminder that, when in their embodiment of physical strength and muscularity, some players also dress in a style seemingly antithetical to heterosexual femininity, they experience additional surveillance. The rhetorical and material denouncement of queer gender and sexuality serve to affirm the heteropatriarchal state and reproduce the body politic as heteronormative. By happenstance I received the question “are you a footballer?” at a border crossing. This location too bears some reflection. The border is a liminal site where belonging can be, and often is, interrogated. Chicana feminist Gloria Anzaldúa (1999 [1987]) wrote about the borderlands as a metaphorical and literal wound that demarcates places that are safe and unsafe, and distinguishes between them and us. Being in the borderlands is also a place from which to think anew about what is and is not, and more importantly, what can be. The players on the women’s football team exist in these borderlands. They interrogate, affirm, reproduce, and reject the heteropatriarchal state all at once. In the cultural contests the team enacts on football fields across Ghana and in international competitions as national representatives, it reimagines the state beyond heteropatriarchy. Transmasculine players implicitly advocate for and realize a more inclusive gender and sexual terrain (Adjepong 2019). This positionality makes possible more expansive meanings of citizenship and national belonging beyond the limited constraints of the heteropatriarchal state. As Ghana’s Football Association prepares to host the African Women’s Cup of Nations in November 2018, administrators can create a climate that affirms players’ hard work, lauds them as national representatives, and silences vitriolic commentary around their gender presentation and sexuality. There are several ways in which this climate can be attained. First, by ensuring that the women’s tournament receives equitable distribution of resources and preparation as the men’s games, the Ghana Football Association can send a message of equal investment. Second, by committing explicitly to an anti-homophobia campaign, the Football Association can preemptively silence those detractors who make the players’ self-presentation and style of play about something beyond football. This campaign must include training for officials who work directly 84

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with players, those who will host visiting teams, and media representatives. Likewise, the campaign should be directed at the general public to ensure that spectators and fans are also protected from physical and verbal violence. None of these actions amount to promotion of queer sexuality but instead take a stance against the symbolic and material violence directed at queer athletes, fans, and citizens. If, as President Akuffo-Addo stated in his Al Jazeera interview, Ghana is indeed committed to freedom of expression, such a campaign only extends that commitment to all of its citizens.

Notes 1 I have chosen to use the names the border agents gave me. 2 I use the asterisk to indicate an understanding of trans beyond binaries, i.e., to emphasize inclusion of nonbinary and agenda trans people. 3 Until the edited book, Women’s Sport in Africa (Sikes and Bale 2016), no single book has addressed this important topic. By comparison, multiple books as well as scholarly articles have addressed questions of nationalism, labor migration, and politics in men’s sport in Africa (Alegi 2010; Darby 2000; Darby, Akindes and Kirwin 2007; Onwumechili and Akindes 2014; Vidacs 2010, 2011). Women’s Sport in Africa examines sports from a variety of perspectives including women’s position within sporting cultures not just as athletes but also as idealized (white) mothers, working-class observers and participants, and the far-reaching consequences of sport for women on the African continent. It is refreshing that the book’s authors consider sports in countries in East (Kenya and Tanzania) and Southern Africa (Namibia, Malawi, and South Africa), rather than focusing exclusively on South Africa, where the large majority of scholarship on African women’s sport is concentrated. 4 I write about men’s masculinity to denote the idea that masculinity is not an inherent property of men but instead is a relational gendered position that anyone can claim, regardless of their gender assigned at birth. For more on this idea see Female Masculinity (Halberstam 1998), Masculinities without men (Noble 2000), The Witch’s Flight (Keeling 2007). For a discussion specific to Africa, see Adjepong (2019). 5 Also known as The African Women’s Championship. 6 In 2016, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) reached an agreement with the oil company Total, to sponsor African football for the next eight years. As such, all continental tournaments will be named after the company, for example, Total African Cup of Nations (Total 2016). 7 A reviewer for this chapter was concerned about my gendering the Men’s FIFA tournament as the Men’s cup. The de facto construction of men’s sports as the norm has continued to reproduce women’s sport participation as inferior or as anomaly. By naming it “The FIFA Men’s World Cup” alongside the “FIFA Women’s World Cup,” I attempt to put the two, at the very least, on the same semantic playing field. 8 It is worth nothing that South Africa was still an apartheid regime at the time. 9 Moya Bailey (2016) has pointed out how strategies to reclaim Caster Semenya as a feminine woman can be understood through the lens of misogynoir, a term that assesses the unique sexist and anti-black racist disdain for black women. Bailey’s examination of the ways Semenya’s gender has been publically disciplined and derided are useful for thinking through the implications of gender expansive African women more broadly. 10 These stories are likely not the only ones that discipline and punish women for their sporting prowess and feats of physical strength. However, often these incidences are so normalized as to be uneventful and as such not reported on, or so outrageous in their disciplining that they become a salacious story in which the women are dehumanized in the service of sustaining binary gender as normative and strong women as aberration.

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7 The quest for belonging among male sex workers and hustlers in Nairobi Naomi van Stapele

Introduction Away from popular views in Kenya, which often juxtapose gender and sexuality practices between cisgender gay male sex workers and straight male hustlers, this chapter explores the similarities between the ways in which these men try to adhere to particular masculine ideals to claim belonging.1 The sex workers in this study all identified as sex workers, yet most young men in this research who engaged in (petty) crime identified as “hustlers” and not as criminals. To them, a hustler is someone who takes on all kinds of income-generating activities to survive in a context where dominant legal frameworks do not apply. In this chapter, I follow their self-determination and use “hustler” instead of derogatory labels such as “criminal” or, worse, “gang member.” Among the masculine ideals that governed these men’s lives, the epitome of the provider stands out in particular, and all were highly invested in actualizing this ideal through remarkably similar gender practices. By looking at both similarities and differences in practices among these two groups, this chapter speaks to debates on heteronormativity and homonormativity in Kenya in unexpected ways. It reveals how everyday practices by these young men affirm, resist, and comply with gender norms. These ambiguities and multiplicities not only question African heteronormativity by bringing into view alternative gender positions and practices within the supposed norm, but also break open strict dichotomies between assumed (hetero) norms and oppositional logics of dissidence (Massaquoi 2013). As such, this chapter contributes to studies on manhood and sexuality in Africa in general, and, more specifically, also to research on tradition, masculinities, and queerness in African contexts by bringing in view the “multiple belongings” of queer men (Ratele 2013, 149). Likewise, the analysis too sheds light on the transiency of what are popularly deemed as traditional, or “African”, positions of manhood. First, I delve briefly into the colonial background of the masculine ideal of “the provider” to contextualize its hold on contemporary gender norms while debunking its imagined “Africaness” in dominant discourses on masculinities in Kenya. This historical background 90

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outlines the gendered connection between providing and belonging for young men in contemporary Kenya. Then I explore how “providing to belong” plays out quite similarly among male hustlers and male sex workers in their relationships with spouses and lovers. By focusing on a particular monetary practice, the aim is to highlight how “providing to belong” is tied to imagining gendered selves and processing a shared anxiety that all young men in this research experienced when navigating intimate relationships, including relationships with family and friends. The goal here is to tease out which discursive frameworks inform young men’s positioning as providers and shape their decision-making in everyday life. Hence, I take a closer look at where and how male hustlers and male sex workers enact similar and different gender positions before concluding on the striking parallels between these two groups of young men popularly imagined as polar opposites in Kenya. Accordingly, the analysis in this chapter not only builds on and adds to gender and sexuality studies in African contexts, but also contributes a new dimension to research on economies of care in a context of urban poverty (Folbre 2014). The sections below provide insights on how gender positions and relationships inform the monetization of care relationships between family, friends, and even neighbors, which disproportionally affect men who take themselves as the providers. This also highlights context-bound interactions between acts of care and sense of belonging that allow a more nuanced grasp on the role of men (and manhood) in household economies in urban Kenya.

Providing to belong During my long-term research with young male hustlers and young male sex workers in Nairobi, I observed remarkable similarities that I explore in further detail in the sections below. Such parallels are underexplored given that most studies focus on one or the other group, and thus inadvertently reproduce popular ideas of differences between them. In dominant views, male hustlers are imagined as “dangerous thugs” (Van Stapele 2016) and male sex workers as “dirty and morally corrupt.” Male hustlers are widely considered the embodiment of “hypermasculinity” (Were 2008), whereas male sex workers are dominantly perceived as effeminate. Strikingly, both men share similar anxieties about becoming “lesser men” (Willemse 2009). The parallels I observed between them converge in the imaginary of the male provider, which constitutes the foundation upon which their self-appraisal as men rested. In their narratives, young men repeatedly emphasized the importance of taking up the provider role in imagining a gendered self, and they consistently recounted their struggle to adhere to this masculine ideal, even if in different ways and sometimes also for different reasons. The ideal of “the male provider” (Silberschmidt 2004, 45–47) is central to all hegemonic models on masculinity in present-day Kenya. Masculinity here refers to “a cluster of norms, values, and behavioral patterns expressing explicit and implicit expectations of how men should act and represent themselves to others” (Lindsay and Miescher 2003, 5). Masculinity is not a given, but is acquired and enacted (Silberschmidt 2004, 51, 2001), and as such shifts occur here and there that contest masculine norms. What the imaginary of the provider entails in precise terms is constantly redefined in relation to ever shifting contexts, but to this day remains centered on male responsibilities – even in contexts where women are the main or even sole providers (Van Stapele 2015). This is illustrated by the dominant practices of young, urban professional couples in Nairobi. Despite earning comparable salaries, the ideal of “the male provider” continues to shape gender struggles and such norms are still affirmed by both men and women (Spronk 2012, 62, 266). 91

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Interestingly, the present-day understandings of this masculine ideal emerged during the colonial era, yet it is popularly imagined as a “traditional” or “African” norm. Pointing at its colonial roots helps to unsettle naturalized notions of “the male provider.” In Kenya, the term “African” with regard to manhood is widely used to describe specific naturalized notions of manhood that are often captured in terms of heterosexuality, virility, and authority (Spronk 2014), which all converge in the ideal of “the male provider.” The young and poor men in my research often draw on the dominant binaries counter-posing popular notions of tradition and modernity (intersecting with shifting notions of Africanness and Westernization) when imagining a gendered self and enacting particular notions of manhood, although they did so unpredictably and very inconsistently. African manhood in the imaginaries of young and poor men could denote both tradition and modernity, and their positioning as “we African men” is not at all automatically counter-posed to popular notions of “modernity” or the West. Nevertheless, the multiplicity of meanings carried by the term “African men” and the diverse modes in which these serve to draw boundaries around imagined gendered selves do not withstand an experienced commonality among African male subjectivities (Ndjio 2012; Ratele 2008). This experience, even if not self-evident at all, does allow Kenyan men to take a certain pride in being “African men” while enacting different interpretations of modernity (Spronk 2014, 508–9). Contemporary connotations of the male provider are to a large measure shaped by particular subjectivities underlying the economic structures put in place by the British colonial government that ruled Kenya until 1963. One of the economic structures was the demand for hut tax that had to be paid in cash money, which could only be earned through working on white settler farms far away from native reserves (i.e. designated rural areas where the African population was forced to reside during the colonial era). This led to a rise in wage labor among indigenous men (mostly) who were forced to earn money by working and living on farms miles away from their families (Silberschmidt 1999). As a result, women generally became responsible for the household inside the reserves, whereas men became increasingly considered as absentee heads of the family. This male position was predominantly enacted through the act of providing money for taxes, medicines, and household items (Silberschmidt 2004, 45). These changing circumstances inevitably led to a gradual shift in gender ideals and relationships. Accordingly, a new social value system developed that bestowed men with new obligations and responsibilities epitomized in the subject position of the male provider. Population growth put mounting pressures on land within the reserves (Elkins 2005, 23), which increasingly hindered subsistence farming and made families more and more depended on the money, predominantly, men were able to earn as migrant workers. During 1940s, the situation in the reserves deteriorated further. Many migrant workers lost their job as farm workers following the growing mechanization of farm work (Maloba 1993, 28; Kanogo 1987; Lonsdale 2008). From 1937 onward, the colonial government decided to repatriate unemployed migrant workers back to the reserves, which denoted both a loss of cash income and more mouths to feed for families living in these confines. The deportation inflicted a great feeling of bitterness among the repatriates, as people had nowhere to go. The reserves were already overpopulated as it was and high unemployment rates also plagued the “African” settlements in the urban areas such as Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu. These developments made it increasingly difficult for men to live up to the male social obligation of providing cash money for their families at home in the reserves. Chased from white settler farms and finding no space for them in the reserves led a growing number of young men to flock to the city. Even if work was equally scarce here, other opportunities 92

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were available – such as helping female sex workers sell alcohol to soldiers in Mathare in Nairobi. However, their meager earnings were hardly enough for themselves to survive on, and remittances became increasingly few and far between. The growing inability of larger and larger numbers of men to live up to the masculine ideals to financially provide challenged their male prerogatives, authority, and ability to belong to a family, a community, and to society at large (Silberschmidt 2001). The historical continuity with present-day Kenya is striking. Still today, large groups of – mostly young and poor – men struggle hard to live up to this ideal. The ideal of the male provider continues to circumscribe gender positions and roles among both male sex workers and male hustlers, many of whom grew up in female-headed households. Nevertheless, all the men I conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork with considered female providers an anomaly (including cisgender men who took up female roles), and this view was affirmed by the women in their intimate circles – even by those who provided (Van Stapele 2015). Accordingly, most of these men were desperate to live up the role of the provider to forge belonging to their partners (spouses and lovers), families, and even to their friends. Yet, these young men rarely made enough money to meet the gendered expectations bestowed on them. Most hustlers I encountered lived in urban settlements (highly neglected low-income neighborhoods), and most of the young male sex workers were homeless and slept in shared hostel rooms, at the house of or in a hotel with a client, or – when all other options ran out – they slept under trucks or in city parks. Their daily lives were characterized by what they all termed “hustling” (Thieme 2013) by which they meant short-term income-generating activities sought after on a day-to-day basis. Hustling in their everyday contexts can be considered a state of protracted liminality, a kind of “precarious present” (Millar 2014) without daring to think of the future. A phrase many of them used to describe their experience of time as a result of the way they hustled was “leo ni leo, kesho ni baaday” (“today is today, tomorrow is later” in Kiswahili). Both groups of young men feared not having a future seeing that many of their friends had already died before the age of 25 (for hustlers as a result of a police brutality) or 30 years (for male sex workers as a result of HIV/AIDS). Simultaneously, these young men courageously built livelihoods in the context of urban uncertainty (Scully 2016) while negotiating insecure futures through hustling. Hustlers generally engaged in chores for alcohol or heroin bosses, by stealing from pedestrians or by doing odd jobs for family members. Male sex workers mostly hustled by looking for clients in hot spots, by stealing from clients or by attending non-governmental organization (NGO) seminars on HIV/AIDS prevention where they received per diems. Despite shared fear of their own tomorrow and having very little money to spare, all of them took up the role of the provider and not only invested in the day-today survival but also in the futures of people close to them, especially their spouses and lovers.

Being a husband and lover A young male sex worker called Riri excitedly showed me a picture of his new boyfriend. I stared at a picture of a young and plump boy clouded in Shisha smoke, gazing drunkenly into the camera. Riri had taken him out the night before. “I had to show him I love him, you know, by taking him out, so he knows I am serious.” The moment he said that, he took back the phone as he was in the midst of sending his boyfriend a few hundred shillings for phone credit. “He is still in school, so I can help

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him with some of his daily needs, like transport, credit. I am older, and I work, so I have to do this.” Riri was three years older than his newly acquired boyfriend. (Fieldwork notes, February 2016, Nairobi) A young hustler called Hasso sighed. We were talking about his girlfriend. They lived together and had one child, and Hasso told me he shared most of his money with his girlfriend, who he referred to as his wife. My wife, she does not want to work. The child is old enough now, he goes to preunit, so she can work, but she says I have to show her I love her by giving her my money. I can’t pay dowry, so this is the way I show her my love. (Fieldwork notes, March 2017, Nairobi) Many young men I worked with, hustlers and sex workers alike, felt obliged and were expected by their lovers and partners to give them money for daily upkeep “to show love for them.” Without it, many said, they would not be respected, they would not be able to demand sex, and they would eventually lose their partners. As a result, these men were incessantly anxious about not earning enough money, since to them their manhood depended on it. In Kenya, most social relationships are monetized. That is, money exchanges are part of nearly all social encounters, interactions, and relationships. A strong connection exists between the responsibility and ability to give money, social status (earning respect), masculinity, and the right to have sex with a lover or spouse. The male provider thus shapes the “materiality of everyday sex” (Hunter 2002) and ensuing appraisals of affect between intimate partners. This means that the act of giving money is deemed proof of emotional commitment (Thomas and Cole 2009, 24) from a male positioned partner toward a female positioned one. This all comes together in the everyday monetary practice called “ku-toanisha” in Kiswahili, which means “to make someone remove [money].” In general, this practice is associated with relationships between men and women and plays into dominant gender norms of the male provider and female dependent, as illustrated with Hasso’s girlfriend. I explore elsewhere (Van Stapele forthcoming a) how many women in urban settlements survive and make-do in the everyday by asking money from (and were given by) boyfriends and male friends, relatives, and neighbors, through claiming to need money to take care of their children. Performing the role of the “mother-in-need” has a particular appeal to the masculine ideal of the provider. However, these gender norms are often traversed with class positions and age, which allow some men to also toanisha fellow men and even women who are considered older, wealthier, and/or otherwise more powerful. This alludes to the discursive space for women (such as female political leaders or older white female tourists) to take up provider roles without fundamentally challenging gerontocratic patriarchal structures (see also Meiu 2017). As noted, in most circumstances female providers were widely regarded as a source for profound anxiety among both men and women. The relationship between Riri and his younger boyfriend exemplifies how age and wealth plays an important factor in determining toanisha positions within same-sex relationships. Riri not only deemed himself more responsible to provide because he was older, but also because he was wealthier since he worked and his younger boyfriend, a student, did not. Conversely, in relationship to his (mostly) older, male clients, Riri positioned himself as, in his terms, “the lady-in-need.” Most male (and also female) sex workers I worked with over the past few years had at least a couple of regular clients who they could call whenever 94

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they needed school fees, money for food or going out etc. Such pleas were often delivered with great spectacle to stress the urgency of the request and were meant to speak to the anticipated sense of financial responsibility of the older and (usually) male client. In return, the sex workers explained to me that they affirmed their client by maintaining a special kind of intimacy with them. Interestingly, sex acts were not necessarily always directly part of these interactions, even if the promise of sex in a distant future almost always was. The monetary practice of toanisha is widespread in Kenya, especially among people living through economic uncertainty, and it draws on at least two dominant discourses about money, gender, and social responsibilities: Godfatherism and harambee. These discourses are two sides of the same coin and together add to the ideal of the male provider by bolstering the act of giving money as a male responsibility. In Kenya, the term godfatherism emanates from the term godfather, a colloquial term that refers to political, civil society, and business leaders (i.e. people of privilege) who help people with lesser financial means and no or little access to recourses. In return, these godfathers – who can also sometimes be women – receive support and affirmation of their higher social status and privilege, which are central to hegemonic masculinity and positions of power. Godfathers constitute the “elder state” (Ocobock 2017) and as far back as the colonial era have been enmeshed in configurations of power, age/maturity and masculinity through which older men attempted to exert control over (growing numbers) younger men (Van Stapele forthcoming c). The particular role money plays in these neo-patrimonial relationships (Cammack 2007, 600; Erdmann and Engel 2007, 107) stems in part from harambee. The term harambee means “pulling together” in Kiswahili (Haugerud 1995). The Kenyatta government (1964–1978) instigated the harambee discourse (Widner 2002) as part of its nationalist project. The mainstay of this discourse denotes the inability of any individual to progress without the help of fellow citizens, and initially was directed at organizing people into networks and groups within which members contributed the little they had to help each other progress – collectively and individually. Originally, harambee was not about money directly, but about helping each other in physical work such as clearing roads after heavy rain, building community schools and churches, and in doing farm work together. Over time, harambee became more and more geared towards raising monies for weddings, funerals, school fees, and hospital bills, as life in Kenya became more expensive and unsettled. Without community support, mere individuals could not finance the said life events anymore; hence harambee and concomitant logics shaped social safety nets especially among poor people facing mounting volatilities. Similar to most godfather-type (neo-patrimonial) relationships, toanisha is decoupled from the expectation of monetary reciprocity that is central to harambee, but it still constitutes an exchange of some sort. Harambee fostered the idea of mutual dependency and social responsibility and in intersection with godfatherism became connected to hegemonic masculinity. The configuration of these two discourses with the masculine ideal of the provider upholds the “elder state” (Ocobock 2017) and informs notions of manhood that are based on the act of giving money not only to spouses and lovers, but are also to family, friends, and even neighbors, as will be explored in the remainder of the chapter. Indeed, such dynamics are key to political campaigns where both male and female aspirants are expected to give frequent amounts of money to their support bases and are overloaded with requests for funeral contributions and so on. Accordingly, campaign periods make most visible how the ideas of harambee and toanisha speak to and reinforce each other in neo-patrimonial relationships.

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The above vignettes reveal that discursive framework constitutive of gerontocratic patriarchal structures circumscribed both Riri and Hasso’s enactments of gendered selves. Both men expected of themselves and were expected to take up the male position and provide for their spouse and lover. This did not withstand the fact that Hasso’s girlfriend and Riri’s boyfriend also contributed to daily expenditures, but it did shape how this was perceived by all involved. Hasso’s girlfriend regularly attended NGO seminars where she received per diems and Riri’s boyfriend often used his student allowance from his parents. However, both Hasso and Riri saw this as a personal failure, which was repeatedly affirmed by their partners, and mostly refused their contributions. Hasso even disclosed that he often was afraid that his wife was better at “hustling” than he was. Both men felt that their partner’s contributions to daily expenditures undermined their position as “the man” in the relationship. They were incessantly afraid that they could not provide enough and that their partners would not need them anymore and perhaps leave them. Constant anxiety brought about by this sense of contingent belonging also extended to other family relationships.

Being a son Tosh identified as a hustler. According to him, this meant that he was a busy-body, always looking for and involved in many different income-generating activities in his neighborhood. It was indeed hard to find time to sit down with him and talk, so we often met for lunch. While I ordered rice and beans for us, his phone rang. He was half way through cutting an avocado for us. He looked at his phone, and his jaws tightened. He hesitated before picking up. It was his mother. He reluctantly talked with her, and looked at me with wide eyes, as if asking me for help. After he hung up he said: Sometimes, I don’t pick up, but then she complains to my grandmother, that I ignore her. She never asks how I am. She always asks for money. If I say I don’t have money, she tells me I am not a good son. Tosh shared with me many times how stressed he felt by the burden of taking care of his mother, grandmother, his disabled sister, and her daughter. He was married and as the sole provider he also was financially responsible to take care of his wife and their three children. As a relatively young man in his mid-30s, he suffered from high blood pressure, which spiked every time he received a call from his mother. (Field work notes, May 2012, Nairobi) Lady was a sex worker who approached 30. His daughter lived in the rural area with his mother and grandmother. He often talked about her when we met for drinks at his hotspot. This time he looked at me with tears in his eyes, his voice urgent. It is Christmas, I need money, you see, I need money for sending home. If I don’t, they will not talk to me, they will say “this gay, he is useless!” Then, they will not talk to me, and I will never be able to go home. (Field work notes, February 2015, Nairobi) Both Tosh and Lady expressed great anxiety about the way their families perceived them, albeit for different reasons. Their identity as the firstborn son was inextricably linked to imagining gendered selves and to their ability to provide for their extended family. Tosh could not bear the thought that his female relatives would consider him a bad son if he could not provide. He explained to me that this would make him lose respect, first from his 96

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family, and second from other people he imagined as “his” community. This would degrade him, he said, and he would fall from being considered a “hustler” to the undesirable position of a fala (“a fool” in Sheng) – a failed man. Lady constantly feared to be entirely cut off from his family over his sexual identity. They had never discussed it, but he knew all of his close relatives were aware of his sexual identity if not about his line of work. At some point, they had stopped asking when he would bring a girl home. When he shared this with me he immediately said, as if defending himself, that he at least had fulfilled a part of his male duties as the firstborn son by fathering a daughter. Even though his mother and grandmother were intensely happy with his little girl (whose mother had remarried outside their rural village), they always remained awkward and distant whenever he came home. He rarely visited, only during Christmas and Easter holidays. He recounted during our many talks how painful it was to be treated like a stranger by the people most familiar to him, and how bad it made him feel when he was not asked to perform certain male tasks, such as slaughtering the goat. The fragile links with his family prompted Lady to send home most of his money. He lived in a cheap iron sheet shack with just a mattress on the dirt floor, three sets of clothes hanging on the wooden beams of the wall, a gas cooker, and an enamel cup for morning tea. He hardly used more than 20% of his income for his own upkeep. The threat of outspoken rejection loomed over him, and the money he sent home on a regular basis was first and foremost aimed at fending off this pending dark cloud. This money constituted a lifeline with which he could stay connected to his family, and which still allowed him to foster some sense of belonging to his family, even if painful and ambiguous. Strikingly, Lady used the term “useless,” whereas Tosh referred to “not being a good son” and “failing as a man” when they would not be able to give money to their family members. Apparently, social relationships are to some degree shaped by being of use to others, which in this context denotes being able to give money (or other resources) to others. Being of use to others greatly determines how these young men are appraised by family and other people, which in turn also shapes their self-appraisal to a high degree. This does not mean that these relationships were solely instrumental, void of emotions such as love and care. On the contrary, the widespread monetization of particular social relationships in Kenya is profoundly intertwined with notions of love and care, as Hasso evinced when he shared that providing is about “showing love.” Hence, utilitarian notions of social relationship do not necessarily contradict deep emotional connections. To be of use is thus key to social acceptance and gaining respect, as is revealed by Tosh and Lady’s struggle to belong to their families by trying to adhere to masculine ideals inscribed in their positions as firstborn sons. The fragility of male belonging to family, contingent as it is on the ability to provide, is something all young men share, regardless of sexual identity. However, the stakes are considerably higher for young gay sex workers, and they often seek refuge among their friends for acceptance and belonging – even more so than young, male hustlers. Yet friendships too are riddled with expectations and obligations that shape their social status and enactments of gendered selves.

Being friends Tanya told me that he got lucky last night. He had earned € 30,—from one client, and he had slept in a hotel room, paid by his client as well, while the client had gone home. After a good night sleep and a hot shower, a rare luxury, he had arrived at the 97

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hotspot looking fresh and rested. All his friends were already there, drinking, chewing khat (mildly stimulant leaves), waiting for clients. “Hahaha it is like they smell the money, they see I am different, relaxed, happy, and I had to tell them. Then you have to buy drinks for everyone.” He smiled when he shared this, but then his eyebrows furrowed. “I was to save this money to pay for rent, but I spent it all.” Tanya wanted to start renting a room. He was tired of sleeping outside and wanted to settle down, as he put it. He now had to delay his plans for at least another month. (Field work notes, September 2015, Nairobi) Cosmos had earned €1 – that day. He had carried a couple of jerry cans of alcohol to a near-by bar and he had fetched firewood for the distillers near the riverside. He told me it was not enough to go home. When I come home with nothing I feel I am nothing. I tried but I did not get anything, she [his wife] is asking me money. I go out every day, early bird, to catch the worm. If she asks and I have nothing. She makes me feel I am nothing. That moment I want to drink and be with my friends, so that is what I do. I can beat her when she asks. Those nights home is only for sleeping. However, the money was just about enough to buy his friends a couple of rounds of strong alcohol in the near-by bar. (Field work notes, April 2011, Nairobi) The practice of buying friends drinks is popularly called ku-chafua meza, meaning “to soil the table” in Sheng. It entails buying friends lot of drinks so that the table is hardly visible, thus the table is “soiled.” As in Tanya’s case, this practice was predominantly geared toward showing friends that he had been successful. The popular idea that success without some form of social display and the partaking of friends is rendered insignificant, informed the act of sharing with others. Cosmos reveals that feelings of defeat could also be tackled to some degree by “soiling” the table. In both cases, the act of buying drinks for friends made them feel “useful,” it forged a belonging to their friends. It allowed them to at least attain and maintain a particular social status as men with regard to their male peers, even if outside the space of peers their status felt increasingly under threat. Tanya not only spent his money on drinks for friends. He told me that two of his closer friends had asked him to buy them food, medicine, and phone credit. Male sex workers regularly asked each other for money, especially when one or the other had been, what they termed, exceptionally lucky (kuangukia in Sheng). In observing toanisha practices between hustlers and sex workers, one striking difference came to light. In contrast to Tanya and his friends, Cosmos and his friends hardly asked each other money directly. When he and his friends engaged in this practice as the one to ask (instead of giving), it was generally aimed at wealthier men (such as politicians and NGO staff) or at me (a white woman who was perceived to be wealthier). Tanya and his friends by contrast repeatedly toanisha-ed each other alongside asking money from people they deemed wealthier than them (including me). This may follow from the diverse ways in which male sex workers negotiate gender and sexuality norms as part of their identification as gay men. In the above, Riri already demonstrated that he often took up the role of the provider in relationship to his younger boyfriend, whereas with clients Riri mostly took up the role of a “girl-in-need.” He shared: I am versatile, I like both top and bottom [sexually] with my boyfriend, but I am a top when it comes to money. With clients, it is the other way around. I am a bottom in sex, well not always, but most of the time, and I am always a bottom when it comes to money.

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Compared to male hustlers, male sex workers are more flexible in taking up positions of giving and receiving money within toanisha practices and ensuing relationships. These are popularly imagined in terms of “male” and “female,” and as demonstrated by Riri among male sex workers also in terms of top and bottom (Hendriks 2016). Even if class, age, and other forms of power could supersede such conflations, gender norms continued to linger on the background. Hence, male sex workers seemed to be a bit more flexible in shifting in top/bottom positions than male hustlers, seeing that they not only did so in relationship to wealthier and older people (such as clients), but also with regard to their friends, without feeling that such shifts directly challenged their positioning as men with regards to each other. Conversely, Cosmos and his friends experienced less discursive space to enact positions of giving and receiving money within toanisha relationships out of fear of being considered a fool – a failed man. Amidst anxiety about imagined redundancy at home and in the wider context of their neighborhood, performing the provider among friends become all the more important and more achievable since it entailed less demands. Providing among friends denoted buying each other drinks and sometimes food, and a fine balance was kept between giving and receiving. What’s more, and in contrast to male sex workers, the receiving position was never demanded out of fear to be ridiculed, or beaten even. To them, among peers was one of the few spaces where their position as men did not feel under threat. And some, like Cosmos, spend more and more time there, in this space where they feel that they still can adhere to particular masculine ideals and earn respect. Now it may seem as if male hustlers were more invested in the role of the provider than male sex workers, and more than the latter ascribed to imagined binaries between the hustler and “the fool” (Van Stapele forthcoming b). Yet, despite relative flexibility among male sex workers, they too were defined by the imaginary of “the fool” – even if this imaginary played out differently in their day-to-day interactions. Indeed, Tanya and his friends did appraise each other by referring to “the fool” in quite similar ways as male hustlers. If one of them was perceived to solely take up the position of “receiver” with regard to his peers, demanding to be given all the time, others would start avoiding him. Tanya shared: “Spicy is always drunk, he never gets clients, no, that is not good. Huh? He can’t just ask us, we also work, he is just useless, a fala [fool].” This alludes to the need for some kind of reciprocity among male sex worker peers, despite more flexibility, and to the value they placed upon both earning (work) and giving (toa) money. Shifting positions was thus only accepted among male sex workers when the balance in the end tilted toward giving; if not, male sex workers too ran the risk of becoming considered failed men by their peers.

Conclusion The above shows that for both male sex workers and hustlers, gendered selves and social status were inextricably intertwined with male responsibility and financial obligations, despite some variations in how such ideals governed their everyday interactions and intersecting gender positions and sexuality practices. The young men I conducted research with took themselves as, and were expected to be, providers and this first and foremost came to the fore in our talks on their relationships with their spouses and lovers. For male hustlers who were mostly engaged in different-sex relationships, their identification as cisgender heterosexual men determined this role. For the male sex workers who mostly engaged in same-sex relationships, age and wealth to a large degree defined who took up the role of the provider. Despite the intermittent reality of shared responsibilities in practice, the fact that a man 99

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expected of himself, and was expected by his (younger and/or female) partner, to provide elucidates some of the intricacies involved in the way in which gender, care, and money pertain to each other in household economies in urban Kenya. From the perspectives of all the men at focus in this chapter, their right to sex depended on their ability to provide, whereas having sex regularly was an important part of feeling a man, as Riri put it. In practice, their spouses and lovers too contributed to all kinds daily expenditures, but this did not alter their adherence to dominant gender norms and ensuing expectations. The anxiety of not being able to live up to the role of the provider governed their daily lives. They were incessantly worried to lose their partners and often went out of their way, taking great risks, to earn money to provide and thus show their partners their emotional commitment. Also, not all forms and relationships of male provision were regarded equal by them. The men at focus all prioritized spouses and lovers in their relentless struggle to provide. However, anxiety with regard to their partners was compounded by their fear of not being taken as a “good son,” and many sought refuge in the space of friendship when all other realms became far too threatening. However, this space too was riddled with tensions, as demonstrated by Tanya and Cosmos. Providing for friends and “soiling the table” were considered more as final resorts than desired spaces of validation, and were often geared toward compensating lack of social recognition by partners and family. Above all, the everyday negotiations of particular masculine ideals such as the provider by these men challenges popular stereotypes that emphasize imagined differences between male hustlers and sex workers. Despite such dominant distinctions between them, all these men share a continuous struggle to belong and all strategically navigate perilous intimate relationships by trying to live up to similar masculine ideals. This not only brings out the salience of such norms within Kenyan society, but also points at intersecting gender and sexuality practices of both groups of men within the context of these norms which contest both heteronormativity and homonormativity. Notwithstanding differences in sexual identification and practices, all these men adhered to particular gender norms that are popularly associated with heterosexual men and are widely taken as yardsticks of morality, thus unsettling the popular stereotype of male sex workers as “effeminate men” and as morally corrupt. Their shared social project to try and adhere to the ideal of the male provider also breaks open imagined differences between straight and gay men from the view of a purported political gay identity. At the same time, all these men also engaged in toanisha practices by taking up the position of receiver (for instance with regard to older and wealthier men) which contest the widespread hypermasculine stereotype of male hustlers. They too asked for money from more powerful people in particular circumstances, despite the fact that this was popularly imagined as a “female practice.” Accordingly, the ambiguous ways in which male hustlers and sex workers affirm, resist, and comply with gender and sexuality norms disrupt both heteronormative notions of “African” manhood and oppositional logics of dissidence. The above also showed that difference in sexual identifications and practices did offer different discursive spaces to negotiate gendered positions of giving and receiving money. Such nuance is relevant to avoid easy generalizations of perceived same-ness as well as difference, and in keeping attention towards open-endedness rather than seeking new fixities.

Notes 1 Since 2005, I have conducted ethnographic research with young men who are dominantly perceived to be gang members in Nairobi for an average of three months annually. Between 2014 and 2017 I have also conducted ethnographic research with male sex workers for eight months in total. I have been engaged in community-led development and local activism since 1998.

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Silberschmidt, Margrethe. “Men, Male Sexuality and HIV/AIDS: Reflections from Studies in Rural and Urban East Africa.” Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, Vol. 54 (2004): 42–58. Spronk, Rachel. Ambiguous Pleasures: Sexuality and Middle Class Self-Perceptions in Nairobi. New York: Berghan Books, 2012. Spronk, Rachel. “The Idea of African Men: Dealing with the Cultural Contradictions of Sex in Academia and in Kenya.” Culture, Health & Sexuality, Vol. 16, no. 5, (2014): 504–517. Thieme, Tatiana. “The ‘Hustle’ Amongst Youth Entrepreneurs in Mathare’s Informal Waste Economy.” Journal of Eastern African Studies, Vol. 7, no. 3, (2013): 389–412. Thomas, Lynn M. and Jennifer Cole. “Introduction: Thinking through Love in Africa.” In Love in Africa, edited by Lynn M. Thomas and Jennifer Cole, 1–30. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Van Stapele, Naomi. Respectable “Illegality”: Gangs, Masculinities and Belonging in. A Nairobi Ghetto. Dissertation. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, 2015. Van Stapele, Naomi. “‘We are not Kenyans’: Extra-Judicial Killings, Manhood and Citizenship in Mathare, a Nairobi Ghetto.” Conflict, Security & Development, Vol. 16, no. 4, (2016): 301–325. Van Stapele, Naomi. “Dirty Tables and Clean Supermarkets: Individual Economies, Money Logics and Subjectivities of Female and (‘Gay’) Male Sex Workers in Nairobi.” In Sex Work and Money, edited by Lorraine Nencel and Naomi van Stapele. New York: Berghan Books, forthcoming a. Van Stapele, Naomi. “Providing to Belong – Masculinities, Hustling and Economic Uncertainty in a Nairobi Ghetto.” In Harnessing the Hustle, edited by Tatiana Thieme, Meghan Ference, and Naomi van Stapele, Special Issue in AFRICA, forthcoming b. Van Stapele, Naomi. “The Politics of Being a Young Man in Kenya.” In Oxford Handbook of Kenyan Politics, edited by Gabrielle Lynch, Karuti Kanyinga, and Nic Cheeseman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming c. Vigh, Henrik. Navigating Terrains of War: Youth and Soldiering in Guinea-Bissau. New York: Berghan Books, 2006. Vigh, Henrik. “Crisis and Chronicity: Anthropological Perspectives on Continuous Conflict and Decline.” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 73, no. 1, (2008): 5–24. Were, Anzetse. Drivers of Violence. Male Disempowerment in the African Context. Nairobi: Mvule Africa Publishers, 2008. Widner, Jennifer. The Rise of a Party-State in Kenya: From ‘Harambee’ to ‘Nyayo’. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002. Willemse, Karin. “The Darfur Mar: Masculinity and the Construction of a Sudanese National Identity.” In Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan, edited by S.M. Hassan and C.E. Ray, 213–232. Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 2009.

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Perspectives on morality and ethics

Holy Functions Alexis Teyie I felt her nostrils needed windshields, but her eyes were round, really round. If I loved her, I might say, like twin moons in a desert dream. No, no. What I thought instead: urinal cakes. She even had that vaguely fresh, vaguely stinging cloud about her. I thought it, sure, but was too smart and too lazy to say it. Well, anyways, her mouth was alright And when she smiled, I forgot about how mean she could be, and that’s what smiles are for goddammit. We could have ended there – a goodbye from her okay mouth, a curl in mine. Except, instinctively if awkwardly, we understood people with bodies, or in them, mustn’t be stingy with their skins, those immensities. Like I said, it was her mouth and also this cute spot on her jaw, which if you got way too close, 103

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was the colour of ear wax. Is that cruel? Crass? Caramel, or honey, then. Ach, but aren’t we all impatient with ugliness? Grotesqueirie baffles us when meaningless. For instance, what’s that expression on her face? Even so, I kissed her. Clammy palm on my ribs, she says (to be mysterious?): “First bird of the season fell out a sky like any other.” Trying to be sexy, like on TV, I say: “Oh chicken, you are of God!” Now, nervous and itchy. Is she laughing? I’m not laughing; light bulbs burning during the day are really just the saddest thing. Still, a knee here, and there, another knee. In between, I eavesdrop on their gossip. These knees are twenty one, and mine a year less. We’re young. Our blood’s pumping fast, they say; her heart, my lungs (their singular witchery). And heavens, the sounds! The sighing, the squelching – all of it an old hymn. Secretly, and separately, we hoped for revelation. This is it, then, the holy sign: It is only the first of future failed revelations. Marked Bodies Unoma Azuah Crosses mark this body Its weight defy the bulge of sea waves Buoy They are bodies wrapped in white Ferried in boats To the shores where water buries its own Or resurrects it In this place where heads are submerged For rebirths There are no in-betweens No water whirlwinds Where ever marked bodies are trapped They must bloom or burn.

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8 Can black queer feminists believe in God? An exploration of feminism, sexuality, and the spiritual Amanda Hodgeson

I stopped believing in God when I became a black queer feminist. I had a dream about a pride of lions the other night. I dreamed that one of the lionesses had done something that I knew the leader of her pride would not like although I cannot remember now what she had done that warranted her leader finding out. I wrestled with whether or not I should inform him. I eventually went to him with the information and the rest of the pride was not happy. I was afraid, but I somehow knew that they would not hurt me. As a result of my actions, the lioness in question was punished, and all the lionesses in the pride were excommunicated. I did not anticipate this at all. I woke up in a state of anxiety! What was this about? Why was I communicating with animals in my dreams? And why did I do something that would negatively affect women? That is not like me at all. I was extremely puzzled and unsure about how to proceed. I am a big believer in dreams. I believe that dreams are a medium through which our ancestors, God, and the Universe deliver messages to us. I have been receiving these messages in dream forms for as long as I can remember. I am not sure at which age I figured out that my dreams meant something; it feels like I have always known. My dad is the same way and our dreams and interpretations have always been something special between us. My dad is the first call I make whenever I have a puzzling dream. Lately, I have been trying to cultivate my own skills of interpretation. I have been trying to find ways in which I can regularly communicate with my maker, my ancestors, and my guardian angels. Praying, knee bent, next to the bed before bedtime as I was taught in church, has not worked for me. Growing up I attended an Anglican church in the North of Johannesburg, about five minutes from my home. I attended church frequently not as a choice to grow my spirituality, but for various other reasons, mostly social purposes. I attended Sunday school, completed first communion and confirmation. I joined a youth group and eventually served as an acolyte for a few years. My mother was not very militant about church, she would have preferred us to go of course, but she did not raise hell if we skipped a few Sundays. My dad did not attend at all; his reasoning being that God existed everywhere and more than likely 105

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was not attending church on Sundays either. Toward late teenagehood, I attended church less and less. In my early 20s I stopped going completely and decided that I would try to learn more about other religions and from there choose which one suited my worldview the best. I did do some research, but not enough to be able to make a decision. When I was 15 years old I met a boy, Marcus (pseudonym), who I dated for ten years. In the beginning, he was not particularly interested in religion or going to church. When we were 17 years old, both of his parents tragically passed away and being the oldest of three boys, he had to grow up overnight and assume the responsibility of being both mother and father to his younger brothers. Eventually church became a very important part of his life and he told me that if we wanted our relationship to last, and eventually reach the stage of marriage, it was important for us to be planted in a church. He chose Rivers Church in Sandton, Johannesburg. Rivers describes itself as a non-denomination “dynamic church that offers both inspirational and practical biblical teaching with motivation for people of all ages, races and walks of life.” It is a big church both in terms of membership, but also with regard to the physical building itself. The church is housed in a big auditorium with massive screens for projection; it has a band instead of a choir and definitely appeals to my peers as a fun and interesting place to worship. We attended church regularly and eventually served as volunteers in the children’s ministry called Kids Zone. Growing up, I really struggled to find “my tribe.” I was always unable to keep large groups of friends and often felt like a loner. At Rivers and at Kids Zone in particular, I felt like I had finally found a place where I belonged. I have often thought about what it was about Rivers and Kids Zone that gave me a sense of belonging. Perhaps at the time, I felt like that was who I was, a young woman very much in love with a young man. I thought I had figured out how I wanted to spend my life and build a family. Rivers was very supportive of marriage and family, especially in young people, and very adamantly supporting the idea of settling down at a young age. While I struggled with some of the messages in the sermons every Sunday, I also recognized that Rivers Church sells the idea of family very well. One does not always agree with one’s family but knows that it will be there when needed. I felt this support from my church-family. I did not feel I could go to the church with everything that was troubling me, but I felt accepted and at the time I felt that support unconditional almost as if extra effort was unnecessary to garner support. This confidence was myth, I later realized, and it was short-lived. I had a dream about the apocalypse. It is not the first time, but I am unable to recall any of the details except for the fact of the world was ending. I dreamed the devil was a white man on an extremely large stallion. He looked regular, just a white man with brown hair, except he was coming for humanity and humanity was fervently running away. I ran with humanity for some time, but eventually I stopped. The world was covered in red and black smoke and I did not see the point in running anymore. There was nowhere to go and definitely nowhere to hide, so I stayed put and prepared to stand what little ground I had left. Satan and his henchmen arrived and they stood among us and cut our hair. In the next scene I am lying on the ground, I think, pretending to be dead or wounded. The devil and his stallion are standing right over me, one leg right by my stomach and the other behind my knees. I keep very still, but slowly inch my stomach away from the horse’s hoof, moderately afraid he would trample me. Eventually, the horse and its rider move on and I am unharmed. In the final scene of the dream, I am lying on a single bed in what appears to be a little girl’s pink bedroom. I am staying with a friend who has recently had a baby. I look in the mirror and all my dreadlocks are intact (after having been chopped off by the devil’s henchman), but my eyes are puffy and tired from having survived the apocalypse. Most of us did. 106

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My relationship with Rivers Church began to change when I met and fell in love with a woman. For 25 years I identified as heterosexual. Perhaps this identification was inaccurate. I did not think about my sexual orientation at all. I dated men and thought nothing further of a sexual orientation. I was raised in a very liberal household and I was taught to respect and appreciate differences. My parents had not had conventional upbringings and perhaps this also taught them not to hold too tightly onto societal norms. My mother was born in Swaziland to a 17-year-old mother. My grandmother left her and her father in Swaziland and came to South Africa to study nursing. When my mother was two, my grandmother came to fetch her and they both never saw her father again. My grandmother eventually married a South African man and had two sons, but my mother never lived with them. She lived with relatives in Pietermaritzburg and in Soweto, South Africa. My father was born in Zimbabwe. My paternal grandmother fell pregnant by a man she was not married to, a white man. When my father was born, his mother gave him away to her brother who brought him to South Africa. Born in 1959 during apartheid, as a mixed-race baby, he was unable to live with his uncle. Janeth Hodgeson, a mixed-race woman who also adopted mixed race babies unable to live with their parents, adopted him. Both of my parents were not raised by their parents and often moved between relatives and never felt settled yet, they loved unconditionally. They vowed their own children would have a loving and stable environment and stayed true to their word. When I was in high school my older sister, Zandile, came home with a woman after having dated only men. No one batted an eye-lid. No one asked her what it meant and “if she was a lesbian.” It is this same memory that enabled me to tell my parents when I fell in love with a woman. Again, no one batted an eye-lid. The arrival of Emma (pseudonym) in my life did not, however, go over very well with my boyfriend of ten years or the church. Rivers Church refers to homosexuality as “sexual deviance.” The church is of the belief that sexual deviance can be overcome. Marcus was of the same opinion. He believed it was wrong for two people of the same sex to be together, but through prayer and intervention by the church they could be healed. Prayer and a meeting with the pastor was the suggestion he made me after I confessed that I had met a woman I wanted to pursue a relationship with. My relationship with Marcus of course did not survive. Shortly after the relationship ended, I attended a young adult’s evening event at church called Fuelled, a monthly gathering to speak about specific issues such as navigating a secular world through Christ. On this particular night, a panel of young adults testified about how the Lord had guided and been with them through difficult times in their lives. The last panelist was a young blonde woman, with a short haircut and brown combat boots. She told the audience that she had fallen in love with a lesbian while working for an all-female company. A couple of years into their relationship she discovered a Jesus-shaped hole in her heart. She found a church, Rivers Church. In the beginning she and her partner attended church together but only she officially joined as a member and began to volunteer. She told the audience that while she was happy and fulfilled at church, she still felt a general unhappiness in her life. God helped her to figure out that her unhappiness was due to the fact that she was still in a same-sex relationship. She has since met a wonderful man and they are engaged. This was the last time I attended church. My queerness, coupled with a growing black feminist analysis crippled my ability to believe in a God. Everything that I have been taught at church vehemently denied my experience as a black queer woman living in what I had come to understand as a white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy. The God I had learned about in church, from Christians, did not love gay people. Becoming a feminist and understanding the intersectional nature of oppression, I came to realize that the God and Jesus I learned about in Sunday school, and from Trinity Broadcasting Network, did not love women or black people either. What more of black women? 107

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When I fell for a woman and discovered feminism I developed an analysis that finally helped me to not only understand, but also to question everything I have been taught about what it meant to be a woman, black, and queer. I was hungry to define for myself what and who I truly was. It took me a long time, however, to ascertain and fully comprehend that I could exercise autonomy in my religious and spiritual journey as well. I was not comfortable with religion as taught to me; I did not see myself represented accurately in it. While this was, and in many ways still is, a terrifying thing to reckon with, it afforded me the creativity to begin building my own notion of a higher power. I started with the thing that made me the most uncomfortable, the personification of God as male. My female partner, Emma (this is a fictional name), identifies as a Roman Catholic. She grew up in a Roman Catholic home and her mother remains a very active member of the church of her childhood. I expected Emma’s steadfast belief in God to be a source of comfort for me, but instead it made me feel inadequate. Emma’s story of queerness is vastly different from my own. She speaks of knowing from a young age that she was “different” from her friends who were interested in boys and dating while she nursed unexplainable feelings for women in RnB all girl groups. She was born gay. She was also born into a religious family. How was it that these two things coexisted so happily and easily in her life? What was wrong with me that I felt that they were almost violently at odds? Her mother, a staunch Roman Catholic, is also an incredibly loving and accepting woman who swears in Afrikaans and happily recounts her teenage days when she carried sticks and rocks to reign down on boys and young men who gave her their unsolicited affections. If both Emma and her mother, women who are extremely aware of the oppressions borne by race and sexual orientation in a patriarchal and heteronormative world, were able to reconcile Christianity and homosexuality what was wrong with me? What was I missing? One day I felt brave enough to ask Emma’s mother if God indeed was a man, so desperate for her to at least tell me that God had no gender and was referred to as “he” in the bible to make for easier reading and understanding because most human beings were not emotionally and socially intelligent enough to deal with a God who was gender non-conforming. No such luck. She told me that God was most definitely a He because this is how he is consistently named in the bible. If I was not yet convinced she proceeded to point out his name and place as “The Father.” My dreams of an at least genderless God were dashed. I did not have the heart to argue with this wonderful woman who had so effortlessly accepted that her child was gay and had so lovingly accepted me into her family, chastising me like my own mother for not calling and visiting often enough. I remained with my feelings of anxiety but also of longing for acceptance into another spiritual home. Emma and her mother did not manage to answer my questions and ease my anxiety about religion, spirituality, homosexuality, and race, but they did open the door to another avenue; another set of ideas that could possibility answer my queries and house my identity. They reintroduced African spiritualty and traditional healing as alternative avenues for seeking and receiving the answers I was looking for. While my father was not an avid churchgoer, he did subscribe to and openly talk about amadlozi (ancestors) and traditional rituals such as imisebenzi in which a chicken or goat is slaughtered to thank or appease the ancestors. He also ascribed all our dreams to messages from amadlozi and not necessarily from God. As a child, I did not entertain the possibility of a contradiction in what I was taught: The coexistence of amadlozi and Christianity as viable expressions of spirituality. But I sensed an incomprehensible duality happily co-existing in the Emma’s home and family. Emma and her mother often told me stories of an aunt who was able to see and communicate with dead people.

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My favorite story of this aunt was one of a family trip to Kwa-Hlabisa in Kwa-Zulu Natal. As is custom for most families traveling by road to rural parts of the country, they left in the early hours of the morning so they would arrive in Kwa-Hlabisa as early as possible. They traveled in a minibus. A few hours into their journey the minibus broke down. The men in the family got out to inspect the vehicle. Not finding a technical fault they assumed the car had run out of petrol and planned to walk to the nearest petrol station to buy some. Auntie, who shared the same affliction as Cole Sear in the Sixth Sense, calmly told the men that there was nothing wrong with the vehicle and it was these stupid ghosts who were causing trouble. No one believed or paid her any attention. The men left for the petrol station. In the distance from where they had broken down there seemed to be a small village and those left behind in the car could see lights and smoke coming from the distance. Auntie told them that there was no village there, just the same lost souls as the ones who had tampered with the minibus. Again no one paid her any mind. Everyone could see the village and only she could see these so-called ghosts. Eventually the men returned and filled the minibus with the fuel they had purchased. The car still refused to start. Everyone was perplexed as the cold was starting to become unbearable. Auntie eventually got out of the car to plead with her so-called ghosts to allow them to be on their way. She returned and asked the driver to start the car. He obliged; car started and journey resumed. At this point of the story I was gobsmacked and absolutely horrified. This poor woman could see terrifying things like ghosts, but no one believed her. The story, however, was not over. On their way back from Kwa-Hlabisa a day or two later, they passed the same spot where the minibus had broken down. Auntie was right. There was no village in the distance, only a graveyard. This family of Christians had an aunt who could see and talk to the spirits. They, eventually, believed and accepted her gift. This family of Christians held im’sebenzi to appease and thank their ancestors. This family believed there was space for both Christianity and African ancestral beliefs. This gave me the push I needed to begin to think about religion and spirituality as concepts that extended past Christianity or substantially different from it. On 24 January 2017 I started a journal in which I began to speak to my ancestors in the hopes that not only would they hear me through this medium, but also that the writing process itself would help me work through my questions and any residual discomfort. I hoped journaling would help me to understand how God and amadlozi were connected, if at all, and who they were. I hoped journaling would help me to make sense of my dreams and uncover any other spiritual gifts I might have. I had never considered my dreams as a gift until I began having conversations with Emma and her mother about traditional healing. I was interested in finding out what else I have been blessed with but terrified also. I was willing to investigate as long as findings did not include the power to convince spirits to stop tampering with a minibus full of members of my family on a dark winter night, three kilometres from a graveyard anywhere. In addition to journaling to my ancestors I began each of my prayers, whether in the journal or in the shower, with “dear mother up in heaven.” This new practice was for me the epitome of “pushing through the discomfort.” I wondered if both amadlozi wami and the being in the sky were laughing at me for thinking I could reimagine God in my own image, as I was taught in the church. Being creative with my spirituality and indeed the way I envisioned God meant I needed inspiration; a push to allow myself to think thoughts I had not heard uttered from another’s lips. Poetry was my outlet, the place I found outlandish thoughts as peculiar as my own. Around this time, Crystal Valentine’s poem And the News Reporter Said Jesus is White (Blay 2016) inspired me to pursue the depth of my spirituality by questioning dominant assumptions. After reading this poem, I added to my opening prayer line: “Mother who created the heavens and the earth, mothers who inhabit and protect the earth.” 109

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Women are central to my life and identity. When I was younger I had the most wonderful dream. I still remember all the colors and the peacefulness I felt. I dreamed I was in a small boat in the middle of a crystal blue lake surrounded by rolling hills of emerald. In the boat I sat with an old white woman with stark white hair wearing a white gown. In my dream I knew her and she knew me. We were family. When my grandmother fell pregnant in Zimbabwe all those years ago she did not tell Vincent Phillips, the man who impregnated her, that she was with child. He eventually went back to London, where he was from unaware he had fathered a child. The Phillips had no knowledge of us, but in interpreting the dream my father concluded that the woman in it was my paternal great grandmother. Since that dream women have played a big role in my most significant dreams; the ones I have before dawn and the ones that leave me a little bit shaken. In all these dreams, there is always an old woman lurking in the background keeping an eye on me. How am I to believe in a God who is nothing that I am? How am I to believe in a God who says that men are my protectors and providers when everything in both my reality and in my dreams points to love and protection by women? The love and patience it must have taken to create something as complex and as beautiful as the earth, the love and patience it must have required to be a psychologist, magician, an artist, and a poet of the Universe I have imagined could only have come from a woman. I began to truly believe that God was a black woman like me. A chance meeting with Zulu Shaman: Dreams, Prophecies and Mysteries by Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa (2003) confirmed my suspicions. Credo Mutwa is a well-known Sangoma. More accurately he is what is known as a Sanusi, a term that is no longer in use referring to an extremely powerful Sangoma who leads other traditional healers and possesses knowledge and healing powers superior to theirs. In Zulu Shaman, Credo chronicles his journey and reveals what have long been secrets of Zulu cosmology and ancient knowledge. Credo shares these ancient secrets with us to preserve them for this and future generations. The story of creation as told by Credo centers on a woman, the great Goddess of human shape (2003, 35), All knowing, Omniscient Ninhavanhu-Ma or Ma, as she is called in a thousand tongues all over the earth. She is the object of every infant’s first cry when it feels cold or dark, it cries out, like the first spark of consciousness alone in the world – Maaaaa! It is she who, at the command of Unkulunkulu, placed the Heavens in order, the stars and the Sun, and made the Earth firm to stand upon. Under the command of Unkulunkulu God, it was the Goddess, Ninhanamhu-Ma, who created the heavens and the earth. In Zulu cosmology, as told by Credo, there are a number of Gods responsible for sustaining, blessing, and guiding the earth and humanity, including a Sun, Iron, and Water God, all birthed by Ninhanamhu-Ma; all the Gods who were once human and deified at death. Credo affirmed, nourished, and solidified my insistence that my connection to the earth and spirituality was divinely feminine. His words have also affirmed the creativity I have recently ascribed to spirituality and religion. For I too believe that ultimately traditional healers are creators, artists who heal the world through love, understanding, and creativity. Credo speaks of the undeniable connection that all human beings have to the spiritual world, that thing that tells us which route to take home and the feeling we get when we sense we might be in danger. The difference lies in how much attention we pay to our instincts, which Credo says is our intrinsic messaging system from our spirit guides. The 110

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more people nurture their connection to the spiritual world, the stronger its awareness grows. My initial feeling that my spiritual gifts extended beyond my dreams was correct. I take Albertina Sisulu Road to work every morning. I loathe stopping at the big intersection at Eastgate shopping center in Johannesburg. At those traffic lights are boys commonly referred to as nyaope boys, young black men who forcefully wash your car windows, seemingly high on drugs, and then demand your small change for their act of kindness. No matter how hard I plead, nyaope boys do not listen to me when I refuse their window washing advances. They are also unafraid to swear at me when I refuse to part with my change. Emma, my partner, has a more gentle heart than mine and always shares a small something with them. On this particular morning at the intersection she passed me a R5 coin to give to the window washer with filthy hands and gentle eyes. My fingertips touched his palm as I handed him the money and I felt a million shivers up and down my spine, traveling at the back of my legs to my toes. I felt a deep sadness I could not understand. The nyaope boy said, “God bless you sister, you have a beautiful heart” as the traffic light turned green. My heart tensed and anxiety filled my chest. My head buzzed and I became light headed. I didn’t know how but I knew instinctively that I had physically felt and absorbed the energy of the window washer. It took me the whole morning to physically feel normal again. This has since happened on a number of occasions with a number of people, some of whom I do not have to touch to feel affected by. I am fortunate enough to work with a queer woman who has received a calling to become a Sangoma. I asked her to explain this awkward phenomenon. She told me that I have healing in my hands. The energy awareness and feeling is part of the phenomenon. What remains unclear is how these two things will one day work together. I keep going back to Crystal Valentine’s poem about the white reporter who said Jesus was white. I keep going back to Crystal’s own claim of the reporter’s misinformation of a black man appropriated by a white population. I keep coming back to my own identities and the need to find a spiritual home with people who look like me; people who have been through what I have experienced; people who understand the space and context I occupy in the world. A spiritual home governed, headed, and guided by someone who looks like me. Credo, in Zulu Shaman speaks about the need for the human race to put aside earthly ascribed dividers such as race and gender and to genuinely get to know and learn from one another. He believes this is the only way we will overcome oppression and evil in the world. He is, however, not a naïve man and acknowledges the immense strength and intention it would take to reach this goal. Currently the realities of human life are dictating how we engage with the spiritual world and ourselves, as we exist beyond the physical. The issue of identity for myself, and I suspect for many other people, has played a big role in the way I have been able to think about and begin to look for a the spiritual home I have been seeking. I still have a very long way to go, but I have also come a long way in my understanding of spirituality as existing beyond Christian and Western frames of references. I have come a long way in acknowledging my creativity, identity, and also my autonomy as central vehicles for this journey I have embarked on. I went home for Christmas holidays this year. I was at home for a week, sleeping in my childhood bedroom, which besides a host of my mother’s clothes and cosmetics, still looks a lot like it did when I was growing up. On the second night of my stay I had what felt like my most significant dream to date, although it was less like a dream and more like a visit to a spiritual plane. In my visit I met an older woman from my mother’s side of the family. I do not know whom she mothered and vice versa so I cannot call her a grandmother or great grandmother. She told me her name was Nomdika and she was related to my mother. 111

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She was wearing a white headscarf; a white cloth covering her shoulders (very similar to the one the Pope wears), and a white, red and, black sarong as a skirt. These sarongs in traditional healing are called amaHiya and are patterned cloths that represent our bloodlines and also speak to the spiritual gifts we have been given. Nomdika carried with her a brown medicine bag. She told me that like her, I too would become a healer, and that I would heal through prayers and the energy in my hands. It seems all the dreams had been leading me here, to Nomdika and to my path as a healer. My ancestors have been gentle with me. They sent small, bite-sized messages and allowed me to chew on them in my own time. When I need it (which I often do), they send people such as Emma and her mother to engage me in difficult conversations and to house my challenging questions even if they do not have the answers themselves because like religion and spirituality teach us, the answers lie within each of us. The answers lie within me as well as a host of energies and spiritual realms. Within me lie my soul, the women who created me, my ancestors, and guardian angels. Within me and within us all, lie all the answers to questions about the complexities of existence in a physical and spiritual plane. What the procession of my dreams has taught me is that the answers we seek, the “bigger picture” is not something we can receive at one go. The answers come in small puzzle and pieces that eventually fit together to make a whole, but each piece is significant and warrants an answer of its own. Practising feminism as a black, queer woman has allowed me to not only be able to see, but to express creativity in my spiritual life. In the beginning of my journey I felt my spirituality stifled by my black queer identity but the more I allowed myself to question religion and spirituality as I knew it growing up in the church, the more I felt emancipated and braver to ask these questions of others. I have also learned that spirituality, like feminism, is not stagnant and rooted in unchanging narratives and rituals. We change as we grow and so do the ways in which we choose to engage with any higher power. Choice being the operative word here because it is autonomy that is vital in both feminist and spiritual universes. Feminism and spirituality come together to affirm the self, to accept the self for what it is, but also to locate the self within a bigger community of others invested in our betterment, our uplifting, our enlightenment and happiness. Feminism and spirituality understand and locate the sites at which the self is under attack or diseased and show the path to (re)creating solutions that begin to heal the individual and the community. My dreams, my life, and the people I have come into contact along the way have shown me that my feminism and spirituality are two sides of the same coin. They make room for my multiple and ever growing and changing identities to give me the tools to make sense of the universe around me and myself.

References Blay, Zeba. “Powerful Poem Shuts Down the Reporter Who Once Said ‘Jesus Is White’”. Huffpost 27 April 2016. https://bit.ly/2H8aFVC accessed August 2019. Credo Mutwa, Vusamazulu. Zulu Shaman: Dreams, Prophecies, and Mysteries. Editor Stephen Larsen. Rochester: Destiny Books, 2003.

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9 Leaky anuses, loose vaginas, and large penises A hierarchy of sexualized bodies in the Pentecostal imaginary Nathanael Homewood

Introduction My WhatsApp dinged with a message from the prophet I had spent nine months researching in Greater Accra, Ghana. “Prophet Heals Gay Paralyzed Man,” the title heralded. I opened the video knowing that it was probably not exactly as promised. Paralyzed is often a capacious descriptor meaning sick. But it was the descriptor “gay” that captured my attention because of its specificity. This Pentecostal prophet, and others like him, spends a lot of time describing and imagining “gayism.”1 The video was indeed a religious healing, but the act of healing was really just another opportunity for the prophet to imagine gayness. There in the video laid a topless man, who will be called “John,” wearing ill-fitting pants that sagged below his waist revealing an adult diaper underneath. Four pastors and the prophet Emmanuel,2 people familiar to me from my research in this church, rubbed John’s exposed upper body vigorously as he groaned amidst intensive prayers. “Ah-Jesus-hh-release. Oooothe-ooo-spirits. Ahh-Out!-hh-Out!-hh!!!” The deep groans, straining the boundary between pleasure and pain, lingered. The hands continued to rub John’s torso in this and that direction. John squirmed, neither recoiling nor embracing the touch. Prophet Emmanuel then began to pray in earnest. The words punctured the air without the ambiguity that had characterized the earlier moments. “Paralyzed Spirit, Out! Out! Out! I say you are Gay! Gay! Gay! Out!” With the final “Out!” John’s body stopped moving, his groans ceased and everyone stepped back from his now docile body. Then John gently and gradually arose, taking several tentative steps. He feebly waved his hands in front of his chest as he slowly made his way across the floor. The crowd applauded – but not vociferously so, exhibiting perhaps excitement but not surprise. This was exactly how they expected the ritual to play out. And those who had been near enough to see the body, to see the protruding whiteness of the adult diaper, knew that this body was marked for a particular type of release, deliverance from the spirit of gayism. What congregants witnessed here in ritual had often been

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portrayed and imagined from Emmanuel himself: The gay body was sick and in need of healing. But more broadly, the gay body was monstrous, deeply penetrated, leaking, and uncontrollable. The congregation had been inundated with Emmanuel’s projection of penetrated bodies as subhuman, especially those that had been anally penetrated. Building from John’s story, this chapter utilizes ethnographic data from three Pentecostal churches in Greater Accra gathered in 2015 and 2016. I excavate the ways in which sexual components of the anatomy – the penis, vagina, and anus – are prominent parts of the Pentecostal imaginary. Same-sex identities, as Marian Burchardt has demonstrated, “inhabit crucial places in Christian imaginaries.”3 But the Pentecostal imaginary is particularly obsessed with the ways in which various sex acts penetrate the body, and in doing so upset both the social and cosmological order, impacting material and spiritual worlds. This chapter illuminates how female and homosexual bodies are deemed particularly porous through the penetrability of their orifices and subsequently treated as physically and spiritually dangerous. The imagination of them, both queer and female bodies, polices them as vulnerable to intrusion materially and spiritually. The Pentecostal social imaginary thus constructs an obstinate fleshly hierarchy, condemning the supposedly porous homosexual and female bodies to the bottom. These porous bodies are contrasted with the married straight male body, which is imagined as concrete, stable, and impenetrable. The scope of this chapter is limited to the very public Pentecostal constructs and discourses around penetrated bodies primarily in Ghana, admittedly ignoring a variety of factors that contribute to and shape antiqueer animus. While the sources of this homophobia are varied, it is firmly established as a pivotal element within Pentecostalism and must be disrobed within this space. To be clear, as Adriaan van Klinken and Masiiwa Ragies Gunda have reminded us, African theology is “not a monolithic bloc opposed to homosexuality” and includes a variety of voices that resist such sexual taboos.4 But little resistance has emerged from African Pentecostal leaders, who despite their diversity continue to be unified around issues of sexuality, using sexual discipline as a primary form of defining what it means to be human. This article is a departure from the orientation of my previous analysis which explores how Pentecostal rituals enable African queer embodied subjectivities (Homewood 2016). I am hesitant to contribute to the archive of African and religious anti-queer animus so often simplistically reduced to representations of a continent in its entirety as innately homophobic, occluding queer existence and resistance throughout Africa. So, while this article does not excavate the creative forms of queer resistance within African Pentecostalism, it explores homophobia with a similar activist spirit. I take as my example Adriaan van Klinken, who provides some of the most creative analysis at the intersection of religion and sexuality in Africa. Van Klinken has managed to communicate his uncomfortability with and disdain for antiqueer animus while also exploring such discourses for what they reveal.5 In analyzing Pentecostal antiqueer animus at the point of penetration I hope to establish a structure for creatively reading bodies and orifices as simultaneously spiritual and fleshy. In discourse and ritual, Pentecostals sexualize and traffic in bodies, using them as both a hermeneutic and an epistemology to know and interpret identity in this world and beyond.

Pampers as markers, metaphors, and heuristics of penetrability Two weeks after the healing described above, John’s body was reimagined exactly in these terms of penetrability. John returned to Emmanuel’s church to give testimony, a common practice for those who believe they have been miraculously delivered or healed. John 114

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wanted to share the good news. Emmanuel explained, interjecting his own narrative into the testimony of the healed man, that John’s paralysis and attendant illnesses were all caused by his being anally penetrated. A large quantity of sperm that had been deposited in John’s anus had accumulated within his body, mixed with feces, and had begun to destroy all of his internal organs. The young man confirmed that he had indeed taken in large amounts of sperm. Being penetrated, so the imagined narrative went, had brought John to the gateway of death. Only through deliverance or healing can the penetrated body be redeemed. Consider how John’s entire body was remade in the above healing exchange. Prior to deliverance John was the penetrated, an abomination, and nausea-inducing admixture of semen, feces, and blood. His body was problematic because of its penetrability. But in deliverance John’s orifices are redeemed, his body is cleansed, and he is healed. Normatively shaped in relation to that from which he was delivered, John’s entire body is transformed. The penetrable orifices are reimagined; the tighter the sphincter the closer to God. The fleshy boundaries are restored into something more stable. In this way, the Pentecostal imagination is at work deeming certain bodies praiseworthy and others, primarily those that are penetrated, subhuman. There are many ways in which the porous, monstrous, base, and penetrable body is imagined. However, the adult diaper, popularly referred to as pampers, is a common referent for Ghanaian Pentecostals. With pampers, rarely seen but often referenced, the body is literally and metaphorically wrapped in a symbol. The adult diaper is a marker, a metaphor, and a heuristic that is often invoked in these spaces: It is a marker of the gay body, a metaphor of penetrability, and a heuristic for the affect of disgust. “Pampers,” the prophet will declare with antipathy and an unabashed smirk, “they [homosexuals] have to wear pampers.”6 By emphasizing such titillating details, the congregation is invited to gape at the gay body and realize that it is excessively penetrated. They learn to feel horror and disgust at anal sex and, as a result, congregants are taught to despise the gay body, denying homosexual persons their full humanity. For example, Fabbie, a middle-aged gay man, told me how he watched with trepidation and guilt while a prophetess pilloried a 17-year-old. Homosexuality would lead to his wearing diapers, the prophetess warned, suggesting that, through anal sex, his anus would be stretched so far beyond its natural elasticity that it would leak uncontrollably. Though the sexual activities of homosexual individuals vary, the prophetess imagines them as all the same. Sex and penetration are synonymous. The pampers here marked the young man as a bottom, or the partner being penetrated. Without making the delimitation explicit, the problematic sexual position in the Pentecostal imaginary is the bottom, or the penetrated with no aspersions cast toward the penetrator. Things are even more complicated when the prophetess is one’s mother. Solomon’s own mother, a prophetess at a Pentecostal church, told him, “if you practice that [homosexuality] there are going to be a lot of consequences, when you are being penetrated it will be painful how your body is going to react.”7 Solomon went on to describe how detailed and precise – though incorrect – his mother can be in her descriptions. She talks about homosexuality as if she has witnessed gay sex, or has cared for a gay body, as if she has first-hand knowledge of the gay body. The gay body, however, is merely a figment of her imagination. She relies on the now-ubiquitous trope, telling Solomon that his anus is going to bleed so much that he will have to wear pampers. The oozing blood creates a mesmerizing disgust, evoking a visceral emotion around anal penetration. When the blood leaks, the solidity and cohesion of the body is destabilized. In this Pentecostal context, the diaper becomes an embodied metaphor, a physical symbol pointing to a form of penetrability that displaces, challenges, 115

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and questions the primacy of the impenetrable male body in social systems. Pampers are a metaphor for deep, dangerous, grave penetration. Pentecostals imagine the cosmos as brimming with evil spirits waiting to penetrate the body. Such concerns about the porous body and female sexuality as demonically penetrated are at least as old as Protestantism itself.8 There is an intimate connection between this spirited imagination whereby demons lurk hoping to penetrate bodies and the way Pentecostals imagine the sexual body. Many have noted this correlation, perhaps none as effectively as Amy DeRogatis who mined American Evangelical sex manuals for exactly this intersection between sexuality and spirit-filled bodies (2009). The sexual body is “a site of spiritual battle.”9 As such, deep-seated anxieties about sex are also anxieties about spirits, erasing the distinction between these two entities. The American context of DeRogatis’ work is relevant amongst African Pentecostals whose ideas resemble, if not borrow heavily, from these sources. There are continuities and discontinuities between these contexts that are worthy of further exploration but fall outside of the scope of this chapter. The only discontinuity that I wish to emphasize is that in the American evangelical context the supernatural battle over possession of the body is described in sexual terms. The body is “filled with the Holy Spirit or defiled by demonic residents.”10 Amongst Ghanaian Pentecostals sexualization around supernatural penetrability is always evil, while the Holy Spirit overwhelms bodies in non-penetrative ways. More recently, Sophie Bjork-James published an article in American Anthropologist that arrives at markedly similar conclusions as this chapter. Exploring evangelical Christianity in the United States, Bjork-James illuminates the manner in which opposition to LGBT identity is of crucial import to evangelical understandings of the human. Bjork-James argues that the porosity of the body allows for communication with the supernatural – both benevolent and malignant. Again, the ethnographic data presented herein will depart from the last clause, arguing that porosity and penetration amongst Ghanaian Pentecostals is exclusively evil. Nonetheless, as with Pentecostals, American evangelicals learn to interpret their bodily experiences – feelings and sensations – as forms of divine communication. Unsurprisingly, Bjork-James found that bodily openness to the divine is singularly heterosexual and any deviation from heterosexuality closes off the body to divine communication. Sex acts penetrate human fleshy materiality while simultaneously altering spiritual identities.11 This significantly shapes evangelical approaches to sexuality: Sexuality is not a marker of identity but a conduit for the flow of good and evil forces through and between bodies. As such, sexual desires come from outside the individual but with significant consequences for the individual body. Bjork-James writes, Evangelical rejection of LGBT individuals and practices, then, is rooted not simply in prejudice. Instead, a culturally specific notion of personhood and a set of beliefs about how Christian bodies should orient themselves to the divine directly shape opposition to non-heterosexual identities.12 Sex is intimately tied up in how the body is oriented toward the divine and if any identity is determined through sex acts it is one’s spiritual identity.13 Similarly, Tola Olu Pearce argues that Charismatics in West Africa connect the body and sexual desire via outside penetration. Pearce found that Charismatics highly valued the feelings and sensations of the body which are stimulated by sources beyond the flesh. Sexual desire is constructed around this permeability to supernatural forces.14 Also in West Africa, Adewale Adelakun explores the Pentecostal Mountain of Fire and Miracles heavy reliance on sexuality to construct visions of this world and the next. In analyzing a specific sermon 116

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entitled “Dancers at the Gate of Death,” Adelakun recounts the central claim that “access to your body is a sacred thing and once you make it loosed, you lose your destiny as well.”15 Access to the body, in this case, is explicitly through penetration of human sexual organs. In the Ghanaian Pentecostal materials explored herein there is an absolute reliance on the demonization of penetrative sex. While Pentecostals worship God, it is Satan and Satan’s demonic minions who are the most dominant figures, casting a shadow or pall over every pneumatic ritual. Birgit Meyer simply states, “In Accra the Devil is omnipresent.”16 Elsewhere Meyer writes, “I was struck by the fact that these various and competing churches appeared to be united by a common enemy: the Devil. A huge part of the service was focused on his evil manifestations.”17 Satan, along with a whole cosmos made up of demons, witchcraft, sorcery, magic, ancestors, and traditional deities regularly impinge on the religious lives of Ghanaians. These omnipresent demons penetrate bodies through the nine orifices on the human body (eyes, nose, mouth, skin pores, penis/vagina, anus, ears).18 The orifices are not merely points of entry, but through deliverance act as the points of exit as well. Demons enter and exit through the same orifice. If a demon entered through a person’s mouth, then it will exit much the same way in vomit, screaming, coughing etc. If a demon entered through a person’s anus it will exit through the excretion of feces. If a demon entered through the eyes, extreme crying will occur as a means of exit. The most common entry points are sexual. Any and all sex acts that fall outside of heterosexual marriage – including but not limited to homosexuality, adultery, bestiality, or masturbation – act as invitations or legal frameworks for demonic penetration of the body’s sexual organs. Because penetration is so risky for Pentecostals – sexually and spiritually – a significant amount of time is spent imagining the body and its orifices through voyeurism, fantasy, and eroticism. In particular, the Pentecostal penetration problematic inspires great amounts of discourse around sexual organs as orifices – primarily limited to the penis, the vagina, and the anus – with each defined by their relation to penetrability. For Pentecostals penetrability is something to be feared, something dangerous, and something disgusting. Martha Nussbaum captures some of this social reality, writing that, “to males … the idea of non-penetrability is a sacred boundary against stickiness, ooze and death.”19 Nussbaum’s insight into the male-ness of this commitment to non-penetrability holds true, but what Nussbaum is missing that is crucial for understanding anti-queer animus in the Ghanaian context is that this sacred boundary of non-penetrability is the foundation of a sexual and spiritual cosmos. Penetration is an everpresent concern, whether it is by other humans, the always-circulating demons, or both. The Holy Spirit, though, is not imagined with nearly the creativity or iconography of demons. There is no discussion of penetration and the embodied examples of the Holy Spirit possessing bodies present a very different shape to possession. Meyer points this out stating, “The Holy Spirit is a generalized antipode to the differentiated domain of Satan,” adding, “Possession by the Holy Spirit alone is comparatively dull and meaningless. It lacks the appeal of the possibility of articulating forbidden ideas, wishes and desires or to express facets of oneself evoking one’s actual life conditions.”20 This is significant as it correlates penetration with the demonic. As we will see in due course, even when the Holy Spirit is part of a sexual encounter through miraculous pregnancies, the pregnancies are imagined without penetrative sex acts and the fetus merely appears in the womb.

Leaky anuses The Pentecostal embodied hierarchy is made from the bottom up, whereby socially peripheral bodies, monstrous sites of impurity, are “symbolically central.”21 As Ashon Crawley 117

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writes of queer bodies, “It is because queer(ed) folks (pre)occupy the vain imaginations of others that make us central to religious rhetoric;” this chapter takes Crawley’s point seriously, focusing on the gay anus as a central locus of Pentecostal bodily imagination.22 Darko, a prominent prophet, told me a story about how once he was teaching about evil spirits and 20 people came forward struggling with the spirit of gayism. Darko stated, “what they were saying is the thing is so strong even though it [anal intercourse] pains them when they do it, it pains them but they cannot stop.”23 Note the pain that is associated with anal sex; homosexuality is constantly delimited as unnatural, something done against the body. He continued, They are not born with it, it’s a lie, it’s a lie, it’s a lie. So when I explained during the deliverance session it was ugly. Some of them were even wearing pampers. Big men wearing pampers because they are doing it through the anus, that is not the approved place so you will get pampers. And they were telling me that these things, they don’t want to do it but they have been possessed. It is very painful.24 It was repeatedly reported to me in this way – the anus, so enlarged by sexual intercourse, becomes a site of excess. The pampers are a stand in for a penetrated anus unnaturally stretched and uncontrollably leaking bodily fluids. “It was ugly,” claimed Darko, referring to the lack of bodily control. The Pentecostal imagination of gay bodies and sexuality is often baseless and grotesque. I write “gay bodies and sexuality” because, although lesbianism is truly despised in many Pentecostal spaces, there are very few representations of lesbians in Pentecostal discourse, yet the gay body makes appearances often – particularly as it relates to the gay anus as a porous, penetrable orifice. One hypothesis as to why this might be the case is that, as demonstrated throughout this chapter, sex in the Pentecostal imaginary is exclusively penetrative and dependent on the penis and an attendant masculine perception of power. It is difficult to fit lesbian sexuality into this imagination, whereas gay anal penetration easily fits into this imaginary. Almost every prophet I met with either described to me or preached about the porous gay anus. While preaching about homosexuality, pastors and prophets invoked the penetrable, leaky anus in order to intimate disgust and dismiss homosexuals while depicting a gaping orifice rife with demonic possibility. Although the prophet Emmanuel whose deliverance style inaugurated this chapter made his feelings about homosexuality very clear when he shouted at John’s body “you are gay! Gay! Gay! Out!!” I asked him to further elaborate. He stated, According to the Bible, it is against the Lord God. So, if the Lord whom you are serving is against that, you are also against that. The one thing that we experienced apart from what God is saying, with regards to gayism and lesbianism, is that sometimes some gay and lesbian people come and then make confession that they have been in that problem for some years but now they are receiving diseases. One person, some guy, came to Kumasi last two years, he was a gay but all the anus was destroyed so when he feel to go to toilet he will see the thing dropped, received a lot of sickness. The end of it is bad. The end of gay and lesbianism is very bad. So, anything that ends badly is against God because God said I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you!25 According to Emmanuel and his alleged, anecdotal evidence, anal penetration ruins bodies. Theological suggestions permeate Emmanuel’s account of homosexuality as being “against the 118

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Lord God,” as running contrary to a divine heterosexual mandate. God has plans “to prosper” God’s followers, and on the contrary sickness haunts gay and lesbian sex run. In this case, the “bad ending” – a ravaged leaky anus – is demonic. The stark comparison between God’s plans and penetration is noteworthy: God does not penetrate, penetration is demonic. But in his disgust, Emmanuel directs his followers to gaze upon, gape at, and peer into the gay body. The spectralizing of the gay body is not unique in church settings. Nor is the diminishing of the queer body in order to set up a comparison with the stable heteronormative body a novel construction. To take an example from America, Ashon Crawley has analyzed Willie Wilson’s infamous 2005 sermon “You’ve Got A Right To Be Free.” As Crawley succinctly states, “through Wilson’s sermon, it is apparent that the queer(ed) black body is a production of imagination,” a statement consistent with the Ghanaian examples in this chapter.26 In this particularly noxious sermon, Wilson implies that he has some sort of intimate knowledge of the sex between queer persons and such gay sex repulses him. Despite his protestations that he is not homophobic, he describes the unnaturalness of strap-ons, anal lubricating, and penetration. He states, “Your butt ain’t made for that. You got blood vessels and membranes in your behind. And if you put something unnatural in there, it breaks them all up. No wonder your behind is bleeding.”27 All this leads to the pay-off or the punch line, “You can’t make a connection with two screws, it takes a screw and a nut.”28 Consider how Wilson draws the body here. Again, we see an obsession with anality. Yet, it is never just an obsession with the anus but also with the damaged anus ruined by “unnatural” penetration. Wilson mentions the broken-up blood vessels and membranes to visualize penetration as traumatic, grisly, and appalling. The interjection of the bleeding, leaky anus – an interjection that is, by now, a familiar trope of preachers – is superabundant in meaning. Here Crawley makes an important intervention, His mentioning of blood is not casual but points to the terror and trauma of queer(ed) bodies and drives. The image of blood points to leakages and death for when blood is let, one loses life flow. This is a fixation with death and queer(ed) individuals who engage in this bloody sex.29 Leo Bersani (1987) called this “the heterosexual association of anal sex with … selfannihilation.”30 For Pentecostals, the gay body is a site of death via penetration, death and penetration acting as synonyms for the ultimate loss of control over the boundaries of the body by demonic possession. Ghanaian gay men laugh about this association of anal penetration and death and various other misinformed aspects of anality in the Pentecostal imagination. Michael, a gay man, told me that his prophet said, “I’ll end up losing my life and I’ll end up wearing pampers and my anus will be enlarged and I can’t laugh or I’ll end up …” He interrupted his sentence with laughter that seemed to serve two purposes: To avoid, nervously, being too graphic and to laugh off the ridiculous imagery. Still laughing he added, “I hope you understand.”31 But the laughter belies a frustration with the implications and fundamental misunderstanding about homosexual acts and bodies. His prophet dismisses Michael’s body as a site of death, a body incapable of laughing or experiencing happiness. This is one way that Pentecostals condemn homosexuality in their embodied hierarchy. But it also makes Michael’s laughter meaningful, a hearty resistance of his prophet’s denying him laughter and joy. What is this preoccupation for Pentecostals with an overdetermined relationship between penetrability and homosexuality? It is at least in part a theological fear of penetration. 119

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“Gayism” is considered a sin. In the graphic words of a pastor at one of Ghana’s most famous Pentecostal churches spoken to one of my informants, It looks like you are gay and you know if you do fuck asses or they fuck you, you know if you fuck or are being fucked, then it is time for me to tell you that God doesn’t want this, God hates it.32 This particular take uniquely implicates both penetrator and penetrated, whereas most accounts exclusively address the penetrated. Not only does God hate it, but the basic idea consistent across all deliverance services is that non-heteronormative sexualities are actually demons possessing the human body and using it to further a satanic agenda. As my friend Solomon told me, “They believe a normal guy wouldn’t fuck another guy. So, then there must be an additional something that gives you the interest. Because it is unimaginable, it must be spirits.”33 It is interesting that Solomon uses the word “unimaginable” here because as we have seen, Pentecostals actually spend a lot of time imagining gay sex, or at least gay penetrative sex. But people like Razak, a self-identified prophet and gay man, make it absolute: “Homosexuality is a spirit.”34 As such, Razak fears that every time he has sex he is sinning, engaging the depraved elements of the spiritual cosmos through his anus. Razak, though, is undoubtedly establishing that a particular sex act outside of marital heterosexuality is spirited, not some personal identity marker. The penetrating spirits and penises treat the body in the same way and begin to erase any distinction between spiritual and material worlds. Prophet Darko said to me plainly, “the natural way is a penis and a vagina, the unnatural equals gay – unnatural sex can put you in contact with spirits, seriously!” Darko went on to add a description of exactly how spirits access the gay body, “if you lie with a man, the spirit comes through your anus, a lot of deep, deep demons.”35 Evil spirits – or strangers – physically enter, read: Penetrate, the human body and they penetrate deeply. Again, we see a correlation between the theology of imposing spirits and the idea of queer penetration. Material penetrability is indicative of spiritual penetrability: The penetration of gay bodies is used as an analogue to describe the relationship of penetrating evil spirits entering bodies. The only way to defeat such evil spirits is to invoke the command of God as ultimate authority in a ritual known as deliverance. Deliverance expels the evil spirits and in doing so conveys much about what is normative and what is deviant. Through deliverance Pentecostals imagine the homosexual penetrated body and how it can be transformed into the stable heterosexual body. While Crawley draws our attention to Wilson’s nearly pornographic imagination, Adriaan van Klinken cites an African example that is explicitly pornographic.36 Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa – who leads an organization called the Interfaith Rainbow Coalition against Homosexuality – infamously screened gay pornography in his church. His presentation has lived a life of its own on YouTube under the title “Eat da poo-poo.” In the video clip he depicts the sexual practices of gay men as vile and revolting in order to make the argument that such disgusting acts defile society. The presentation, though, fetishizes the excessive, porous, gross gay body. The film fragments that Ssempa showed included fisting and what he calls “anal licking.” In the same way as we have seen with various pastors and prophets in Ghana, Ssempa’s idea of what constitutes homosexual practice is monolithic and not particularly representative of the breadth of homosexual erotic options. Nor does he consider the possibility of such acts in heterosexual relations. Instead, he creates a vision tied to framing homosexuality as penetration of the anus even while it is penetration by the tongue and fist. In fact, he invokes 120

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the fist and the tongue instead of the penis as a technique of disgust and perversity, exoticizing what he believes is disgusting. While there is a visual component to Ssempa’s presentation, it is still largely reliant on the imagination. Brief clips are to be extrapolated upon in one’s own mind. He curates specific pornography to fit with his understanding of gay sex. For example, Ssempa describes anal licking as such: “Where a man’s anus is licked like this … by the other person, like ice cream. And then what happened, even poo poo comes out, and then they eat the poo poo.”37 But it is penetration by the fist that really irks Ssempa. He uses his arm and fist to demonstrate that, “the other thing they do is they have a sexual practice called fisting, where they insert their hand into the other man’s anus. And it is so painful they have to take drugs but they are enjoying it.”38 Again, penetration takes center stage as something reprehensible, painful, and sinful. While screening fisting in his church he screams with moral outrage, “as if that is not enough, he puts the hand in deeper.”39 The further the fist penetrates the more upset Ssempa becomes. What seems to bother Ssempa are these unsanctioned forms of penetration, forms of penetration that problematize the borders of the body with blood, excreta, and fluids. And he attempts to project these border problems onto a specific group of persons, to make monsters out of the non-normative. Returning to Ghana, my informant, Phillip, asked the penetrating and obvious question when he said, “descriptions of homosexuality by my prophetess do not match reality … somebody who is into that act may not end up wearing pampers so why would you say that everyone who does that will end up wearing pampers?”40 The question is an important one. Why do these prophets and prophetesses make these claims that “do not match reality,” claims that are clearly disconnected from the lives of homosexuals? There are multiple possible answers to this question. The first, obvious answer is that they simply do not understand gay sex. A more complicated answer is that along with this fundamental misapprehension of sexual possibilities, these images are vital to how they understand the relationship between spirit and body. The body is porous and spirits utilize its porosity to access the human body. In making penetration the act that accesses the body, Pentecostals are able to demonize all types of penetrative sex and, implicitly or explicitly, construct a hierarchy that privileges some bodies and dismisses others. Relying on tropes of penetrability and porosity allows the prophets and prophetesses to faithfully institute a strict social hierarchy, diminishing penetrated bodies as problematic.

Loose vaginas In Christianity, imagining vaginas has a long history. For example, historically Catholic theology has represented and imagined the Virgin Mary’s vagina as mystically sealed. The ineffable God, somehow, mysteriously entered her body. Anything outside of this ineffable possession was unimaginable; her body was sealed. This perfectly pure female body stands in contrast with all other women whose vaginas are not mystically sealed off, whose vaginas menstruate, and importantly whose vaginas are penetrated. As such, the vagina is always already a site of religious contestation. In Pentecostalism, Mary receives minimal attention. But Pentecostals continue the long history of imagining the vagina as a site of contestation. A closed, sealed vagina with a holy hymen is praiseworthy. For example, the prophet Nikoi proudly declared to the women of his congregation, “every virgin that is here we bless you in a physical and a spiritual sense.”41 That physical sense was not left up to interpretation and was instead described in detail when Nikoi added, “single Ladies! Keep your vagina closed until you have a wedding 121

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ring!”42 He repeated “closed” while imitating doing up his pants zipper despite its anatomical incongruence. “Keep it zipped. Keep it closed! For women especially, sex is your highest covenant!”43 By demonstratively praising the sealed vagina, Nikoi simultaneously dismissed the gaping vagina. Penetrated vaginas are often decried as belonging to prostitutes, a pejorative term levied against any woman who has multiple sexual partners. The porous vagina is seen as a space that spirits are likely to enter. Pointing out the theological parallel to this hoary hierarchy, Darko told me of a woman who had many sexual encounters and was entered vaginally by many spirits. Her breaking of the seal invited death, sickness, and evil into her life. Penetration leads to destruction. The loose vagina is referenced as a way to diminish women as vulnerable and to indicate their inferiority to heterosexual men, who are not penetrated. The fear of the penetrable vagina is not merely some over, determined theological idea, the vagina is also seen as a real, fleshy embodiment of weakness because of its penetrability. In a conversation with Darko I attempted to ascertain why his congregation was made up almost exclusively of women. He returned to the vagina as evidence that women need more guidance and more frequent deliverance from demons: Women are weak and evidence of that weakness is their vaginas which bleed, are soft and penetrated. The implied corollary to these descriptions are obvious, the penis does not bleed, penetrates, and is (sometimes) hard. He continued with many descriptions of vaginas to indicate just how problematic the orifice was. Penetration makes one weak, in Darko’s worldview and thus, the vagina is an orifice that damns women in the social hierarchy. This subordinate social status is not merely standard misogyny but connected to the spiritual vulnerability of the penetrable vagina to demons. There is an exception to the dangerous vagina in Pentecostal discourse: The fruitful womb. Almost without exception, every charismatic church service will include someone being promised that her infecund womb will soon be with child. Immediately this calls to mind the possibility of a redeemed vagina, a penetrated vagina that is not immediately and already associated with demons. And indeed, the vagina penetrated in the act of heterosexual marriage for the purposes of procreation is deemed acceptable. And yet, the redeemed vagina is actually a statement about the penis. What appears to be redeeming is actually a denial of sexual autonomy and thereby concretizes women’s place in the embodied hierarchy. As Prophet Salifu Amoako preached, men are created to serve purposes of God. Women are created to serve purposes of man. The head of the lady is the man. Honor your husband. If you break the order angels will kill you. If you want to be a powerful woman know your level. If you want to be a powerful woman be a servant.44 As has been illustrated in this chapter, the penetrated vagina is used to construct and reinforce gender roles within the Pentecostal church and Ghanaian society at large. However, heterosexual sex acts inside of marriage are rarely imagined in Pentecostal spaces and as such, it would be a mistake to overstate even this limited redemptive possibility. In fact, pregnancy is most often attributed not to penetrative sex but divine intervention. On the same day as a penis-enlarging miracle that will be discussed below, the prophet merely uttered “fruit of the womb” and a crush of women descended upon him. He immediately began pushing on wombs, and bodies began flailing all over the place. This pattern continued until hundreds of women had received his impregnating touch. This is an example of the ubiquitous fetal obsession that dominates Pentecostal rituals in Ghana and 122

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elsewhere. During my field work, every church service I attended included at least one miraculous fetal miracle (Homewood 2018). Fantastic fetuses are supernaturally implanted into wombs and ritually avoid the messy penetrability of the vagina. Women hope that these miraculous interventions will lead to childbirth. Wombs are considered sites of divine visitation and manipulation with fertility and pregnancy being of the Holy Spirit. In various ways, Emmanuel and others touch wombs and promise babies unmediated by sex and instead mediated by the divine. Most famously Emmanuel occasionally stomps on wombs – some appearing already fecund – and shouts a variation of “I am placing a child in the womb now. That is the procedure. That is the instruction from Jesus whether you like it or not.”45 During my field work, Emmanuel repeatedly stomped on a woman’s stomach with the goal of conception. With each stomp, he promised that he was putting a baby in her womb. There is nothing sexualized or penetrative within this performance, the fetus is imagined as being placed in the womb. Importantly, every fetal miracle performance centers on drawing attention to the womb and touching the womb. We will see that this is dramatically different than Emmanuel’s fertility miracles for men in which he touches their genitals. With women, the emphasis on the non-genital space of the womb de-emphasizes the sexualization and penetration that play such a central and foundational role in other Pentecostal rituals. Interestingly, during another deliverance I watched that required vaginal touching, the prophet was far more scared to do so. Instead, he kicked the vagina. That the prophet is far more comfortable touching penises than vaginas is interesting for a plethora of reasons that are entirely unsurprising. There are obvious gendered implications, the total lack of attention to the particulars of female sexuality indicates a strict structure concerning the hierarchy of sexual pleasure – only male sexual pleasure truly matters. The comfort of the prophet with penis petting also caries symbolic weight with the primacy it provides the penis in a pneumatic worldview that spins around ideas of penetration, passivity, and virility. The phallus operates as an important symbol of penetration over and against the other parts of the anatomy that have been roundly dismissed by the Pentecostals throughout this chapter. Alternatively, the vagina is to be ignored or treated as demonically penetrated.

Large penises Differently than all we have seen before – where the body has been disparaged as penetrable and problematic – heterosexual penises are imagined much more robustly. We return to the prophet Emmanuel who occasionally openly massages the penises of male congregants plagued with anxiety about their erectile capabilities or the size of their penis. One Wednesday he looked out over the congregation and said, If you do not like the looks of any part of your body, come to me, what do you want that I cannot offer? If you have a small manhood, I can change it when I come to the spiritual realm46 Ignoring the innuendo, this statement imagines the divinely enhanced penis in a particular way: As big, strong, and divine. Another week, wearing a strawberry red suit and his thick-rimmed glasses, the prophet peered out over the congregation and pivoted to issues of impotence. This must be healed via deliverance. The penis must be made potent and strong. In many ways, this mirrors other informants who told me that their experience of a soft, bloodless “manhood” was changed 123

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through deliverance turning into a strong blood-filled-and-flowing penis. Emmanuel paced the front of the church. Sometimes the prophet is quite talkative providing elaborate stories of spirits and their impact on human lives and bodies. But he seemed tired on this day, and since he had already derided impotence and flaccidness – again illustrating a rather phallic/patriarchal imagination – perhaps he saw no need to waste many words. “Men” he said. “Men,” he repeated, calling them to the front of the church. There was a low rumble of men chatting throughout the crowd. The prophet took the mumbling as encouragement, a small smile crept across his face. He then forewarned everyone – both by explaining and acting out – exactly how he would perform this deliverance. He took his right hand, cupped it and thrust it forward. He held his hand still at midriff height for a moment and then retracted his arm. He repeated this action a few times as if he were sliding horizontally down a line of men of various heights, adjusting his touch to their height. Well aware of how deliverance would proceed, a large group of at least 75 men moved forward toward the prophet. He immediately started enacting on their genitals exactly what he had acted out. Each of the men, all of the penises, were touched individually and deliberately with the prophet’s hand over their pants. As he touched each one, Emmanuel made sure his touch was not merely fleeting but held his cupped hand around their penises for a moment before moving on to the next person. As he held their penises he would utter the name, “Jesus.” The reactions of each man varied greatly to the prophet’s touch. Some men clearly found the whole enterprise funny, trying to hide their guffaws in their shirts while others could not help sharing a giggling glance with their friends. Others recoiled at Emmanuel’s touch, some had a small bodily reaction, while others were steadfast and unmoving as he grabbed their genitals. Still others, desperate for deliverance, pushed their groins out toward the prophet as if pleading with their penises. A couple of men who looked particularly tortured pulled their shirts up to ensure that the prophet grabbed the correct spot on their body. I will “make strong your manhood” Emmanuel yelled as he continued to grab genitals. Then he took a quick break from penis touching and held up his arm as rigidly as he could with a closed fist to represent the strong penis. Another week, Emmanuel called a middle-aged man forward from the crowd. He started by prophesying, “the Lord tells me that things are not right with you, so I should pray for you … He says you’ve been having heartaches and erectile dysfunction as we speak.”47 As is sometimes the case with prophecy, Emmanuel looked for immediate confirmation. “Confirm that about your manhood first, before I continue,” he demanded. The man replied with a simple, “it is true.” The crowd exploded with cheers at the prophet’s mastery and accuracy. The man remained standing stoically, showing no reaction to the unfolding drama. “For how long,” the prophet continued, “have you been impotent?” The man, in a soft but placid voice, responded, “it has been a year now.” The man’s flaccid penis remained the focus, but the prophet was offering a solution: “He [God] says you have lost erections completely. God wants me to help you on it … I stretch my hand to relieve you of all your problems.” Emmanuel started by touching the man’s shoulder, slide his hand down to the hips and then held his penis, hand cupped underneath, and pushed his genitals up into his body. That was all it took, “it is done,” Emmanuel promised. The man went and took his seat. The penis here is imagined as redeemable, solid, and erect to God’s glory. This particular imagining of the penis is interesting in that it appears that the prophet is primarily concerned with the man’s inability to become erect, with no real comment about fertility. Further, while the penis is imagined there are no comments about what the penis does or the sex acts it engages in, it is inserted primarily as a symbol. Finally, the language around this penis and its inadequacies is not the language of demonization but of “heartbreak.” Repeatedly, 124

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Pentecostals expend considerable resources to articulate male heterosexual organs as disparate from the dangerous penetrable sexual organs belonging to women and homosexuals. The prophets want the penis to stand (literally) as the axiomatic symbol in this imaginary and in the ultimate position in their hierarchy of bodies. By asserting men’s impenetrability as physically and spiritually potent, penetrated bodies become objects of affective disgust, monstrous creations of a patriarchal and Pentecostal imaginary. To be anything other than a straight male in this hierarchy, a hierarchy grounded in erotic experiences as simultaneously corporeal and spiritual, is to be subject to objectification, humiliation, disgust, and ridicule.

An unhappy ending The body in all of its sensuality is “situated at the center of the production and consumption of religion.”48 And so how bodies are imagined – both in ritual and discourse – creates meaning. Religion therefore produces “bodies” and a hierarchy for these bodies through a sort of erotic or sexualized imagination. This fact should be abundantly clear based on the data presented herein, where the body is penetrated in multiple ways – materially and spiritually – through its sexual organs. And this penetration leads to death; an unhappy ending. Leo Bersani critiques the heteronormative imagination as expecting that “women and gay men spread their legs with an unquenchable appetite for destruction.”49 This is in many ways a summation of the Pentecostal imagination when it comes to orifices. The gay anus and loose vagina are constructed as insatiable in their desire to be penetrated and “unnatural” penetration is perhaps the greatest evil. Penetration leads to death in a physical sense – for example, all the hoary statements about the penetrated anus leading to disease and death by various prophets – and in a spiritual sense – separation from God and possession by demons. Therefore, those who are penetrated are but a disposable constituency worthy of revulsion and loathing as opposed to the self-contained construct of the penis/straight-male-body. While sexuality as constitutive of subjectivity is often dismissed as decidedly Western – and indeed, many theorists who set sexuality as foundational have been Western-centric – the case of Ghanaian Pentecostalism illustrates that sexuality is foundational in the African context but inflected differently. Sexuality is foundational in this context not because it establishes a sexual identity, but because it opens up the body to the wider cosmos and is primarily, if not solely, determinate of one’s spiritual identity. This is not an overstatement, as despite Pentecostal refutations that all sins are equally bad, only sexuality – and specifically unnatural penetration – is treated with this level of fear and reverence. For Ghanaian Pentecostals, the intimate connections between sexual penetration and demonic penetration challenge simplistic renderings of their antiqueer animus. One cannot begin to dismantle their heteropatriarchal hierarchy without consideration of its spirited nature. But, the spirited nature of this hierarchy may also contain the possibility of resistance. In their article, “Ancestors, Embodiment, and Sexual Desire,” Adriaan van Klinken and Kwame Edwin Otu state that, The moment when the self qua body are brought into the intimate vicinity of the sacred is instructive in that it denudes the fictions inherent in dualist conceptions about body and spirit, male and female, vernacular and universal, heterosexual and homosexual desires.50 Indeed, the manner in which the Pentecostal hierarchical system around penetration erases the distinction between body and spirit offers the possibility of erasing other binary oppositions. Stella Nyanzi has offered that African queerness should start with its spirited cosmos 125

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where ancestors, spirits, and demons capable of possessing human bodies are defined by various fluid gender identities and proclivities for varied transgressive sex acts.51 While this chapter has exclusively focused on the idea of porosity, gender-bending and sexually promiscuous spirits certainly open up additional interpretive possibilities and opportunities for resistance. The Pentecostal hierarchy of penetrable/impenetrable sexual organs is not merely imagined but has real world implications most often manifest in the political arena. In many places, Ghana included, the moral imagination around porosity and penetration translates into an explicit politics of penetration. Citing Christianity, politicians deride homosexuality and support sodomy laws inherited from Ghana’s former colonizer, Britain, which forbid “unnatural carnal knowledge.” Unnatural carnal knowledge, despite its colonial origins, is a poignant descriptor of Ghanaian Pentecostal approaches to sexuality for carnal knowledge is not only natural (read: Fleshy) but supernatural (read: Demonic). The standard definition of unnatural carnal knowledge is “the least degree of penetration” in an unnatural manner. As one politician stated and was repeated to me by an informant, “respect, that as for Africans, we say a man is not going to put his sexual organ into a man’s back, and that is Africa for us.”52 Fear of penetration and its ability to undo the human flows throughout Ghana in religious, political, and legal frameworks. In particular, panic around the penetrated anus extends beyond the church walls and damns homosexuals to a whole set of social difficulties. The hierarchy of bodies in Pentecostal spaces – a hierarchy largely predicated on a sexualized and demonized view of the human anatomy – constructs a broad social reality that enacts and celebrates inequality.

Notes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

The common term used for male homosexuality in Ghanaian Pentecostal churches. The names throughout this chapter have been substituted with pseudonyms. Burchardt, “Equals before the Law?,” 256 Gunda and Van Klinken, “Taking Up”, 134. Van Klinken, “Gay rights,” 521. In conversation with author, March 2015. In conversation with author, April 2015. DeRogatis, “Born Again,” 278. DeRogatis, 277. DeRogatis, 280. Bjork, “Porous Body,” 650. Bjork, 648. Bjork, 655. Pearce, “Reconstructing Sexuality,” 353. Adelakun, “Understanding Sexuality,” 2. Meyer, “Delivered from the Powers,” 236. Meyer, Translating the Devil, xvii. Depending on whom you talk to the number is either nine (counting each individual orifice) or seven (counting the eyes and ears as one each). Nussbaum, From Disgust to Humanity, 16. Meyer, “Magic, Mermaids and Modernity,” 63. Crawley, “Circum-Religious Performance,” 204. Crawley, 203. To be clear, this chapter does not assume that all men who have sex with men are gay. But in the Pentecostal imaginary that is undoubtedly the case. In conversation with author, March 2015. In conversation with author, March 2015. Interview with author, June 2015. Crawley, “Circum-Religious Performance,” 222.

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27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

Crawley, 219. Crawley, 219. Crawley, 222. Bersani and Crimp, “Is the Rectum a Grave,” 222. Interview with author, May 2015. Interview with author, May 2015. Interview with author, June 2015. Interview with author, June 2015. Interview with author, March 2015. van Klinken and Zebracki, “Porn in Church: Moral Geographies of Homosexuality in Uganda.” www.youtube.com/results?search_query=eat+da+poo+poo www.youtube.com/results?search_query=eat+da+poo+poo www.youtube.com/results?search_query=eat+da+poo+poo Interview with author, May 2015. Service attended by author, May 2015. Service attended by author, May 2015. Service attended by author, May 2015. Service attended by author, January 2015. The most controversial of these events is expanded upon in Homewood, “Fantastic Fetus.” Service attended by author, March 2015. Service attended by author, April 2015. Chidester, Authentic Fakes, 25. Bersani and Crimp, “Is the Rectum a Grave,” 211. Otu and Van Klinken, “Ancestors, Embodiment, and Sexual Desire,” 82. Nyanzi, “Queering,” 65-67. Interview with author, June 2015.

References Adelakun, Adewale. “Understanding Sexuality from the Security Gospel Perspective: Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries as a Case Study.” HTS Theological Studies, Vol. 73, no. 3, (2017): 1–6. Bersani, Leo. “Is the Rectum a Grave?” AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism, Vol. 43, (1987): 197–222. Bjork-James, Sophie. “Training the Porous Body: Evangelicals and the Ex-Gay Movement.” American Anthropologist, Vol. 120, no. 4, (2018): 647–658. Burchardt, Marian. “Equals before the Law? Public Religion and Queer Activism in the Age of Judicial Politics in South Africa.” Journal of Religion in Africa, Vol. 43, (2013): 237–260. Chidester, David. Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Crawley, Ashon. “Circum-Religious Performance: Queer(ed) Black Bodies and the Black Church.” Theology and Sexuality, Vol. 14, no. 2, (2008): 201–222. DeRogatis, Amy. “Born Again Is a Sexual Term: Demons, STDs, and God’s Healing Sperm.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 77, no. 2, (2009): 275–302. Gunda, Msiiwa Ragies and Adriaan van Klinken. “Taking Up the Cudgels Against Gay Rights? Trends and Trajectories in African Christian Theologies on Homosexuality.” Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 59, (2012): 114–138. Homewood, Nathanael. “‘I Was on Fire’: The Challenge of Counter-intimacies within Zimbabwean Christianity.” In Public Religion and the Politics of Homosexuality in Africa, edited by Adriaan van Klinken and Ezra Chitando, 243–259. New York: Routledge, 2016. Homewood, Nathanael. “The Fantastic Fetus: The Fetus as a Super-Citizen in Ghanaian Pentecostalism.” Citizenship Studies Journal, Vol. 22, no. 6, (2018): 618–632. Meyer, Brigit. “‘Delivered from the Powers of Darkness’: Confessions of Satanic Riches in Christian Ghana.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 65, no. 2 (1995a): 236–255. Meyer, Brigit. “Magic, Mermaids and Modernity: The Attraction of Pentecostalism in Africa.” Etnofoor, Vol. 8, no. 2, (1995b): 47–67. Meyer, Brigit. Translating the Devil: Religion and Modernity Among the Ewe in Ghana. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, 1999.

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Nussbaum, Martha. From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2010. Nyanzi, Stella. “Queering Queer Africa.” In Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities, edited by Zethu Matabeni, 61–67. Athlone: Modjaji Books, 2014. Pearce, Tola Olu. “Reconstructing Sexuality in the Shadow of Neoliberal Globalization: Investigating the Approach of Charismatic Churches in Southwestern Nigeria.” Journal of Religion in Africa, Vol. 42, (2012): 345–368. Van Klinken, Adriaan. “Gay rights, the Devil and the End Times: Public Religion and the Enchantment of the Homosexuality Debate in Zambia.” Religion, Vol. 43, no. 4, (2013): 519–540. Van Klinken, Adriaan. “Porn in Church: Moral Geographies of Homosexuality in Uganda.” Porn Studies, Vol. 3, no. 1, (2016): 89–92. Van Klinken, Adriaan and Kwame Edwin Otu. “Ancestors, Embodiment and Sexual Desire: Wild Religion and the Body in the Story of a South African Lesbian Sangoma.” Body and Religion, Vol. 11, (2017): 70–87.

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10 Moral agency and the paradox of positionality Disruptive bodies and queer resistance in Senegalese women’s soccer Beth D. Packer

Introduction Bintu walked back inside the locker room, her face dripping with water, prayer beads in hand. Bintu saw me out of the corner of her eye, in a deep raspy voice she said “naka mu, lou bess?” (“what’s up man, what’s new?”), simultaneously removing her white prayer robe to reveal a black oversize Bob Marley t-shirt, a silver pendant in the shape of Africa, faded ripped skinny jeans that she wore low on her hip which showed off her dark blue tightfitting boxer underwear. Once she removed her prayer robe, she laid it neatly into a bundle and placed it, as well as the prayer beads, in her dusty black athletic bag which lay on the floor. From the same bag, she picked up a purple baseball cap and placed it on her shaved head sideways so that it looked as if it was floating just a little to the left, squared her shoulders, puffed up her chest and began to strut slowly but purposefully over toward me. She explained that we needed to go back to her house to get the food her sister had already prepared for the pre-game meal. I agreed to accompany her to a nearby neighborhood. Outside the stadium walls, Bintu walked nonchalantly, her lips firmly pursed, dragging her feet on the weathered and cracked concrete, she minimized the movement in her hips, squaring her muscular shoulders, taking up space on the sidewalk, swaggering and swinging her arms loosely at her side. Three fashionably dressed adolescent girls walked daintily towards us, lightly treading the ground with their ballerina flats, the taller two locking arms and giggling together. As they got closer it became clear that they were not going to make room for us to pass on the sidewalk. The one with the wig looked directly at Bintu, cocking her head to one side, raising an eyebrow and scrunching her nose she said to Bintu in Wolof “why are you looking at me? Stop looking at me! You are a goor [a man] stop looking at me you jigéen-goor [literally womanman but in urban street vernacular it means lesbian].” Every muscle on Bintu’s body seemed to tighten with these words, she clenched her jaw and fists, straightened her shoulders, and puffed up her chest. As they walked away we could hear them laughing about how ugly Bintu the 129

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“goor” is. Saddened, I looked over at Bintu and asked her if she was okay. She straightened her back and smiled, exclaiming, “What? Of course I am okay. I am a footballeuse. It is normal that they say this. You should know that by now Beth.” Then shaking her head she said, “sheeeshh, it’s hard, it is very hard being a footballeuse. You know this. But it makes us strong, so strong. It hurts, it really hurts, but this is good for us.” Then placing her hands together and pointing up to the sky she said “des na ci yalla” (“everything depends on God”). Bintu is a Senegalese footballeuse – a woman who publicly identifies as female soccer player both on and off the soccer field. As illustrated above, being a footballeuse is an embodied performance that publicly blurs the lines between masculinity and femininity. In urban Senegal, the term footballeuse denotes more than just the feminization of the term footballeur, or soccer player (Packer 2017). It symbolizes the intentional representation of a socially undesirable feminine masculinity, which disrupts how power operates through gender hierarchies in Senegal. The public response to this violation of gender norms is to mark these women as “moral deviants,” thereby revoking their claim as full members in the moral community. Consequently, the footballeuses are often exposed to physical abuse, social ostracism, and structural violence. Despite the emotional and sometimes physical suffering they experience because of their stigmatization, the footballeuses publically adopt the discrediting attributes attached to women’s soccer, rather than downplaying or apologizing for them. When questioned about the hardship she endures as a footballeuses, Bintu explained how it makes her feel stronger and she categorizes it as a positive experience. In this chapter, I explore the lived experience of Senegalese women’s soccer as a site of transformative politics, at the intersection of queer resistance and progressive Sufi piety (Mills 2011). Drawing on ethnographic data collected over three years, I argue that Senegalese women who voluntarily adopt the stigma footballeuse in public, experience suffering as a positive force through which they paradoxically resist oppressive gender norms and fashion themselves as ethical subjects in relation to a Senegalese Muslim ethos and global sport ethos. I demonstrate how this attitude toward the footballeuse stigma is shaped dialectically through their sensorial experience of enduring pain on the field and embodied engagement with moral discourses of selftransformation in Sufi Islam and sport. I suggest that these women find freedom as ethical Muslim subjects by embracing their stigma as gender non-conforming subjects. In the first part of this chapter I describe how the footballeuses make sense of their physical suffering on the field through moral discourses of self-formation and suffering in sport and Islam. Then, I show how they apply this framework in the context of their everyday lives. Finally, I argue that Senegalese women’s soccer is a site of transformative resistance where new gendered subjectivities and Muslim spatialities become possible and emerge.

Context In Senegal, women’s sports such as basketball, handball, and judo are highly celebrated. For several years, women’s basketball was the third most watched sport in Dakar (Saavedra 2006). These sports flourish because they have evolved within a normative framework of femininity (Packer 2017). The media portray women who play such sports as expressing an alternative, but socially desirable femininity. Women’s soccer by contrast – when it is even covered – is portrayed as a lesser version of the masculine sport or referenced against the current perceived homosexual “problem” or the ugliness of the women players’ masculine appearance. Similar to many West African nations, Senegal has experienced a rise in homophobia in recent years. Today, popular, religious, and state discourses frame homosexuality as an exterior threat to the moral fabric of Senegalese society. These discourses view the 130

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existence or increased visibility of homosexuality in Senegal as a product of the Western corruption of society, and denounce human rights discourses that normalize it as part of an imperialist project. Not only is being openly homosexual in most Senegalese circles social suicide, even casual interaction with openly homosexual individuals can result in social ostracism and community sanctions because it is against the law. The participants in this study identify predominantly as Muslim (three Christians) and range from the ages of 17 to 40. They are most often from working class neighborhoods (classe populaire) in and around the urban areas of Dakar, Saint Louis, or Thiès. Of the 60 women that I spent significant time with during this project, roughly 20% have an education of tenth grade or higher. All but four are unmarried and most identify publicly as single. Three of the married women have children, but do not live with their husbands. Even if none of these women publicly identify as lesbians, they are stigmatized as such for their gender-bending style and behavior, which is perceived as a sign of homosexuality in popular culture and public opinion. Thus, despite the fact that the footballeuses never openly claim to engage in homosexual practices, women who play soccer carry the stigma of lesbian, which contaminates their social identity and jeopardizes their political-legal status.

Methodology My first glimpse into the world of Senegalese women’s soccer was while living and working in Dakar from 2008–2009. A long-time soccer player myself, I initially was looking for pick up games with women on the beach or at a local neighborhood field. I soon learned that women’s soccer is a highly stigmatized practice, which not only made it difficult to get in touch with other players but also to gather information about the women who do play. Since 2012, I have been conducting ethnographic fieldwork playing soccer with several women’s teams and maintaining regular contact with many of these women, whom I now call friends. I was based full time in Senegal for nine months in 2013, four months in 2014, and two months in 2016 spending most of my time between Dakar and Saint Louis playing soccer, traveling with teams to games, and spending most of my free time with the women in their homes and during neighborhood activities and events. I also conducted in-depth unstructured interviews with diverse social and political actors in Senegal. My prior experience as a female soccer player was essential for gaining the trust of the footballeuses through my time with them on the field, first as a player, then as a researcher. Several footballeuses were explicit in that they were only willing to openly share their experience with me because they trusted me as one of them, knowing that I had developed an acute understanding of the effects of this stigma on their lives. I have taken great care to protect the identities of those involved in my research by changing the names and any descriptive information that could link these women to my study. Equally important to their protection, though I do discuss the important role that sexuality plays in their stigmatization, I have made an ethical decision to not discuss the sexual preferences of the female soccer players in my study. Although the Senegalese footballeuses openly transgress the gender binary, none of them identify publically as lesbians. Associating these women explicitly with homosexuality could place them in immediate danger.

Theoretical framework In this chapter I use women’s soccer as a lens to engage with scholarly debates about the politics of gender and sexuality in the contemporary Muslim world. My research builds on the work of transnational and postcolonial feminist scholars such as Saba Mahmood (2004), Lila Abu-Lughod (2006), 131

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and Erin Augis (2013) who argue that Western secular understandings of the self cannot account for the complex relationship between religion, agency, and politics in many Muslim majority contexts. Mahmood (2004) and Augis (2013) view piety in terms of what Mahmood describes as the cultivation of an ethical self, that is both “predicated upon, and transformative of, many aspects of social life” (2004, 4). Piety in this sense extends beyond the spiritual realm and references both personal spiritual practice and public demonstration of devotion to a “higher” moral code. It is this public aspect of piety that guides my research, the outward demonstration of an ethical self. I join queer and transnational feminist scholars Paola Bacchetta (2009) and Ayo Coly (2015) who push back against the claims that queer subjectivity and modes of power are extrinsic to postcolonial Muslim and African contexts. I argue that the soccer players in my study challenge male domination and heteronormativity through a mode of queer resistance which Broad describes as, “gender transgression, asserting sexual fluidity and enacting in your face presentations of a stigmatized self” (2001, 187), exposing the “imitative structure of gender itself” (Butler 1990, 175). I show that they do so by forming an embodied relationship to a particular Senegalese Muslim ethical framework, fashioning themselves both as queer and pious Muslim subjects. My ethnographic and theoretical approach to the politics of Senegalese women’s soccer is inspired by what British sociologist Nick Crossley (1995) and French sociologist Loïc Wacquant (2006) have termed the “carnal sociology of the body.” This is to say that I am interested in exploring the “active role of the body in social life” (Crossley 1995, 43), which entails investigating the body as both object and subject, or in Crossley’s words “what is done to the body” (1995, 43) and “what the body does.” Crossley argues that too often the body is treated in anthropology and sociology as separate and distinct from the “self,” “society,” or “symbolic order” (1995, 43). He suggests that by integrating a carnal sociological approach to the study of the body, we avoid such dualisms by exploring meaning making as the interaction of the body with the outside world. It is this carnal approach to the sociology of the body that informs French sociologist Loïc Wacquant’s method of enactive ethnography – “the brand of immersive fieldwork based on ‘performing the phenomenon’”(Wacquant 2015, 2). For Wacquant this is sociology “not of the body as sociocultural object, but from the body as fount of social intelligence and sociological acumen” (2015, 5). Although Wacquant’s brand of carnal sociology draws more on the Bourdieusien concept of habitus than Crossley’s engagement with the phenomenology of Merleau Ponty, which underlines the sentient experience of social embodiment (Beauchez 2014, 23), both authors argue for an approach that explores the social world from within and from the body. To date, the most compelling application of this theoretical approach and mode of inquiry can be found in the work of French sociologist Jerome Beauchez (2010, 2014). Like Wacquant, Beauchez studies boxing within a marginalized population, conducting fieldwork in poor immigrant working class neighborhoods of France. Whereas Wacquant paints a convincing picture of how boxing provides protection from the violence of the streets of marginalized inner-city Chicago, he frames the moral-sensorial universe of boxing as distinct from these streets, in part, according to Beauchez, because of his lack of theoretical attention to the body as subject. Beauchez alternatively explores how boxers make sense of their fights both inside and outside of the gym through their bodies, connecting their moral sensorial experience of social domination with that of boxing. From this perspective, Beauchez explores how the physical training of the boxers in resisting violence or “hits” is informed by and informs the symbolic violence they experience outside of the ring. He argues that through the bodywork of boxing, the men and women in his study resist both physically and symbolically racial and class oppression. As Beauchez contends, analysis of the sensorial experience of boxing could only come from inside the ring where he could feel for himself the social experience of learning to take and give 132

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a hit. This is precisely how I approached the analysis of meaning making in Senegalese women’s soccer. There are limits to this approach, namely that the ethnographer is rarely coming to the “ring” or in my case the “field” from the same positionality and exposure to violence as those in the study. Therefore I can never truly share in the same corporeal process of meaning making, but I can perform and feel what the sporting body is doing. My experience of actually training and playing as a team member with three women’s teams in Senegal provided an entry to the social world from the body. Such an intimate understanding of the body as subject, which in my study meant taking part in the shared experience of enduring physical suffering on the field, guided my exploration of how these women make sense of the cultural, social, and political forces acting on their bodies off the field through the body work involved with soccer.

Findings Becoming a better player through suffering It was late afternoon and my first day training with the Tigers at the neighborhood sandlot. I was sitting on the ground under the shade of a tree next to a group of players who were chatting about the results of last week’s championship league game and complaining about the heat as they pulled up their socks and laced up their cleats. I looked around. Out of the 15 women on the team, none were wearing shin guards. Wanting desperately to fit in, I hesitated a moment before finally deciding to pull out my own shin guards. Even if the other women weren’t wearing them, I was highly conscious of the senseless pain that I would be inflicting on myself voluntarily if I played without them, especially at this level. As I started to put my shin guard on my right leg, one of the older players Awa, turned toward me and clapping her hands she let out a deep raspy cackle under her breath saying, “Oohhhh. Nice shin guards. They are soo beautiful. Are you afraid of hurting yourself? Me, I don’t like to wear shin guards, it embarrasses me, because I am strong enough not to.” She said it very loud so that the entire team could hear. To her left stood Bintu, well known for her quick feet and tough attitude. She wore her hair in a Mohawk and clacked her purple tongue ring against her teeth. She stood up, loosely shook out her legs, one-by-one kicking sand up in my face, looked directly at me then nodded toward the others, rolling her eyes, and scowling she said in a very deep voice: “Pffff … Toubab [foreigner]. Here we are strong. Life is hard. Leave your shin guards.” I realized in this moment that the lack of protection on their shins during training sessions is a choice. Because it is incredibly easy to suffer serious injuries such as tibia fractures or severe bruising, shin guards are the only protective equipment required by the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) during official matches organized by their national subsidiaries. Since every woman on the field was a member of a FIFA-affiliated amateur team, I knew that they each owned a pair of shin guards. Such an injury can result in several weeks on the bench or even months of reduced mobility in their daily lives. I wondered why, if the risk of tibia injuries can be easily avoided or minimized by wearing shin guards, the women would opt to play without protection during practice.

Learning moral codes of football through the body I soon discovered that exposing their shins to intense pain was an active component of training their bodies and minds to endure suffering, which is part and parcel of becoming a footballeuse. As Bintu once told me “you either learn to take the pain, or you get off the field.” In this context, local iterations of hegemonic forms of masculinity are valued – mental 133

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toughness, aggressiveness, and physical resistance to pain – are idealized qualities, which are rewarded on the field. Those who decide to play with shin guards, or back off from physical contact are ridiculed and treated like “babies” or “girly-girls,” relegated to the bench by coaches or intimidated off the field by fellow players. The women who can take a hit are rewarded for their physical toughness with starting positions and team leadership roles by coaches. Their teammates admire, idolize, and imitate those who exhibit the most “grit” and call them “stars” or give them nicknames of famous successful male players. And so, daily they run and perform strength training exercises until their muscles ache and they can barely walk. They slide tackle and take hits to the shins, chests, head, nose, and ribs until they are bruised and bloodied. They break bones and tear muscles and tendons and get right back to the field as soon as they can. They bump, push, elbow, and kick their opponent to trap the ball. All the while they continue to play. Nothing can stop them. The women interpret this as the embodiment of mental strength. The players develop bumps and bruises that mark their legs like war scars and talk about their injuries as proof of their mental toughness which they wear like badges of moral courage in the aftermath of war. After several months of playing with the team, I started to develop the same dents and bruises on my legs. One day after a particularly hard kick to the shins, I fell to the ground in agony, grabbing my shin. Awa, the player who had kicked me along with a few other women came over and pointed out that my shin now had dents in it like theirs. Awa exclaimed excitedly, “see now you are one of us, look at your leg,” pointing at me while I was still on the ground and laughing “you have the leg of a footballeuse.” She reached down to rub my leg and said “massa massa [it will be okay], pain is good Beth. Pain makes you strong inside. You cannot succeed without suffering.”

The ethics of suffering in sport This ethos of “no pain, no gain” which glorifies the physical sensation of pain and its corresponding emotional experience of suffering as a means to success and personal transformation is well documented in sports research around the world (Howe 2004; Monaghan 2001). Within the cultural space of sport, the ability to endure pain is not only expected but highly valued as producing the “good” sporting subject (Knobe 2013; Young 1993). From this perspective, tolerance of pain on the field is a vehicle for self-improvement not only in the physical realm, but also the symbolic (Wacquant 2006). Withstanding or resisting pain emerges as the desired moral code for athletes, especially in endurance or contact sports. Juha Heikkala notes that “the athlete is not born with the desire to sweat and feel muscular pain, he will mold himself to possess this desire” (Bale 2006, 63). As the women fashion themselves to these moral codes, their bodies become sculpted, muscular, hard, bruised, bloodied, and capable of withstanding repeated impact, and they experience a corresponding emotional change, noting that they feel resilient, pure, and strong. Many expressed to me that their hard work and moral discipline could be seen on their bodies. Stripped layer by layer of excess materiality, exposed to the repeated elements of the game, soccer training for them becomes a morally purifying process. To these women, in fashioning themselves to conform to the ethics of suffering in sport, pain is experienced as a positive force that makes them worthier of their success and their corresponding suffering as the physical manifestation of inner moral strength. The bumps and bruises that mark their legs and their lean, muscular, powerful, bodies which are the result of hard physical discipline, become not only markers of physical strength but symbols of moral status among the players. 134

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Embodying the moral codes of sport: Challenging Islamic norms of femininity Whereas the footballeuses internalize changes to their bodies as the result of adhering to a moral code of suffering to progress as players, such changes challenge normative ideals of Islamic femininity and are interpreted in public opinion as a sign of inner moral deviance. Many women shared with me that they suffered emotionally and even physically off the field as the result of these changes in their bodies. In fact, the more they shape their bodies to fit the sporting ideal through physical suffering on the field, the more they expose themselves to the stigma of the footballeuse in their lives off the field. Consider the words of Safi, a footballeuse now in her mid-30s, who explains that: Football changes your body, it makes you strong and hard like men. People don’t like that. They are scared of us, and they say that we want to be like men, that we are not natural. People don’t want their daughters to be around football because they don’t want them to become like men. They think that we will corrupt the women, that we want everything like a man. When I was little, my dad hit me to stay away from football. He said it would make my body like a man. Paradoxically, even as the footballeuses receive negative attention in regard to their sporting bodies, they feel empowered and righteous in their actions because of the virtue they develop on the field through their endurance of suffering both on and off the field. As Safi explains, “this is part of being a footballeuse. You must suffer to get better, it makes me stronger and worthier of success.” Safi’s explanation illustrates how many of the players incorporate their social suffering stemming from their stigmatization as footballeuses into a sport ethic, where one becomes a better player by building pushing oneself to the limits and building endurance to pain. I found that the players’ embodied experience with pain on the field deeply shaped how they dealt with such suffering off the field. Over the course of three years I watched as many of the women in my study developed increasingly positive feelings around enduring physical pain, the more they looked for these same moralizing experiences off the field. Several sociologists have argued that the positive embrace of suffering in sport leads athletes to continually push themselves beyond their limits and to seek out further risks of physical harm (Frey 1991; Hughes and Coakley 1991; Nixon 1992) as a way to transform themselves as ethical subjects. Sports historian Matti Goksoyr addresses various underlying cultural-psychological mechanisms that link positive emotions to this type of risk taking activity in his study of polar ice climbers: mental strains like loneliness and fear were coupled with demands for patience and mental strength. The feeling of mastering and coping with all this was after all a reward. Physical strains like toil and drudgery, freezing and under-eating could then be coupled with experience of freedom, and of being privileged. (2006, 80) In the case of Senegalese women’s soccer, I observed that self-sacrifice, pain, emotional distress, and deprivation are rewarded with similar feelings of mastery, freedom, and moral superiority.

Seeking out suffering as a means for spiritual growth as a footballeuse The positive feelings associated with physical and social suffering that signal personal growth in football, paradoxically lead players to seek out encounters with suffering so as to continue to better

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themselves not only as athletes, but also as pious Muslims. I found that even in light of the stigmatization experienced by women who play soccer, many, like Safi, go out of their way to provoke negative attention off the field rather than engaging in defensive practices to distance themselves from the stigma, and think of their stigmatization as a form of redemptive suffering. In fact, a soccer player isn’t fully recognized as a footballeuse until she voluntarily adopts the stigma symbols attached to women’s soccer in public. This means not apologizing in public for their subversion of gender norms. Through a combination of dressing in men’s athletic or urban street clothing, taking up stereotypical masculine gestures and speech habits, the women who identify as footballeuses use their bodies to dominate and assert themselves in public space. Their explicit and provocative transgression of norms of femininity immediately casts them as lesbians in popular opinion and increases their risk of suffering negative effects of this stigma. For example, while at home Safi can be found giggling with her sisters, wearing clothing that signals normative feminine beauty ideals such as a pagne (wrap around skirt) and debardeur (simple spaghetti strap top) and engaging in activities such as cooking ceebu jen (fish and rice) with her mother or braiding her sister’s hair. Yet, when she goes out in the streets she carefully selects her clothing to reflect her footballeuse style – a black v-neck t-shirt, large silver braided chain necklace, square diamond stud earrings, and dark skinny jeans that she sags so as to show off her dark blue boy boxer shorts. Once she is out of her home, her walk changes, she struts down the street, and in a deep voice she says “what’s up?” to the guys hanging out on the street corners selling Senegalese “café touba” or phone cards. When I asked Safi about her style she told me: Myyyyy-style footballeuse? You know here in Senegal people say that women who are dressed as boys are lesbians. So if you wear this style, people will think that you’re a lesbian. And so they are wary of getting too close to you. They laugh at you. If a girl dresses like us, che, what, of course she knows very well what she does. People will talk badly about you. I tell you. I want people to talk about me like that. I like it. It feels good to me. Yes, it’s hard very hard, okay and it hurts me very much, sometimes I cry. It makes me stronger and I pray, you know you must suffer in life to succeed. God rewards those who suffer. And we must pray hard. To suffer like that, you cannot understand. But it is good – it helps me to deal with what is difficult in this life. It is between me and Allah. People say nonsense about girls who dress like men. But we do not care about them; it makes us stronger than them anyways. We remark in the words of Safi that she justifies her provocation in terms of the moral value that she perceives it to bestow upon her life. The more that she suffers, the more righteous and deserving of God’s love she becomes. In this sense, Safi seeks out her own stigmatization and frames her subversion of gender norms as a spiritually purifying process. After my conversation with Safi, I started to pay closer attention to the way that the women in my study invoke their relationship with Allah when they talk about the suffering they experience as footballeuses. Is this simply a means to justify and normalize their challenge to heteronormativity? Are they merely employing the cultural idioms available to make sense of their desire to challenge gender norms? Is this a way to publically normalize their nonnormativity? Or is something more going on here?

Moral discourses of suffering in sport and religion Several scholars have written about the striking parallel between the positive interpretation of suffering in sport and the embrace of suffering as an essential aspect of ethical self136

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formation in religious discourses (McNamee 2006; Schultz 2016; Wacquant 1995). Religion and sport are both sites where marginalized actors find meaning in their everyday suffering and reverse negative feelings associated with their marginality by acting out moral agency. John Bale notes in his study of long-distance running that pain becomes a “form of bodily or physical capital, a bearer of symbolic capital” (2006, 63). Consequently, as socially marginalized actors cultivate their endurance of pain as a form of capital through sport, they assert their self worth as ethical and valued subjects on and off the field. In her research on the voluntary adoption of the symbols of Islamic stigma in Turkey, Göle (2003) identifies a similar phenomenon among students who are stigmatized publically for wearing the veil yet embrace their suffering as a trial of faith. Göle writes, religion plays a major role in turning a stigma into a source of empowerment in reversing the feelings of shame into dignity and self-esteem … Islam is therefore used as a sense of orientation and distinction considered to be a higher form of life. It helps with the “management of spoiled identity” in providing a sense of good and higher forms of life (Taylor 1988: 19) and turning the stigmatization into dignity. (2003, 820) History is full of examples of marginalized groups who find dignity in embracing the suffering that marginalization as proof of their devotion to God engender. For instance, Fallou Ngom, Senegalese scholar of religion and anthropologist, points out that the theme of suffering lies at the heart of all three Abrahamic religions, as well as many mystical religions. Especially in the Islamic tradition, suffering, whether originating from human or divine acts, is understood as the testing of devotion to Allah. For example, in the Quran we find the notion of al-Fitna, which designates “the limit or the test to ascertain the faith of believer” (Pandolfo 2007, 349). Although the term fitna in Arabic has many meanings including “temptation,” “persecution,” “apostasy” and “betrayal,” “chaos” and “disorder,” “trial” and “suffering,” the root is often understood as meaning a mode of purification by “burning or melting by fire” (Varisco 2005, 94). In the Islamic Sufi tradition, as Babou points out, Sufis consider suffering as one of the forms by which humans can become aware of and even get closer to their creator. It is a means by which God disables his friend’s nafs (carnal soul), purifies his soul, and increases his Baraka. (2007, 134) In Senegal, the value of fitna joins the Wolof virtue of muuñ, meaning to “endure; support; tolerate; armed with patience” (Diouf 2003, 229). The ideal of muuñ transforms “victims” into masters of their own destinies. In both muuñ and fitna, suffering is positive; it not only renders the pain bearable, but necessary in the process of purification of the soul in its preparation for entering the afterlife. In the same vein, Michael McNamee (2006) discusses the ways that long term and repeated exposure to pain is perceived as necessary suffering on the path toward a higher purpose that surpasses the individual, in both religious and sport contexts. Certainly, this can be said for the role of both sport and Islam in the lived experience of the marginalized footballeuses. By framing their stigmatization as a personal test of their faith in God, they affirm the moral value of their ability to endure suffering and transform feelings of shame into dignity and empowerment.

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Embracing social stigma as a form of ethical self-work and moral resistance Drawing on both the moral frameworks of sport and Islam, the footballeuses perceive their stigmatization as an extension of the moral work they undertake physically on the field; the social suffering they endure as outsiders becomes a morally purifying process. In their eyes, through their selfsacrifice they are stripped of impure, selfish, and material motives. Consider for example the words of Rokhia, an older footballeuses in her late 30s from a poor neighborhood in Dakar, That’s right, with football we know we’re going to have trouble, we know we’re going to suffer, we take blows, we take tackles, others don’t like what we are doing, but anyway without suffering we have nothing. I’m proud because I have God in me, I do what I have to do in life and I do well unto others after all, there is only god who counts. Football, everything, bi liii [I swear] I do everything for God. Because the more I suffer the stronger I become for god. Because this pain it strengthens my faith in me because it is God who gave me this faith. For me it is only God who guides my life, who knows if what I do is good and who I am. Whatever people say about football, we’re not going to stop them. God loves those who suffer in their faith for him. Don’t you see? To suffer, for god, it’s good; it’s good. You must have muuñ. God will pay us. You’ll see. I love football. I was born like that, with talent for football, and, and good. For everything in life it is God who gives, it is God who decides our destiny. From Rokhia’s understanding, it follows that she who endures the most suffering has more power in the eyes of divine law. This principle underpins the ideology of many Sufi traditions in West Africa for which suffering becomes both necessary for their spiritual evolution and a divine weapon against their oppressors. Cheikh Amadou Bamba, founder of the influential Murid brotherhood, explains this logic in his text Masalik: God tests his servant in proportion to the strength of his faith. As long as his determination remains intact, He increases the sufferings, but if on the contrary he flings and loses courage, He leaves him alone and diminishes his sufferings. (Babou and Mbacké 2007, 134) According to this perspective, each instance of oppression or marginalization becomes the occasion to increase moral status by realizing the will of God. Bamba, who was famously persecuted, exiled, and imprisoned by the French from the late 19th century until his death in 1927 because of the colonial administration’s fear that he would lead his large following to revolt against them, became a symbol of Sufi resistance when he refused to abandon his mission, declaring himself subject only to God’s authority. Ivy Mills argues that in the story of Bamba it is by reformulating the French administration as a simple instrument in the realization of God’s will that he resists colonial domination. In this framework, Bamba becomes stronger than his oppressors because whatever the French administration did to try to crush him. It could not destroy him but only reinforce his moral power with regard to God and his legitimacy to resist them. As Mills notes: In Bamba’s version of the story of his exile, the French are completely evacuated from independent agency, serving as mere vessels through which suffering, adversity and hardship is sent by God, and is therefore an opportunity for Self-discipline and spiritual

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growth, then colonial and white supremacist oppression does not suppress or destroy the Murid self-as in the account of colonial alienation so ubiquitous in Francophone literature-but rather unintentionally its production. (2011, 33) Today, the story of Bamba’s exemplifies a Sufi ethos of resistance, whereby in reformulating their struggle with domination in moral terms, the faithful “oppressed” not only reverse their own feelings of helplessness associated with their marginalized status, they simultaneously void the power of their oppressors. Joining moral discourses of suffering in sport and Islam, in which they become better people through their suffering, with a Sufi ethos of resistance, the footballeuses frame those who verbally, physically, or socially assault them in their daily lives because of their subversion of gender norms in this same light, as enacting God’s will of testing their faith. Regardless of public opinion that demonizes the footballeuse because of their transgression of Islamic norms of female piety, the Senegalese footballeuses frame their actions as virtuous. The redemptive suffering, they experience because of their stigmatization as footballeuse allows them to resist compulsory heteronormativity and binary gender categories from within a Sufi Islamic tradition of resistance. For the footballeuses, there is only one source of power that surpasses all temporal power: God. In their eyes their subversion of gender norms is legitimized since suffering brings them in line with their idea of God.

Conclusion The Senegalese footballeuses experience emotional and physical suffering because of their public embrace of the stigma attached to women’s soccer. However, rather than reject or attempt to minimize this stigma, they bring attention to it by voluntarily adopting the stigma symbols in public, which disrupts Senegalese gender power hierarchies. In this sense, their actions are a mode of queer resistance where they actively embrace their stigmatized self as a form of disruption to oppressive norms. Yet, the footballeuses do not embrace this stigma as a way to reverse the negative moral judgment attached to their bodies and nor do they express a desire to emancipate themselves from the moral codes that produce their suffering as gender nonconforming women. Rather, they frame their experience with suffering as bringing them closer to a higher order, thus purifying their individual desire to challenge gender and sexuality norms and legitimating their right to do so publically. They become solely reliant on their faith to deliver them from their difficult conditions. When people react negatively to the footballeuses in public, the women are made to feel ashamed, deprived of social honor, and dehumanized. Yet even as this reaction is cause for profound emotional suffering, the moral gain the women experience reverses the negative feelings attached to their stigma, as they reframe themselves not as victims but as moral agents exercising their power. Thus, the women confrontationally adopt and wield the symbols of their stigma in public, an act that causes them even more suffering. Therein lies the paradox of their positionality, they need the negative moral judgment in order to cultivate their moral agency. It is in this space of contradiction that their transformational resistance appears, as new modes of gendered subjectivities and Muslim spatialities become possible.

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Abu-Lughod, Lila. “L’illusion Romantique de la Résistance : Sur les Traces des Transformations du Pouvoir chez les Femmes Bédouines.” Tumultes, Vol. 27, no. 27, (2006): 9–35. https://bit.ly/2Y4yfsy accessed May 2019. Augis, Erin. “Dakar’s Sunnite Women: The Dialectic of Submission and Defiance in a Globalizing City.” In Tolerance, Democracy, and Sufis in Senegal, edited by Mamadou Doouf, 73–98. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Augis, Erin. “Religion, Religiousness, and Narrative: Decoding Women’s Practices in Senegalese Islamic Reform.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 51, no. 3, (September 1, 2012): 429–441. https://bit.ly/2H0oENy accessed May 2019. Babou, Cheikh Anta. Le Jihad de l’âme: Ahmadou Bamba et la Fondation de la Mouridiyya au Sénégal, 18531913. Paris: Karthala, 2011. Babou, Cheikh, and Anta Mbacké Fighting the Greater Jihad: Amadu Bamba and the Founding of the Muridiyya of Senegal, 1853-1913. Cleveland: Ohio University Press, 2007. Bacchetta, Paola. “Co-Formations : Des Spatialités de résistance Décoloniales chez les Lesbiennes ‘of color’ en France.” Translated by Nathalie Paulme. Genre, Sexualité & Société, no. 1 (June 29, 2009). https://bit.ly/2VITwdR accessed May 2019. Bale, John. “The Place of Pain in Running.” In Pain and Injury in Sport: Social and Ethical Analysis, edited by Sigmund Loland, Berit Skirstad, and Ivan Waddington, 1st edition, 65–75. New York: Routledge, 2006. Baller, Susann, and Martha Saavedra, Laurent. “La Politique du Football en Afrique: Mobilisation et Trajectoires.” Politique Africaine, Vol. 2, no. 118, (2010): 5–21. https://bit.ly/2DMH2HY accessed May 2019. Beauchez, Jérôme. “La Dispute Des Forts: Une Anthropologie Des Combats de Boxe Ordinaires.” Anthropologica, Vol. 52, no. 1, (January 1, 2010): 127–139. Beauchez, Jérôme. L’empreinte du Poing : La Boxe, le Gymanse et leurs Hommes. Paris: Editions de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 2014. Broad, K.L. “The Gendered Unapologetic: Queer Resistance in Women’s Sport.” Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 18, no. 2, (2001): 181–204. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990. Butler, Judith. “Performativity, Precarity and Sexual Politics.” AIBR. Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana, Vol. 4, no. 3, (October 9, 2009): 309. Coly, Ayo. “Carmen Goes Postcolonial, Carmen Goes Queer: Thinking the Postcolonial as Queer.” Culture, Theory and Critique, Vol. 57, no. 3, (2015): 391–407. https://bit.ly/2VCKsXW accessed May 2019. Connell, R. W., and James W. Messerschmidt “Hegemonic Masculinity Rethinking the Concept.” Gender & Society, Vol. 19, no. 6, (December 1, 2005): 829–859. Crossley, Nick. “Merleau-Ponty, the Elusive Body and Carnal Sociology.” Body and Society, Vol. 1, no. 1, (1995): 43–63. Diouf, Jean-Léopold. Dictionnaire Wolof-Français et Français-Wolof. Paris: Karthala, 2003. Frey, James H. “Social Risk and the Meaning of Sport.” Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 8, no. 2, (June 1, 1991): 136–145. https://bit.ly/2Lh7nUC accessed May 2019). Goksøyr, Matti. “Pains and Strains on the Ice: Some Thoughts on the Physical and Mental Struggles of Polar Adventures.” In Pain and Injury in Sport: Social and Ethical Analysis, edited by Sigmund Loland, Berit Skirstad, and Ivan Waddington, 1st edition, 73–85. New York: Routledge, 2006. Göle, Nilüfer. The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling. Ann-Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996. Göle, Nilüfer. “The Voluntary Adoption of Islamic Stigma Symbols.” Social Research, Vol. 70, no. 3, (October 1, 2003): 809–828. Guèye, Cina and Monia Lachheb. “Sport de Compétition et Violences Symboliques Faites Aux Femmes: Réflexion à Partir Du Cas Des Sportives Sénégalaises de Haut Niveau.” Genre et Sport En Afrique: Entre Pratiques et Politiques Publiques, 85–95. Dakar: CODESRIA, 2010. Howe, P. David. Sport, Professionalism, and Pain: Ethnographies of Injury and Risk. New York: Routledge, 2004. Hughes, Robert, and Jay Coakley “Positive Deviance among Athletes: The Implications of Overconformity to the Sport Ethic.” Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 8, no. 4, (December 1, 1991): 307–325. Knobe, Sandrine. “La Performance au Regard de l’Effort Sportif : Quelques Réflexions.” Revue Interrogations, no. 7, Le corps performant, (May 2, 2013). https://bit.ly/2UWlJcx accessed May 2019. Loland, Sigmund, Berit Skirstad, Ivan Waddington, and Mike McNamee. “Suffering in and for Sport: Some Philosophical Remarks on a Painful Emotion.” In Pain and Injury in Sport: Social and Ethical

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Liquid Lives Unoma Azuah These lives are like earthworms They make their sojourns when the rains pay them a visit The visit of the rain is a battalion of encroaching soldiers But the liquid lives of earthworms Help them navigate the burrows of war Gliding, merging, melting Fluid Flat for all else to pass through Before they push forward. Powder, Lace, Tusker Alexis Teyie I give you everything I do not have. I begin with these seedlings; I sow them in your mouth. I transplant them from my mouth. I give you this patch behind my knee. 143

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I give you these ferns between my thighs. I give you the back of my neck. Collarbone. Wrist. Breast. Belly. I give you everything I don’t know to give. I begin with this thing, this pip of a feeling, in the back of my mouth. I sow it in your mouth. I tend to it, in your mouth, this pip. Now our sapling, I lap up its dew. A familiar game: your tongue, its impeccable orbit; my throat vibrating with its usual round echoes (yes, more, there). These fingers deep in that grove. Then its my lips navigating the same peaks— eager as before. Then its your skin, pebbling. Then it’s a lingering a fumbling, a trembling. My mouth closing over this node, Now it’s tugging, against the tautness, And what is this spool, unraveling? There is a chord you keep behind your left lung. I am the only one we know who can unfold it, this chord. I send my tongue first, before anything. Sometimes I strike it, the natural resonance, with this first emissary. I feel the chord respond, along the path past your navel. Other times, I trust this palm to give this secret chord a platform, to find the frequency. What is the tone of love? Fuck, and what would that trembling 144

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music sound like, tugging against the fibers of time? What music would these silvery stretch marks produce? What depths, what arcs through this gooseflesh, these dimples? Perhaps, like amaranth clinging to glass, coagulating lavender, silk; or, even softer still: powder, lace, orchid.

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11 Teaching sex times A space for conversation and knowledge building about sex Tiffany Kagure Mugo

Introduction What is the sex and sexual education I want to have all about? In a hyper sexualized world, one would presume that there are so many places in which one can get this answer: Magazines, movies, the internet, one’s older cousin who once heard something from someone else who heard it from someone else … etc. Globally, sex education is mediocre at best and detrimental at worst. Schools either seek to teach a clinical version of what is involved in the coitus with information littered with warnings of genital warts, gonorrhea, and/or pregnancy while in some cases sex as a topic is simply avoided all together as if some sort of mythical act performed once in a blue moon to further humanity. This huge hole of information is met on the other side with the vortex that is the Internet where the pornography of everything exists; not the healthiest source of information about sex and sexuality (unless one stumbles onto some good feminist resources). Overall, the Internet as an archive of sexual acts remains, in the eyes of many, very scary and problematic. Even though historically, within the continent of Africa, there were spaces in which one could safely learn about sexuality in a healthy holistic manner such as in traditional rites of passage for your men and women, sexual education is lagging behind other subjects today. In African societies sexual fulfillment was deemed a personal and social good, one that was aimed at social cohesion. To understand how sexuality works in this way, it is useful to appreciate African ontological schemes and their foundational beliefs based upon specific understandings of the social benefits of eroticism and the varied manifestations of sexual desire. Stemming from African ontological understanding that great healthy sex brings people together “sexual desire is highly valued by families and communities because it produces well-adjusted individuals” (Nzegwu 2011, 259). As Ugandan academic, activist, and editor of African Sexualities: A Reader, Sylvia Tamale states, “a great deal of rich information about African sexualities lies in ancient histories that live through griots, ighuwas, imbongies, jlis, igawens, guewels as well as other orators around the continent” (2011, 14). Stories of sex and sexualities often weave themselves in the tapestry of folktales depending on the griot’s

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ability to relay to a contemporary audience. African sexuality schools created to explore and institutionalize healthy sexual practices bolstered these forms of knowledge production. Particularly intriguing and powerful examples are schools that taught (and in some spaces still do) young girls about how to embody and channel the Osun force in Nigeria. According to professor of Africana Studies and Philosophy, Nkiru Nzegwu, the Osun force “outlines a sequential energy flow from desire, arousal, copulation, pleasure, fulfillment, conception, birth and growth?” (Nzegwu 2011, 258). She mentions similar practices that empowered young girls’ sexuality among other ethnic groups such as the Gola and Bassa of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, the Laobe of Senegal, Dipo of the Adangme of Ghana, the Tonga of Zambia, Makhuwa of Mozambique, and others across the continent. These schools imparted girls with knowledge on sexuality and pleasure, the force that speaks to an embodiment of female sexual knowledge and agency. Nzegwu explains that “the discourse and underlying notion of Osunality encourages the treatment of sexual pleasuring and enjoyment as of optimal importance” (Nzegwu 2011, 261), which then seeps into the work of these spaces and their advisors. It is argued here that this African history of learning about sexuality is not totally lost, but rather reinvented in new ritualized spaces. A reimagination of historical practices and wisdom is brought to bear on modern-day spaces that allow for a reinvention of African sexual identities and sexual practices that speak to their current context. In today’s context the digital space can often marry with the “real world” to create new sites of convening and conversation. While the physical realm continues to do the work to bolster and create knowledge, the digital realm provides an added dimension for a much-needed discussion of sexuality, for the telling of different stories and the entrenching of different narratives. It is one that allows for the exploration for new ways of loving, of living, of interacting, and of fucking. In their paper entitled “A Digital Age: A Feminist Future for the African Queer Woman,” Nyx McLean and Tiffany Kagure Mugo argue that “the digital space makes it possible for voices that may not have been present in the public sphere prior to the existence of social networking sites to be heard and viewed publicly” (Mclean and Mugo 2015, 97). This ability to view a diverse tapestry of existences makes for a “richer public sphere” as the possibility for public and political expression. The ability to create and access these spaces allows for a counter-narrative that challenges and invariably changes the dominant ones. This is one of the greatest elements of the digital world, the fact that it problematizes the notion of one type of existence, allowing for more bodies to join the fray. Nzegwu says “whatever the erotic might have been in Africa’s cultural past, it has now been reshaped by the world’s two major patriarchal religions – Christianity and Islam – as well as by colonial modernity and capitalist ideology” (Nzegwu 2011, 253). Tamale reiterates this point when she writes, “African bodies and sexualities became focal points for justifying and legitimizing the fundamental objectives of colonialism” (Tamale 2011, 14). Western imperialist caricatures of African sexualities were part of a wider design to colonize and exploit the black race. African sexuality was characterized as insatiable, alien, and deviant. These depictions of the black body have moved passed their historic use and now form the basis for porn hub classics such as ebony hard core with the videos often being described as hard core and often showing extremely rough sex. Often with black men and women they are reduced to round butts and large penises. The sensuality within these spaces (even within same sex porn videos) is reserved for white bodies that can be anything from hard core BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism) to enacting a story line that depicts a romantic, sensual night in. The effect of Christianity and Islam on sexual knowledge and practices bolsters that of colonization. The African space has become one that often conflates ideas of culture, tradition, and religion to police and monitor sexual practices, identities, and ideas. Ideas of what is African, or who is African (is kissing 148

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African? Are queer people African?) are framed within the parameters set by religious, cultural, and traditional ideas. The culmination of conservatism, the erasure of the visibility of important spaces to discuss sex and the forming of a new “this is how we do in Africa” identity has led to a stunted notion of what it means to engage with one’s body. It has led to the silencing of an array of sexual identities, sexual preferences and practices as well as open and honest engagement with this tapestry. This has left us with a continent where formal sex education (as seen in a school setting or enshrined in national policies) is sometimes banned or heavily debated and when it is present it is simply preaching abstinence. In a more informal settings such as social and cultural spaces (e.g. bachelorette parties and kitchen parties) sex education revolves around shame based in religion and culture, as many are told to hide their sex lives or save them for their martial consumption. Advice given about sex is confined to the wisdom of the church and elders who bandy about phrases such as “marriage keeps you on your knees … in prayer.”1 With the continual entrenchment of problematic ideas on sex and sexuality it is important to think about how we can counter these ideas, how we can not only decolonize the lens through which we see African sex and sexuality, but also take out the deeply entrenched heteronormative, patriarchal ideas that come with “giving her the D”2 and being “a good Christian girl” that have wormed their ways deep into the collective psyche. The ability to tackle ideas of sex and sexuality and the forces that come with it are ones that are littered within our history, and within those dying embers lies the potential for something new to catch alight. The digital space allows for a reigniting of these conversations around healthy wholesome sexual practices that empower not only those who engage in them but also those who experience their wisdom. The potential for empowerment across physical and societal contexts (i.e. a Kenyan podcaster working within South Africa and speaking to a Congolese woman about her ability to orgasm), but also across sexualities and sexual identities, is immense. This ability to engage with an array of topics through numerous channels allows for a recreation of spaces to challenge potentially harmful ideas. Allowing for the queering of existence and pushing the boundaries of actors that operate in the digital field using Web 2.0 technology and the physical realm through workshops and dialogues, can, in a way, resurrect the sex education spaces of old. Furthermore, through the queering of the narrative (against the exclusive often male heterosexual able bodied experience), one witnesses these spaces push back against a stunted, unhealthy, and myopic view of what it means to be a sexual African. Spaces such as The Wildness with Tiff & Manda, Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, Let’s Talk Consent, and the #PleaseHer Safe Sex and Pleasure series use sex positivity to create current dialogues around sex and sexuality, leaving space for it to come in different forms, leaving cognitive and societal room for queer bodies and queer experiences to weave themselves into existence. This chapter will explore the different platforms that seek to expand the cognitive framework around sex and sexuality on the continent, fostering the possibility of different ways of seeing oneself as a sexual being. By utilizing podcasts, blogs, workshops, short stories, and various social media platforms these spaces are challenging the way the monolithic view of sexuality on the continent (as heterosexual and closely tied to religion and culture) and taking it back to a more nuanced state.

Sex positivity 2.0: An introduction New narratives around the black body, sensuality, and the erotic are being spearheaded in digital spaces complementing work being done on the ground. Digital movements such as #BlackLove and spaces such as Tumblr’s Erotic Noire page seeks to show sensuality, sex, and 149

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the black body in a new light while grassroots organizations such as OUT in Pretoria, Johannesburg increasingly hold sexual health workshops for their community members. Sex positivity is a driving force behind the increase in these sexual education spaces, especially for women and gender non-conforming (GNC) persons, who have, till now had their sexual narratives either co-opted or erased entirely. The core tenant of sex positivity includes understanding that sexuality is vast, fostering tolerance for different orientations and sexual practices while knowing everyone is entitled to comprehensive sex education. The movement, some can argue, is in response to the increasing visibility of sexual violence and subjugation that women face within private and public spaces while also mirroring the need for increased representation within the public sphere. This is at the core of the work done by numerous new online and offline spaces on the continent. It is about peeling back the cloak that we have used to hide our sexuality and tackling not only the negative aspects (such as HIV/Aids, child marriages, sexual violence, and maternal mortality), but also about appreciating other positive aspects such as different ways of attaining pleasure, sexual techniques, shared sexual scenarios as well as creating a visible archive of varying physical and conceptual selves within the global sexual paradigm. Through storytelling in the form of audio visual material and blog posts, community and conversation through social media spaces and offline gatherings one can reconceptualize and reform what it is to embody African sexuality in a new global world. Across different contexts, sex positivity will have different effects goals and ends in different spaces. So, what does it mean to have sex positivity on the continent? What does it mean to properly engage with sex as an African person? Linda,3 a sex positive writer based in Kenya offers some thoughts: Sex positivity for me means dispelling the notion that sex is wrong, which is what I was raised to believe. It means exploring freely, what I like sexually and not being afraid to talk about it. Because that’s another thing you are led to believe. That you shouldn’t talk about sex and that women who talk about sex are “hoes”. So that’s it for me, having as much safe, consensual sex as I can, and not being afraid to say that I am having [this] sex.4 Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah curator and founder of the online platform Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women adds that, Being sex positive is about creating and holding spaces for African women to talk about sex, learn from one another, and to share our varied experiences of sex and sexualities in all its diversities. It’s also about a personal commitment to myself, to learn what pleases my body and to recognize that I am entitled to sexual pleasure. Sex positivity must consider context and there is a need to draw from within one’s personal spaces to know how to engage in a healthy holistic manner. The central tenets behind sex positivity and the way they feed into contemporary spaces allow for these spaces to build on ones that used to exist. The bodies that inhabit contemporary African spaces and the ideas that they convey are using this conceptual framework to push the boundaries against a stunted idea of how to engage with one’s sex, one’s expression of the erotic, and one’s engagement with pleasure and love. Sex positivity provides the road map in which Africans can decipher what it is to have healthy sexual practices and a comprehensive understanding of sexuality and sexual expression. These online and offline spaces are providing the tools to 150

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reimagine the African erotic. Through an exploration of consent, different ways of imagining how pleasure can be attained, peer-to-peer learning, and material produced help center different orientations and bodies.

Ways of working in consent and sex education spaces Let’s Talk Consent: Teaching Ghanaian youths Consent is one of the key components to sex. However, when distorted through societal practices and religious and cultural imagination, consent can become coercive. Culture and tradition have been skewed to bring about ideas that women are not meant to be active agents during sex with the act happening to them rather than with them. These ideas have diffused themselves into the sexual practices of modern-day Africans and have negatively affected how they engage in sex. There are spaces, however, that are looking to deconstruct and destroy these ideas, one of which is Lets Talks Consent, a collective that consists of around 25 young Ghanaians, that describes itself as “driven by the belief that consent is the difference between sex and rape.”5 The platform, which was started in March 2016, centers on the idea of teaching high school and university children about consent and unpacking the array of problematic ideas surrounding sex and sexuality relevant to the Ghanaian society. It was started because of founder Nana Akosua’s frustrations about how rape and sexual abuse were discussed in traditional Ghanaian media. She recounts how, in one very popular case, “the victim’s picture and name were splashed in headlines in newspapers and popular Ghanaian blogs, further re-victimizing the woman.”6 Nana said she was often alarmed by the language around rape, revenge porn, and other things pertaining to sex and saw that it was “always heavy in victim-blaming and in many cases, glorifying the perpetrator if male.”7 Akosua says “the worst notions were the patriarchal assumptions that set what should be healthy heterosexual relationships [based on ideas of] men as predators and women as prey.”8 She explains that when these ideas become intertwined with how we view sex they perpetuate the notion of the act being based on a predator–prey dynamic, which is an automatic set up for violence, abuse, and rape. Akosua, who is a radio and TV presenter, tried to use those platforms to change the language about rape and soon realized there were only so many times she could say it. She realized that the real change needed to be in how boys and girls were raised and how toxic masculinity could be nipped in the bud. The collective functions primarily out of Accra and runs two-hour workshops at high schools and universities or organizations. These workshops always begin with a form of Gender 101 because those within the collective believe that rape culture finds its roots in patriarchal gender socialization. The strength of these workshops is that they have become a more welcoming and alternative space to speak about sex, healthily dismantling previous silences prevalent in Ghana. Akosua explains, with our [Ghana’s] new suppressive approaches to sex, teenagers learn about how to approach sex and sexuality through inexperienced peers, misogynistic porn, and imbibed societal notions of gender roles. They then grow up into adults who have normalized non-consensual and abusive sexual behavior. Our workshops break these boundaries and most importantly, with the current wave of homophobia, create a safe space for people with non-heteronormative sexualities in a country where they are criminalized.9

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Akosua explains that standard sex education in Ghana typically revolves around warning against the perils of HIV and pregnancy, while the practicalities such as pleasure and consent are tabooed areas to delve into. The workshops allow people to start thinking deeply about questions such as, Do I relate to my sexual partner from a patriarchal place? Is it really true that when a man wants sex he has to have it at all costs? Is a woman’s humanity and agency supposed to be collateral damage? What is consent?10 To emphasize the point that these spaces are meant to do the work of old Akosua adds “with our workshops, I’ve realized that people have lots of questions, lots of questions some of our old traditional puberty rite systems used to answer.”11 She emphasizes that this approach to sex education shouldn’t simply be workshoped but mainstreamed into society as an integral part of sex education at home and in schools. This work is bolstered by their online activities based on the understanding that not everyone can be at their workshops, so they use their Internet voices and presence to make consent a constant discussion. Their Twitter discussion dubbed “Let’s Talk Consent” sparked a conversation in Ghana about rape culture, gender and consent and made it a national conversation, which trended on Ghanaian Twitter for three days in 2018. The space has managed to fuse two realms to create not only a community, but also a space in which healthy ideas about sex and how to engage with it.

#PleaseHer HOLAAfrica safe sex and pleasure workshops for queer women Like Let’s Talk Consent, HOLAAfrica has sought to marry the online space and the offline. After noting the lack of information geared to safe sex for women online, HOLAA saw that there was a need to create both digital and physical safe spaces in which queer women could speak about their sex. Although the Internet allowed for wide dissemination of information and engagement, the need for smaller more intimate spaces specifically for women who have sex with women (WSW) was identified and thus #PleaseHer safe sex and pleasure series was born. Holding a mixture of dialogues and workshops (coupled with online material and campaigns), HOLAAfrica sought to gather queer African women in groups to be able to speak to issues that were pertinent to them and pertaining to safe sex, pleasure, and bodily autonomy. These gatherings were held in countries such as Uganda, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa and sought to bolster the conversations the organization had already been having online on various social media platforms and on its website. The workbook and a manual were researched through dialogues and co-produced with the help of women within African countries supporting these activities. These spaces allow for a facilitated conversation in which those gathered go through the HOLAAfrica safe sex and pleasure manual and corresponding workbook. Conversations include but are not limited to safe sexual practices, consent, pleasure with partners or even sex toys and vaginal care. The setup of the workshops is one that is curated and structured (using the manual and workbook) allowing for free-flow dialogue in the the shape of a gathering of friends. Taking on this dual form allows it to morph and fit the conversation to whatever context the workshops take place in. This is important as different spaces need different foci, for example a conversation in Johannesburg in South Africa found itself focusing on ideas of sexual violence within relationships and how to speak about engaging with a partner, while a conversation in Maseru, Lesotho focused a great deal on the limitations of pleasure and sexual engagement due to entrenched Basotho cultural norms for women. For 152

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those in Lesotho what was important was how their highly religious and deeply cultural country had affected their ideas about their bodies and their sex and how they struggled to fight against this. HOLAAfrica facilitator, Siphumeze Khundayi, emphasizes that there is a need to allow the space to “be what it needs to be.” People need to feel safe in the space but also bring their own ideas in order, not only to learn from the material provided, but also allow for the people to learn from each other through experience, opinion, trial, and error. The presence of the facilitator within the space is to make sure the conversation continues and that ideas are unpacked properly, be they problematic or not. “[Having a] framework is important but [having] flexibility is equally important.”12 For her, it is about using the principles she learned within Playback Theatre13 to get people to tell their stories and learn from the release. She expands on this by saying “when you invite people into a dialogue or workshop space you are asking them to bring their experiences and be vulnerable enough to share them with a room of people and learn from what each person shares.” The spaces are ones of learning and sharing through the creation of community; it is in coming together in a safe and controlled space where women can debunk myths, teach each other, and learn from (non)institutionalized knowledge.

Social media as social spaces: Podcasts, posts, and pulling together Digitally, a host of knowledge-producing platforms is emerging in Africa to supplement the work that is being done offline. Microblogging platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and longer-form platforms such as blogs and websites and audio visual platforms, such as YouTube, have allowed for the emergence of parallel public spheres that reinvent and reinterpret African identities. Podcasting has emerged as an effective way of not only curating knowledge but also allowing a more engaging and free flow of information sharing on several topics such as feminism, politics, the arts, and culture. Within the realm of sex positivity and queerness there is The Wildness with Tiff & Manda, a podcast by two African queer girls just trying to get through life.14 The podcast, which describes itself as sex positive also discusses literature and politics. The format of the show seeks to mirror a gathering of friends sipping Chardonnay and chatting coitus. With each episode, the hosts tackle a particular topic using an eclectic mix of research, personal experience, and knowledge to shine a light on a particular idea. This show was first conceptualized as a “digital speak easy” in a sense, allowing the co-hosts and their various guests to tackle an array of topics that meant something, using personal experiences as an analytical lens. Among exemplars of podcast productions one notes, explaining the LEGABIBO (The Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana) court case15 in Episode 2, Polyamory 101 in Episode 6, a sit down with favorite author Haji Mohamed Dawjee in Episode 10, speaking to Zimbabwean queer woman farmer about spanking and kink in Episode 9, and breaking down the science behind squirting in Episode 16. Discussing various topics freely breaks from the shackles of more conventional sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) topics such as access to abortion, maternal health, and the (albeit more novel, but frustratingly general) idea of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE). This initiative aims to break down the queer experience to the level of nuanced experiences while simultaneously adding to the general conversation about good and healthy sex. Queer women are often left out of the conversations surrounding SRHR as they are perceived as being impervious to various pitfalls and dangers that come with sexual practices (i.e. low/non-existent risks of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs), HIV/AIDS, and pregnancy). This 153

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podcast seeks to tackle that silence by centering the queer African woman’s experience at the heart of the conversation had on the platform.

African women’s adventures from the bedrooms: “Should I have sex on my period? What does it mean to write erotica as a pastor’s wife?” On the Not Safe For Work (NSFW) website called Adventures from the Bedrooms Of African Women,16 one finds some different perspectives on sexual experiences and sexuality. Malaka Grant and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah started this platform in 2009 after a holiday with friends from around the continent. The women spent a part of their holiday talking about sex and it felt to Sekyiamah that this was the first time in her life she participated in open, frank, and non-judgmental conversations about sexuality.17 They talked about who they fancied, what they had done or had not done or wanted to do. “It felt very revolution [sic] to me and it was also around my thirtieth birthday,”18 Sekyiamah recalls saying to her friends. She explains that it shocked her that it had taken her all these years to be able to have these open and frank conversations. She returned from the vacation inspired to continue these conversations and thus roped in Grant to start an online platform that opened the doors to the bedrooms of African women. They wanted to debunk the myth that African women were prudish and did not like sex when the opposite is verifiably true. Thus, the blog was born to continue these conversations through the publishing of online posts with the hopes that one day the stories will be archived into a book. Adventures from the Bedrooms Of African Women continues to help women speak openly about their sexual experiences. The online platform has grown to host the stories of women from many African countries and the diaspora. The point of the website is to speak candidly about the moist moments, the points of pleasure, the terrible trysts, and the burning questions that women have about their sexual identities. Adventures is both a community of women and a living archive as it allows not only for women to share their stories, but also others to respond through comments or feedback on previous episodes, thereby facilitating learning and growth. Adventures is exemplary of how one can create stories around sex and intentionally frame what is told. The free-spirited mindset of these platforms subverts mainstream microblogging platforms such as Facebook, which, with its code of conduct, sometimes makes it difficult to go full on frontal with engaging with ideas of sex. Some platforms do allow for better engagement with sex and sexuality than others. Tumblr has become synonymous with the “sexuality crowd,” being the hub for alternative sexualities to microblog on everything from LGBTIQ pride to trans issues, from intersectional feminism, to body positivity, and mental health. Twitter is one of the most electric ways in which people are having some of the difficult and controversial conversations about sex. On this platform sex is up for grabs and up for debate with everything from sliding into the DMs and Shooting your Shot19 to just sharing information about sex. On Twitter one sees an increasing number of Curate sex accounts, the most active of which are based in Zambia and Kenya, with Nigeria seemingly in the pipeline. The purpose of these Twitter accounts is to allow tweeps (a person who uses twitter) within the host countries to use the platform to speak about their sexual experiences. Subsequently the use of this social media platform allows those who follow the accounts (mostly from the accounts origin country) to comment and ask questions as well as have conversations on a whole host of topics. On the Curate KE (Kenya) account, one curator spoke about his first experience of BDSM and how it had been the most horrifying sexual experience of his life because the woman had simply read a few pages of 50 Shades of Grey and then proceeded to essentially kidnap and flog him. This led to a conversation 154

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about how those in Kenya (and beyond as the tweets ended up trending in countries such as South Africa and Nigeria) saw kink and BDSM as a form of sex and how it was wildly misunderstood. It opened the conversation around something that was a taboo of a taboo. These Twitter accounts tend to be somewhat “ungovernable” in their dissemination of ideas and information, some of which may be problematic or reinforce negative and incorrect information. Luckily there is also an increasing number of tweeps within the Twitterverse who utilize the wide range of platforms to disseminate the sex positive and sexual education canon in Africa. One good example of healthy sexual education is the work done by Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (known generally as Dr T.), a medical doctor and vice-chairperson of the Sexual and Reproductive Coalition (SRJC). Known on Twitter as @drtlaleng, the doctor uses her platform of over 25,000 followers to speak about sexual and reproductive health and pleasure. She is a prominent advocate for abortion rights, the access of women to SRHR, sex work, and reproductive justice whilst also speaking on sexual identity and orientation. Dr T. spreads useful information while debunking myths and misconceptions. Her sex positive online engagement allows for a community of women to come together and create global and local connections. She emphasizes the importance of context when she says, Hearing a voice that sounds like you. Looks like you. Paired with a lived experience with parts of which you identify and in my case an expertise and passion for sexual health means that content I produce resonates, evidence based and able to deliver even not so easy topics (sex after sexual assault and rape) with the necessary tenderness and of course black woman in Africa means that I am not only academic or medical in approach, but able to talk about influences of culture and religion on my life and sexuality and others like me in a deeper and nuanced way.20 The ability to speak to your locale is as important as ever in a global world as there is so much accessible information, not all of which can be digested locally. Tshegotafso Senne a.k. a @Mbongomuffin, is another Twitter user, a blogger, and co-creator of Frank Podcasts who seeks to inform. A queer woman and keen kinkster,21 Senne is a writer and content creator whose area of expertise is women’s pleasure and consent. Senne says that social media was where she first discovered the concepts of sex positivity and feminism because people who held these views were not present in her real life. Twitter allowed her to find a community from which she could draw information. The people she met online allowed her to rethink her ideas about sex and about her body and how the “two intermingled in a different and positive way.”22 The online community also allows for different perspectives and different opinions on how sex positivity functions for different people. The fluidity and expanse of the online realm allows people of similar thinking to find each other and use their community to create their own social canon, one that plays a central role in showing diverse experiences using a blog post, 280 characters or an audio recording.

Conclusion The creation of initiatives that provide a conversational framework within which one can speak about sex in Africa while learning and growing healthy relationships is important in a world that is both hyper sexualized and strangely conservative. Sexual education has drowned in a sea of contentiousness, with many political, social, and religious spaces seeking to limit the amount of “naughty things” that people are doing or learning. A cloak of guilt and shame cover conversations about sex, limiting them to warnings, admonishments, and general fear mongering. 155

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The construction of varying archives and narratives depicting how, why, and with whom Africans are having sex, is central to creating a healthy sexual identity. What is important, and incidentally what these digital and physical spaces do, is to take the single thread that has become sex and sexuality and create more threads for a more holistic tapestry. By tackling issues of consent, varying ways of engaging with pleasure, different life experiences, and sexual identities and expressions, one is allowed a more comprehensive understanding of sex and sexuality. The offline space continues to provide a platform to discuss matters of sex and sexuality and this is greatly bolstered by the online space that adds and alternates dimensions in terms of knowledge production and community conversation. Thus, using offline initiatives and the online digital spaces such as websites and microblogging platforms, Africans can engage in discussions and find information and experiences that bolster their knowledge on sex and sexual identities. The work done by actors such as Let’s Talk Consent, Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, Dr T., and HOLAAfrica subverts the idea that there is a single model of and story about sex and sexuality. When engaging with intimate and personal matters, one can see oneself reflected in the dialogues these alternative conversations and collections of knowledge provide. This is especially true for marginalized bodies. Sex education and general engagement need to be expanded to encompass the reality of different types of bodies and experiences outside the realms of the cultural or the religious.

Notes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

14 15

An actual piece of advise given at a bridal shower I attended in Kenya. Colloquial terms for penetrating someone with a penis. Full name withheld for safety reasons. Personal conversation with Linda carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Kenya, November 15, 2017; used here with permission. Condensed interview with Nana Akosua Hanson carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 3, 2018; used here with permission. Condensed interview with Nana Akosua Hanson carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 3, 2018; used here with permission. Condensed interview with Nana Akosua Hanson carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 3, 2018; used here with permission. Condensed interview carried out with Nana Akosua Hanson carried over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 3, 2018; used here with permission. Condensed interview with Nana Akosua Hanson carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 3, 2018 used here with permission. Condensed interview with Nana Akosua Hanson carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 3, 2018; used here with permission. Condensed interview with Nana Akosua Hanson carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 3, 2018; used here with permission. In person interview with Siphumeze Khundayi in South Africa, December 30, 2017; used here with permission. Playback Theatre is an original form of improvizational theatre in which audience or group members tell stories from their lives and watch them enacted on the spot. Sourced from the playbacktheatre.org website. The Wildness with Tiff & Manda https://soundcloud.com/thewildnesstiffandmanda accessed April 27, 2018. LM Vs. Attorney General: Challenging Criminalization of Same-sex Sexual Relationships. In September 2016, a gay man (“the Applicant”) filed an application challenging the constitutionality of Sections 164(a), 164(c) and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code. For more visit the LEGABIBO’s website: www.legabibo.org/2018/05/30/lm-vs-attorney-general-challenging-criminalisation-ofsame-sex-sexual-relationships-fact-sheet/.

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16 Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, http://adventuresfrom.com/, accessed December 12, 2017. 17 Condensed interview with Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 8, 2018; used here with permission. 18 Condensed interview with Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah carried out over WhatsApp messaging app, Ghana, January 8, 2018 used here with permission. 19 This is the act of courting someone on the Twitter app by sending a direct message. 20 Personal conversation with Dr Tlaleng, conducted over WhatAapp messaging app, January 7, 2018; used here with permission. 21 Someone who engages in the practice of kink as a sexual practice. 22 Personal conversation with Tshegofatso Senne conducted over WhatsApp messaging app, January 7, 2018; used here with permission.

References Mclean, Nyx and Tiffany Kagure Mugo. “The Digital Age: A Feminist Future for the Queer African Woman.” IDS Bulletin, Vol. 46, issue 4 (2015): 97–100. Nzegwu, Nkiru. “Osunality (or African Eroticism).” In African Sexualities: A Reader, edited by Sylvia Tamale, 253–270. Cape Town: Pambazuka Press, 2011. Tamale, Sylvia. “Researching and Theorizing Sexualities in Africa.” In African Sexualities: A Reader, edited by Sylvia Tamale, 11–36. Cape Town: Pambazuka Press, 2011.

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12 A man with boundaries Masculinities, technology, and counterpublics in urban Accra Heather Tucker

Introduction It was my second meeting with Rebel at one of the many container bars surrounding the main road in Osu, an area in Accra, per his suggestion. Near Dankwa circle, it was a hub on a corner where passersbys are on their way to the tro-tro stop and/or to walk the foot-worn dirt path through the row of food and snack vendors operating out of shipping containers stretching all the way to Oxford Street. It would soon become a spot where Rebel and I would gather occasionally, and where I will meet Rebel’s friends who would be interested in meeting me. It was a local hangout for Rebel who lives just around the corner in their family compound, and who also worked as an informal trader in the area. There were several others at tables near us, although I was the only obruni1 in sight, as this was not an obruni part of Osu. Business-oriented and well-known in the area, Rebel arrived walking slowly and calmly to the plastic table where I sat, under a large tree – he2 wore a baseball cap, camouflage shorts, and a large t-shirt. Rebel was identified to me a week earlier as a lesbian by a mutual acquaintance, Mohammad (a leader at a newly formed non-governmental organization (NGO) working on human rights, gender identity, and sexual health). Since then, Rebel and I had exchanged a series of morning and daily greetings on WhatsApp. Rebel sat with me at the table, and asked me, “what’s up?” We ordered beers and I explained that I would like to ask questions, to hang out, to get to know Rebel and any friends he may have, if he was comfortable with that. Rebel spoke with me with no hesitation and confidently began to describe himself: “I have two children. I had already made up my mind that I was not going to give birth, but this is Africa.” Beginning with describing his role as a parent first, Rebel highlighted what he thought was the central pressure for people like himself, the pressure of giving birth due to their particular social location as a perceived female-born person, and his perception that it was not the same where I am from. “I’m not the father,” Rebel asserted. I asked if Rebel was both the mother and the father, “I’m everything to them, god brings gifts you know?” Rebel’s head 158

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turned to gaze into the walkway nearby, where people come and go, “I am a man,” he explained proudly. Rebel also had informed me that he was nice, but that he had to create firm boundaries with people once they crossed him, “when you’re nice, sometimes the people will use you,” Rebel explained, communicating his frustrations with others over-using his generosity. As a self-identified man, Rebel expressed this frustration, as in conflict with his ability to be generous and to take care of others, which was an extension of Rebel’s complex and layered subjectivity. Although Rebel expressed himself and identified as a man subjectively, those around him saw him seen as “mamma.” As we walked the streets of Rebel’s neighborhood in Osu, Rebel was greeted by his peers as “Mamma Rebel.” It was just after our meeting that I noticed one of Rebel’s memes that he used as his WhatsApp profile picture, which stated, “Be Humble but Let Motherfuckers Know,” with an image produced for the US-based television show, Empire, in which a US African American male breadwinner made his empire through producing music. The meme seemed to reflect Rebel’s frustrations with a number of relationships, which came through the assertiveness of the language in the picture. I was interested to know what this might mean or how WhatsApp might be a form of expression for Rebel. The words in the image were clear: In order to create an empire, humility is important, but don’t let anyone cross you, especially the “motherfuckers.”

Whatsapp as central form of communication and construction of social networks The use of these memes on WhatsApp and the many different usages of this application became sources of information for me during my eight months of ethnographic research in Accra, Ghana in 2015. The aim of my research was to understand the ways in which individuals who were perceived as female (perceived is a key word here, as Rebel was identified as female by those around him, but in fact identified as a man), and whom were identified as having female same-sex relationships, experienced their everyday lives, and more particularly, how they maneuvered and/or were involved with NGOs working on the topics of sexual health and human rights in Accra. In the early stages of the research, I began to notice the various social norms around female same-sex intimacy in the context, and that WhatsApp was a useful application for connecting and communicating amongst individuals who were perceived to be female and who had same-sex desires. WhatsApp, is a phone application internationally accessible for free, was used as a form of communication between smartphones in urban Accra, Ghana. While used smart phones were widely accessible at any market in town, access to the Internet was also cheaply available in small purchase amounts in the form of mobile money, making it more affordable to the working poor. The plethora of mobile money vendors in the urban center of Accra was nearly as thick as the many Christian churches and posters advertising Christian events. This access to smartphones and the free application has opened mediums for communication, as individuals become connected both locally and internationally and are able to engage in multiple forms of interactions, both visually and textually. The use of the internet and the WhatsApp application provided access to: Free phone calls, texting, group chats, taking pictures of oneself, and downloading images, videos, web links, and memes from the internet, such as the one mentioned above. One could input another’s phone number into the application, begin a conversation with someone else via 159

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“chats,” and create or join groups for chatting. Another feature, which was used quite frequently, was a “profile status,” or the changing of one’s profile picture.

Whatsapp, intersectionality, gender, same-sex intimacy, and social norms in accra One example of the significance of memes, was Rebel’s use of a US-generated meme as a profile picture. The use of the meme was open to several possible interpretations. First, the image showed only a glimpse of a suit and the character’s hand holding a whiskey glass and suggested a middle- to upper-class aesthetic of African American and entrepreneurial masculinity, one in which a suit and a glass were materials needed for this performance. These two fashion items also could be interpreted as eliciting an image of control and wealth and a slight posturing of readiness. This imagery of masculinity could have been an expression of the ways in which narrow understandings of being the man were particularly related to notions of financial success, leadership, and emotional control from Rebel’s perspective and social reality. Those “motherfuckers,” as an expression, could have also eluded to what I understood to be Rebel’s frustrations with running one’s own trading business, and the discomforts of relying on individual payments and loans to make ends meet. Those “motherfuckers,” thus, may have expressed frustrations with building an empire and the dealings of what was perceived to be by Rebel to be a masculine accumulation. Furthermore, the meme and its tough masculinity could have also symbolized Rebel reasserting himself as indeed, a man, with boundaries. It became clear that social norms, gendered meanings, and power relations were central to understanding the ways in which intimacy was constructed for those who were gender and sexually non-conforming in Accra. Throughout my research in Accra, I came across forms of female same-sex intimacy, which were not expressed directly or verbally in specific spaces, but which were explained to me verbally in informal discussions regarding identity and subjectivity. In addition to these verbal and informal discussions regarding identity, WhatsApp was a new way to culturally produce new forms of intimate knowledge based on informal networks and from the realm of a discrete space. WhatsApp as a platform reconfigures the ways in which discretion is experienced in relation to nondiscursive eroticism in Accra. The use of memes and quotes downloaded from the Internet and the use of aesthetic technology helped to cut through physical space to create intimate connections and self-expression. Different images or memes were posted as profile pictures or shared within a group which give an indicator of one’s experience, a sense of self in relation to another, or perhaps, as an expression of an absence of another. One’s WhatsApp network may contain several if not hundreds of contacts from the city of Accra, across Ghana, and perhaps internationally. The extent of virtual social relations through WhatsApp made it clear that WhatsApp was what Tom Boellstorff defines as a “virtual world” in which culture is realized through the Internet (Boellstorff 2008, 18). In such virtual worlds “meaning-making” takes place within the digital form, which moves through and across the gap between “virtual contexts and actual” (Boellstorff 2008, 52). WhatsApp’s ability to exist as a virtual space that moves across and between the virtual and the everyday or the actual, allows the self to produce a form of cultural knowledge, which transcends social norms of public and private distinctions, as well as norms of intimacy. WhatsApp exists as a form of communication available for the development and expansion upon tacit forms of knowledge, while it is also a “site of affective transaction” (Currier and 160

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Migraine-George 2016, 29) in which “practices of the self” (Mbembe 2002, 272–3 cited in Currier and Migraine-George 2016) move beyond identity, forms of violence, and NGObased discourses. The ways in which social norms are regulated regarding female same-sex intimacy in Accra are a part of understanding the significance of virtual spaces such as WhatsApp for those transgressing such norms. In Ghana, supi is a term that refers to a relationship between two women that may be a close friendship or intimacy and a term which does not fixate identity (Dankwa 2009, 192). Serena Dankwa highlights that female same-sex intimacy has been constructed in Ghana as an intimacy which relies on a tacit form of knowledge-making that is tolerated socially as long as it remains unspoken and invisible, and thus, relies on informal networks (Dankwa 2009, 192–3). Such a conception of intimacy requires that privacy and discretion become central to creating spaces for female same-sex desires. It was the WhatsApp image that showed that Rebel was interested in asserting himself as a man (which he did so upon our first interview) in a society in which he was oftentimes read as a nuu-feemu or man/woman by those within his community or “Mamma Rebel,” a lesbian by those within the NGO sector, or a supi-supi lesbian by those who discursively condemn gendered variance for those perceived to be female and the association of such with a Western influence. It was the particular imagery and the use of WhatsApp in which I began to notice the ways in which constructions of subjectivity and one’s relation to others were taking place through everyday practices in virtual spaces. The social application became a space for individuals who were intersectionally positioned in terms of gender and sexuality in Accra to express themselves in response to, or in relation to, social norms. To capture the specific dynamics of gender identity identification and performance in Accra, Ghana, an intersectional perspective is vital in order to unpack the ways in which different social categories are related to space and social norms and how those with embodied experiences and narratives are typically “othered” (Collins 2000; Harding 2004; Yuval-Davis 1997) and negotiate a different positioning of social power (Collins 2000, 299). Attending to the call to pay attention to the “real and virtual” within African queer studies (Currier and Migraine-George 2016), this chapter unearths the practice and performance of identity through expressions of subjectivity as well as the maintenance of relationships via virtual spaces constructed through mobile phone applications. Particularly, Rebel’s use of the meme exemplified the masculinity of individuals like Rebel, whose use of WhatsApp worked as both a process of confirming his subjectivity and was a part of a counterpublic.

WhatsApp as a counterpublic for same-sex intimacy and gender non-conformance Existing literature looks at the Internet as a space to create counterdiscourses and counterpublics for queer women in Africa (McLean and Kagure Mugo 2015, 97), and literature which similarly looks at the ways in which queer youth in the rural US also uses virtual platforms as counterpublic spaces (Gray 2009). I suggest that WhatsApp is a mobile Internet application which serves as a space for a counterpublic for individuals who are perceived as female and practicing female same-sex sexualities and/or are gender non-conforming. By counterpublic I am referring to both Nancy Fraser and Michael Warner’s definitions. Nancy Fraser defines a subaltern counterpublic as a “parallel discursive arena” in which individuals from “subordinated social groups invent and circulate counter discourses” (Fraser 1990, 123). Fraser further explains that such counterpublics “recast needs and identities, thereby reducing disadvantage in official public spheres” (Fraser 1990), and that such 161

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counterpublics were improvised through a set of “relations and narratives that are only recognized as intimate” by those within them (Fraser 1990). Following Fraser’s definition, WhatsApp serves as a platform in which tacit forms of knowledge and intimate networks have space to construct relations and narratives in a new sphere. This virtual sphere challenges the dichotomy of the public and the private, while transforming the ways in which intimacy and the self are constructed. On WhatsApp, discourse and imagery are used to construct the self and one’s relationship to others and to challenge social norms that demonize same-sex sexualities. While these standard definitions are useful in analyzing female masculinities in Ghana, my usage of counterpublics is a more mundane and everyday interpretation of how individuals construct their lives, their sense of self, and their relationships. I am therefore not solely concerned with an intentionally politicized interpretation of counterpublics, even if it is equally important to acknowledge that politics pervades everyday interactions, albeit in a nuanced way. In my exploration of WhatsApp-based networks, explicit resistance to social norms was never considered by those I researched directly, but the phone application as a counterpublic space was more or less used to construct alternative discourses as a means to provide a platform and support system for those perceived to be in same-sex relationships.

The post-colonial frictions and WhatsApp as a space for maneuvering In order to understand further the ways in which social norms are constructed around sexuality and gender in Ghana, it is important to turn to the complicated and layered history of such norms. British colonial influences instituted the penal code section 145, defining sodomy as the act of “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” or the permitting of a “male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature” (Human Rights Watch 2008, 19). In addition to this penal code, a racialized marriage code was also instituted which sought to control inter-racial unions between colonizers and the colonized (Stoler 2002). The history of these criminal codes is evidence that the country has a history through which colonial legislation sought to control intimacy by criminalization. After independence, Ghana’s 1960 criminal code maintained the criminalization of “un-natural carnal knowledge” and any sex that is not heterosexual (Mensa-Bonsu 2008 cited by Soogard 2013). While un-natural carnal knowledge does not technically criminalize female same-sex practices, it reinforces heterosexuality. Thus, post-colonial nationalist constructions of the heterosexual Ghanaian citizen proliferate, showing the way to be a “good” citizen through essentialized notions and values of the nation-state as heterosexual (Tettey 2016, 92). The postcolonial moment is also fraught with economic challenges in Ghana. Structural adjustment programs hindered the country’s economic potential, and neoliberalism substantially widened the gap between the rich and the poor, paving the way for the privatization of public assets to transnational corporations and development NGOs. The development industry in Ghana was further impacted by transnational public health interventions in the late 1990s. Through the growth of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, transnational organizations and country programs called attention to the number of MSMs (men who have sex with men) in the country (Soogard 2013). Such interventions further prompted heterosexual essentialism from the minister of the Western Region, who called for the rounding up of all homosexuals (Aidoo 2011 cited by Soogard 2013). A particular religious figure, Reverend

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Emmanuel Martey, also took it upon himself to define Ghanaian culture as anti-homosexual and used popular and local media to promote his platform (Soogard 2013). This “mediatized homophobia,” which was given a platform, was directly connected to the liberalization of the media in Ghana in the 1990s. Economic liberalization allowed for mainstream platforms to be used by Christian leaders to demonize same-sex sexuality, while opening up access to technologies such as the Internet to more users, creating access to information, knowledge, and production of the self on a large scale (Avle 2016; Dankwa 2009). While Internet use proliferated, religious leaders in Ghana looking to gain popular nationalistic support by denouncing same-sex practices condemned “supi supi lesbianism,” and associated it with a “northern decadence,” claiming that the practice was a foreign import (Dankwa 2009). Such an interpellation of local and the foreign provides evidence of a specific formulation of terms and their meanings as they are used and dispersed throughout Accra. Furthermore, it was this construction of “supi supi lesbianism” which forced a “coming out” of the terminology of supi into the public sphere, or onto a meta level (Dankwa 2009), reformulating the expression and its usage into a derogatory nomenclature. Although supi was historically interpreted as a friendship between two women or girls, it has changed in its usage through more recent public discourses that demonize female same-sex bonds. These discursive formations regarding female same-sex relationships have created an understanding of supi as a “bad thing,” including the association with a non-Christian immoral self. Nevertheless, most of the individuals whom I met in Accra identified themselves as Christians. In March 2012, just following President Mills’ claim that he would never support the decriminalizing of homosexuality in Ghana, there was a physical attack in a predominately Ga neighborhood in Jamestown, upon supposedly identifiable LGBT3 persons (O’Mara 2013). The attack was supposedly prompted due to the gathering being an assumed “lesbian birthday party” (O’Mara 2013). Such attacks on perceived “lesbian” parties highlight a frictional space in Accra, in which insistences of violence are justified through Christian discourses which condemn female same-sex sexuality. Within such a frictional postcolonial context, female same-sex intimacy and its association with “supi- supi lesbianism” construct an environment in which applications such as WhatsApp prove to be useful in sustaining networks, relationships, and self-esteem. Within this counterpublic space of WhatsApp, for example, Rebel maneuvered intimate relationships within a kaleidoscope of gendered meanings. For example, he had expressed, after putting his two small boys to bed at his compound one evening, that his good friend had told him that many of the girls consider Rebel to be “too cool” or “too tough.” It was this notion of being both soft and tough, and both man and woman to individuals that seemed to be perplexing not only to others, but also to Rebel. It was through discussions regarding Rebel’s love interest, Marie, that I also grew to see Rebel as oscillating between tough and soft, assertive and laid back. One evening he explained his relationship with Marie, whom he had met a year earlier at a Muslim festival in the center of Accra, I don’t know what happened. She is always telling me. I’ve blocked her, and unblocked her three days ago, I feel I feel something great for her. She was very positive. The other day she says she likes me a lot, but she feels that I am not serious. I don’t know the way she wants to see things, I don’t know, I don’t know. Rebel decided to “block” Marie on WhatsApp, meaning that Rebel had disconnected Marie’s ability to send Rebel messages. As WhatsApp had become the virtual meeting space for his and Marie’s relationship, in which the two could converse by texting despite their living some distance apart, blocking became a serious message that Rebel was unhappy and 163

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wanted the relationship to end. For Rebel, he wanted the relationship to proceed to other spaces beyond WhatsApp, to bring Marie to small group gatherings, for instance. Examples of relationships such as Rebel and Marie’s show how the virtual space of WhatsApp transcends space and time. While the relationship existed online for the better part and was relegated to the virtual space, the realness of the relationship was not deflated for Rebel, who took his intimacy with Marie very seriously. Evidence of a mobile intimacy in this sense is constructed between individuals who use WhatsApp, even if it remains only apparent to those within the counterpublic space. Hence mobile technology lends itself to mobile intimacy, or forms of intimacy that cut through notions of time and space (Raiti 2007). During one of our meetings in Osu, Rebel introduced me to his childhood friend Lady, who lives a few blocks away. Lady, with long black hair and an energetic handshake (which does not include the masculine snap at the end), met me with a warm smile and excited eyes. I could see that she had been made aware of the presence of an obruni lesbian in town and was excited to talk. As soon as we finished shaking hands and Lady joined us, Lady immediately took over the energy at our small table and shared with me the details of a “love triangle” she is having with two others, both toms. I came to understand tom as a term used to describe in English, the top or more sexually and relationally dominant of two people in an intimate relationship – and is a term which is specific to southern Ghana, although has been documented cross-culturally (Blackwood 1999; Halberstam 1998; Wieringa 1999). In Accra, toms express a form of masculinity reliant on the expression of self through “dressing tom” or dressing as a tomboy – wearing clothes seen as boys’ clothing: Large t-shirts, jeans, shorts, tennis shoes, men’s sandals, or baseball caps, for example. This tomness is typically rooted in a relationship which includes two roles: Dominant (top or tom) and less dominant (bottom or femme). Lady occasionally pulled out her cell phone to check her WhatsApp messages from them both. After Lady filled me in regarding her deliberation between the two, she followed with a slew of questions about me, and I was surprised by her assertiveness. “Are you top or bottom?” she asked, “Depends on the person” I said. She agreed and also said that for her, it depends on the person. She clearly inhabited a confidence, and it was clear to me that Lady didn’t fit neatly into the dichotomous construction of the tom and femme binary. She went on to explain to me that she and I, quite clearly, according to this notion of “depending on the person” were stemmes, or someone who is able to be both a “top” and a “bottom.” This role of stemmes, femmes, and toms highlighted evidence of “situational gender,” a concept that Dankwa (2013) deploys to examine ways in which intimacy and relationships are “performed,” or rather, how gender performance is according to one’s relation to another person. Despite the tom and femme binary seemingly echoing heteronormative dichotomous relationships, a stemme also exists in urban Accra, echoing alternatives and a messiness regarding binary conceptions of gender and sexuality, which are quite common within intimate relations in varying contexts. Lady’s intersectional positioning was evident. She was both gender non-conforming and practicing female same-sex intimacy and had a simultaneous interest and passion for maintaining a Christian faith as a central aspect to her life, an intersection that is quite common amongst many queer individuals in Accra. A week later, my understanding of Lady’s intersectionally became even clearer. She invited me to her small WhatsApp group named, “Money over Bitches” or “MOB”, which was made up of her friends, including Rebel and only one of her two lovers she had been discussing with me. Assertive, talkative, and selfassured, Lady is the group’s administrator on WhatsApp, and constantly and consistently adds posts which include memes about anything from “how to finger well” to morning Christian bible verses. 164

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MOB often celebrated birthdays and name days, and generally served as a platform for connection. From Lady’s interest in talking about sex and including me in her group, as well as her passion for Christian bible verses which she seemed to intend to use to raise the groups selfesteem, she used the WhatsApp platform to reclaim female same-sex relationships in Ghana. While the group is small and private, it served as a way for Lady to construct a positive association between female same-sex practices and the ways in which individuals related to Christianity. Interestingly, Lady served as a sexpert and a Christian on the WhatsApp forum. By sexpert, I am referring to the notion of individuals who prioritize their desires and the erotic self over “historically kin-based web of social relationships” (Parikh 2015, 39). Lady was a self-made version of a sexpert on her private WhatsApp group, and provides “advice on how to achieve the desired norm” (Parikh 2015, 39) of sexual pleasure but also self-esteem. This combination of a Christian and sexpert identity reformulates conventional social norms mediated through homophobia that view lesbian and Christian subjectivities as diametrically opposed in Ghana. These identity confirmations of Christian selves of queer women are in tune with queer African studies scholar Nyeck’s concern that “spaces of recognition and belonging” in African contexts must also include an exploration of what “culture and religion have to offer in the understanding of sexuality in Africa” (Nyeck 2016, 102). The virtual space on WhatsApp allows for positive discourse regarding one’s erotic subjectivity even when it transgresses taboos regarding permissible conversations about sexuality.

Conclusion In conclusion, in the complex postcolonial context of Ghana, those who are intersectionally positioned in Accra in accordance with social norms around female same-sex intimacy, are daily negotiating gendered meanings and power relations both through their understanding and construction of self, but also in their forming of relationships and networks. Within the wider context of southern Ghana, a “mediatized homophobia” that provides a platform for Christianized discourses that perpetuate heterosexuality as the Ghanaian norm, demonizes female same-sex practices and/or gender non-conforming individuals. Oftentimes, individuals such as Rebel use the platform of WhatsApp to construct everyday relationships and self, realized as belonging through virtual spaces, offering a way of expressing female masculinity and female same-sex intimacy in the form of a counterpublic space. Such formations of affective transaction suggest ways in which intimacy and the self are reconfigured by such spaces, but also how they may maneuver and possibly transcend and empower the self and others in such a context.

Notes 1 Obruni is a Twi term for foreigner, usually referring to white or European foreigners. 2 While Rebel identified as a man, a tom, a lesbian, and as transgender, his peers referred to him as she. While Rebel did not correct those around him who used these pronouns, as a way of reflecting Rebel’s male gender identity, I will choose to refer to Rebel as “he.” 3 I use the term LGBT here in keeping with the acronym that O’Mara (2013) uses.

References Aidoo, P.E. “World News: Ghana Orders the Arrest of All Homosexuals.” Ghana Web, 21 July 2011. https://bit.ly/2VjxgrK accessed May 2019.

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Avle, Seyram. “Situating Ghana’s new Media industry: Liberalization and Transnational Entrepreneurship.” In Locating Emerging Media, edited by Germaine Halegoua and Ben Aslinger, 123–138. London and New York: Routledge, 2016. Blackwood, Evelyn. “Tombois in West Sumatra: Constructing Masculinity and Erotic Desire.” In SameSex Relations and Female Desires: Transgender Practices Across Cultures, edited by Evelyn Blackwood and Saskia Wieringa, 181–205. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. Boellstorff, T. Coming of Age in Second Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. Collins, H. Patricia. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge, 2000. Currier, Ashley and Migraine-George, Therese. “Lesbian’/Female Same-Sex Sexualities in Africa.” Journal of Lesbian Studies, Vol. 21, no. 2, (2016): 1–18. Dankwa, Serena. “‘It’s a Silent Trade’: Female Same-Sex Intimacies in Post-Colonial Ghana.” Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Vol. 17, no. 3, (2009): 192–205. Dankwa, Serena. “The One Who Says I Love You: Love, Seniority, and Relational Gender in Postcolonial Ghana.” In Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, Citizenship, edited by S.N. Nyeck and Mark Epprecht, 170–187. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013. Fraser, Nancy. “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy.” Social Text, Vol. 25, no. 26, (1990): 56–80. Gray, Mary. Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America. New York: NYU Press, 2009. Halberstam, Jack. Female Masculinity. Duke University Press: Durham, 1998. Harding, Sandra. The Feminist Standpoint Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. Routledge: New York, 2004. Human Rights Watch. This Alien Legacy The Origins of “Sodomy” Laws in British Colonialism. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2008. https://bit.ly/2HeWjRd accessed May 2019. Mbembe, Achille. “African Modes of Self-Writing.” Public Culture, Vol. 14, no. 1, (2002): 239–273. McLean, Nyx and Kagure Mugo, Tiffany. “The Digital Age: A Feminist Future for the Queer African Woman.” IDS Bulletin, Vol. 46, no. 4, ( July 2015): 97–100. https://bit.ly/2GVgIMv accessed May 2009. Mensa-Bonsu, Henrietta J.A.N. The Annotated Criminal Offences Act of Ghana (5th ed.). Accra: Black Mask, 2008. Nyeck, S.N. “African Religions, the Parapolitics of Discretion and Sexual Ambiguity in Oral Epics.” Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, Vol. 155, (2016): 88–104. O’Mara, Kathleen. “Making Community and Claiming Sexual Citizenship in Contemporary Ghana.” In Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, and Citizenship, edited by S.N. Nyeck and Marc Epprecht, 171–188. Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2013. Parikh, Shanti. Regulating Romance: Youth Love Letters, Moral Anxiety, and Intervention in Uganda’s Time of Aids. Vanderbilt University Press: Nashville, 2015. Raiti, Gerard. “Mobile Intimacy: Theories on the Economics of Emotion with Examples from Asia.” Media Culture, Vol. 10, no. 1, (March 2007). https://bit.ly/2VNgLDo accessed May 2019. Soogard, Mathais. “Consequences of Imposing the Homo/Hetero Binary and the Prospect for Decriminalization of MSM in Contemporary Ghana.” Masters Thesis. Copenhagen: Centre of African Studies, University of Copenhagen, 2013. Stoler, Anne Laura. Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. Tettey, W. “Homosexuality, Moral Panic, and Politicized Homophobia in Ghana: Interrogating Discourses of Moral Entreprenuership in Ghanaian Media.” Communication, Culture & Critique, Vol. 9, no. 1026, (2016): 86-106. https://doi.org/10.1111/cccr.12132 Wieringa, Saskia. “Desiring Bodies or Defiant Cultures: Butch-Femme Lesbian in Jakarta and Lima.” In Same-Sex Relations and Female Desires: Transgender Practices Across Cultures, edited by Evelyn Blackwood and Saskia Wieringa, 206–229. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. Yuval-Davis, N. Gender and Nation. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1997.

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13 Deconstructing homosexuality in Ghana Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed

Introduction In recent years, there have been heated debates on homosexuality in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, the Gambia, and Zimbabwe among others. Anti-gay sentiments have been expressed in public discourses on platforms such as social and legacy media (TV, radio, and print media). Over 30 African countries have laws that criminalize homosexuality (Gaffey 2017), ultimately leaving LGBTQIA+ people as perpetual targets of physical and psychological violence. Homosexuality and anti-gay violence in Africa have been theorized extensively from various perspectives (Dankwa 2009; Msibi 2011; Tamale 2011, 2014; Tettey 2016a). Much of the research on homosexuality has presented evidence of the existence of homosexuality in precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial Africa. This mode of argumentation has been developed to counter the widely held notion that homosexuality is unAfrican. Despite the presentation of evidence on the existence of homosexuality in precolonial African societies, little impact has been made on changing the narrative that fuels homophobia in the public sphere today. Countries like Ghana have recently recorded homophobic violence despite attempts to legitimize homosexuality in African societies through arguments presented in research (Msibi 2011; Tamale 2011, 2014; Tettey 2016a). For instance, in early 2015, a young man was physically assaulted in Newtown, Accra because the perpetrators believed he was gay (Joy FM, February 11, 2015b). This chapter explores homosexuality in Ghana within the notion of taboo, examining closely media discourse on the issue and the contributions by institutions such as religion, politics, law, and education to anti-gay sentiments in Ghana. While previous research has adopted a reactionary stance to discussing homosexuality, a deconstruction of homophobia by examining sexuality, taboos, and sexual deviance, drawing parallels between manifestations of homophobic violence and actions taken towards various types of sexual deviance in Ghanaian society, is presented. While sexual deviance like adultery is frowned on, sexual taboos like rape and incest are highly discouraged. It is imperative to note that the framing of discourses around the unAfrican-ness of homosexuality has drawn on taboo notions to support this argument; therefore, deconstructing sexual deviance in the provisions of social taboos provides an avenue for further unpacking homophobia.

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Theoretical and methodological framework A postcolonial perspective is adopted to analyze the data gathered from Ghanaian news websites on homosexuality. This approach not only contextualizes Ghana as a postcolony but also demonstrates the situatedness of homosexuality in precolonial Africa. The postcolonial perspective employed illuminates the intersections of gender and sexuality in heteronormative, patriarchal societies. Here, I examine how African traditions, colonialism, and imperialism have affected the constructions of discourses on homosexuality in Ghana. Through framing, I analyze how media organizations construct news stories on homosexuality, paying critical attention to the recurring themes in these frames. In media studies, framing points to the ways in which news stories are presented to highlight perspectives that usually align with dominant ideology while downplaying perspectives that challenge the status quo. Using purposive sampling, online news stories were gathered from two major Ghanaian news organizations’ websites: Joy FM and Citi FM. Radio news sites were selected for the study because radio has come to be established as the one medium that many Ghanaians turn to for news, irrespective of geographical location, gender, or socio-economic class (Tettey 2011). Focus here is on news published online between January 2014 and April 2016. For data collection, I used the search terms “homosexual,” “homosexuality,” and “gay.” The word “lesbian” was excluded from this category because of the fetishization masked as “tolerance” of lesbianism, the gendered focus of homosexuality in public conversations, and how anti-gay discourses draw on notions of masculinity to justify the unnaturalness of male homosexuality (Tamale 2014). Homosexuality has been used to reference same-sex desire between men in a way that excludes lesbianism and other non-conforming sexualities in Ghana. Tamale (2014) asserts that concern about same-sex desire among men can be attributed to the threat it poses to patriarchy and dominant notions of masculinity. The exclusion of lesbians from most discussions of homosexuality, however, does not mean that lesbians do not experience homophobia in Ghana. Conversations about lesbianism are distinguished from discussions about homosexuality, indicating how the word “homosexuality” is interpreted. Therefore, the use of homosexuality in this chapter is limited to sampling male same-sex acts and desire. For each website, stories that popped up with these individual search terms were selected and limited to the results yielded in the first five web pages of online publications between 2014 and 2016. I come to this study with the positionality of a Ghanaian-born, heterosexual, ethnically marginalized (Dagbana), middle-class straddling, college-educated cisgender woman who has spent over 85% of her life living in three major Ghanaian cities (Tamale, Accra, and Kumasi) with about five years working in Ghana’s radio media. My positionality as a heterosexual cisgender woman may mitigate my ability to understand the intricacies of the lived experience of LGBTQIA+ people in Ghana.

Overview of literature While most research on sexuality studies in Africa has been published on East (Tamale 2014) and South Africa (Jones 2008), West Africa remains understudied. Given the draconian laws instituted by over 30 African countries (Gaffey 2017) to police sexualities in Africa, it is useful for more research to be carried out to address this phenomenon. Representatives of social institutions in Ghana including traditional political authority (led by traditional chiefs), the government, religion, and academia have engaged in discourses on homosexuality. Many of the voices representing these public institutions have condemned homosexuality and called on the Ghanaian legislative body to institute measures to make the “illegality” of 168

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homosexuality clearer within the law. Therefore, to further understand the framing of homosexuality within Ghanaian society, the research undertaken sought to answer the following questions: • •

How has sexuality manifested in precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial societies in Africa, particularly Ghana? How have stakeholders within public institutions in Ghana responded to the question of homosexuality?

Curiously, Ghanaian law does not specifically mention homosexuality in stipulating sexual offences. The Ghanaian Criminal Code of 1960, Act 29, Chapter 6, Sexual Offences, Article 105 amended in 2003, states that “whoever is guilty of unnatural carnal knowledge – (a) of any person without his consent, is guilty of first degree felony; (b) of any person with his consent, or of any animal, is guilty of a misdemeanor” with a penalty of five years imprisonment and not more than 25 years. Quartey (2011) argues that Ghana’s law on sexual deviance punishes “unnatural carnal knowledge” which is defined as “sexual intercourse with a person in an unnatural manner or with an animal.” According to him, the “Ghanaian public has conflated homosexuality with pedophilia, sodomy and criminality” (Quartey 2011), as they are classified in the same category in Ghana’s law on sexuality thus justifying, with these connections, overt homophobia. Dankwa (2009) explored lesbian communities by interviewing same-sex desiring women in southern Ghana. This study focused on “sexual sociality emerging beyond the subcultural language of identity politics” (Dankwa 2009, 193). Therefore, conversations on same-sex desire among women are beyond the scope of this chapter as female same-sex desire is conceptualized differently from male same-sex desire in Ghana. Previously, Tettey (2016b) argued that the Ghanaian media encourages moral panic, which results in the persecution of gay people after studying and categorizing news reports about homosexuality into analytical frames.

Colonialism, sexuality, and taboo Conversations on homosexuality in Ghana revolve around the notion that homoeroticism is unAfrican. Political leaders in the Gambia, Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana have used the rhetoric of the unAfrican-ness of homosexuality to condemn same-sex sexualities. Many African leaders have promoted anti-gay rhetoric to counter Western leaders’ promotion of what is believed to be a “gay agenda.” In countries with stringent laws on homosexuality that range from three years in prison to a death sentence, homosexuality has been cited as being against the culture, tradition, and values of these respective communities. The passing of laws in some Western countries to legalize homosexuality has resulted in the opposite effect in many African countries like Nigeria and the Gambia. In Ghana, where fuzzy laws against homosexuality were rarely enforced, there has been a renewed interest in persecuting people whose sexualities do not fit into heteronormativity. Recently, socio-political discourse in Ghana generally condemns and calls for the persecution of homosexuals. Ghana’s speaker of parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye, has publicly denounced gay rights many times (Citi FM, July 11, 2017). However, research has shown evidence of same-sex desire and relationships that challenged heteronormativity as a national identity. In ethnic groups such as the Hausa (West Africa), the Nuer (present-day South Sudan), the Swahili (East Africa), the Azande (of northern Congo), and the people of Dahomey (present-day Benin), among others (Murray and Roscoe 1998), same-sex relationships or intercourse manifested in 169

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various ways and worked with the dynamics of economic, social, and in some cases political power (Msibi 2011). Although not the focus of this chapter, later in the chapter a brief discussion from a comparative perspective will situate the anti-homosexuality politics of Ghana in conversation with similar developments elsewhere on the continent. Laws on homosexuality in many African countries were carried forward from the colonial era, resulting in the enforcement of colonial laws in politically independent, postcolonial countries (Han and O’Mahoney 2014). Countries formerly colonized by the British were more likely to have laws criminalizing homosexuality than countries formerly colonized by the French (Han and O’Mahoney 2014). The law that criminalizes homosexuality was drawn from the “British imperial legal instruments, like the Indian Penal Code Section 377A” (Han and O’Mahoney 2014). Indeed, the language used in this penal code is identical to the language in the Ghanaian constitution that is used to interpret the prohibition of homoeroticism. A combination of phrases identical to “unnatural carnal” acts (in the Ghanaian Criminal Code discussed earlier) seems to resonate in the laws in many former British colonies. According to Human Rights Watch, this “was also the first colonial ‘sodomy law’ integrated into a penal code-and it became a model anti-sodomy law” in countries such as India, Malaysia, and Uganda and was extended to countries like Ghana (Gupta 2008). Thus, the use of “sodomy” in homophobic discourses and criminalizing homosexuality using “sodomy laws” can be traced to the British colonial legal instrument which drew largely from Christian and biblical rhetoric (Gupta 2008). Therefore, much of the institutionalized homophobia that has resulted in the persecution of gay people in African countries is drawn from colonial laws instituted by colonial institutions which when introduced at the time were compatible with some patriarchal heteronormative communities where homosexuality was frowned on. While there is documented evidence of the existence of homosexuality among the Dagara of southern Burkina Faso (Murray and Will 1998) and northern Ghana, some Ghanaian ethnic groups deny the existence of homosexuality in precolonial times. These colonial laws, both compatible with some precolonial cultural values and incompatible with others, came to be established as national values on sexuality in Ghana. In most scholarly research on homosexuality in Africa, focus has been placed on how homosexuality is conceptualized using Christian and sometimes Islamic religious injunctions (Tamale 2011; Tettey 2016a), while little attention has been paid to African Traditional Religions. Conceptualizing homosexuality from the standpoint of African Traditional Religions by teasing out provisions of social taboos opens space for understanding the violence that sometimes accompanies homophobia in Ghana. Here, homophobia is defined as physically and psychologically violent attitudes or utterances toward gay people, including (un)intentional commentary on sexuality that may lead to the persecution of gay people. A critical examination of African Traditional Religions opens ways of understanding how taboos gradually transition into the realm of social norms or acceptable actions that do not warrant sanctions from society. Coincidentally, Islam, Christianity, and African Traditional Religions are constantly placed oppositional to one another in the Ghanaian context, yet they encourage the discrimination of people who deviate from social norms and expectations (Richter et al. 2017; Tamale 2014). Among the Dagbamba (Dagomba) of northern Ghana, taboos were instituted to maintain social control and harmony. Taboos were utilized to police sexuality. Community members who committed sexual taboos like adultery or rape were sanctioned by traditional authority through ostracism, banishment, and in some cases public flogging at the chief’s palace. Adultery was punishable by the actions mentioned. Some community members (usually men) took it upon themselves to safeguard the sanctity of their marriages by placing charms or juju on their wives. In this patriarchal society, adultery committed by women was considered abominable, 170

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therefore, baribu became the last resort for many men who hoped to keep their wives’ sexual deviance monitored. Baribu, which in Dagbanli means “to set a trap,” was performed by men who were suspicious of their wives’ fidelity. These men consulted traditional priests to put juju on waist beads to be worn by their wives without the women’s knowledge. It is believed that if these women attempted to commit adultery, their partners would either fail to erect or the bodies of the parties involved would get stuck in the process of having sex. When this happened, the legitimate husband of the woman could decide whether or not to help perform rituals that would disentangle the man and the woman engaged in adultery. Among the Dagbamba, baribu manifested in various forms; it could either affect the man and woman engaged in adultery or just the man involved, depending on the preference of the legitimate husband. Beyond baribu, adulterers could be banished from the community. In other sexual offenses such as rape, the rapist was either banished or publicly flogged. Another strategy to check sexual deviance was songs composed to ostracize perpetrators of sexual deviance. Women composed songs to shame offenders and these songs were sang while performing chores or during simpa (a popular night-time dance common among young Dagbamba). These ostracizing measures that utilized shame are said to have been effective in the old days when shame was a powerful tool for punishment and social control. Although shame might have been a prime recourse for regulating sexuality in the old days, it is still deployed to address social issues. In 2014, a sex scandal broke in the Northern Region’s capital, Tamale, where sex tapes and photos of a young man who had sexual relations with over 30 women were released. When this happened a traditional chief of the city, (the late) Naa Dakpema Dawuni Alhassan, called for the banishment (emphasis mine) of these women for bringing shame to the city (Citi FM, August 8, 2014b). The pronouncement of the chief in response to this scandal is an example of traditional sanctions placed on individuals who are perceived to be “sexually deviant” in present-day Ghana. Therefore, the behavior of many Ghanaians in response to legalizing homosexuality and general contemptuous attitudes toward homosexuals may stem from traditional notions of sexual taboos. This resistance to sexual deviance is applied to homosexuality, which is perceived as a sexual offense among some ethnic groups. As seen above, taboo issues were addressed through physical violence, ostracism, and banishment. Arguably, physical violence inflicted on homosexuals in Ghana today is similar to sanctions on the sexually deviant in the old days. Still, it is hard to tell whether attitudes toward homosexuality in Ghana today began in precolonial times or whether colonial laws that frowned on homosexuality colluded with an already homophobic taboo structure to create homophobia in contemporary Ghana. Concern here is on the deconstruction of sexuality within the context of a postcolonial African nation which grapples with cultural identity as culture has proven to be malleable and fluid when it interacts with various forces not excluding religion and colonialism. The subsequent sections show how stakeholders within public institutions in Ghana responded to the question of homosexuality during the period under investigation. The aim here is to deconstruct the institutionalization of homophobia in Ghana by examining public discourses in Ghanaian media.

Christianity, Islam, and African traditional religions on homosexuality To address the growing need for conversations on homosexuality and gay rights in Africa, many who believe that homosexuality is unAfrican blame the Global North for trying to impose their stance on homosexuality onto African countries like Ghana (Tettey 2011). The pervasiveness of this notion of a foreign import has been attributed to the way the West has 171

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consistently presented anti-homophobic discourse to leaders of African nations in a topdown manner through an unequivocal demonstration of their political, economic, and cultural power. Paradoxically, representatives of Islam and Christianity have helped propel the narrative of the unAfrican-ness of homosexuality. The powerful positions that Abrahamic religions hold in countries like Ghana and the power they wield shape public conversations. Ironically, many churches in Ghana are funded by their evangelical counterparts in the West to push homophobic discourses, yet they make their arguments on homosexuality using African-ness to legitimize their homophobia (Quartey 2011; Tamale 2013; Tettey 2016a) as exemplified in the headline below. Christian Council cautions govt, academia against gay branded donations. (Citi FM, October 22, 2015a) This headline references the idea that Western nations give African nations conditions when presenting them with aid packages. Also, evangelical church groups based in the West have been blamed for pressure from Christian groups on African governments to take a firm antigay stance (Quartey 2011; Tamale 2013; Tettey 2016a). This frame of discourse is reinforced in the lead of the same news story: The Christian Council of Ghana has strongly advised government agencies to beware of foreign donors who set acceptance of homosexuality as a condition for donations and support. (Citi FM, October 22, 2015a) Here, the belief in the West’s agenda of exporting homosexuality to Ghana is even more pronounced as the Christian Council of Ghana cautions the Ghanaian government against falling victim – as the words “foreign” and “beware” signify – to the tactics of Western nations that seek to export homosexuality to Ghana “branded” as aid. This frame presupposes that these “gay branded donations” – connoted by the definitive word “acceptance” (versus an alternative such as “tolerance”) – will propel LGBTQIA+ activism in Ghana if they are accepted and their conditions implemented. The approach adopted by the Global North toward the Global South and postcolonial nations regarding homosexuality has come off as a display of imperial power and cultural incompetence. According to Quartey (2011), a “widespread, facile notion among many Africans is that homosexuality is an ‘evil’ brought to the continent by the West;” an evil which African governments are conditioned to accept if they are to get aid from Global North countries. Quartey (2011) and Tamale (2014) assert that the moral stance that the Global North has taken on homosexuality today has been dissociated from the way in which colonizers instituted laws in colonies that policed homoerotic desire. According to Ireland (2013, 49), “colonialism accounts more than other factors – albeit far from decisively – for the pattern of legal acceptance or rejection of homosexuality observed across the continent.” The incoherence of the argument about the unAfrican-ness of homosexuality is reinforced by the reality that both Islam and Christianity, which have led homophobic conversations in Ghana, were once thought (and might still be perceived by some) as imported and unAfrican. For a while, Christian groups dominated homophobic discourse in the country. However, in the past few years, Muslim leaders have joined the conversation: Homosexuality is “dirty” and “abominable” – Takoradi Chief Imam. (Citi FM, July 18, 2015) 172

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The use of the word “dirty” and “abominable” emphasizes that these homophobic sentiments are derived from religious language. Most Abrahamic religions place value on virtue, purity, and cleanliness. Islam is one of the religions that require its adherents to perform a purification ritual to be literally cleansed before standing in prayer. Describing homosexuality as “dirty” and “abominable” in effect presents the idea that per the interpretation of the Takoradi Imam, Islam and homosexuality are incompatible. This is repeated and reinscribed in the lead to the story: The Chief Imam of Takoradi, Alhaji Mohammed Awal, has warned all Muslims to stay away from homosexuality, describing the practice as “dirty” and “abominable.” (Citi FM, July 18, 2015c) This framing of homosexuality and the language of ostracism cast homosexuals as a group that does not belong in the fold of Islam. This dissociation of homosexuality from Islam means that same-sex desire is not only forbidden, but is “devilish” and subject to punishment also; a claim explicitly used in public communications: He urged Muslims that such “devilish” acts would attract the wrath of Allah. (Citi FM, July 18, 2015c) Like the Muslim clergy, Christian leaders draw on the Bible to support their anti-gay stance: When religious people do nothing, homosexuality increases – Rev. Samuel Kisseaddo. (Joy FM, June 29, 2015d) “Homosexuals will not go to heaven” he [Rev. Samuel Kisseaddo] quoted Romans 1 for biblical support. (Joy FM, June 29, 2015d) Framing homosexuality as evil based on religious doctrine is perhaps the reason Christian and Muslim leaders have rallied to put pressure on individual citizens to demand that homosexuals be denied rights in Ghana. It is possible that people who have carried out violence on people thought to be gay did so in the name of their religious beliefs as propagated by Christian and Muslim leaders. According to Mack (2016), while the word homosexuality does not exist in the Qur’an many religious leaders have chosen to select certain parts of it to justify homophobia, while others, like South Africa’s Muhsin Hendricks, have emphasized Islam’s compatibility with non-conforming sexualities. Beside Abrahamic religions, Murray and Roscoe (1998) present the manifestations of the complexity and fluidity of African sexualities in precolonial Hausa society. They reveal that homosexuality manifested in African Traditional Religions among the Dagara of southern Burkina Faso and northern Ghana, where priests served as mediators between the physical world and the spiritual realm (Murray and Will 1998). They practiced homosexuality as part of their priestly identities while they maintained heteronormative relationships in which they had wives and children (Murray and Will 1998). These manifestations of the fluidity of nonconforming sexualities challenge the argument that bases homophobia on the unAfrican-ness of homosexuality since fluid sexualities manifested in various forms in parts of West Africa. Therefore, the constant policing of sexuality pointing to its unAfrican-ness is intrinsically flawed as there are unclear demarcations between what is African and what isn’t. 173

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Legal discourses on homosexuality Many anti-gay “activists” have cited legality as the reason homosexuality should not be affirmed in Ghana. This is one of the most obvious ways support has been drawn from a public institution to frame the legality of homophobia. It is also a demonstration of how institutions, which are usually perceived by the populace as objective, support each other in maintaining their legitimacy perspectives on public issues. In the following news headline, homosexuals are dehumanized and stripped of the rights that other people in Ghana enjoy: Homosexuals should not have rights – Foh-Amoaning. (Citi FM, March 16, 2016) This frame oversimplifies the issue of homosexuality by presenting a binary: Legal vs. illegal. This oversimplification makes it easier for the media to present simplistic dominant frames that “play to existing cognitive schemas” (Scheufele and Tewksbury 2007, 12). This way, the nuance in discussing homosexuality is ignored while at the same time preserving the patriarchy as manifested in heterosexuality by ensuring that non-conforming sexualities are neither acknowledged nor legitimized. Hardin and Whiteside (2010) argue that the taken-for-grantedness of frames position them as natural and normal, feeding how power operates inconspicuously, serving hegemony and normalizing the oppression of marginalized groups. This frame draws on the (in) actions of people in governance who have legislative power to support homophobia: “We cannot trust our politicians on all other issues because there have been several matters where this country had been sold off by our politicians, but on this issue of homosexuality, we will not allow our politicians to sell us off.” He [Moses Foh-Amoaning] stated. (Citi FM, March 16, 2016) Ironically, Moses Foh-Amoaning, a law lecturer, who is quoted above, is a person with albinism whose life would be threatened if he lived in societies where albinism was stigmatized. While some draw on Ghana’s “unclear” law on homosexuality to verbally persecute gay people, others like a member of Ghana’s legislative body call on the Ghanaian government to present a clear, comprehensive policy on homosexuality whether pro- or anti-gay: The Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin is urging government to declare its position on homosexuality. (Citi FM, February 28, 2014a) Laws are regarded as tools that maintain social order. Therefore, to address and manage Ghana’s current situation on homosexuality, laws need to be made. While instituting a law that protects gay people does not automatically change physically and psychologically violent attitudes toward them, a law that is unclear on homosexuality and or makes it illegal emboldens homophobic attitudes: “If we are for gay practices and we say it’s a human rights issue, we are accepting it, we have to live with it, then we should provide facilities at the health centers to take care of them because people are dying,” he [Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin] suggested. (Citi FM, February 28, 2014a)

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Even though some legal practitioners in Ghana have discussed the fuzziness of the law on homosexuality, it is being enforced in situations where homosexuality is coupled with criminality. The enforcement of a fuzzy law is the manifestation of the dominance of cognitive schemas like homophobia within the context of individual thought and across Ghanaian institutions: Ali-Gabass faces two counts of defilement and having unnatural carnal knowledge. (Joy FM, October 24, 2014) He has already confessed to sodomising a 16-year-old boy in an interaction with Joy News investigator Manasseh Azure Awuni. (Joy FM, October 24, 2014) In the case of Dr Ali-Gabass, who was accused of sexually abusing a senior high school boy, he was charged with two counts, one of which includes “unnatural carnal knowledge” which has been widely interpreted as homosexuality. If the victim of the sexual abuse had been a girl, the accused would have likely been charged with one count of defilement: The doctor accused of sodomising a minor has been remanded in prison custody to reappear on November 7, Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng reports. (Joy FM, October 24, 2014) The word choice, “sodomising,” draws on biblical language about Sodom and Gomorrah, which many Christian clerics have used to justify homophobia. Same-sex desire has been constantly conflated with bestiality in conversations on homosexuality, and laws that punish homosexuality list bestiality in the same category as homosexuality.

Social institutions and homophobia Beyond the law, marriage is another social institution that has been brought up to support heteronormativity in anti-gay rhetoric. Marriages in many African societies have been linked to procreation and the maintenance of kinship and lineage and inheritance rights (Hunter 2016; Nwoye 2007). Increasingly, marriage within the context of heteronormativity has come to be seen as a social norm and a cultural value (Nwoye 2007) as exemplified in elaborate marriage ceremonies performed across Ghana today. Institutionalized compulsory heterosexuality supports various social systems that are rooted in patriarchy, gender roles, and male supremacy. Heterosexuality is preserved through “social rules, economic structures, political battles, religious ideologies, dress codes, gender socialization and the policing of gender and sex orders” (Pereira 2009, 52). Social institutions frame public discourse in ways that present heteronormativity in opposition to homosexuality, creating the impression that non-normative sexualities are a threat to institutionalized sexualities. This way of conceptualizing sexuality not only institutionalizes heteronormativity, it reproduces an institutional legitimization of the “unnaturalness” of homosexuality. A heterosexual couple’s ability to procreate is the ultimate display of manliness, manhood, and masculinity. It is this notion of masculinity that the wife of (the late) past vice-president of Ghana, Matilda Amissah-Arthur, employs to dispel rumors that her husband is gay; in this frame, then, procreation and homosexuality are mutually exclusive:

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We have two children, how can my husband be gay? 2nd Lady rubbishes rumours. (Joy FM, March 7, 2015c) To support her argument, she draws on heterosexual male virility, which is usually expected to result in procreation. She cites their ability to have children as evidence of her husband’s heterosexuality. She also reinforces the notion that physical markers can identify a person’s sexuality, as the following indicates: I’m his wife. We have two children. We’ve been married for 36 years. You think if he was gay, I would be living with him? Or you think if he was gay, I wouldn’t know? (Joy FM, March 7, 2015c) Her statement also points to the framing of sexuality as heteronormative, which discounts sexual fluidity. Matilda Amissah-Arthur was forced to “defend” her husband’s masculinity because he was framed as effeminate in rumors about his sexuality. The idea here is that policing masculinities preserves the patriarchy and heterosexuality given that men whose visible masculinities do not fit into the standards of hyper masculinity can be identified and ridiculed into conformity, as in the case of Ghana’s former vice-president, Kwesi AmissahArthur.

Sexuality in educational spaces Representatives of the educational sector like other public or social institutions have contributed to institutionalized homophobia through public comments. In the headline below, the Ghana Education Service (GES) suggests psychiatric help for gay students as an alternative to criminal prosecution: “Gay students” to see psychiatrists – GES. (Citi FM, February 23, 2015b) This assertion is similar to the way same-sex desire was regarded in the West in the not-sodistant past by dominant social ideologies, even within the scientific community, which framed homosexuality as a treatable illness. This scientific homophobic frame still plays out in public discussions on homosexuality in Ghanaian media, as the above-referenced headline indicates. The Volta Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service has said it will refer the students of the St. Paul’s Senior High School in the Volta Region, who were alleged to be homosexuals to psychiatrists for help. (Citi FM, February 23, 2015b) This is an example of state-sanctioned scientific homophobia, which supports Ireland’s (2013, 49) argument that “homophobia can be sponsored by the state or by institutions like religious groups, the private sector and the military.” At the university level, the former vice-chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has added his voice to public homophobia. To maintain heteronormativity, he calls on

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Ghanaians to put an end to discussions about homosexuality, ultimately supporting the clergy in the verbal public persecution of gay persons: Don’t create platform to discuss same-sex marriage – KNUST VC. (Citi FM, August 1, 2015d) This symbolic annihilation of homoerotic desire presents homosexuality as a threat and advocates for its push to the periphery so that heteronormativity can thrive. The article adds: “I don’t think there is even the necessity to dialogue about this insensitive act, not to talk of tolerating it in our country,” Prof. Ellis stated, and added that various Christian and political leaders had, over the years, stood firmly against same-sex marriage, a move which must be sustained by all well-meaning Ghanaians. (Citi FM, August 1, 2015d) The framing of homosexuality in the text above not only trivializes and otherizes homosexuality; it looks to religion and politics for homophobic support. Entman (2010, 337) argues that people in the elite group are concerned with “what people think,” therefore they control dominant ideology which in turn influences what they want the masses to think about. Although there has been general knowledge of the expression of homoerotic desire, especially in Ghanaian all-boys or all-girls boarding schools, there had not been recorded reports of violence against same-sex desiring individuals until homophobic discourse became pervasive in public spaces. In 2015, violence erupted in an all-boys senior high school in the Volta Region because two students were said to be in a same-sex relationship. The following headline and supporting paragraph summarize the turn of events: Two SPACO “homosexuals” arrested; Police investigate death of student. (Joy FM, February 7, 2015a) The school was a hotbed of chaos and violence when the angry students turned their fury on some teachers said to be shielding the homosexuals. (Joy FM, February 7, 2015a) Framing homosexuality as a sexual taboo in Ghana may have emboldened people to treat homosexuals the way sexual deviants have been treated in the past. This perception has not only caused direct physical harm to gay persons, it has also put the lives of the instigators of such violence at risk, as seen in the St. Paul’s High School incident: A police stray bullet hit the head of a first-year student said to be among a group of rampaging students who wanted to attack the two alleged homosexuals. (Joy FM, February 7 2015a) Therefore, homosexuality when framed by dominant ideology as a taboo in cultural and religious conversations, as a sickness in educational spaces, and as illegal based on the law, creates a society in which the rights of homosexuals are threatened. Theorizing homophobia from the perspective of the evolution of taboos and sexual deviance may open space for thinking through localized strategies to legitimize homosexuality.

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Counter discourses on homophobia in Ghana Despite the pervasiveness of anti-gay sentiments, there are few voices that do not get as much attention as the dominant ones. Some of these unpopular perspectives have come from individuals unaffiliated with public institutions. Counter discourses about homophobia have drawn on Africa’s past by highlighting ethnic groups in which homoeroticism was socially situated (Ireland 2013; Quartey 2011; Tamale 2013; Tettey 2016a). Like these scholars, pro-gay individuals in their commentary on homosexuality draw on precolonial sexualities. As one article notes: Homosexuals (lesbians and gays) were found and tolerated on the continent. They were found among the Asantes and Nzemas in Ghana, the Bagandas in Uganda, the Zandas in Sudan, and the Khoikhoi’s in South Africa. Some of these relationships were formalized, with the female husbands and boy-wives paying bride price to the parents of their partners [Nana Ama Agyemang Asante]. (Citi FM, July 15, 2015c) Unlike the dominant discourse on homosexuality, the counter statements are usually sourced from the personal blogs of writers and filed under the opinion section of the news site. This shows the level of seriousness accorded to voices that deviate from the norm on sensitive topics such as homosexuality. But Africa’s sexual minorities are fighting back. “Who defines what is un-African?” They are falling on ancient traditional practices documented by anthropologists, to counter what in their view, is a misinformed perception about homosexuality being alien to Africa [Patrick Ayumu]. (Joy FM, July 17, 2015) The text above was also filed under opinion, while most of the other news stories previously analyzed are in the news section of the website. This categorization of dominant and counter discourses on homosexuality in Ghana is a demonstration of media organizations’ alignment with or distancing from the perspectives presented. The scarcity of stories that take a pro-gay stance is indicative of the institutional entrenchment of the persecution of gay people in Ghana.

Reflections While previous literature has examined how homosexuality was situated in precolonial Africa to legitimize homosexuality on the continent (Msibi 2011; Tamale 2011, 2014; Tettey 2016a), I build on this research by drawing attention to the ways in which homophobia can be understood by deconstructing its situatedness within Ghanaian society. Indeed, the findings of this study support Tettey’s (2016a) work, which sheds light on the moral panic surrounding homosexuality in Ghana. The legitimization and institutionalization of homophobia in Ghana supports and justifies this moral panic. The embeddedness of homophobia in social institutions in the country can be connected to the collusion of colonial institutions and perhaps some already homophobic patriarchal societies in the country. This chapter deconstructed the institutionalization of homophobia in Ghana’s public sphere by examining how the news media frames homosexuality. To balance, reportage on homosexuality in Ghana, “overreliance on official sources” (Hardin and Whiteside 2010, 178

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317) feeds the dominant frames that need to be examined. Ghana’s success with a free press can be utilized to represent various perspectives on the issue. To understand homophobia, a critical contextualization of what African cultures are is needed. Instead of imposing the center onto the margins, by applying strategies developed in and for the West to address homophobia in Ghana, I propose that measures be taken to work from the margins by developing strategies tailored to the Ghanaian situation to ensure a more inclusive society. Just like governments of Western superpowers, many Western gay activist groups adopt a colonizing approach that defines them as civilized and categorizes postcolonial nations like Ghana as primitive (Fanon 1952) in the overall discourse on homosexuality. This othering of potential allies in activism for rights for gay people has proved counterproductive to centering sexually marginalized groups. Rather than employ ethnocentric activist strategies, international activists should work with local activist groups to come up with strategies suitable for the contexts in which they operate (Beyrer 2014; Ireland 2013). To understand how rights manifest in many African countries, activists and scholars need to turn to tradition and culture to unpack what rights mean in the particular African context. According to Undie and Izugbara (2011), rights are socially situated rather than individuated in many African societies; therefore, patrilinearity and matrilinearity, kinship, and ethnicity, among other markers, may determine how an individual’s rights are activated. Approaching the notion of human rights from this contextual perspective will be useful as we attempt to deconstruct homophobia in Ghana. In addition, the notion of taboo and sexual deviance can be re-examined to understand the root of general attitudes toward sexuality. Revisiting the construction and evolution of taboos might move us toward addressing homophobia more effectively.

Conclusion In this chapter, I discussed institutionalized homophobia in Ghana, paying attention to how this phenomenon pervades various institutions in the country by contextualizing the Ghanaian socio-cultural space. It has been argued that to understand the pervasiveness of homophobia across Ghanaian institutions, it is imperative to deconstruct sexuality within the social process of taboo, drawing attention to the treatment of homosexuality in this context. Manifestations of homophobia in the country mirror the sanctions imposed on members of society for going against sexual norms. This chapter opens ways to reconceptualize homophobia in postcolonial countries such as Ghana, paying attention to the way it is woven into the various institutions that operate in these societies. While presenting evidence of the existence of homosexuality in some African societies can be useful for legitimizing it within African identity, it is imperative to examine the way that traditional institutions factor into this discourse. Ultimately, a holistic deconstruction of homophobia opens avenues to create safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ people in Ghana. Future research can build on this chapter by critically examining the evolution of taboos and sexual deviance to drive the conversation toward studying how homophobia can be addressed from the perspective of social norms and taboos. This decolonized approach might be useful for nuancing discussions on homosexuality and addressing the dominant idea that homosexuality is unAfrican.

Acknowledgments I would like to extend my profound gratitude to Dr Matthew McAllister for his guidance during the initial stages of this project. I am thankful to Dr Anthony Olorunnisola for his 179

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continued guidance on the revision of this chapter. Finally, I would like to thank nba Mohammed Adams for facilitating my access to indigenous knowledges among the Dagbamba on the topic.

References Asante, Nana Ama Agyemang. “Christianity is Un-African, Homosexuality isn’t.” Citi FM, 15 July 2015. https://bit.ly/2HaYGHu accessed May 2019. Ayumu, Patrick. “Homosexuality: alien, or not, to Africa?” Joy FM, 17 July 2015. https://bit.ly/ 2YnBTy1 accessed May 2019. Beyrer, Chris. “Pushback: The Current Wave of Anti-Homosexuality Laws and Impacts on Health.” PLoS Medicine, Vol. 11, no. 6, (2014): e1001658. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001658. Citi FM. “Ghana Needs a Clear Policy on Homosexuality – MP.” Citi FM, 28 February 2014a. https:// bit.ly/2Wy0JdZ accessed May 2019. Citi FM. “Banish Girls in Tamale Sex Tape – Chief.” Citi FM, 8 August 2014b. https://bit.ly/2Hav8Zc accessed May 2019. Citi FM. “Christian Council Cautions Govt. Academia against Gay Branded Donations.” Citi FM, 22 October, 2015a . https://bit.ly/2VhGYpG accessed May 2019. Citi FM. “‘Gay Students’ to See Psychiatrists – GES.” Citi FM, 23 February 2015b. https://bit.ly/ 2VqXoAF accessed May 2019. Citi FM. “Homosexuality is ‘Dirty’ and ‘Abominable’ – Takoradi Chief Imam.” Citi FM, 18 July 2015c. https://bit.ly/2VQDn6d accessed May 2019. Citi FM. “Don’t Create Platform to Discuss Same-sex Marriage – KNUST.” Citi FM, 1 August 2015d. https://bit.ly/2OIXPDe accessed April 2016. Citi FM. “Homosexuals Should Not Have Rights – Foh-Amoaning.” Citi FM, 16 March 2016. https:// bit.ly/2vN3P1R accessed April 2016. Citi FM. “We’re Fed Up with Demands for Gay Rights – Speaker.” Citi FM, 11 July 2017. https://bit. ly/307lnUe accessed December 28, 2017. Dankwa, Serena Owusua. “It’s a Silent Trade”: Female Same-sex Intimacies in Post-colonial Ghana.” NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Vol. 17, no. 3, (2009): 192. Entman, Robert M. “Framing Media Power.” In Doing News Framing Analysis: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives, edited by, Paul D’Angelo and Jim A. Kuypers, 331–356. New York and London: Routledge, 2010. Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press, 1952. Gaffey, Conor. “Where is it Illegal to be Gay in Africa?” Newsweek, 10 July 2017. https://bit.ly/ 2t0QELT accessed May 2019. Gupta, Alok. “This Alien Legacy: The Origins of ‘Sodomy’ Laws in British Colonialism.” Human Rights Watch. 17 December 2008. https://bit.ly/1RnQNO1 accessed May 2019. Han, Enze and O’Mahoney, Joseph. “The British Colonial Origins of Anti-gay Laws.” TheWashington Post, 30 October 2014. https://wapo.st/2WsHOkF accessed May 2019. Hardin, Marie and Whiteside, Erin. “Framing Through a Feminist Lens.” In Doing News Framing Analysis: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives, edited by, Paul D’Angelo and Jim A. Kuypers, 312–330. New York and London: Routledge, 2010. Hunter, Mark. “Introduction: New Insights on Marriage and Africa.” Africa Today, Vol. 62, no. 3 (2016): vii–xv. Ireland, Patrick R. “A Macro-level Analysis of the Scope, Causes, and Consequences of Homophobia in Africa.” African Studies Review, Vol. 56, no. 2, (2013): 47–66. Jones, Tiffany F. “Averting White Male (Ab)normality: Psychiatric Representations and Treatment of “Homosexuality in 1960s South Africa.” Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 34, no. 2, (2008): 387–410. Joy FM. “Gay Doctor Remanded; Charged with Defilement.” Joy FM, 24 October 2014. https://bit.ly/ 2OGo7Gd accessed May 2019. Joy FM. “Two SPACO ‘Homosexuals’ Arrested; Police Investigate Death of Student.” Joy FM, 7 February 2015a. https://bit.ly/1zOw0bV accessed May 2019. Joy FM. “Police Deploy Personnel to Newtown Following Assault of Alleged Gay Man.” Joy FM, 11 February 2015b. https://bit.ly/2R9VMom accessed May 2019.

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Joy FM. “We Have Two Children, How Can My Husband Be Gay? 2nd Lady Rubbishes Rumors.” Joy FM, 7 March 2015c. https://bit.ly/2q929gu accessed May 2019. Joy FM. “When Religious People Do Nothing, Homosexuality Increases – Rev.Kisseado.” Joy FM, 29 June 2015d. https://bit.ly/2CAmjal accessed April 2016. Mack, Mehammed Amadeus. “What Does the Koran Say about Being Gay?” Newsweek, 15 June 2016. https://bit.ly/28OiJMy accessed May 2019. Msibi, Thabo. “The Lies We Have Been Told: On (Homo) Sexuality in Africa.” Africa Today, Vol. 58, no. 1, (2011): 55–77. Murray, Stephen O. and Roscoe, Will. eds, Boy-wives and Female-husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities. 1st ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. Nwoye, Augustine. “The Practice of Interventive Polygamy in Two Regions of Africa: Background, Theory and Techniques.” Dialectical Anthropology, Vol. 31, no. 4, (2007): 383–421. Pereira, Charmaine. “Interrogating Norms: Feminists Theorizing Sexuality, Gender and Heterosexuality.” Development, Vol. 52, no. 1, (2009): 18–24. Quartey, K. “Can the West Export Gay Rights?” Foreign Policy in Focus, 13 December 2011. https://bit. ly/2DX29Yf accessed May 2009. Richter, Roxane, Flowers, Thomas, and Bongmba, Elias K. Witchcraft as a Social Diagnosis: Traditional Ghanaian Beliefs & Global Health. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2017. Scheufele, Dietram A. and David Tewksbury. “Framing, Agenda Setting, and Priming: The Evolution of Three Media effects Models.” Journal of Communication, Vol. 57, no. 1, (2007): 9–20. Tamale, Sylvia. African Sexualities: A Reader. 1st edition. Oxford: Pambazuka Press, 2011. Tamale, Sylvia. “Confronting the Politics of Nonconforming Sexualities in Africa.” AfricanStudies Review, Vol. 56, no. 2, (2013): 31–45. Tamale, Sylvia. “Exploring the Contours of African Sexualities: Religion, Law and Power.” African Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 14, (2014): 150–177. Tettey, Wisdom John. “Homosexuality, Moral Panic, and Politicized Homophobia in Ghana: Interrogating Discourses of Moral Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Media.” Communication, Culture & Critique, Vol. 9, no. 1, (2016a): 86–106. Tettey, Wisdom John. “Radio in Africa: Publics, cultures, communities.” In Talk Radio and Politics in Ghana: Exploring Civic Discourse and (un)civil Discourse in the Public Sphere, edited by, Liz Gunner, Dina Ligaga, and Dumisano Moyo, 19–35. Woodbridge: James Currey, 2016b. Undie, Chi-Chi and Izugbara, Chimaraoke O. “Unpacking Rights in Indigenous African Societies: Indigenous Culture and the Question of Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa.” BMC International Health and Human Rights, Vol. 11, no. Suppl. 3, (2011): S. 2. doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S3-S2.

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Slate Alexis Teyie There is a photograph of me somewhere, Doubled over, this heart a stone Too hot to pass on (But I’m not a man! We’re both girls, you know!). The stone Slate, or basalt. In this photo, On my back, a valve, The valve narrowing. An interval. A hand tosses a harpoon. Stunted procedures: A song for a coin; A kiss for a song; A life for a kiss; The law for a life. It’s fine. It’s all fine. Is a groaning heart an answer? What is the answer to a groaning stone? – the right answer? I swallow it. I swallow it whole, The stone. I swallow it all. Now then, this then, its teeth, Its stain, its latch –

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Is a stone a question, An intercession? Strange Seeds Unoma Azuah Seed farmers chanced upon a sprouting seed brown in a field of greens A pause, a stare, and the whistling of leaves stopped It was plucked Seed farmers happened upon a green and brown seed A pause, a long stare A slow whistling of leaves Then a sigh …hybrid is the new breed.

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14 Revisiting authoritative accounts of #FeesMustFall movement and LGBTI silencing C. Anzio Jacobs

Here is a physical and real manifestation of [patriarchy], within our space. This [rape] speaks, and is almost a visualization of months of violence, which had been meted out on us. (Sandi Ndelu – Student activist and co-founder of the Trans Collective)1

Introduction #FeesMustFall was a widespread student-led movement in South Africa that came as result of growing frustration by students nation-wide regarding yet another fee increment. Students had been protesting against inaccessible tertiary education from the advent of South Africa’s democracy. However, in this iteration of protests, the staging power of students came as a result of previous protests not having achieved the desired effect of affordable access to education due to socio-economic disparities. When this chapter was drafted, little had been written on the #FeesMustFall (henceforth #FMF) protests of 2015/16 in South Africa in relation to the ideology of intersectionality during the protests and its ramifications during this protests. Since then, the special edition of the journal Agenda (2016) on intersectionality entitled “Feminisms & Womxn’s Resistance Within Contemporary African Student Movements” has attended to this lacuna. Some scholars have already written or are in the process of writing about the student protest experiences from the perspectives of gender, social cohesion, and everyday struggles in South Africa (Heffernan and Nieftagodien 2016; Naidoo 2016). This contribution is interested here in reading the stories told by people who participated in the protests, but were subsequently excluded because of their sexual orientation and gender identities. The aim is to capture some of those narratives and shed light on the reasons for the exclusion of certain bodies and persons from the protests as they continued. Consideration is given to the experiences of 12 “fallists” with the aim of capturing the stories of those who have not traditionally had their voices heard using race, intersectional identities, black anger,

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black pain and hope for a better future, as frameworks for questioning the politics and contexts of the #FMF movement. This chapter interrogates the effect of heteropatriarchy on #FMF. It does so through a qualitative analysis and interpretation of data collected from primarily black queer “fallists” in the movement. This is contextualized through a retelling of their stories in interviews where black queer “fallists” reflect on the movement and the meaning of their presence in relation to their heterosexual male counterparts. Queer presence navigated the #FMF space in the process of teaching others to (un)learn societal norms which negate an understanding of multiple identities or affirm difference as a social marker and the basis of exclusion. According to Hislop, unlearning is “particularly useful during the processes of change, arguably involves both the ability to both learn and unlearn” (2009, 125). It appears through this process of (un)learning that #FMF leaders who were cisgender, or “individuals who possess, from birth and into adulthood, the male or female reproductive organs (sex) typical of the social category of man or woman (gender) to which that individual was assigned at birth” (Aultman 2014, 61), did not manifest the desire to engage in intersectional strategies. They instead shunned such an approach to protests for fear of derailment. Yet, the contributions made by black queer and LGBTQIA+ “fallists” with particular emphasis on the experiences of women/womxn protesting under the banner of #FMF, is in order to illustrate their ill-documented presence in the movement. The roles of cisgender individuals in treating black queer and LGBTQIA+ students differently during the protests are interrogated, considering structural and systemic violence mobilized to define the positionality of black queer “fallists.” To interpret the sharp contestations of space that become apparent when considering this queer groups of students, it is important to note that the “fallist” movement has not been a homogenous one, and the experiences in different universities have largely been influenced by the socio-economic setting in which the various “fallists” found themselves.

Methodology The Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA), based at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), commissioned a Queer Oral History Project in order to capture queer narratives which may have occurred during the #FMF protests of 2015/16 in South Africa. GALA “makes an important contribution to the achievement and development of the human rights of LGBTQIA+ people on the continent through its projects related to social justice more broadly” (GALA Queer Oral History Project 2016, homepage). GALA archives LGBTQIA + histories through the Queer Oral History Project. The oral history component was later extended in order to produce this chapter on the effect of heteropatriarchy in the #FMF movement. The interlocutors in this study are from three institutions, namely the University of the Western Cape (UWC), a historically black institution, the University of Cape Town (UCT), a historically white institution, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), a historically white institution, and 12 “fallists” focus groups using open-ended interviews. The importance of examining these institutions cannot be emphasized enough, because they directly determine the social context in which #FMF emerged. A focus group was conducted at the Gender Equity Unit at UWC where students who felt more comfortable speaking as a collective. While various attempts were made to engage with the UCT students on their campus, their interviews were conducted in various locations around Cape Town chosen by the participants due to restricted movement imposed by the university on students who had been singled out during the protest through disciplinary procedures. At Wits, a focus group was conducted at GALA, while other interviews were conducted in 186

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various locations of the participants’ choosing in and around Johannesburg. The interviews and focus groups were conducted between August and September of 2016 in order to allow participants to reflect on their experiences ahead of planned mass protests beyond the initial protests of 2015. The self-identification of the author of this chapter as a queer “fallist” from Wits made it relatively easy to carry out the commissioned work of assembling archives for the oral history project and to arrange focus groups for interviews with the student protesters. Ahead of the interviews, participants were given assurance that the research would be shared with them upon completion of a final draft, and that it would be at their discretion whether they would allow GALA to make use of the data collected with their names attached, should they feel comfortable with how the interviews were transcribed. Furthermore, as the interviewer self-identified as queer and cisgender presenting, the pre-interview process included a lengthy introduction to each participant ahead of each session in order to ensure their comfort. This resulted in content-rich transcripts being produced for the oral history project and generated data used in this research endeavor. The excerpts from the transcripts are quoted verbatim in order to limit the researcher’s perspective and to maintain as far as possible the integrity of the experiences shared orally.

Contextualizing #FMF In 2015 student and worker protests erupted at universities across South Africa. These became most notable perhaps when a student from the UCT threw faeces at a statue of Cecil John Rhodes (Sampson 2015), a colonialist who believed in the superiority of the British. The Rhodes legacy went beyond South Africa where he was the prime minister of the Cape Colony. Rhodes was an acclaimed businessman, most notably through his business dealings in the Kimberley mines. He also formed the British South African Company that went on to colonize Zimbabwe. Rhode’s legacy left in its rise affirmations of racial segregation and deeply entrenched socio-economic disparities.2 The act of throwing the faeces at the statue, however, was significant in the sense that it brought media attention for support and alarm. The support came from various groups at the University of Cape Town who had long been discussing their discomfort with the structural violence of the campus, including its monuments and “as one looked deeper into the situation, it quickly became evident that the student-led protest was not about Rhodes or his fall. It was rather a symbolic physical representation of all that is wrong with our universities and the country” (Pather 2015, 1). This incident, however, did not occur in isolation, as became apparent in the following weeks. Several universities joined the call for an end to multiple oppressions spurred on by the #RhodesMustFall (#RMF) campaign. The struggle against various oppressions protests across the country rallied under the social media banner #FMF. It would, however, be incorrect to assume that this movement gained its momentum through this moment alone. Saleem Badat, a former vice-chancellor at the university currently known as Rhodes, recalled student protests of 2009 (Badat 2016). However, there are longer genealogies that can be traced. For instance, Prishani Naidoo observes that the present activism has its roots in the 1990s, when she was a student activist herself. In her response to Badaat, Naidoo suggested that conditions and concerns have remained similar, but that #FMF has been the pivotal moment in which previous issues were engaged with more robustly (Naidoo 2016). Various protests have since taken place at different universities across the country since then, but have largely gone unnoticed because of the socio-economic status of the protesting universities. Teferra and Altbachl conceded that, 187

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African higher education, at the beginning of the new millennium, faces unprecedented challenges … academic institutions face obstacles in providing the education, research, and service needed if the continent is to advance … [In their discussion they are] not generally optimistic either in analyzing the current reality in much of Africa, or in pointing to future prospects … [They continue to state that] African universities currently function in very difficult circumstances, both in terms of the social, economic, and political problems facing the continent, and in the context of globalization [that] the road to future success will not be an easy one. (Teferra and Altbachl 2004, 22) The #FMF protests started in the last quarter of 2015 with a call for a 0% fee increment for the following year. Protests escalated across the country as government announced a 0% fee increment for the 2016 academic year but remained unclear about long-term policy commitment. The incertitude about school fees beyond 2016 left many students even more disgruntled. The outcome of subsequent meetings was a government retort, which broadened the scope of protest to include free decolonized3 education, later merged with worker solidarity groups protesting for better working conditions and insourcing. This broader coalition finally considered a wider and conscious effort to remedy the injustices of the past through protests calling for more considered methods of access to higher education. The call for free quality and decolonized education during the third quarter of 2016 was reified due to the shortfalls of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and its inability to sufficiently afford financial aid to students in need. This time, however, as a result of further proposed fee increments and for the first time since the Soweto Student Uprising of 1976, thousands of students joined the protests that ultimately resulted in the effective shutdown of several universities. An eNCA (eNews Channel Africa) news article, drew parallels between the two protests: #FeesMustFall is about achieving the real social and economic change that their counterparts in 1976 had fought for and died. Wits SRC leader Nompendulo Mkhatshwa said: “The revolution is coming. Rhodes fell, Stellenbosch is being opened, Wits is being decolonized. There are many movements happening in the country, at universities right now. The youth is ready to speak.” Unlike the students of 1976, the youth of 2015 won’t be silenced by violence. (eNCA 2015) In an article in Citypress, Ntsaluba pointed out parallels with the protests of the 1976 student uprising and those of #FMF: “The catalysts of activism were student’s/school pupils in both cases … education and the transformation of the education system are at the core of their dissatisfaction … the colonised and Westernised content … dominates academic syllabuses.” Finally Ntsaluba points out that the most concerning “of all these parallels is the excessive use of force by both governments in dealing with the protests. The image of a dying Hector Pieterson will forever be a symbol of ‘76” (Ntsaluba 2016). As the protests grew in numbers, the ideological stances of many student groups came to the fore and were seen as integral to the collective reasoning. Black radical feminism, panAfricanism, and intersectionality were the core ideologies used to justify the sustained protests particularly after the #RMF campaign at the University of Cape Town.

Race in context One cannot ignore the salience of race in the debate over the validity of the #FMF protests as it was core to the rhetoric of the movement. It is important to make a distinction 188

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between being White as a racial category and whiteness as an ideological position because racial categories seem to be at the heart of the discomfort in these conversations. The two are not always articulated as mutually exclusive. White in the South African context refers to a racial grouping which enjoyed social, political, and financial privilege during the Apartheid era, and enjoys such privileges today still. Use of the upper case “W” when referring to White is to emphasize it as a definitive and exclusionary racial category entrenched through colonial rule as superior. Conversely, when referring to its other, black, the category is less definitive the use of a lower case “b” captures a less-definitive category inclusive of Indian, Coloured, Black, and even Asian, according to the South African categorization. This explanation is by no means new and has been discussed several times over in academic papers on race. Whiteness refers to the ideological difference that is entrenched as a result of colonization. However, during the #FeesMustFall protests, new life was breathed into this explanation as racial tensions rose up particularly when white students joined the protests as allies. It is the attitudinal embodiment of a colonial mindset that subconsciously and consciously claims dominion over the other. It is the inability to recognize privilege because it is so intrinsic to one’s being. It is indeed also a tool of the master’s house, which others occasionally use to come closer in proximity to the master (Fishkin 1995). In the case of #FMF, many middle-class students were at the forefront of protests, which highlighted a problematic in that a struggle was being waged to show-up socioeconomic disparities, often making use of the narratives of working-class students and yet at the forefront of the movement working-class students were seldom seen. The student body which bannered under #FMF has been accused of hooliganism or thuggery. Yet, it is these students who actively engage across the borders of socio-economic difference to bring about change. They use the same tools of socio-economic divides, the legacy of a colonial past and the master’s tools, to dismantle the house of the master. While the approach may be flawed, the conversation was taking place despite the difficulty of the protests.

Intersectionality Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality in 1989 to explain the multifaceted identities of black women seeking legal remedies on grounds of such identities; it gained popularity as a descriptor of multiple oppressions faced by marginalized segments of society. The #FMF protests were premised on some of the same issues which arose in the student movement of 1976, also known as the Soweto Uprising (Heffernan and Nieftagodien 2016), which addressed inequalities in education under the oppressive Apartheid regime. In 2015, some of the student movements in various universities sought relief along the lines of racial divides in articulating a call for free, quality, and decolonized education. They also sought a remedy for a system inconsiderate of the intersectional identities of the protestors. The choice here of the word intersectional insists on the consideration of students across all lines of oppression, including, but not limited to race, class, culture, gender, and sexual orientation. While the last of these may not seem as pertinent as the others in relation to these protests, all of these intersections have a bearing on the lived experiences of students. Intersectionality was frequently used in the #FMF movement in order to draw attention to the multifaceted identities of the participants in the protests. In the #RMF mission statement, student protesters articulated the importance of an intersectional approach as follows: [A]n intersectional approach to our blackness takes into account that we are not only defined by our blackness, but that some of us are also defined by our gender, our 189

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sexuality, our able-bodiedness, our mental health, and our class, among other things. We all have certain oppressions and certain privileges and this must inform our organizing so that we do not silence groups among us and so that no one should have to choose between their struggles. (JWTC – Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism – #RMF Statements, 2017) As many of the student movements modeled themselves on the work already done at UCT, it became common cause for “fallists” across the country to rally around ideologies presented through the #RMF movement which, particularly prior to morphing into #FMF in 2015, ran a successful campaign. UCT “fallists” spent a considerable amount of time during their own protests to explain the rationale behind the use of intersectionality as an ideology the movement needed to embrace; other universities across the country had not done the same. This became apparent during fallouts between “fallists” at various meetings where quarrels broke out for that reason. This shortfall would come back many times over in various ways to haunt “fallists” across the country. In the process of learning, particularly in the context of a decolonial movement, there exists an onus to (un)learn warped ideological stances at various intersections that come from a colonial history. On several occasions in 2015 during the #FMF occupation of Solomon Mahlangu House at Wits in Johannesburg, men addressed the crowds and attracted the attention of the masses with their thundering calls for high discipline. Very seldom did a man go up to address the crowd and struggle to attract their attention. This was not surprising, because while it was not immediately articulated as such, it appeared that men exercised a certain level of control over the space and their womxn.4 Witnessing this, it appeared that their counterparts dared not take up any semblance of leadership in their presence. At several intervals, while womxn rallied the crowds through song, a man could simply speak over the voice of his womxn counterpart and silence her. This was in stark contradiction to the intersectional approach, which the movement purported to be in favor of. During the first few weeks of the protests at Wits, several calls were made for womxn to be more visible in the space, owing to the fact that while they were clearly leading the movement, this did appear to be the case at all publicly. The then Wits Student Representative Council president, Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, worked tirelessly to assert her claim over the space, but her efforts were overshadowed on several occasions by her predecessor Mcebo Dlamini and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) student branch leader, Vuyani Pambo. Mkhatshwa rallied support from the womxn of the African National Congress/Progressive Youth Alliance (ANC/PYA) group who wore head wraps in order to show solidarity with her. After a day or two of this show of solidarity, the womxn once again tried to assert their claim over the space by leading the crowd in song and unfortunately, the response was far from favorable. When they attempted to speak to the crowd, their voices were quickly drowned out by men who sang over to silence them. This left a bitter taste in the mouths of many who supported womxn assuming leadership of the movement. In subsequent mass meetings, several calls were made for a rotational chair position, which in theory would have created an equal space for men and womxn alike. This was an easier pill to swallow for many and resulted in a more democratic process in meetings. While tensions regarding the issue of intersectionality remained high in the #FMF space, it was toward the end of the 2015 year that the descent became clearest. During the Neville Alexander memorial lecture at the University of Johannesburg, a number of “fallists” involved in #FMF from around the northern region of the country gathered to discuss #FMF in more detail. The topic of intersectionality was brought up during discussions and a fight broke out between the “fallists.” While insults were flung around, what became even 190

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more concerning was the blatant rejection of an intersectional approach, using the rhetoric that it was the queer and womxn students in the movement along with feminists who were attempting to derail it.

Time in context: Past and present In order to understand the internal premise for the disruption of the #FMF protests, one would need to question the rationale behind the hallucinations described by Naidoo in a presentation at the Ruth First Memorial Lecture. Naidoo describes the protests as “the project of historical dissonance, of clarifying the untenable status quo of the present by forcing an awareness of a time when things are not this way.”5 She calls such a dissonance “hallucination” and challenges us to interrogate how to interpret the #FMF student protests with an uncompromising view of the position of intersectional identities struggle within it. In her communication, Naidoo meditates on the possibility of reimagining a better future for higher education in South Africa while struggling and living prefiguritively and critiquing the status quo in the present. Activists in the Western Cape and Gauteng (particularly black South Africans) experienced discomfort during their hallucinations of a better place, Azania,6 the Promised Land if you will, as a return to a time where the land was untainted by colonialism. The discomfort seemed to be two-sided. On the one hand, there was a desire to fashion a reality in which all were equal, but on the other hand, this was juxtaposed with a marginalization of certain bodies. The movement calling for free quality and decolonized education seemed so preoccupied with this paradox that it was willing to achieve its objectives at the expense of overt exclusion of others, a stance that contradicts two of the pillars of radical black feminism and pan-Africanism. Radical black feminism perhaps in its most rudimental form is concerned with intersectional identities, which are intrinsically linked, therefore requiring holistic attention. Pan-Africanism in its most rudimental form envisages a unified Africa for all Africans, both in Africa and in the diaspora. Therefore, in calling for a pan-African society there was an implied desire to achieve global solidarity against racism, but also to address the (internal) sexist colonization in the #FMF movement which excluded certain kinds of bodies based on their ascribed inferiority. While this may appear to be a harsh criticism, the insistence, particularly by heteropatriarchs in the space of #FMF, on punting intersectionality was deeply discouraging, precisely because in public interviews with the media, the term was flung around but quickly forgotten in collective private spaces such as mass meetings. These contradictions required work to be done in order to address what the students in the Western Cape had already articulated as a necessary process of (un)learning. Heteropatriarchy in the #FMF movement required already marginalized queer bodies to once again speak out against their marginalization, and worse to carry the yolk of educating those who were unwilling to learn or welcome an all-inclusive strategies and mindset. Besides Naidoo’s (2016) understanding of hallucinations, other thoughts on the #FMF help contextualize internal debates and politics and external perception of the movement. An article written by Geoff Budlender, the former Student Representative Council (henceforth SRC) president of the University of the Western Cape in 1972 gave an account of protests of his time. According to Budlender, the 2016 protests at Wits in Johannesburg were a moment of déjà vu, especially in his description of how universities function in South Africa as follows: [t]heir educational methods, for example, have perpetuated the values of the status quo. They have promoted schooling before education, authority before learning, discipline 191

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before freedom …They have directed the attention of their students to the problems of the elite industrial society: engineers for the super highways which serve the white suburbs; commercial practices to ensure a safe continued profit: industrial psychology to fit the man to the job; surgical operations to treat hearts that have failed from over-eating. But we know the real problem in South Africa is poverty and powerlessness – not small profits; under-eating, not over-eating. Yet our universities continue to produce people and knowledge to fit into the slots created by our representative society – complaining bitterly all the while about how repressive the society is. (Budlender 1972, 3) It is in these criticisms of the university space in 1972, just ahead of the Soweto Uprisings, that we begin/one begins to understand just how distilled anger is in the student uprising in South Africa. Budlender himself years later sat on the Council of UCT, which was one of the first sites of revolt against systemic violence seen through the inaccessibility of tertiary education in the 2015/16 student uprising. Budlender in his time as SRC president was quite vocal in protest and articulated that “[t]here [would] be many people who oppose us if we act – and they will raise various objections to our action. Their basic objection, however, will be simple – it will be that we are acting, that we are doing something” (Budlender 1972, 3). Indeed students in the #FMF movement are doing something, they are calling out societal problems, drawing attention to socio-economic disparities and even racial divides. They are imagining a time in which contestations do not result in the reoccurrence of similar protests in the future. Budlender describes how society will call protesting students out during Apartheid: [t]hey will say that we are unrepresentative – that we are only a small minority … a strange allegation from a government which represents about eleven percent of the people it rules. But our answer to this allegation is quite simple. With Henry Thoreau, we will say that “any man more right than his neighbor constitutes a majority of one already.” (Budlender 1972, 4) Ironically, 44 years later that is exactly how the minority of comfortable elites who preside over universities, and who share laughs with their petty bourgeoisie friends in government, reacted in the student protests of 2015/16. They claimed many times over that the minority who chose to disrupt were selfish, hooligans even, and did not deserve education. It seems as if we have learned nothing from our history thus far, and if we do not start learning now, resistance will surely repeat itself, albeit in different and perhaps unpredictable forms. Budlender goes on to recount a protest on the steps of the Jameson Building at the University of Cape Town when he writes; [t]here was a small group of people resisting, refusing to bow down – the 400. There were people trying to persuade them to bow down – notably, certain senior member[s] of the university administration, trying to avoid confrontation at all costs – and not realizing that the confrontation was already, and permanently, with us. And there were the sympathizers – the 1200. Who agreed with the 400, but … who felt that by shouting Sieg Heil, they were doing their bit, and supporting the 400 … the majority of good Germans did [just that] under Hitler’s regime … Did they not realize that it was precisely this sort of passive “opposition” that allowed Hitler to rule, and allows our

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government to rule … [This begged the question] [a]m I one of 1200 [who simply sympathize], or one of the 400 [who would act] ? (Budlender 1972, 6) Eerily almost identical occurrences have taken place at several universities across the country in the biggest uprising since 1976. At Wits on the 10 October 2016, just over a year after peaceful protests commenced at the university, a brutal standoff between private security guards and students took place on the steps of the Great Hall. Students were trying to enter the building, which they should have access to as part of their academic space, and were disallowed entry by private security guards. Out of frustration, rocks were flung at the private securities guards who were asked to clear the way so that students could enter several times, and police arrived on the scene using stun grenades to disperse the crowd. The policing of students included curfews imposed by the university, resembling that of the Apartheid regime. Black students were frequently mirandized by police and private security, resulting in an influx of sexual harassment and assault complaints both through official and unofficial channels. Movement became more restricted, with patrolling security and police across campuses. This indicated an affront against black students who yet again fell victim to a system determined to keep them out. To make matters worse, those who had born the brunt of socio-economic disparities, those marginalized bodies who had numerous intersecting identities were again being victimized and ostracized for articulating through protest their unwillingness to remain in a system never designed for them. This is the fact of blackness in present-day South Africa, this is the yolk marginalized bodies continue to bear.

Student voices When speaking to two black queer womxn activists (who wanted to remain anonymous) from UCT in a focus group, their stance was extremely clear. They were weary of how positionality has the potential of silencing others and were quite vocal about that. They felt that black bodies are read primarily as cisgender heterosexual (cis-het) males, inconsiderate of black womxn, queers, gender non-conforming bodies, and the disabled. It is these bodies that seemed ineligible to occupy the #FMF space. Students shared their views with the researcher, starting with the notion of consciousness within the space (referring to the #FMF movement). “One cannot be called conscious, if such consciousness only extends to the borders of one’s privilege. Consciousness cocooned in privilege does not understand oppression,”7 commented Ndelu during her interview. Steven Bantu Biko’s held that: Black Consciousness is in essence the realization by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression – the blackness of their skin – and to operate as a group in order to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude. It seeks to demonstrate the lie that black is an aberration from the “normal” which is white. It is a manifestation of a new realization that by seeking to run away from themselves and to emulate the white man, blacks are insulting the intelligence of whoever created them black. Black Consciousness, therefore, takes cognizance of the deliberateness of the God’s plan in creating black people black. (Biko 1971) Black womxn, queer, gender non-conforming, and disabled people were all marginalized in the #FMF space as non-Conscious persons. Marginalization became so apparent that queer 193

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groups felt the need to meet alone within the movement to speak about their problems and to address the silencing by men who preside over #FMF meetings under the guise of being conscious. Although Biko uses a male language to speak of Consciousness, his broader vision is one that places Consciousness as an accessible right for all God’s creation, irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation. That Biko speaks of God, he does not mean a Christian Muslim God only, but of an ideal that we should aspire to and embrace in any struggle for decolonization and freedom for all. It is in this sense that (queer) womxn felt that their identity became secondary to the politics of the #FMF movement which was being advanced on their backs. Perhaps more interesting an observation was the proximity of black cis-heterosexual (henceforth cis-het) women to the politics of black cis-het men, which was part of the problem. It became clear that black, queer, gender non-conforming, and disabled womxn felt betrayed by black cis-het women who were in positions of power, as those women were not concerned with the same kinds of politics. It appeared that cis-het women/womxn, along with others, were also complicit in the silencing of other queer women/womxn in #FMF spaces. When men spoke in protest spaces, they were listened to because their voices appeared to be legitimate, however, when women/womxn spoke, they were hackled or ignored because they were assumed to be speaking from an emotional perspective, ultimately making the movement personal. At the core of decolonization and of the #FMF movement itself, womxn felt that the personal became political, and this holds true when one considers that oppression is experienced personally. It is a personal act to put one’s body on the line in a space in which one knows cannot guarantee safety. However, in the context of #FMF, by putting one’s body on the line, one became legible insofar one was black and interested in the singular politics of the movement, and illegible as an intersectional presence beyond single-issue mobilization. Intersectionality only served the purpose of political correctness for public leaders of the movement. Thus, womxn’s bodies were used to ratify a theoretical claim that the movement was built on the pillars of intersectionality and black radical feminism. Factionalism in the #FMF movement seems to have surged due to fatigue caused in groups considered “Other”, such as queer groups. This Other was tired of having to teach and to assist in the process of unlearning internal biase,s even as all parties struggled for better university reforms. The Other in the #FMF movement was consistently left with no choice but to rebel against black cis-het men; a rebellion that unfortunately appeared as directed against the movement as a whole. Cis-het men carved out spaces for themselves in which they felt entitled to a voice simply because they were most often listened to. Patriarchy doesn’t see race, class, or gender. As an institution, it is inherently violent and violence breeds violence and cracks began to show in the foundations of the #FMF movement. Movements such as #FMF should be premised on a collective understanding of the ideological stances that the movement has been built on. Womxn, however, faced a challenge in that they were made to choose between their identities in order to legitimize their presence in the movement. As Simon Nkoli said, however, “I am black and I am gay. I cannot separate the two into secondary or primary struggles” (Morgan 2017). Patriarchy formed part of a macro-structure in #FMF, which was part of a broader problem with the #FMF movement. She was particularly concerned with the violence of the physical infrastructure such as the buildings, their layout, and the names they had been given in terms of the psychological effects on her and other protesters. Before she started working in the #FMF and #RMF movements, she was concerned with the way in which race, class, and queerness were received in the ambit of the university. Similarly, Sandi, a UCT student, articulated strongly the 194

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presence of patriarchy in the space of #RMF and #FMF, but was clear that she was concerned that she (along with other women/womxn) was complicit in the perpetuation of such patriarchy. She articulated that there existed a mistrust of women/womxn that was bringing patriarchy to the agenda of the movement, and that of decolonization. It is for these reasons that when a rape occurred in the space of UCT’s Azania House, which was reclaimed by students during protest (both #RMF and #FMF), the concerns around the matter of patriarchy were amplified in a physical manifestation of the problem (Lwana and Maasdorp 2015). The resistance came in the form of women/womxn, cisgender, transgender, gender non-conforming, and radical black feminists as they understood patriarchy as a macro-structural issue and a successful struggle for decolonization predicated upon uprooting acquired biases against gender identity and sexual orientation in the #FMF movement. As one interlocutor put it: at some point my understanding would be that the efforts have been exhausted, so the efforts to call in black men have been exhausted. The black women, both cis and trans are tired. We have been talking, we have been educating, we have been holding classes, we have been calling people in as individuals, we have been calling people in as groups. We have been raped, we have been sexually harassed, we have been physically assaulted in these spaces. I think when the Trans Capture comes, the ground is fertile, people are quite gatvol.8 A month earlier, or maybe two months earlier, the black feminists … the black women of RhodesMustFall, staged a reclamation of Azania House where, literally, black women said, “men, get up, and walk out the door right now, you are no longer welcome here and we are taking the space back for ourselves, we are taking the space that we have built with our hands, our tears, our blood, and we are taking it back; [y]ou are going out because we are not going to allow ourselves to be worked out of this space because we are just as entitled to it as you.”9 The expectancy of self-mutilation or repression seems too high a price to ask anyone to pay in order to be affirmed in spaces of protest. Thus it appears that there cannot ever be a sustainable movement unless it is sincere and genuine. Without considering all of our individual issues, how do we expect to work together in a space that calls for us to put them aside? The moment for reckoning with marginality struck at UCT with the mobilization and reinvention of the term Trans Capture. According to Sandi,10 a self-identify as trans and queer student and protester: Even though that is quite political, I also like it being called the Trans Capture even though it has certain connotations which are quite negative … I think I accept it and take it as being the moment where we had drawn the line. Protesters such as Sandi had hoped that the Trans Capture11 would become a moment where the process of self-reflection would begin; where those who were truly invested in positive change would take stock of the internal violence of the #FMF and come to the realization that the project of decolonization, which had to include an understanding of intersectionality, was not at all meant to be divisive. They had hoped that #FMF would rather become a genuine attempt to bridge divides which are so stark in South African society, such as those of gender, race, class, sexual orientation etc. The South African Constitution makes provision for protection of these categories, however, social practices are a different reality. The ill enforcement of these provisions has resulted in a need for civil society to get involved in their protection. 195

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Sandi added that she had “said … to black cisgender heterosexual men, that [she is] available, and many other people are there to help them on that journey, the journey of decolonizing [themselves], but [that they] have to be willing to take that journey”.12 She felt that the challenge lay in humanizing trans people, humanizing queer people, humanizing women people; that in the process of recognizing these categories of people as humans and equal to others, that this would pose a direct challenge to manhood/the phallus/masculinity, all of which are in some way linked to patriarchy of higher education. The socialization of black men, particularly in the African context, is one in which patriarchy is the dominant social order, and there exists a matrix of domination which inevitably has them at the top in communities of blacks (Collins 2008). Since so much of black manhood requires them to dehumanize, for black men the only people they can have power over are black women, trans people, and queer people. At UWC, black queer women/womxn shared their experiences early on in the movement, articulating the ways in which they worked regardless of the fact that they were rendered invisible. They did a lot of mobilization work, assisted those who were injured, and offered up their own living spaces to those who needed to hide from what they termed the Black Ants (private security) during the protests. They mentioned how the Black Ants did not suspect their involvement in the movement, which made it easier for them to operate within the movement and within the university grounds mostly undetected. In the focus group conducted at UWC, activists were concerned with people, (un)learning patriarchy and the languages of oppression and repression. They articulated that sometimes it is not the physical violence of the space of the university or the movement, but rather violence in language that hurts the most. What emerges in moments like these is that black queer youth speak out and say “I’m letting you know what’s happening now, that I am queer, what more do you want?” Why is it problematic when we speak about queerness, why do we need to be validated by a history of African-ness, which itself is a flawed history that was written during the period of colonization? Historical literature from this continent cannot validate a queer person, a sexually fluid person, a trans person, because it is in that history, mangled with the tenants of Whiteness, that stories were erased and things became unAfrican. What is troubling is that if our generation cannot acknowledge our queerness, then it is not going to write us down; it will not speak up for us or photograph us. A generation of colonized minds will repeat the work of the colonizers and erase us from present history. “How invisible am I that you don’t see the work that I’ve done [in the movement]?” my interlocutor often asked.13 It is contradictory when comrades speak about us and they are homophobic, transphobic, queerphobic, heteropatriarchal and ablist, because when these ideologies are used against us, they simply become anti-black. They become reduced to a fight for a black liberation solely in service of black cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied people, and that is simply not enough. In a battle which is belittling of our individual politics, pan- Africanist is [there], at the top … then Biko and black consciousness, [and right at the bottom of the list] is black radical feminism said to be “cooked up in a white woman’s kitchen!”14 While many of these womxn put their bodies on the line, endangering themselves to hide men in the movement when they were in trouble, they were dismissed as being Other, qua unAfrican and therefore of less importance. These womxn felt it difficult to speak in the spaces of #FMF at UWC, their voices much like womxn from UCT were suffocated in the

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space because they could not throw their voices across the space like the men could. One female interlocutor puts it more explicitly was follows: I find it difficult to chair a meeting because of my voice and because of who I am, I’m very socially awkward and shy and quiet most of the time so it becomes really difficult for me to take on this personality just so that people can listen to me, as a woman to assimilate … maleness or masculinity. I’ll say I’m not, not masculine, like I feel like I’ve got masculine traits but not in that [space], not in the [space]. It seems that the only way which women are able to speak was when men stood up for them; a moment when: a black cis-het man had to jump in save me and say “she has a valid point to say” … I was touched that day – shame– I wanted to smack him in the face I was angry I really was, like really legit angry, I was frustrated because now they’re telling people that the meeting was done and I was like you’re not listening to me … [Men] seem able to read on pan-Africanism, Black consciousness etc … but the minute you ask them to read on radical black feminism or intersectionality, their response is “haai” (daughter no, no, no). They’ve managed to read up on pan-Africanism and black consciousness and the two are intrinsically linked to the ideologies we have as queer black radical feminists. But if you consider the people they look up to engage with; the people, like Marcus Garvey, Umar Johnson they’re so homophobic then [womxn] start to understand why they’re also not changing and this strata of their lives shows up their phobias. Race is not our only oppression, and for them not to understand that means that we’re not moving forward, instead we are being left out because of our gender identities and sexual orientations, we are Othered in these movements that are meant to accommodate us, therefore we cannot move forward, and we will struggle to achieve our goals.15

Conclusion The process of learning in the context of a world riddled with conundrums in the aftermath of colonization has been instilled and distilled over centuries. The deeply rooted inequalities in societies across the globe can be attributed to the project of colonial rule and its advocacy for a capitalist system which has interrupted the historical and traditional praxes of Africans, in particular from as early as conquests in the 1400s by Europeans. This colonial system through various means such as indoctrination, segregation, displacement, and White monopoly capital has an effect today still, in that through the process of colonization people start to become legible or illegible in different ways. A White supremacist capitalist system favors heteropatriarchy and produces the subjugation of various peoples meted out through hegemonic masculinities. In order to start the work of unlearning, it is crucial to consider what has been learned through these violent systems. A decolonial project cannot succeed while we cling to an ambiguous history of Africa, and in this case particularly South Africa. We are required through our hallucinations to begin the work of imagining a world without the devastations of colonization in order to rid ourselves of an incessant desire to gain proximity to Whiteness through enacting hegemonic masculinities and a heteropatriarchal order, which continuously seeks to oppress through the subjugation of those who are considered lesser than the norm. In the 197

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case of the #FMF movement specifically, it would be wrong to assume that in putting an end to the oppression of black South Africans for access to institutions of higher learning, other oppressions linked to the intersectional identities of student protesters should not be taken seriously. One need only look at the effects of skirting issues at the dawn of a South African democracy to see that a concerted effort is to be made in unpacking the effects of surface equality to get to the root of inequality. We simply cannot allow opportunities for social justice to leave enduring issues of inequality among the oppressed unshaken. We cannot foretell when a nationwide movement such as #FMF may emerge again. What the internal struggle for identity and recognition within the moment shows is the need for eliminating binary thinking in South Africa. Attention needs to be given to the way in which we construct movements, as well as the way we quickly quell internal resistance. A paradoxical stance on justice and inclusion means we denounce some injustices while reifying others. Things need not be this way.

Notes 1 Ndelu, S. GALA Queer Oral History Project (2016). 2 www.sahistory.org.za/people/cecil-john-rhodes. 3 The term “decolonized” is understood by the author as the process of prioritizing African knowledge over Eurocentric knowledge which has been (re)produced through the colonial ideology and projects in South Africa (and beyond). 4 “x” instead of suffixing the word with “men/man,” used as a form of protest, and a rejection of hegemonic ways of thinking. 5 Presentation at the University of the Witwatersrand, Humanities Graduate Center, 2016. 6 A term used to describe South Africa in an idyllic state for native inhabitants. 7 Ndelu, S. GALA Queer Oral History Project (2016). 8 Meaning “fed up.” 9 GALA Queer Oral History Project (2016). 10 Ndelu, S. GALA Queer Oral History Project (2016). 11 Term used to describe the work of the Trans Collective in the #FMF movement when it started to vocalize its discomfort. 12 Ndelu, S. GALA Queer Oral History Project (2016). 13 GALA Queer Oral History Project (2016). 14 GALA Queer Oral History Project (2016). 15 GALA Queer Oral History Project (2016).

References Aultman, B. “Cisgender.” Transgender Studies Quarterly, Vol. 1, no. 1–2 (2014): 61–62. https://bit.ly/ 2Ln11mV accessed May 2019. Badat, Saleem. “Deciphering the Meanings, and Explaining the South African Higher Education Student Protests of 2015–16.” Presentation at the University of the Witwatersrand, Humanities Graduate Center, 2016. Biko, Steven Bantu. “The Definition of Black Consciousness by Bantu Stephen Biko”, December 1971, South Africa. South African History Online. https://bit.ly/1Mg6D5I accessed December 2018. Budlender, Geoff. “Civil Rights and the University.” Article. Cape Town. Digital Innovation South Africa. Manuscripts and Archives Department: University of Cape Town Libraries, 1972. Collins, H. Patricia. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge Classics, 2008. eNCA. “Feesmustfall Protest Reminiscent of 1976 Uprising.” eNCA, 24 October 2015. https://bit.ly/ 2FAJ3dp accessed December 2018. Fishkin, Shelley Fisher. “Interrogating ‘Whiteness,’ Complicating ‘Blackness’: Remapping American Culture.” American Quarterly, Vol. 47, no. 3 (1995): 428–466. doi:10.2307/2713296.

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GALA Queer Oral History Project. Interviews and data collected by C. Anzio Jacobs, 2016. Heffernan, Anne and Noor Nieftagodien. Students Must Rise. 1st edition. Johannesburg: University of Witwatersrand Press, 2016. Hislop, Donald. Knowledge Management Organizations. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Kimberle, Crenshaw. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.” University of Chicago Legal Forum, Vol. 1989, no. 1, Article 8, 139–167. https://bit.ly/2yxkhr4 accessed December 2018. Lwana, Z. and Maasdorp, L. “BLF Statement on Rape in Azania House: Xombating Patriarchy in Revolutionary Movements.” BLACK1st LAND1st. 17 November 2015 from https://bit.ly/2qOUzaR accessed April 2017. Morgan, R. Till the Time of Trial the Prison Letters of Simon Nkoli. South Africa: GALA. https://bit.ly/ 2TEihDV accessed 6 January 2017. Naidoo, Prishani. “Deciphering the Meanings, and Explaining the South African Higher Education Student Protests of 2015–16.” Presentation at the University of the Witwatersrand, The Humanities Graduate Center, 2016. Ntsaluba, Sango. “Students Are Mirroring the Brave Class of ’76.” Citypress, 13 March 2016, https://bit. ly/2DFctVi, accessed December 2018. Pather, Christina. “#Rhodesmustfall: No Room For Ignorance Or Arrogance.” South African Journal of Science, Vol. 111, no. 5/6 (2015): 1–2. doi:10.17159/sajs.2015/a0109. Sampson, Lin. “Poo-Pooing at UCT.” Times Live. 13 March 2015. https://bit.ly/2tfaseo accessed December 2018. Teferra, Damtew and Philip G. Altbachl. “African Higher Education: Challenges for the 21st Century.” Higher Education, Vol. 47, no. 1 (2004): 21–50. doi:10.1023/b:high.0000009822.49980.30.

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15 Sex and money in West Africa The “money” problem in West African sexual diversity politics Matthew Thomann and Ashley Currier

Introduction Recent scholarship on African sexual diversity has demonstrated a persistent, discursive association between non-normative sexualities and money in politics, media, and social life. In his work on same-sex sexualities in Mali, Christophe Broqua has argued that “a widespread conception of homosexuality in many African countries is that they are essentially motivated by the quest for money” (2009, 60). These discursive links perpetuate stigma against samesex sexual identities and behaviors by suggesting that they are rooted in corruption and white foreigners’ influence. These discursive associations become more complex and often volatile when countries in the global North offer ideological and financial support to sexual and gender minority organizations on the continent. In this chapter, we explore the dimensions of the assumed links between money and sexual minority identities and politics in West Africa. The region is an interesting place in which to parse these associations, given its varied colonial past and recent North American and Western European efforts to intervene in African sexual and gender minority health and rights. Drawing on historical, anthropological, and sociological research, we examine the linkages between sex and money in West Africa by tracing two constructions that yoke money to sexual diversity. First, politicians and media outlets often conflate affluence with male samesex sexualities, thereby stigmatizing non-normative sexual identities as corrupt and tied to foreign influence, power, and prestige. As a consequence, this construction frames sexual minority men as being “gay for pay” (Currier 2012, 124). According to this logic, if foreigners and African elites did not pay African men for sex, these men would presumably be heterosexual. Not only do such constructions equate male–male sexualities with affluence and foreignness, but they also minimize and sideline female–female sexualities in African social imaginaries (Currier and Migraine-George 2017). Second, Western financial support (both real and perceived) for gender and sexual minority activist organizations can constrain LGBTIQ activism in the region. In particular, Western-funded HIV/AIDS programming focused on concentrated epidemics among men who

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have sex with men (MSM) has led some observers to allege that if foreign governments and multinational institutions were not providing financial support to activists, gender and sexual minority organizing efforts would not exist (Ssebaggala 2011). This is tied to a more general perception that Western development aid goes to LGBTIQ organizations in order to impose cultural practices and beliefs that are antithetical to national, regional, and continental values. For those who work in such organizations, these two discursive links become even more damaging. Not only are their identities associated with corruption and sex work, but their activism also appears to be inauthentic because of claims of foreign imposition and Western hegemony, an issue compounded by the threat of discontinuing Western aid to African countries hostile to LGBTIQ rights (Awondo et al. 2012). Discursive associations between non-normative sexualities and money in West African contexts complicate local organizing efforts while increasing everyday hostility towards sexual and gender minorities. For instance, in Ghana and Nigeria, the conflation of economic prosperity with same-sex sexualities has emboldened some people into blackmailing or extorting people they perceive to be queer because they assume that queer people are rich (Azuah 2011; Cobbinah 2011). Deeper, ethnographic engagement with how political, religious, and social institutions mobilize associations of same-sex sexualities with economic affluence and political power can contribute to campaigns for decriminalizing same-sex sex and obtaining legal protections for sexual and gender minorities, while remaining attuned to local circumstances and solutions. In this chapter, we build on existing research on gender and sexual diversity politics in West Africa to explore the discursive and material relationships between money, sexual minority identities, and LGBTIQ organizing efforts in the region. In addition to offering a critical synthesis of the ethnographic literature focusing on the association of sexual diversity and money in West Africa (with examples from Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, and the Gambia), we draw on our own research with activists and organizers (in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, respectively) to show how ethnography can illuminate this phenomenon in context. In exploring the relationships between sex and money in the context of increased visibility of West African sexual diversity, we hope to shed light on the relationships between sexuality, economy, politics, race, and nation in 21st century geopolitical spheres.

The politics of sex and money in West Africa Throughout Africa south of the Sahara, politicians and media outlets have established a discursive link between political influence, economic affluence, and same-sex sexualities, particularly male same-sex sexualities (Kassé 2013; Mwikya 2013). As historian Marc Epprecht has suggested, such a discursive link plays out in contexts ripe for scapegoating. He writes, “The context is one where young people feel a great deal of frustration with an economy that marginalizes the majority while enriching a tiny, often corrupt elite” (Epprecht 2013, 14). Although little research explicitly explores the imagined connections between political influence, economic prosperity, and same-sex sexualities in Africa (Sadgrove et al. 2012), we use examples from contemporary West African politics to demonstrate the potency of these ties. Following Lyn Ossome (2013, 36), we advance a class analysis that exposes the “myth of homosexuality as being elitist” in West African contexts, while challenging the “homogenising discourses of elitism” in relation to sexual diversity. In this section, we show how politicians and media outlets politicize and stigmatize non-normative sexual identities as corrupt and tied to political-economic power, before turning to the construction and dissemination of the “gay-for-pay” trope in West African sexual and gender minority organizing. 201

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Throughout West Africa, the discursive link between same-sex sexuality and issues of power and wealth accompanies local consternation about economic and political futures. In Senegal, scholars have linked the materialization of homophobic mobilization to “desperation” about political leaders’ inability to deliver on promises of “better wages, improved living conditions, and freedom” (M’Baye 2013, 113). In some contexts, political rumors constitute what S.N. Nyeck has theorized as a “paranoid style” and conspiratorial view of history aimed at politicizing homosexuality and “consolidating a national identity and pride” (Nyeck 2013, 153). Such metaphors link homosexuality to rapacious political elites who use their power and affluence to exploit economic insecurity left in the wake of neoliberal structural adjustment programs (SAPs). In Nigeria, where economic deterioration and corruption (both real and perceived) shape perceptions of politics (Sogunro 2014), anthropologist Rudolf Gaudio has argued that sexual and gender minorities (known locally as ‘yan daudu and karuwai) are often stigmatized for their supposed involvement with politicians and other influential individuals. “In addition to the impoverishment caused by this corruption ‘yan daudu and karuwai are often scapegoated for it – accused of conspiring with corrupt ‘big men’ who use their ill-gotten wealth to satisfy their legendary appetites for sex and other pleasures” (Gaudio 2011, 6). In the mid-1990s, Al-Mizan, a Hausa-language newspaper in northern Nigeria, published a story about an attempted marriage between two men. Gaudio argues that the journalist’s detailed attention to the expensive cars of those there to witness the ceremony and their affluent dress constitute “an implicit reference to the stereotype of ‘big men,’ politicians and businessmen who use their wealth and political affluence” to patronize male and female sex workers (Gaudio 2011, 273). Sociologist Ebenezer Obadare notes that tensions surrounding sexual diversity “are always a foil for other forms of contestations” including postcolonial issues surrounding power and masculinity, where homosexuality becomes “a default straw man for a ruling elite facing deepening socioeconomic pressure at both local and global levels” (2015, 63). He suggests that the Same Sex Marriage Act that lawmakers passed in Nigeria in 2013 allowed politicians to deflect citizens’ attention away from allegations of corruption against high-level state leaders. This discourse extends to real and perceived links between homosexual behavior and commercial sex work, which suture economic affluence to non-normative sexualities. As discussed in the introduction to this chapter, this link exists in a variety of West African contexts. In Senegal, financial and material compensation structure perceptions about same-sex sexual relationships (Teunis 2001; M’Baye 2013; Ferguson 2017). In Mali, politicians and the media have exploited these links to suggest that homosexuality in Africa is about the quest for money, whether sex occurs with a foreigner or with another Malian (Broqua 2012), thereby implying that class mobility motivates men to seek sex with other men. In 2006, a journalistic account of homosexuality alleged, quoting a Malian sociologist, that affluent homosexuals were able to recruit youth into same-sex sexual practices, suggesting that many of these men were expatriates or tourists, Broqua (2012) notes. In the Gambia, male same-sex sexuality is often linked to young Gambian men catering to foreign tourists for sex work (Ebron 1997; Niang et al. 2003; Nyanzi 2013). In her analysis of President Yahya Jammeh’s political rhetoric against homosexuality, Ugandan anthropologist and activist Stella Nyanzi has argued that Jammeh’s focus on the closing of hotels supposedly catering to a homosexual clientele, discursively linked homosexuality to foreign tourism, part of a larger threat not only to homosexuals within the Gambia, but also to foreign investors and visitors (Nyanzi 2013, 67). Similar events have unfolded in Senegal, where President Macky Sall was accused of being “for sale to homosexual lobbies” during his 2012 re-election campaign (Broqua 2012, 14). 202

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In addition to the discursive link that ties male same-sex sexuality to economic affluence, political power and corruption, and sex work, media and political leaders also assert that Westerners entice African sexual minorities with financial and ideological support, rendering them “gay for pay” in antigay groups’ eyes. In 2006, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Ghana (GALAG) demanded legal recognition of lesbian and gay rights and announced an international gay rights conference to be held in Accra later that year. Antigay politicians and media rallied against the appearance of pro-gay organizing, portraying local gay rights activists as the puppets of Western infiltrators (Essien and Aderinto 2009). Wisdom John Tettey argues that Ghanaian discourse surrounding this event encouraged politicians to harness the issue of homosexuality for political gain by mobilizing hostility towards non-normative sexualities, with political parties accusing their rivals of being “soft on homosexuality” (Tettey 2016). In 2011, then British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened cutting bilateral aid to the country if it did not decriminalize homosexuality, compounding the discursive links between money, foreign influence, and homosexuality (Awondo et al. 2010, 2012, 147). According to these discursive links, homosexuals were not only responsible for eroding national sovereignty but also threatened their country’s ability to obtain financial support. Kathleen O’Mara (2007, 45) has suggested that the backlash to the president of GALAG’s statement on homosexuality was framed as a critique of the leader’s perceived ties to foreign organizations. Antigay opponents fretted about the possibility of Western activists swarming West African nations and convincing local gender and sexually diverse people to launch activist organizations. In some cases, local LGBTIQ organizing was publicly invisible or nascent. In the following sections, we draw on our research in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire to illustrate how these discursive links intertwine to render sexual and gender minority organizations and individuals who work within such organizations particularly vulnerable to politicized homophobia and scapegoating.

The specter of Western financial and ideological support in Liberia In Liberia, the possibility that Western advocates would offer lawmakers financial inducements to pass pro-gay rights legislation precipitated the formation of an antigay movement that exploited tropes linking economic prosperity to male same-sex sexualities. In 2012, the New Citizens Movement (NCM), which included Christian and Muslim leaders and ordinary Liberians, mobilized to pre-empt the passage of pro-gay rights legislation and launch of gay rights organizing, which NCM leaders and members portrayed as being initiated by unsavory Western actors seeking to destabilize post-conflict peace (Currier and Cruz 2017). After United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled a pro-LGBTIQrights foreign policy in December 2011, many Liberian lawmakers became wary of how this policy would influence US–Liberia economic and political relations, which have historically been close. Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai rebuffed the possibility that this new policy would affect Liberia; he claimed that “every country has its agenda” and that the “West protecting the rights of gays is their agenda and not Liberia’s national agenda” (Heritage 2011). Insinuating that taking on gay rights as a political priority would derail Liberia’s postwar economic recovery, Samukai asserted that “there were other things that are much more significant to the development agenda of the country than the issues of gays’ rights” (Heritage 2011). A few weeks later, the New Dawn newspaper published a story claiming that US and European gay rights organizations had vowed to give Liberian lawmakers 203

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US$4 million if they passed pro-gay-rights legislation (Daygbor 2012).1 House of Representatives Speaker Alex Tyler denied this rumor, citing that he was a “Methodist and traditionalist; I will never support [a] gay bill because it is damaging to the survival of the country” (Daygbor 2012). These funds never materialized. Economic survival loomed large in the lives of Liberians, evidenced in Speaker Tyler’s claims that gay rights threatened the country’s “survival” (Daygbor 2012). According to Edward, an elected lawmaker in his 50s, the most pressing issue for Liberians was economic survival: How can you survive from day to day? And that includes being able to earn an income, not necessarily a job, but you must have an income to be able to survive. You have to be able to provide for yourself, and if you have a family, provide for your family. (Interview with Ashley Currier, Monrovia, Liberia, August 1, 2013) It makes sense that many Liberian lawmakers, journalists, and religious leaders would approach same-sex sexualities and sexual diversity activism from a position of cultural and economic survival. The specter of Western gay rights organizations offering financial incentives to Liberians to introduce gay rights into legal frameworks and local cultures spurred lawmakers and religious leaders to rally against LGBTIQ rights. Antigay politicians, religious leaders, traditional leaders, and journalists intimately associated the eventual arrival of gay rights organizing in Liberia with Western financial bribes and intervention. Christian and Muslim leaders and ordinary Liberians created NCM to pre-empt visible gay organizing, which the group linked to wealthy Western gay elites. Douglas depicted NCM’s publiceducation strategy as convincing Liberians to oppose pro-gay organizing. He asserted: This is the time you wake up and begin to conscientize … people that [t]here is a new [gay rights] movement that is coming. This movement is un-Christian. This movement is untraditional. This movement … does not have legal backing in our country. (Interview with Ashley Currier, Monrovia, Liberia, July 31, 2013) NCM leaders and members and others who shared antigay perspectives framed male-male sexualities as endangering the fragile peace that persisted in the wake of a civil war that devastated Liberia. In particular, these groups associated gay rights with cultural and political upheaval, while simultaneously recognizing that gay rights activism connoted economic prosperity. For instance, Mustafa, a leader of the Concerned Muslims for National Development, decried the possibility that gay rights activism could take root in Liberia (interview with Ashley Currier, Monrovia, Liberia, July 25, 2013). Like some evangelical Pentecostal Christian ministers and NCM leaders and members, he portrayed same-sex sexualities and gay rights activism as engendering “havoc” that would “destabilize this country.” To contain the threat to peace and economic stability that sexual minorities supposedly posed, Mustafa supported “institutionaliz[ing]” or sending sexual minorities to “jail,” a development that would make many Liberians “happy.” Employing a logic similar to that espoused by Mustafa, Juanita, an NCM leader and evangelical Christian minister, characterized NCM’s position on same-sex sexualities and gay rights in terms of issue ranking, a tactic that some social movements use to deemphasize the importance of other competing economic, political, or social problems (Currier 2019). She stated:

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We don’t want to see [homosexuality] in this nation because it’s not healthy for us, especially after a long period of civil crisis. There are other things that should be prioritized for our country like development growth [and] the health sector, and other sectors need to be improved, instead of [resources] going into homosexuality. (Interview with Ashley Currier, Monrovia, Liberia, July 29, 2013) Juanita elevated economic development and improvements to healthcare infrastructure as more important than gay rights. Jeremiah, another NCM leader, endorsed Juanita’s ranking of issues, claiming that “if you want to help the country in more serious ways, [there are more] serious issues to be addressed than just trying to legalize” same-sex sex (interview with Ashley Currier, Monrovia, Liberia, July 24, 2013). Economic disparities fueled the proliferation of gay rights organizing in lower-income African nations, according to some NCM leaders and members. To prevent what they viewed as predatory Western LGBTIQ rights activists from exploiting Liberians’ economic precarity, Douglas, an NCM member, explained: [T]his is the [reason] that we decided to launch the antigay movement for Liberia. Yes, because you look at my situation that I am poverty driven. Then, you come now and use that situation to get me to do what I am not pleased to do, but because of poverty, then I begin to [engage in same-sex sex]. You know, because I am poverty driven, then you exploit me because of my lack of ability to sustain myself. That’s how we started and that’s why we launched the antigay movement to conscientize people about what is happening. (Interview with Ashley Currier, Monrovia, Liberia, July 31, 2013) Douglas portrayed Western gay rights activists and people as keen to capitalize on Liberians’ poverty, ignoring thousands of same-sex-loving Liberians who had not fallen into the clutches of nefarious Westerners. He also alleged that a website titled “Gay Liberia” portrayed Liberia as “‘poverty-stricken country [where] unemployment is very high’” (Currier and Cruz 2017, 9).2 According to Douglas’ reading of this website, “concession areas are also breeding grounds for their [gay recruitment] activities. So those are the places that are the grounds for their activities.” “Concession” areas historically refer to “foreign-controlled private commercial farms” with “access” to “natural resources (primarily rubber, timber, oil palm, and minerals)” (Unruh 2009, 427, 429). The Firestone rubber plantation in Harbel is the most famous concession area in the country. Douglas’ siting of possible gay recruitment activities taking place in a “concession area” implicitly links foreign wealth, expropriation of Liberia’s natural resources, and recruitment of innocent Liberians into homosexuality as existing in a neocolonial circuit of exploitation. Some Liberians who shared NCM’s antigay sensibility viewed Liberians claiming to be sexual minorities suspiciously. Ibrahim, a staff member with the National Muslim Council of Liberia, portrayed same-sex sexualities and gay rights activism as Western cosmopolitan priorities that, to some Liberians, constituted an “opportunity to travel to America or Europe,” places associated with economic prosperity and class mobility, success that resulted from transoceanic slavery and centuries of colonialist capitalism (interview with Ashley Currier, Monrovia, Liberia, July 24, 2013). Ibrahim asserted that, as Liberians become acquainted with the logics of Western sexual modernity, some people fabricate claims of homophobic victimization alleging, “We have been denied our rights” to “[run] away from their country” as refugees to gay-friendly Western countries. For Ibrahim, 205

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“it’s a strategy … to leave the country and go somewhere else,” a cynical interpretation of African gender and sexual minorities’ efforts to seek asylum (Walker-Said 2015). In Ibrahim’s view, familiarity with Western logics of sexual modernity and economic markers of affluence lured Liberians into seeking asylum in Northern countries. If someone reported homophobic victimization to Ibrahim, he would likely be skeptical of this person’s motives. For those sympathetic to gay rights activism, rumors and misconceptions about same-sex sexualities were counterproductive. Edwin, an African man who supported LGBTIQ activism and worked at a United Nations agency, expressed concern about gross misinformation portraying gay men as pedophiles. As news media reported that men have raped boys, people increasingly understood that boys can be victims of rape and sexual abuse. Yet “[in the public’s perception], it is this group of people [MSM] who are sodomizing these boys” (Currier and Cruz 2017, 9). Edwin feared that conditions in Liberia could deteriorate as they had in other African countries that were “not receptive to issues of homosexuality” (interview with Ashley Currier, Monrovia, Liberia, July 23, 2013). Drawing on his experiences in other West African countries, Edwin explained: In Sierra Leone, recently when I visited, one guy had been beaten because he had granted an interview … and he said he was born gay. Now just by the newspaper reproducing this, it triggered people, two young men beating him up, destroying his car on that same day. Now we’ve heard what has happened in Cameroon. The activists have been beaten to death. We know what has happened in Nigeria with the passage of the law. We foresee a lot of abuse … going on in their country. To prevent an antigay backlash from unfolding in Liberia, Edwin and his UN colleagues tried “to work behind … closed doors” to convince lawmakers that there is no need to push [anti-LGBTIQ legislation] because we all know homosexuality has been here since time immemorial. Making a law on it is not going to stop it. It’s going to push [gender and sexual minorities] into hiding … So we are trying to avoid a situation where it becomes a national issue again because once it goes public then the politicians are compelled to pass it. So you don’t want to come out because the backlash you will get will be so much that you can’t [push pro-LGBTIQ legislation]. Working behind the scenes with lawmakers appealed to Edwin because an observable display of anti-homophobic mobilization by UN officials, foreign diplomats, and non-governmental organization (NGO) leaders would vex lawmakers, even prompting them to dig in and pass anti-LGBTIQ legislation. Edwin stressed the need to “stay calm. The most important thing is to focus on getting the interventions to the LGBTI[Q] community.” Interventions Edwin cited included distributing lubricants to MSM, providing MSM with secure HIV-testing facilities, and delivering antiretroviral treatment to HIV-positive LGBTIQ persons. For Edwin, these were pressing “priorit[ies], rather than pushing on the [LGBTIQ] rights issues because as soon as you begin to push, you get the backlash.” LGBTIQ rights advocacy was a sensitive issue in West Africa, but, as Edwin argued: for the politicians, that is not the priority. If the community votes against him [the politician], he stands on homosexuality. He is not going to support it. So let’s not push 206

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them into that stage where they have to make those decisions, but let’s work on the most critical things … We don’t need the bad publicity. In particular, Edwin worried about the “bad publicity” that could ensue when antigay opponents portray LGBTIQ rights advocacy as “promot[ing] homosexuality.”

The defense of marriage act, mariage pour tous, and NGO politics in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire In 2013, the convergence of several local and international factors led the Ivorian media to link homosexuality and LGBTIQ organizing efforts to affluence and foreign meddling. In late June, the French Embassy gave a roughly $50,000 grant to Alternative Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan’s largest and most well-funded NGO serving sexual and gender minorities. This grant was unusual because, unlike the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-sponsored programming that funded the organization’s HIV-prevention activities, it was not restricted to health-related programming. The sponsored project sought to “promote and popularize human rights amongst the general population concerning sexual minorities (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender individuals and intersex) and sex workers (male and female prostitutes).” The grant’s wording targeted not only the epidemiological category of MSM but also other sexual minorities, transgender individuals, and sex workers and opened the door to programming that the organization’s leaders had long hoped for but had been unable to realize with restrictive budgets from HIV-funding mechanisms. The grant’s signing was celebrated with a ceremony held at the organization’s headquarters and was attended by representatives of various Ivorian ministries, the French and German ambassadors to Côte d’Ivoire, the vice council of the United States Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, and the head of human rights from United Nations Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI), along with members of various AIDS and human rights organizations (see Figure 15.1). Leaders decided that the ceremony should remain a closed event and that there be no press present. Though staff erected a large pavilion in the organization’s courtyard, which is blocked from view by a gate and foliage, the event was not exactly discreet. Ivorian and foreign officials arrived in SUVs with tinted windows. They were greeted by a delegation of well-dressed branchés, a local term used in a number of West African contexts to encompass a diverse set of sexual and gender minorities. Within hours of the signing of the contract, staff members had uploaded hundreds of photos of the event to Facebook. Although the press had not been formally invited, local journalists copied event pictures plastered across the Facebook walls of prominent activists. A few days later on June 27, US President Barack Obama landed in Dakar, Senegal, mere hours after the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by the US Supreme Court, where he was greeted by an international press corps asking for his comment on the repeal. With Senegalese President Macky Sall at his side, Obama called the ruling a “proud day for America” before chastising Sall and other African leaders on their LGBTIQ human rights records. Obama stated: The issue of gays and lesbians and how they’re treated has come up and has been controversial in many parts of Africa. So I want the African people to hear just what I believe … People should be treated equally. And that’s a principle that I think should be applied universally. (The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 2013) 207

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Figure 15.1 Claver Touré signing contract with French Embassy.

Sall responded by saying: Senegal, as far as we are concerned, is a very tolerant country, which doesn’t discriminate against the inalienable rights of people … but we are not still ready to decriminalize homosexuality … but of course this doesn’t mean that we are all homophobic. (The White House, Office of the Press Secretary 2013) These developments amplified regional perceptions that Western nations were offering Ivorians financial handouts in exchange for their support for LGBTIQ rights. In Abidjan, the coverage of the signing ceremony at Alternative’s headquarters broke the same day as Obama’s comments in Dakar. Between June 27 and July 1, Ivorian dailies featured nearly a dozen articles on homosexuality, ranging from the outright denunciation of LGBTIQ people in the country (i.e. “Côte d’Ivoire: Marriage for all – Satan leave this world!”), to accusations that the French and US governments wished to push a gay agenda with same-sex marriage at its helm on the country (i.e. “Tolerance and promotion of homosexuality: France and the US push Côte d’Ivoire on Marriage for All”). Local journalists framed Alternative’s funding from the French Embassy as evidence of an effort by Westerners to impose their values on Ivorians through economic coercion. Gbiche!, an Ivorian satirical publication, made the gay-for-pay connection even clearer. The newspaper published a cartoon picturing an ostensibly heterosexual man who loses his clothes when they get caught in the door of a taxi, revealing a bra and panties underneath. A passerby recognizes the man and asks when he became a “pédé” (faggot). The two are standing near the entrance of a building with a sign that reads “Gay Organization.” The enraged man exclaims: “Me a homo? Are you crazy? I am here for money. Look at this,

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I am going to get my piece!” holding up a document that reads “INFO: France makes a gift of 30 millions (CFA) to a gay organization.” When pushed on the topic a few weeks later, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara said: Concerning the declaration on homosexuality, I have nothing to say. We have laws in Côte d’Ivoire, we have traditions. And so France does what conforms to its traditions. The United States does as well and Côte d’Ivoire has its own traditions. (Depeyla 2013) Despite this uproar about homosexuality in Abidjan, a French journalist from the Associated Press published an article the following January titled “Côte d’Ivoire: Island of tolerance in a continent more and more homophobic.” When a string of violence followed the publication and in the context of media wars and moral panics, its irony became all the more apparent. In late January 2014, a neighborhood association leader warned Claver Touré, Alternative’s executive director, about neighbors’ complaints and concerns regarding the visible presence of homosexuality in the area since his arrival. His neighbors even accused members of the branché milieu of recruiting children in the neighborhood. Touré denounced these claims as run-of-themill homophobia, explaining to the president of the neighborhood association that neighbors were aware of his work with the organization and had targeted him for this reason. After explaining the organization’s HIV-prevention work, he believed the controversy was over. But late on the evening of January 20, Touré and a few friends returned home to find homophobic epithets scrawled on the gate to his cité and his front door and signs posted on his block. The same night, a group of residents from his and neighboring cités gathered outside of his home to protest and throw rocks at the exterior. A few among the crowd carried Molotov cocktails. According to a report written a few days later, police arrived before these were used, but Touré and two other activists present were only able to leave under heavily armed guard. After giving a statement at the local police station, they sought shelter at the organization’s headquarters, not far from Touré’s home. After having one of the organization’s Western sponsors communicate with his neighbors, Touré felt assured that the violence would subside and that the continuity of the organization’s programs would not be compromised. Though Touré and his organization had received national media attention before, news coverage of the ceremony in June 2013 and assertions of Western meddling put them on the front page in a way they had never previously experienced. After Obama’s speech in Dakar, rumors began circulating that Côte d’Ivoire was headed towards the legalization of gay marriage. The repeal of DOMA and the “Marriage Pour Tous” [Marriage for All] bill in France coincided with the Ivorian media’s coverage of the ceremony, making the connection between Western imperialism and homosexuality an easy one to make. Days after Obama’s chastising of African governments on their treatment of sexual minorities, an Ivorian daily plastered photos of same-sex couples on the front page. Though these images were taken out of context (one showed two white women kissing while another showed a widely circulated image of a “traditional wedding” in South Africa), they resonated with Ivorian readership. If the thousands of comments following such articles were any indication, everyday Ivorians resented what they perceived to be a Western imposition. Following the vandalism and threats at Touré’s home, there was a more carefully coordinated attack at the organization’s headquarters. On the afternoon of January 22, a group of 20 young men gathered outside the gated NGO with activists inside. They threw rocks and broke the NGO’s windows before dispersing. The next morning, with activists still waiting out this unprecedented backlash, residents of Touré’s and other nearby neighborhoods protested with signs outside of the headquarters. In a series of emails sent to the organization’s 209

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donors and allies on January 24, Touré expressed fear for their immediate safety. A series of four attacks followed, and Touré alleged that a resident from his neighborhood hired a band of “machete-wielding thugs” from the Muslim-dominated neighborhood of Abobo to lead the final and most devastating attack, which left the headquarters completely vandalized and a guard hospitalized. A human rights defender and blogger with ties to Alternative alleged that the assault was planned by a senior officer within the military police force. Following the attack, which was publicly denounced by the US ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, UN peacekeeping troops and Ivorian troops were posted outside the headquarters, further highlighting for residents of the communities adjacent to Alternative’s headquarters that Western influence was a key factor in the organization’s politics and practice.

Conclusion In this chapter, we highlighted the discursive links between sex and money in West African sexual diversity politics. We have focused on two such constructions. First, we showed how politicians and media outlets popularize the notion that homosexuality is tied to political power and affluence, suggesting that both African elites and foreigners create the conditions under which homosexual behaviors and identities take root. This construction is, in part, so effective because it underscores the widely held suspicion that both local and foreign individuals in positions in power exploit the majority of West Africans in periods of economic insecurity. Second, we have shown that Western financial support of sexual and gender diversity organizing efforts is often yoked to issues of foreign ideological and financial support for efforts to impose cultural values that are “unAfrican.” We began this chapter by suggesting that the discursive link between sex and money in West African sexual and gender diversity politics elucidates the relationship between sexuality, economy, race, and nation in 21st century world politics. When West African media outlets or political elites politicize homosexuality as related to issues of affluence and economic power, they intervene in a socio-cultural arena in which individuals and communities feel left behind by the global economy and their own political leaders. In the era of structural adjustment programs that have gutted African states, many West Africans are prone to such rumors, as they see the elite amass wealth, while feeling disconnected from the global economy. Furthermore, local NGOs with the ideological and financial backing of Western institutions are easily framed as tied to foreign influence and Western hegemony assumed to be intent on imposing cultural practices and beliefs that are antithetical to “African values.” As scholarship on African sexual and gender diversity continues to proliferate in academic circles in the West, it is vital that such work pay attention to the discursive linkages and their relationships to the broader geopolitical issues to which they are tied.

Notes 1 The article reports that the “California-based ‘Foundation for the Protection of Gay Rights’” initiated these overtures with lawmakers (Daygbor 2012). This foundation does not appear to exist. 2 We have been unable to confirm the existence of this website.

References Awondo, P. “The Politicisation of Sexuality and Rise of Homosexual Movements in Postcolonial Cameroon.” Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 37, no. 125, (2010): 315–328.

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Awondo, P., Geschiere, P., and Reid, G. “Homophobic Africa? Towards a More Nuanced View.” African Studies Review, Vol. 55, no. 3, (2012): 95–118. Azuah, U. “Extortion and Blackmail of Nigerian Lesbians and Bisexual Women.” In Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Ryan Thoreson and Sam Cook, 46–59. New York: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, 2011. Broqua, C. “Sur les Rétributions des Pratiques Homosexuelles à Bamako.” Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol. 43, no. 1, (2009): 60–82. Broqua, C. “L’Emergence des Minorités Sexuelles dans l’Espace Public en Afrique.” Politique Africaine, Vol. 2, no. 126, (2012): 5–23. Cobbinah, M.D. ““Because of You”: Blackmail and Extortion of Gay and Bisexual Men in Ghana.” In Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Ryan Thoreson and Sam Cook, 60–73. New York: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, 2011. Currier, A. Out in Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. Currier, A. Politicizing Sex in Contemporary Africa: Homophobia in Malawi. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Currier, A. and Cruz, J.M. “The Politics of Pre-emption: Mobilization against LGBT Rights in Liberia.” Social Movement Studies, (2017): 1–15. doi:10.1080/14742837.2017.1319265 Currier, A. and Migraine-George, T. “Introduction to ‘Lesbian’/Female Same-Sex Sexualities in Africa.” Journal of Lesbian Studies, Vol. 21, no. 2, (2017): 133–150. Daygbor, E.J.N. “53rd Legislature to Pass Gay Bill for US$4m?” New Dawn, 10 January 2012. Depeyla, Armand B. “Mariage Homosexuel: Alassane Ouattara met fin au débat.” L’infodrome, (2013) 10/ 07/2013 http://www.linfodrome.com/vie-politique/10024-cote-d-ivoire-mariage-homosexuel-alas sane-ouattara-met-fin-au-debat Ebron, P. “Traffic in Men.” In Gendered Encounters: Challenging Cultural Boundaries and Social Hierarchies in Africa, edited by Maria Grosz-Ngate and Omari Kokole, 223–244. New York: Routledge, 1997. Epprecht, M. Sexuality and Social Justice in Africa: Rethinking Homophobia and Forging Resistance. London: Zed, 2013. Essien, K. and Aderinto, S. “‘Cutting the Head of the Roaring Monster’: Homosexuality and Repression in Africa.” African Study Monographs, Vol. 30, no. 3, (2009): 121–135. Ferguson, J. “‘From the Heart’: Sex, Money, and the Making of a Gay Community in Senegal.” Gender & Society, Vol. 31, no. 2, (2017): 245–265. Gaudio, R.P. Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City. Malden: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Heritage. “Gays’ Rights Not Country’s Domestic Agenda, Says Defense Minister.” Heritage. 9 December 2011. https://bit.ly/2WreM4W, accessed May 2019. Kassé, M.T. “Mounting Homophobic Violence in Senegal.” In Queer African Reader, edited by S. Ekine and Hakima Abbas, 262–272. Dakar: Pambazuka Press, 2013. M’Baye, B. “The Origins of Senegalese Homophobia: Discourses on Homosexuals and Transgender People in Colonial and Postcolonial Senegal.” African Studies Review, Vol. 56, no. 2, (2013): 109–128. Mwikya, K. “The Media, the Tabloid, and the Uganda Homophobia Spectacle.” In Queer African Reader, edited by S. Ekine and Hakima Abbas, 141–154. Dakar: Pambazuka Press, 2013. Niang, C.I., Tapsoba, P., Weiss, E., Diagne, M., Niang, Y., Moreau, A.M., Gomis, D., Wade, A.S., Seck, K., and Castle, C. “‘It’s Raining Stones’: Stigma, Violence and HIV Vulnerability among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Dakar, Senegal.” Culture, Health & Sexuality, Vol. 5, no. 6, (2003): 499–512. Nyanzi, S. “Rhetorical Analysis of President Jammeh’s Threats to Behead Homosexuals in the Gambia.” In Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, Citizenship, edited by S.N. Nyeck and M. Epprecht, 67– 87. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013. Nyeck, S.N. “Mobilizing against the Invisible: Erotic Nationalism, Mass Media, and the ‘Paranoid Style’ in Cameroon.” In Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, Citizenship, edited by S.N. Nyeck and M. Epprecht, 151–169. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013. Obadare, E. “Sex, Citizenship and the State in Nigeria: Islam, Christianity, and Emergent Struggles over Intimacy.” Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 42, no. 143, (2015): 62–76. O’Mara, Kathleen. “Homophobia and building queer community in urban Ghana.” PHOEBE: Gender and Cultural Critiques, Vol. 19 no. (1), (2007): 35–46. https://ojs.geneseo.edu/index.php/praxis/art icle/viewFile/550/381.

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Ossome, L. “Postcolonial Discourses of Queer Activism and Class in Africa.” In Queer African Reader, edited by S. Ekine and Hakima Abbas, 32–47. Dakar: Pambazuka Press, 2013. Sadgrove, J., Vanderbeck, R.M., Andersson, J., Valentine, G., and Ward, K. “Morality Plays and Money Matters: Towards a Situated Understanding of the Politics of Homosexuality in Uganda.” Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 50, no. 1, (2012): 103–129. Sogunro, A. “One More Nation Bound in Freedom: Themes from the Nigerian ‘Anti-Gay Law.’” Transition, Vol. 114, (2014): 49–59. Ssebaggala, R. “Straight Talk on the Gay Question in Uganda” Transition, Vol. 106, (2011): B44–B57. Tettey, W.J. “Homosexuality, Moral Panic, and Politicized Homophobia in Ghana: Interrogating Discourses of Moral Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Media.” Communication, Culture & Critique, Vol. 9, no. 1, (2016): 86–106. Teunis, N. “Same-sex Sexuality in Africa: A Case Study from Senegal.” AIDS and Behavior, Vol. 5, no. 2, (2001): 173–182. Unruh, J.D. “Land Rights in Postwar Liberia: The Volatile Part of the Peace Process.” Land Use Policy, Vol. 26, no. 2, (2009): 425–433. Walker-Said, C. “Sexual Minorities Among African Asylum Claimants: Human Rights Regimes, Bureaucratic Knowledge, and the Era of Sexual Rights Diplomacy.” In African Asylum at a Crossroads: Activism, Expert Testimony, and Refugee Rights, edited by B. Lawrance, I. Berger, T. Redeker-Hepner, J. Tague, and M. Terretta, 203-224. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2015. White House’s Office of the Press Secretary. Remark by President Obama and President Sall of the Republic of Senegal at Joint Press Conference. Washington, DC, 27 June 2013. https://bit.ly/2UKad4G, accessed May 2019.

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16 Normative collusions and amphibious evasions The contested politics of queer self-making in neoliberal Ghana Kwame Edwin Otu

Introduction In Summer 2013, I returned to Ghana to conduct long-term ethnographic fieldwork among a community of self-identified effeminate men known collectively as sasso (singular) or sassoi (pronounced sa-sway) (plural). Some few months into fieldwork, Kobby, one of my key informants, asked me to accompany him to an outdooring (birth ritual/naming/christening ceremony) in Jamestown, the primary site of my fieldwork and an old suburb of Accra, Ghana’s capital. Formerly a colonial outpost, Jamestown is predominated by the Ga ethnic group and, among them, the ceremony is referred to as kpodjiemo. Kobby was elated about the event, revealing that it “will be very sassoi in character since the couple for whom the naming ceremony is organized are sassoi. They are renowned for their wealth in the community and their industriousness,” he says softly. Surprised, I responded: “If they are sassoi, then are they men who have sex with men or merely self-identified effeminate men?” Kobby’s rejoinder was: No, they are a male and female couple. I know that sounds strange. However, the man is very feminine and the woman very masculine. She was an outstanding footballer whilst in secondary school. Here in Jamestown, she is known for her past achievements in soccer. Her husband runs his own business ventures in the community, which includes a provision store and a little restaurant … Now they have their third child and, a baby boy, and we are all very proud. The couple has done such an amazing job taking good care of their children, and the community seems to enjoy their accomplishment. So many people would attend, because of how much respect and status they have accumulated. The outdooring would be special because you know we invest a lot of attention and money into these events if we want them to be breathtaking.

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At the time, I understood that sasso referred primarily to effeminate man, hence Kobby’s reference to female sassoi, and, in fact, a seemingly heterosexual sassoi couple appeared utterly contradictory to me. Indeed, such revelation challenged my initial assumptions about sassoi subjectivities and the linguistic conventions, laying bare the fluidity and diversity of those experiences and identities indexed by the term sasso. Up until then, my knowledge of sassoi was limited to self-identified effeminate men, who have increasingly become targets of the Ghanaian state and a transnational LGBT human rights regime. I was later to understand based on intensified ethnographic interactions and observations over time that masculine women and even non-feminine men were also integral constituents of the sassoi universe. The outdooring event, as it were, represented one of my earliest experiences with the complexity of the community of self-identified effeminate men and those social relations that orbited around sassoi lives. The outdooring space as a ritual domain ostensibly presented sassoi with opportunities to collect and connect, evidenced by their orchestration of the ceremony from scratch. There, what outsiders like myself would have figured as unimaginable, such as the bonds between heterosexual subjectivities and non-heterosexual constituencies, were made possible. From the Master of Ceremonies to the servers, and from ushers to caterers, the event quite literally ran on the backs of sassoi. During the ceremony, in particular, and in Jamestown in general, sassoi subjectivities refracted kaleidoscopically. A low-income community, Jamestown has such rich history, embodied by colonial and racialized relics: Slave castles, dungeons, and former colonial trading posts. In other words, postcolonial Jamestown bears marked traces of colonial times (Boddy 2007; Stoler 2008; Pierre 2012), evidenced by the durability of physical despoliation together with psychical, economic, and cultural estrangement, which are visibly present in the lives of the suburb’s residents. Amid these postcolonial tragedies, citizens in this space, among them sassoi, navigate the marked effects of what Patricia McFadden (2011) eruditely captures as the reverberations incited by the neoliberal and neocolonial collusion. Jamestown, therefore, is a palimpsestic terrain, inhabited by postcolonial subjects who undeniably live and embody scrambled lives. Kobby was born in Jamestown, and when I first met him in 2011, he had lived there his entire life until securing a job at a local non-governmental organization (NGO) called Bring Us Rights and Justice (henceforth BURJ). At the time of my fieldwork, BURJ was one of few organizations in Ghana to address LGBT human rights issues. Kobby’s job provided him with the means to live in a different suburb northeast of Jamestown, and also money to partially support his family. A self-described sasso, Kobby vacillated between identifying as gay, sassoi, and on occasion suspending his affiliation to these labels altogether. For example, whenever he was at his mother’s residence, he never disclosed his homoerotic proclivities or even details of the activities that the NGO he worked for engaged in, such as their provision of human rights and public health services for sassoi. This chapter is an ethnographic examination of queer self-fashioning in neoliberal Ghana. I explore in what ways self-identified effeminate men, who currently inhabit the nexus of LGBT human rights politics and ideas, and a nation-state that polices sexual citizenship selffashion, disrupt monolithic assumptions about sexuality. How do such articulations both shape the Ghanaian nation-state’s imagination of the country as heterosexual and how LGBT human rights organizations package non-normative sexual identity as primarily homosexual? And, how do rituals like the outdooring I witnessed amplify our understanding of how sassoi navigate their re-identification as homosexuals, thus asserting their legitimacy as valuable bodies amid civil society’s onslaught against LGBTs? 214

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To respond to these questions, I first highlight how life transition rituals constitute geographies that coterminously enable queer self-fashioning while muddling the boundaries between heteroerotic and homoerotic desires and practices. Hence, I regard these rituals in the sense discussed by the French ethnographer and folklorist Arnold van Gennep as “rites which accompany every change of place, state, social position and age” (van Gennep 1961). The outdooring ritual is a stage on which sassoi simultaneously fashion legitimate and transgressive selves, an unlikely relationship. Second, I turn to Akan philosophical notions of personhood to demonstrate how African philosophy can be harnessed to make sense of queer self-making in neoliberal Ghana, engaging, in particular, with the Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Gyekye (1987). Gyekye asserts that the Akan people of Ghana construct personhood “amphibiously,” unsettling Eurocentric dichotomies such as African communalism versus European individualism. To be clear, a ritual such as the outdooring grounds how sassoi in the era of increased LGBT visibility politics and concomitant homophobia amphibiously navigate the uncertain terrains in which their lives are nestled. Sitting at the intersections of queer anthropology and African studies and in particular queer African studies, this chapter investigates the ways in which African philosophical frameworks allow me to make sense of the experiences of sassoi in the postcolonial landscape of Jamestown.

Sassoi subjectivities amid ritualized heteronormativities Sassoi subjectivities are contingent on several factors, including ritual spaces (outdoorings, weddings, puberty rites, festivals and durbars, funerals etc.), human rights NGOs, Jamestown, public health outreach, Christianity, the nation-state, and more. The space of the ritual, for instance, affords sassoi with the opportunity to embark on transgressing gender boundaries. As already intimated, rites of transition are occasions that mark one’s crossing from one social location to another in a given moment. Ethnographic scholarship in Ghana, for example Christine Oppong’s (1974) Marriage among a Matrilineal Elite, analyzes rituals, their paradoxes, and complexities. What is missing in these ethnographies is how ritualized spaces are grounds for multiple, unimagined, and rival sociocultural formations and practices. I argue that the birth ceremony I observed was evidently one such moment in which the seams of homoeroticism and heteroeroticism entangled. There, not only was cohesion fostered among members of society, but across members of the community. And for sassoi, the outdooring was an occasion in which they strengthened their bonds in a society that polices their non-normative gender and sexual subjectivity, while displaying such subjectivity with candor. Foster, a part time worker at a local human rights NGO, once poignantly remarked: when we attend an outdooring, a wedding or a funeral, we do our very best to add color to it. We do almost everything unison and concert. For example, only sassoi can bring some touch of sophistication. Nobody else can do what we do. The styles we present are unique. We wear our outfits; sometimes share the same materials (fabric) to appear uniform, although they are sewn differently depending on the wearer’s preference. Whether we are invited or not to an event, our presence implies simply that we are going to steal the show. Foster’s penetrative observation articulates just how central rituals are for sassoi. By adding style or “color” he implies the provocative dances and the dainty cloths that pronounce, define, and announce their sartorial ardor. Animated, he declares, “our attires speak for us, 215

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Kwame.” These embodied expressions, in addition to their engagement in acts of gender non-conformity, while distressing the feminine/masculine binary, are also unlikely to be condemned in these spaces. In non-ritual spaces, however, they are aware that such expressions might invite negative attention and responses. During an event that BURJ organized, sassoi were festooned mostly in official/professional garbs. The latter gathering required that they dress and act with caution since the event occurred in a section of Accra less likely to be accommodating of sassoi. Sassoi sartorial undertones highlight how space, event, and time inform their modes of self-fashioning. They also amplify the contingencies defining how the space of the ritual, which is a site that arguable conditions heteronormativity, entwines with nonheteronormative subject formation. Sassoi active participation in rites of passage parallels the activities that occur during the liminal phase of the ritual process. Van Gennep introduced the term liminality in 1960 and it became popularized by the anthropologist Victor Turner in 1974. It is the threshold in the ritual process at which the ambiguities that engender “anti-structural” (Turner 1974) possibilities come to have a life of their own. Arguably, the suspension of order, enabling the fluidity, malleability, and flexibility in this space, is a crucial feature of anti-structure, as Turner (1974) poignantly observes. I insist that sassoi be seen as inhabiting gender non-conforming dispositions that are themselves anti-structural instantiations of liminality. The outdooring I witnessed, which opens this chapter, was importantly a geography in which sassoi bodies transgressed the supposed rigid boundaries that delineate heteronormative practices from those activities and desires considered non-heteronormative. A ritual organized by and for sassoi, the couple whose child was being christened did not conform to normative gender roles, especially as the husband was effeminate while the wife embodied what I describe here as “masculine femininity.” Sassoi from all walks of life both men and women, whose presence at the event strengthened the quality of the ritual and its utility for the parents with the newly born, were in attendance. Clad in customized agbada (long robes typically worn by men and by extension the self-identified effeminate men at the outdooring) and kaba and slit (local design of blouse and long skirt worn by women typically), guests danced and made merry all night long. The sassoi indulged particularly in provocative moves, gyrating their hips while dancing with each other in groups of two or three. The homosocial aura that charged the space, such as bodies of the same-sex delightfully dancing to afrobeat tunes unperturbed, flouted generalized conventions instituted by heteronormativity. Ultimately, the space in which the outdooring was held emerged as a “rival geography,” to use Stephanie Camp’s (2007) extension of Edward Said’s (1978) description of the spaces in which colonial resistance was nurtured and conceived. Camp observes that among bondpeople in the era of slavery there were moments in which they escaped the plantation at night to carve out spaces of pleasure for themselves. Similarly, sassoi derived pleasure and joy in the space of the outdooring, despite heteronormativity’s abiding presence and a ritual that enforced such presence. Against this backdrop, sassoi subjectivities are strengthened in the interstitial thresholds that define rituals, where their effeminate subjectivities come to acquire legitimacy. It can, therefore, be adduced that sassoi convivialities contribute to a particular social algebra that is constitutively the organizing principle on which the success of ceremonies depends, such as (1) how great and animating the event; (2) how good the food was; (3) the oratorical sophistication of the MC; (4) the amount of drinks guests enjoyed; and finally, (5) the duration of the event, among several other measures. The outdooring I witnessed with Kobby was 216

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a space where sassoi felt the need to be effeminate without reproach. At such events, they evade sanctions commonly instituted by heteronormativity – norms that enforced compulsory heterosexuality. Furthermore, identifications as LGBT were less likely to be ferreted in these domains. Moreover, sasso as a construct that references the self-identified effeminate man underwent several transitions in this space.

Sassoi and LGBT human rights politics of rescue Sasso remains a contested category that challenges the idea that Ghana is a heterosexual nation. It is also a community of men bonded by effeminate identification and homoerotic intimacy and desire. This community, however, is not inflexible. In fact, it is more convoluted and fluid, evading and upsetting both the tyrannizing nomenclature imposed by a government intent on solidifying compulsory heterosexuality and LGBT human rights NGOs whose goals are to rescue sassoi from forcible attempts by the government to embark on such invidious projects. The presence of international LGBT human rights NGOs (INGOs), whose interventions include LGBT empowerment programs and projects on access to health, then, overlooks the fluid character of sassoi self-making. They sidestep how sassoi alignment with gay identity is also shaped by such contingencies as time, place, and with whom they choose to or not to interact. Indeed, sassoi in my research area embodied selves that unsettled the presumed distinction between being heterosexual and homosexual as well as the presumed distinction between being Ghanaian and un-Ghanaian. In their mundane practices, too, on occasion, they appeared to reinforce these distinctions. Accordingly, sassoi participate in the tendency of NGO interventions to homogenize them as gay men in some contexts, actively rejecting it in others. The categorical imperatives of transnational LGBT rights NGOs significantly impact these realities. For example, in 2014, Aidspan, an INGO based in Nairobi, Kenya, released a documentary that exposed a community of sassoi in Jamestown titled “I didn’t want to bring shame on my family: Being gay in Ghana.” Highlighting the tragedies faced by men who have sex with men (MSM), the organization brought their public secret1 into the open when a popular sasso called Hilary featured in the video and openly declared that he was both gay and lived with HIV. Neglecting how the sassoi featured in the video besides him would respond, this sasso flaunted his homoerotic inclinations in the public sphere. In Jamestown, regarded as one of the safe suburbs among sexual minorities and gender non-conforming individuals, the exposure of the sassoi in documentary sent some of them into hiding. Sassoi thus inhabit a complicated zone where they fashion selves that are now reconfigured as non-normative in the cultural contexts in which they are situated. Simultaneously, however, sassoi self-making strategies also challenge our understanding of “normal,” drawing from – and complicating – established values and practices of their communities. Little surprise, then, that the term sasso in Ga interweaves several alternating parts of speech: Noun, verb, and adjective. By this extrapolation, the parents whose child’s outdooring ceremony was described earlier in this chapter are arguably sassoi. Disrupting the idea that sassoi are a homogenous constituency, Ayikwei, a hairdresser, expressed that “all sassoi are not the same. We have different styles and we express them differently, but most importantly, we are people, we’re human, we feel too.” While Ayikwei’s intimation suggests the impossibility of uniformity, it coterminously stresses a collective

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humanity by reiterating sassoi as a noun. Desmond, a food vendor in Jamestown, describes sasso as a man who: Sashays around, swinging [his] waist in a twirling fashion, throwing [his] wrists about effortlessly without fear of sanctions, and possessing the gait of a model. I will call such a person a sister, or, better yet, auntie. Sassoi are like that. Sometimes, too, when we exaggerate, it is like you see in RuPaul. Some of us like that show. Desmond’s assertion incorporates his understanding of queer identity from the West, to be specific, the United States, embroidering his familiarity with RuPaul’s Drag Race together with local descriptions of gender non-normative men. Unlike Ayikwei, Desmond presents an adjectival modality of sassoi self-making. It may appear that effeminacy is a significant reference point among sassoi; however, there are moments in which an overly effeminate presentation of the self invites rebuke from those sassoi who prefer to cloak their effeminacy in secrecy. Consider, for instance, the following excerpt from an interview with Richard, another sasso. He says: As for me, I cannot control my effeminate mannerisms. Whenever I am walking in town, clearly the way I walk betrays my effeminacy. I did not used to be called names before. These days, with the entire gay stuff happening, with everybody talking about gay people, I am always jeered. It is either someone is calling me gay, bati man, or homosexual. Some call me Kwadwo Besia, and some sasso do it too, although to laugh at me. Despite the name-calling I know that I am not in control of how God created me. I always tell them that I was born that way so they have to deal with me being in their midst or walking on their street. Sometimes, too, I remark that their jeers and mockery will not change my looks. I have had friends over the years too, some of whom have praised me for how bold I am. For instance, the women at the market where I go to do grocery always shower me with gifts. Some say that I am beautiful, and that they wished that I were their daughter. The term sasso is also employed to capture the act of engaging in homoerotic intimacy either between men or women. Here, whether the men or women who engage in homoerotic sex displayed characteristics that were considered to belong to the opposite gender had no bearing on their place in the universe of sassoi. What is stressed is the expression of samesex desire. Thus, men who do not convey effeminate expressions are regarded in the universe of sassoi as sasso insofar as they have homoerotic inclinations.

Amphibious subjects or evaders? Sassoi and the making of queer subjectivities One of my central arguments here is that sassoi subjectivity-making is not only queer, but also particularly Ghanaian. Much like Gloria Wekker (2006), who argues that mati practices in Suriname resurrected aspects of West African sexual grammatology and personhood, I maintain the view that sassoi express grammatological and affective registers inflected by colonialism, Christianity, and racialized capitalism. They are, to reiterate the terminology deployed by the Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Gyekye (1987), subjects who constantly engage in the practice of “amphibious” identification. For Gyekye, this modality of selfmaking exudes “features of both communality and individuality.” In this order, argues 218

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Gyekye, life is “lived in harmony and cooperation with others, a life of mutual consideration and aid and of interdependence,” but simultaneously “a life that provides a viable framework for the fulfillment of the individual’s nature and potentials” (Gyekye 1987, 37). Refusing to homogenize the comprehension of self-making among the Akan, Gyekye proceeds to amplify just how “the African social order is neither purely communalistic nor purely individualistic” (1987, 154). In effect, he insists that the individual within this social order is not entirely crushed by the community, as she/he has latitude for the self-assertion required to define their humanity and personhood in the social milieu in which they are nested. To justify the logic undergirding why and how the Akan particularly articulate amphibious identification as a heuristic for making sense of self-making in a milieu undergoing constant transitions, Gyekye highlights a motley assortment of proverbs that instantiate modes of self-making among the Akan. And since proverbs undoubtedly form an integral part of the Akan conceptual scheme, Gyekye’s reliance on these proverbs magnifies how the Akan conceptualize being and becoming in a precarious world. When a man descends from heaven, he descends into a human society (onipa firi soro besi a, obesi onipa kurom). The prosperity [or well-being] of man depends upon his fellow man (obi yiye firi obi). One finger cannot lift up a thing (Nsa baako enti me enfa ade). The left arm washes the right arm and the right arm washes the left arm (benkum dware nifa, nifa dware benkum). (Gyekye 1987, 156) The clan is like a cluster of trees which, when seen from afar, appear huddled together, but which would be seen to stand individually when closely approached. (Gyekye 1987, 158, emphasis in original) To further justify his explication, Gyekye references funtumfunefu-denkyemfunefu, transliterating as “Siamese crocodiles,” an Adinkra symbol, to explain his thesis on amphibious identification. The “Siamese crocodiles” (see Figure 16.1) describes a crocodile that is double-headed yet

Figure 16.1 Akan Siamese Crocodiles. Source: www.adinkra.org/htmls/adinkra/funt.htm, accessed 5 May 2015

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conjoined in the belly. For Gyekye, this symbol is constitutively a metaphor that not only captures amphibious self-fashioning, but also demonstrates the tensions and torsions that define self-styling processes. Bonded together, these Siamese crocodiles embody independence, read here as “individuality,” and unity interpreted as “communality.” If Gyekye concludes that the Siamese crocodiles embody amphibious personhood among the Akan, it is because the conditions that enable the crocodile’s existence are also amphibious. Although this symbol evokes a philosophical example of how self-making processes are made discernible, I am drawn to it because it elaborates how the Akan people imagine and craft meaning for why and how they become members of the societies in which they are nestled. Thus, my turn to Gyekye allows me to retrieve ciphers and vocabularies that highlight sassoi lives in a postcolonial context. Moreover, it allows me to heed to Keguro Macharia’s (2016) “litany of complaint,” in which he laments the sheer absence of African theorizations in the emerging field of queer African Studies.

Evading normative collusions and collisions: Sassoi as amphibious subjects By extending Gyekye’s concept of amphibious personhood here, I contemplate for a moment just how sassoi like Hilary, the “gay” man in the video mentioned earlier, position themselves within, against, and on the frontiers of colonial Christian and postcolonial identifications, queer liberal categorizations (i.e., self-labeling as MSM, gay, and lesbian) that NGOs such as Aidspan proliferate. Sassoi lifeworlds consistently show that categories are unsteady. For example, by articulating gay identity in the documentary produced by Aidspan, Hilary draws on queer liberal nomenclature. Yet, he also carefully struts the muddy terrains of his subjectivities in a conversation with him in the summer of 2012 after the video documentary was released:2 KWAME EDWIN OTU:

So does your family know about your sexual encounters with men? It’s really hard to tell. I don’t tell them that I do sasso. They only know that I am sasso. I respect them, and so when I am around them, I am very careful about what I say or what I do. I may be comfortable joking around with friends about my sexual encounters, however, I have to be sure that jokes about my sexual encounters with men are muted when I am around members of my family. It is very difficult to even tell my mother that I am a peer counselor for men who have sex with men at the NGO. She only knows that I work on HIV-related projects. As for my sister, I believe she is aware of my homosexual encounters because she has female friends who sleep with women, and are also my good friends. However, I believe she understands. On the other hand, my mother is very humble and a respectable member of my family and the community, and I don’t want to break her heart. Kwame, many sassoi are in the same shoes as me. Most of us don’t talk about our lives with men. For those who have done it, the consequences have been grave. We’d rather live our lives under the carpet rather than live openly as gay men. You know, all of this is out of respect. Because, once you say you are gay in this community, it reflects not so well on your entire family and community. People will talk and say stuff about your family. And most of us want to avoid the consequences that our homosexuality can bring. So, one better plays in secret.

HILARY:

Hilary’s response reveals how he embodied selves that were at once contradictory and coherent in ways that Aidspan together with a nation-state that criminalizes homosexuality could

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not fathom. In the above narrative, he articulates a self deeply embedded in his family, in which he masks his engagement in homoeroticism or even healthcare outreach for MSM. Although his family partially relied on him for financial support, derived from his participation in a local NGO called BURJ, his LGBT organizing activities in these organizations was shrouded in secrecy both by him and those who knew about the entrails of his employment. Moreover, in the context of his family, perceptions about his homoeroticism were camouflaged. The Aidspan video, therefore, froze Hilary’s amphibious subjectivity, rendering it homogenous and simultaneously, queer, victimized, and plagued by HIV. Here I stress the need to move beyond narratives of queer victimology and of gay men as vectors of HIV, often reinforcing tropes of African homophobia, to reconfiguring Hilary’s subjectivity as possessing multiple, competing, contradictory, and labyrinthine selves. Moreover, these selves are on occasion utterly incomprehensible to his family, the residents of Jamestown, fellow sassoi and friends, and to I, the ethnographer. Hilary embodies selves that intertwine nervously, particularly as he moves between spaces, among people, within organizations, and while painfully enduring an immune deficiency disease. Highlighting the undue challenges gay men faced regarding improved access to healthcare, Hilary reveals how healthcare workers treat patients they perceived to be gay in the video. For healthcare workers, sassoi need to be redeemed from the excesses of Western influences, of which the most abominable is homosexuality. He proceeds to elaborate on how the nurses at designated hospitals that attend to MSMs quote passages from the Bible to remind sassoi that homosexuality is a sinful act, punishable only by death. Elsewhere, I unpack how the responses from these healthcare workers need to be situated in the rapidly changing scenes of Ghana, animated by Christianity of various kinds – Charismatic, Pentecostal, Orthodox, Protestant – to mention but a few. What Peter Gifford 2004) refers to as Ghana’s “new Christianity” is evidently the background against which the backlash against sassoi who attempt to receive services from these hospitals occurs. The Christian passages cited by health workers reflect their quotidian interpretation of Christianity (Keane 2007). And, since Christianity, in whatever shade it appears, for most sassoi presents an opportunity to cope with the uncertainties wrought by neoliberal reforms imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, sassoi maintain an amphibious/ambivalent relationship with Christianity. Let’s see, for example, how Hilary presents his appreciation Christianity as follows: I really love my church. I make it a point to attend choir rehearsals every Wednesday and Saturday. I enjoy wearing the colorful robes with kente stripes, and also performing on Sundays and other special occasions are activities I love. Almost everyone who goes to my church knows how I appreciate being in the choir. For example, I am known for my reliability, and, as a result, I have gained a lot of respect in the church. Whatever I do outside of the church stays there. I am aware some of the members in the choir know that I am sasso, however, they still like me for who I am. Although I have been confronted by some of the church elders in the past, most have been less critical of me over the years. Sometimes I tell myself that the Anglican Church here in Jamestown is truly a rewarding space to be sasso, especially as most of the mothers here have sons who are like me and do sasso. Hilary’s account here emphasizes his active involvement in church activities. In this conversation, he does not openly self-describe as gay; instead he deploys the term sasso, indexed in 221

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this instance as effeminacy, which somehow shrouds his homoerotic inclinations. The members of the church he describes here were aware that he had sex with men. However, his homoerotic encounters were not open conversations. That Hilary was able to harmonize his passions for the church and for LGBT activism in an uneasy fashion reflects his self-styling abilities. Drawing on strategies of the self, which I describe as amphibious subjectivity, collapsed the constitution of sassoi as a verb, noun, and an adjective. Seasonally employed at BURJ, Hilary secured some benefits from a salaried job and connections to Western human rights organizations. Such organizations in Ghana, perceived as inflated with American dollars, European euros, and British pounds, make one’s affiliation or association with them respectable in the public sphere. Hilary, then, ultimately straddled the realm of respectability and unrespectability. His unmarried status notwithstanding, his access to the trickling streams of queer dollars afforded him a degree of “phallic competence,” which, according to Ampofo et al. (2009), is contingent on biological fatherhood, marriage, and men’s reproductive capacities.

Coda: Scrambled subjects in palimpsestic terrains Constricting the extent to which Hilary amphibiously self-fashioned, the documentary, “I didn’t want to bring shame on my family: Being gay in Ghana” disregards how LGBT human rights discourse is entangled with what I refer to elsewhere as African Christianity, erasing how sassoi navigated their membership in LGBT human rights projects and activism with their membership in local churches. This entanglement is invariably neglected in such a narrative, as are the ways in which the community of sassoi decided to keep Hilary’s seropositive status and gay identification in secret. Hilary’s friends were aware of his HIV status. And their knowledge of his status is silenced in their quest to avoid marking him. Furthermore, Hilary’s Christian stature and sassoi awareness of his religiosity heightened his friends’ desire to mask his seropositivity from the public until his revelation in the video that he was afflicted with the disease. Residing in a context where being seropositive is conceived as the outcome of one’s unhealthy and amorous sexual practices, sassoi, as a community, effectively acted to save Hilary’s image. A resident of Jamestown, it was a public secret that Hilary has sex with men. And as a member of the sassoi community, it was also a public secret that he was seropositive. The Aidspan documentary however converted this public secrecy to public knowledge, and in doing so, endangered all the other sassoi featured in the documentary. If the anthropologist Michael Taussig (1999) argues that secrecy is the inner flesh that emerges with the tearing of the skin, then Aidspan violently tore up the surface, which, in turn, unearthed the myriad secrets in the sassoi community in particular and Jamestown in general. Secrecy seems to be one of the key features of the sassoi community, especially in a context of increased homophobia, HIV, and economic precarity, among others. Foster, for instance, recounts that, Hilary will have done the same for anybody else. We sassoi know how our culture is. Sometimes, we are better off keeping it among ourselves. Of course, there will be that gossip, but we always look out for each other if need be. While Foster’s narrative highlights Gyekye’s emphasis on the value of the community for the individual and vice-versa, it also amplifies how Hilary ultimately authored his selves in a manner suited to negotiating the multiple conditions he traversed. These conditions 222

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necessitated processes of self-fashioning that were on occasion stifling and at other times liberating. For Aidspan, Hilary’s position foregrounded the predicaments of gay men in Ghana, such as their travails with HIV. For future scholarly and activist engagement with sassoi in Ghana, it might help to be more appreciative of the critical role that amphibious self-making plays in the enactment and negotiation of multiple selves. It is clear that amphibious subjectivity captures how sassoi uneasily navigate the space of the ritual, together with NGOs that focus on public health outreach, local human rights groups such as BURJ, and public health outreach NGOs. Sassoi realities contradict widespread portrayals in human rights rhetoric of Africa as a homophobic continent, a representation which I argue elsewhere recycles Joseph Conrad’s heart of darkness as “the heart of homophobic darkness” (Hoad 2007, Otu 2017). Furthermore, such sassoi experiences summon transnational LGBT rights advocates to cultivate more careful attention to the unexpected ways in which their interventions interact with queer politics in the contexts they imagine and describe as homophobic. If in Jamestown, homoeroticism has had a strong presence, it has coterminously operated through nuanced networks of secrecy and disavowal. Therefore, Jamestown, which doubles historically as former colonial trading post, much like the outdooring which opens this chapter emerges as a liminal space, a place where contradictions converge in ways that ruffle the arguably fine seams of normativity. In these contexts, transnational imperatives of being “out” can aggravate established strategies of queer self-making in ways that provoke the very homophobic violence these NGOs are seeking to combat. As amphibious subjects, therefore, sassoi navigate perhaps even trickier terrains of effeminacy, homoeroticism, and homophobia in Ghana. Much like the colonized subject, described by Stuart Hall, I conclude here that sassoi identity is formed at: the unstable point where the unspeakable stories of subjectivity meet the narratives of a history, a culture. And since he/she is positioned in relation to cultured narratives which have been profoundly expropriated, the colonized subject is always somewhere else, doubly marginalized, displaced always other than where he or she is, or is able to speak from. (1987, 6) Aidspan’s sentimental video reinscribed sassoi as subjects in need of rescuing. It obscured the fact that they are products of vexed histories who navigate uncertainties conceived by the collusions and collisions between Christian and queer liberal modernities, and the conundrums of LGBT human rights interventions incited by neoliberal and neocolonial reverberations in postcolonial Ghana.

Notes 1 Michael Taussig’s notion of public secret offers some hermeneutics of homoeroticism as an open secret. Thus, for sassoi and Jamestowners alike, homoeroticism is an integral part of life in the suburb, yet it is that part of life that remains inadmissible publicly. 2 “I didn’t want to bring shame on my family: Being gay in Ghana”: https://vimeo.com/114014571

References Ampofo, Akosua, P. K. Michael, and Michael Pervarah Okyerefo. “Phallic Competence: Fatherhood and the Making of Men in Ghana.” Culture, Society and Masculinities, Vol. 1, no. 1, (Spring 2009): 59–78. Boddy, Janice. Civilizing Women: British Crusades in Colonial Sudan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

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Camp, Stephanie. Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007. Gifford, Peter. Ghana’s New Christianity: Pentecostalism in Globalizing African Economy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004. Gyekye, Kwame. An Essay on African Philosophical Thought: The Akan Conceptual Scheme. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987. Hall, Stuart. “Minimal Selves.” In The Real Me: Postmodernism and the Question of Identity, edited by Lisa Appignanesi, 44–46. London: Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1987. Hoad, Neville. African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. Keane, Webb. Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in Mission Encounter. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. Macharia, Keguro. “On Being Area Studied: A Litany of Complaint.” GLQ, Vol. 22, no. 2, (April 2016): 183–190. McFadden, Patricia. Resisting Neocolonial/Neoliberal Collusion: Reclaiming Our Lives, Our Futures. Lecture delivered at the Africa Gender Institute. Cape Town: University of Western Cape, 2011. Oppong, Christine. Marriage among a Matrilineal Elite: A Family Study of Ghanaian Senior Civil Servants. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974. Otu, Kwame Edwin. “LGBT Human Rights Expeditions in Homophobic Safaris: Racialized Neoliberalism and Post-traumatic White Disorder in the World’s Worst Place to Be Gay.” Critical Ethnic Studies, Vol. 3, no. 2, (Fall 2017): 126–150. Pierre, Jemima. The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1978. Stoler, Ann. “Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruinations.” Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 23, no. 2, (2008): 191–219. Taussig, Michael. Defacement: Public Secrecy and the Labor of the Negative. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1999. Turner, Victor. “Liminal to Liminoid, in Play, Flow, and Ritual: An Essay in Comparative Symbology.” Rice Institute Pamphlet—Rice University Studies, Vol. 60, no. 3, (1974): 53–92. van Gennep, Arnold. The Rites of Passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961. Wekker, Gloria. The Politics of Passion: Women’s Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

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Part VI

Perspectives on negotiating social education

Tremors Unoma Azuah The troubles of our lives are like earthquake tremors Shifts dislocate and re-allocate existence just as tremors re-assign spaces. In new corners we re-learn the act of living and loving Like a truck speeding through a mound of deserts dusts We take in the stirring in the sands and wait till they settle. Nature Alexis Teyie You lying in this bed is the most natural Thing in the world. What’s more natural than A woman who remembers to bring bell peppers, Not chilli peppers? That’s simple. Your stretch marks, a vaguely blue duvet, and Eartha Kitt on the stereo. It’s a Tuesday.

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17 Adventures from the bedrooms of queer African women Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

In 2009 I started blogging about sex and sexualities because I wanted to contribute to creating space for African women to chat with one another about our bodies. My goal at the time was simple. I wanted more African women to have pleasurable sex. My belief then and now is that a range of societal factors (such as the idea that only “bad” women have sex before marriage) prevent African women from fully delighting in our own bodies, and this affects our rights to have pleasurable sex. I decided to stimulate conversations amongst African women by sharing my own personal experiences about sex, and this journey of sharing and documenting stories has also allowed me to interrogate my own socialization, assumptions, and thoughts about sex. This learning journey has included reflecting on my own sexual experiences, and pushing myself to be honest with my partners about my desires, dreams and fantasies. I have also been inspired by the numerous stories that women have shared with me about their own experiences of sex and pleasure. A few years back (2015 onward) I decided to start conducting in-depth one to one interviews with diverse African women from different parts of the continent and Diaspora. A number of those women I interviewed identify as queer, lesbian, or bisexual. For the purpose of this entry my definition of queerness is taken from Ekine and Abbas as a political frame that embraces gender and sexual fluidity. I define lesbian as a woman who is sexually attracted solely to other women, and a bisexual as a person who is attracted to women and men. For some of the queer women I interviewed, asserting their sexualities in societies that tried to deny their existence was a form of resistance. For others, being raised in societies where sensuality was present in everyday living and actions meant that they had always delighted in their own bodies. Still for other queer women, living life on their own terms was a delicate balancing act and an exploration of different types of relationships, including polyamorous ones. A relationship can be described as polyamorous when all the people in a relationship with a particular individual are aware of the existence of all the other concurrent relationships, although not all parties may be intimately involved with each other. In all the interviews I conducted, although everybody’s story was different, what was consistent was women’s determination to own and control their own bodies and a commitment to living on their own fearless terms to achieve recognition of their right to pleasure. 227

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Being in the position to interview these women also provided me with the opportunity to interrogate myself about my own sexuality and life; to reflect on my own bisexuality cloaked in a hetero passing body which at the time of writing is currently in a relationship with a cis hetero man. Recognizing that some of my sisters do not have this choice – questioning whether my own choices are ones of convenience, picking an easier path rather than one that’s harder to travel. Recalling a conversation with a queer activist sister friend, she said to me, “you can’t say you are queer if you have not lived openly in a queer relationship.” Wondering what it means to be queer? Are you only queer if the whole world knows you are? Only if your Twitter bio says something along the lines of “queer AF”? Only if your physical body, the way you dress and express yourself marks you as queer? Recognizing that the term queer is one that doesn’t sit very comfortably with me – I have never been a huge fan of reclaiming words. However, I recognize the power of naming oneself. When I need to define my sexuality, I am more comfortable with acknowledging my attraction to women and men. Recognizing that I have had more open relationships with men than with women, knowing that in part, my choices are explained by the fact that we live in a heterosexual world where I am read largely as heterosexual. My personal foibles perhaps mean that I prefer the other party to be the vulnerable one, the one who initiates and expresses an interest in me, the one who pursues me (so contradictory perhaps to my feminist beliefs and principles), so that my emotions can be safe, and I can accept and reject at will. In reading through the interviews I have conducted with queer African women I sometimes see reflections of myself, and the woman I seek to be. The women I have interviewed speak for themselves, and have merely allowed me to be the medium through which they tell their stories. Below, I share conversations I’ve had with two women.

A conversation with Amina Amina is a 28 years old self identified lesbian woman of Sudanese heritage who lives in Egypt. I interviewed her in 2016. In this story Amina describes in her own words how the revolution in the streets and the revolution in the sheets are two sides of the same coin. The name used for this publication is fictional. “What is going to happen to us after you get married to him?” I asked. “I cannot be showing up after he leaves for work to join you in the same bed that you shared with him the night before.” She looked at me; her eyes said one thing and her lips another. “We are not like that. We just got used to each other’s bodies. It is unnatural …” I barely let her finish. “I know I am a lesbian. We are not sick, we are normal.” After four years, this was the first time we had spoken openly and frankly about our relationship. About being two women in Egypt who loved each other. I fell in love with Fatima in middle school, I was about 12 years old at the time, she loved another girl, it was completely normal in school for girls to have crushes on each other. Everybody knew which girl loved another girl. But I knew I loved Fatima in a special way, in a deeper way, and it took three years before she showed that she felt the same way. We didn’t dare discuss our feelings. We only showed it. We lived on the same street and from school we would walk home hand in hand, when we said goodbye we would kiss each other on the cheeks and say “I love you” with all the innocence of youth, until “I love you” started to mean more than just words. I knew early on that I liked girls. I felt it within my body. I tried to read books on health and reproduction to understand these feelings that I had when I saw Fatima and other girls but none of the books gave me any answer. In my mother’s room I found 228

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a copy of Women and Sex by Nawal Saadawi. I was shocked to read that female genital cutting was done to women so that they would not enjoy sex. “So people have sex,” I thought as I tried to unravel in my mind what that meant. Even more mind-boggling was how Saadawi described female genital cutting. I had always thought Tahara was done to purify the sex area. My Sudanese mum would frequently tease me saying, “You’re not as clean as I am. Go change your underwear. Go and wash.” Later I realized that I was the first woman in my family not to have been cut. From Saadawi’s book I learned what the vagina looked like. “Do I have three openings? And where are they?” I wondered but did not dare ask my mother these questions. I wasn’t supposed to have read this book, or any of the other books about love and romance hidden in her room. Beyond the jokes about female genital cutting, my mother never discussed anything that happens below waist except to warn me to be careful in using public toilets. “Make sure you clean the toilet seat well before you use it. You don’t want any sperm to go into your body,” mother often cautioned. The books I read didn’t explain my feelings for Fatima or for other girls and women I had crushes on. I knew my feelings were wrong. I was sick. Nobody mentioned liking girls in books. Sex was between men and women. How could I have children with another woman? But the books taught me other things. I learned about sex, pleasure, and patriarchy. And then over time Fatima started to return my feelings. It was her 20th birthday, and as we sat on her bed, I reached over to give her a birthday kiss. For the first time there was the shock of tongue touching tongue, and then we sprung apart when her mother walked in. “What are you doing? Leave the room now!” she commanded. I was forbidden from entering Fatima’s room again, but she managed to convince her mother that we had only been sitting close together. Her mother had no words to describe what she thought she had seen, but she never felt comfortable having me in Fatima’s room again. And so we got together in other spaces whenever we could. My mother had a rule, “you cannot lock the door in any house where I pay the rent” and so we would wait for those moments when my mother, grandmother, and brother were out of the house. Or we would go and watch a film at the cinema and in the dark room sit close and touch each other. After my kung-fu class, we would go to the locker room and if it was empty; go into a bathroom stall and touch each other. We did everything fully clothed. We had to be ready to jump apart in nanoseconds. We touched anywhere we could reach fully clothed: Breast, thigh, and clitoris. Just so long as there was no penetration. We needed to stay virgins. We envisaged our hymens as a thin covering just inside us, and we knew that had to be kept sacrosanct. In the first year of college Fatima fell in love with a man and got engaged. She said, “I don’t think I have these lesbian feelings. We just got used to each other’s bodies, and in middle school there were no boys around. We need to stop, it’s unnatural.” But we stopped during our final term in college, a few months to her wedding date. I knew I couldn’t be this secret love for the rest of my life. By this time, I knew for sure I was a lesbian. My command of English was good now and I spent ages on the Internet searching for words like “lesbian,” “homosexual,” and “gay” in Google and Wikipedia. The first couple of pages that came back to me assured me that I was normal, that there were people like me everywhere. For the longest time Fatima and I thought we were the only two girls in Egypt who did what we did. In middle school I had believed that I was sick, but because of Fatima I knew there was at least one other person who was as sick as I was and that was a relief. “You’re not alone,” I would say to myself, “you’re not alone.” And now the Internet showed me that I was truly not alone, and that I didn’t have to seek asylum in the US and marry a white woman so that I could have a house full of rainbows. 229

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Something happened during the 2011 revolution in Egypt. It was as if someone had whispered, “let’s break all our mental chains too.” I had just broken up with my girlfriend, Fatima and I walked into the first queer space for the first time in my life. I was the new girl and everybody was hitting on me, it felt amazing. We were out, we were free, and we were in the revolution both politically and sexually. I met this woman, and we fell for each other but neither of us was ready to be in a relationship. The thought of being with a woman freaked her out, and I did not feel ready to jump into another relationship so soon. We decided that we did want to be together, but we did not want to be restricted in any way shape or form. We wanted to keep our relationship open to possibilities. We were going to be polyamorous, we were going to see each other but allow ourselves the freedom to see other people too. Our only rule was that we would not sleep with the same people or our friends. You have to be really careful as a lesbian woman in Egypt. My lovers come mainly from the leftist and feminist communities. You need to be 100% sure about a woman’s sexuality before you approach her because if you make a mistake, and she ends up being a homophobe or tells the wrong person “you could be in deep shit.” You could end up in jail. Nowadays more and more of my friends are coming up to me and saying, “I’m queer, I’m going to sleep with a woman,” and then they come back and say, “it was great!” I’m like what? I spent my whole life loving women, I did not just get up one day and say, “guess what, I’m queer.” Sex with women is not something that just happened naturally, it took time, and I can’t believe these women feel it’s that easy. I ask them, “So you didn’t freak out the first time you looked at another woman’s vagina?” You didn’t think, “Shit, I’m sleeping with a woman?” “What was it like the first time you were inside a woman? When you were feeling all the things you could not see, when you were touching flesh? You mean it was never weird for even one minute?” I remember when I first started having sex with my current partner, it was so bad because she insisted on giving me oral sex all of the time because in her imagination that is what lesbian sex was. She never asked, “What do you like? How do you like it?” Not that I knew what I liked at the time. Four years ago I still did not have the confidence to speak up about what I liked. That is what living in a conservative society will do to you. Sometimes it is even hard to ask yourself these questions: If I don’t get an orgasm should I fake it or not? Do all women get wet or not? Nowadays you can find a lot of these answers online but that wasn’t the case a few years ago. It took a lot of thinking, and practicing, and being part of feminist communities, and being with women who cared for me to learn that if I don’t want oral sex right now I should say so. Or if a person is doing something I do not like I need to tell them. And that I need to ask for what I want. I am really lucky with my current partner. We have a completely open relationship with each other. We can discuss anything, we tell each other when we meet someone we are attracted to before we sleep with the person, and we’ve had a lot of conversations about how it can be really hard to ask for BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism, masochism) for example because of our fear of what the other person will think about talking dirty in bed, or saying something that is not politically correct. The first time I had penetrative sex was with my current partner. This is something that we had both never done before because of the cult of virginity in Egypt. We decided we wanted to take that step together. We had to ask other lesbians about fisting – what do you do? How does it work? So it wasn’t that I started having sex with women and it was great straightaway. I always knew I loved women but sometimes my body did not respond the way I thought it should. For me, great sex with women didn’t just happen overnight, it took time, growth, and maturity. 230

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Recently, I’ve had what my partner describes as “a confused boner.” I met a man that I felt attracted to. I felt aroused around him. “Does this mean I am suddenly hetero, what the hell?” I told my partner, “I like this man.” I want to sleep with him even though I do not know what this means for my lesbian self. She was supportive even though she also did not understand my sudden attraction to this man, and also felt insecure. There is this fear of the “ultimate man,” the one who shows up and cures your gayness. It was a confusing period for me, and a confusion I am still holding on to because after sleeping with him, I went out with a few more men, and some of my experiences were enjoyable and others weren’t. I told some of my friends and they started calling me “bisexual” or “queer.” That pissed me off. I define myself as a lesbian. For years I have slept with, desired, and been confused as fuck about women, and now that I have slept with a few men people are calling me bisexual as if all my experiences with women before mean nothing. No, I am a lesbian. There is nothing wrong with being bisexual, but I do not define myself as such. I don’t even know why it is so important to me to name myself as a lesbian but it just is. I have not come out of my lesbian circle about having slept with men because I am scared that they will shun me. This is a community that I have contributed to building and feel very much a part of. They will definitely not understand my confused boner, and other communities that may understand that sexuality can be fluid will start categorizing me differently as bisexual. One of my friends said to me, “you used to be a lesbian.” I haven’t stopped being a lesbian; I have been primarily in a relationship with a woman for the past four years. Doesn’t that stand for something? It’s fucked up having to deal with this. I did not see this coming at all. And you get it from both sides. One of my male lovers said to me, “how do you feel after having heterosexual sex?” I said, “How do you feel after having gay sex? You just had sex with a gay woman.” Sex with men is different. Their bodies are different, their organs are different, and the way they respond is different. Usually after sex with a woman you will ask: “How do you feel?” “are you OK?” but after sex with men no one asks anything. None of my friends who know about my relations with men have asked me how it feels to have sex with men. I don’t say to my male lovers that I am in a relationship with a woman because some of them set out trying to prove a point such as, “this is the best sex you’re going to have in your life.” Only a small pool of trusted people knows that I am in a relationship with a woman. In this country sleeping with a man makes you a whore but sleeping with both men and women can trigger a whole lot of “shit” if someone reports you to the authorities. I have a feeling my mother would rather die if she knew I am a lesbian. She still perceives me as this asexual being that is going to get married one day. What she knows for now is that I am focused on my career, which she is happy about, but she doesn’t see any future in feminism, she thinks I’m wasting my time. She wants me to get married but she wants me to marry a particular type of man. She does not want me to marry an Egyptian. If I marry a Sudanese man he has to be educated and rich. Her preference would me for me to marry an American or European who will take me away to live somewhere nice. I think my mother is sensing something, though. I keep my current partner away from her because she was very aggressive toward my ex, and when my girlfriend used to visit she would say: “She looks like a boy. Don’t take her to the room with you. What are you doing in the room the whole time? Why does she keep holding you? Why is she touching you like that?” My girlfriend is very feminine and has curly hair. I suspect this is mother’s way of expressing that my partner looks queer, but she cannot express it quite like that. My mother 231

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would say, “the way she walks, it’s suspicious,” rather than make a direct accusation. She cannot entertain the idea that I am having sex, let alone amorous relationships with women.

A conversation with Chantale Chantale is a 35 years old Haitian who identifies as a same gender loving person. When I interviewed her in 2016, she was a resident in Montreal, Canada. In the narrative below she speaks about the connection between Vodoo, one of the national religions of Haiti, and the earthiness of sexuality. The name used for this publication is fictional. In Haiti, Vodoo is recognized as a national religion. The divinity of sexuality is close to the divinity of death, which is regarded in high esteem. On the day of the dead, usually celebrated in November each year, people do not go to schools. If you walk the streets you see people fall into trances and at night, you hear Vodoo ceremonies taking place all over the country. In Vodoo there are divinities and deities that reflect the spectrum of human experience. Sexuality has its own gods, goddesses, and in-between gender goddesses. Sexuality is vulgar, but not in the Western sense. Vulgar is blunt, courageous, verbal, and sexual. Physicality and the moving of bodies in dance are very sexual. Being able to do these vulgar, sexual dances, even in high society, is regarded as culture and Haitians are proud of their culture. In one way or the other, Vodoo permeates all aspects of the culture, even among conservative Christian families and high socio-economic groups. This was the backdrop to growing up Haitian before the Internet. There was closeness to the land. My grandparents would take me to the countryside and I would see people bathing in rivers; people with their fingers and toes in the earth, working the land. This experience of shamelessly seeing black bodies, of feeling the spirit of labor, of proximity to earth, has shaped how I look at my own black body. I was about nine years old when I first touched myself. I thought this was a special thing that only I could do. I had the most powerful orgasms of my life in early childhood, and I could feel how powerful my body was. Mica lived next door to us; he came from a good family. My mother and the community of aunts that raised me trusted. I felt safe with him too even though he was only 15 years old, the same age as me. He was cute: The kind of cute you see on television. He would play his guitar, carry me on his back, and take me to the beach. He made me feel good about myself. He could see something in me that I could not yet see in myself. He would touch me, finger me, and eat my pussy with a passion. It took a week of preparation before we both lost our virginity together. He had a perfect tiny penis. Mica and I stayed together for four years. And then at 18 I moved to Montreal to attend university, and there I fell in love with a woman. I had always loved women. As teenagers, when we played “mum and dad,” I always assumed the role of a dad and would do anything the girls wanted. The woman I met in Canada was seven years older than I was. She was prettier than I was. She had her shit together. I did everything she wanted me to. I did her homework, I bought her things, I even shoplifted so I could give her more gifts. One day we were on the bus heading to the movie theatre, which was several stops away from my house. No physical words passed between us but when we got to my stop we both got off the bus. I had never walked three blocks so fast before. We opened the door, our lips found each other right by the door, and there we stayed. Time whirred by in a blur of pleasure. I have no concrete memories; it was like a smoke-filled dream. Learning each other’s bodies, our lips clung to each together, and we twisted and turned our legs so that our clits could rub against each other. I screamed, and screamed, and screamed as I came. 232

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Typically, we spent winters sat in studio-like apartments puffing on weed. We would do some ecstasy, drink some alcohol, and listen to Bob Marley. One of us would start a game, or turn to another and start kissing, or start to peel off the other’s layers, and we would end up in a mix of limbs and bodies. At the time it always seemed like fun, but afterward I felt like something had been taken away from me, I felt drained of my essence. I kept waiting for her to want me. She never considered me a girlfriend. I was someone she would see inbetween fucking guys. It took a year for me to leave but ten years to heal. I swore, “I will never be with a woman again.” With men I knew I was never totally theirs – I was a good fuck and I could wield that like a weapon – but with girls I had no defense. It was with my second male lover that I realized that sex with men drained my spiritual powers. He was a friend of my first boyfriend, he had wanted me for years, and when he approached me, I was weak, my self-esteem was broken. He taught me about the importance of intentionally preparing for sex: Flirt the entire day, hold eye contact, “roll up a spliff.” Inside me he would circle his hips, he would pick up the rhythm, and then break it. I confused pleasure with love. And yet he was draining my power, my inner power, and my goddess power. I knew at the age of 13 that I wanted children. I had grown up raising children. Bathing them, changing their diapers, making them burp. It was like I was cultivating motherhood within me. And then at 24 I met Zion, the man I knew I wanted to father my children. He was the perfect thing to do to get back at my family. For the years of feeling less beautiful, too dark, and unwanted by my dad’s Black-White family where black babies were born with blond hair. My mother – who was Senegalese black – and I were protected only by my grandmother who loved this child of her favorite son: Her chocolate covered grandbaby. Zion was not Haitian, he was not rich, he was not even well educated. He was smart, an activist, and a black nationalist. I would go to these spoken word events just to listen to him perform poetry. I said to him, “I want to have your babies.” We met in September, by May I was pregnant, and in January I gave birth to my little girl. Zion tried unsuccesfully to control me, but my mother had modeled an alternate way of life. When my dad left to become a Buddhist monk she negotiated her pleasure with blunt pride, and focused on creating wealth for herself and her children. I remember that when I was 15 years old she told me something I have never forgotten: “Whatever you are doing, unless you have experienced it super slow you haven’t tasted anything.” I didn’t taste anything with Zion. I would edit his poetry, wash his locs, massage the pain out of his body, and yet he never saw me. I changed when I fell pregnant with my son, our second child. It was a hard pregnancy and I started to rebel. I said to him one night: “I am not well, we need to talk about this. This is not working for me. You really need to listen to me.” Tears traveled down my face as I spoke to him but all I got in response was silence. When I turned over to look at him he was asleep. And then one day I told him, “I’m leaving.” I don’t think he believed me. I was calm. There had been no fight, no confrontation. That was when he started being nice to me for the very first time. He bought me flowers, he made some photographs of the children that he framed and gave to me. He told other people he loved me and expected them to come and tell me. He never said to me, “don’t go.” When my son was three months old I went to a spa, and whilst waiting for my massage, I lifted my eyes off my book and saw this gift of a man: Rich black in complexion, sparkling teeth, an abundance of eyelashes and as if that wasn’t enough hair, locs that fell strong and heavy down his back. He saw me looking at him, and started chatting to me. I realized I knew his sister. A year later when I left the father of my children I called her: 233

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“What’s your brother’s number?” “Antoine is a bad boy.” “I don’t care.” I said to Antoine, “I need someone to help me separate from my partner, and it needs to be light and easy.” And it was, the break-up was very easy for me. When the relationship with Antoine ended I met Jean-Claude, the last man I would probably ever sleep with. He was the kind of guy who meditated and was in touch with his spirit, which was beautiful. But his huge penis made sex uncomfortable, and he was not one of those guys that you could have good lesbian sex with and so I said to myself, “maybe I should just go home.” Home is being closer to myself with someone. Someone I can share a deeper sense of self with, without fear, and without judgment. I started seeing women in activist circles. Most of the women who would approach me were white: I got involved with a circus girl from Portugal; a woman from Mexico who took what she wanted from me, and then went back to her relationship; an Italian who wanted to be my world and meet my kids but I didn’t allow just anyone to do so. I craved a relationship with a black woman but didn’t feel a sense of connection with anyone I met. I took to the Internet, paid up to join a dating site and selected my criteria. And then I saw her profile. She said she was a practicing Muslim and was looking for a relationship with a woman. There was no picture on her profile but I was curious. I sent her a message: “I would like to get to know you more if you’re interested. Here’s my number.” When she called me we spoke for four hours. I felt I had known her forever. It felt like we had been brought up in the same town, eating the same food, attending the same schools. At the end of the call I said to her, “I know we met on a dating site but I think we should try being friends, I don’t want to lose you.” She wasn’t part of my typical activist world. She was just this beauty-filled human that I shared heritage with. I didn’t have to explain myself, or my culture to her. Finally, in cold Canada, I had found a warm connection. On one of our early dates we went to the movies. I like cinéma de répertoire, alternative movies. While sitting in the darkened room with my date, I started to squirm: Why did I pick this film? I should have chosen a Hollywood movie, she’s not going to enjoy this. I was frantic to remedy the situation and blurted: “Do you want to come to my house?” We spent Friday night to Sunday night making love. We ordered in food and ate in bed with plastic forks. There were no labels on our relationship. We just were. She was consistent. Eventually she met my children, we moved in together, and she supported me in caring for my children. They called her Auntie. And then things changed. Now she says she wants to get married. She wants us to be monogamous. But monogamy is a violent word: It’s her way of trying to control me. The desire to be intimate with people is ultimately down to the individual because our bodies and existence are ours. When I am really into someone, I get a kind of tunnel vision; they are the only one I can see. There is that inexplicable connection but that is not the only way to be. I believe in the cosmic celestial: An intense fiery connection. It is a possibility, an opportunity, a state of wonder. In a context of wellbeing and safety, monogamy can thrive, but it comes from within; it is not an imposition by others. Anything that is imposed has the potential to strike a chord of resistance. I was monogamous because I didn’t have to be – I break free when one tries to hold me down, box me up, and place little labels on me. I am tired of contorting myself twenty thousand ways to please her. One would think she is my mother with all these conditions that she sets but in reality I am the one who mothers and takes care of her. I love women politically so I don’t want to dump her, replace her or consider her disposable. Before I met her my friends would say to me: “You black woman searcher, what are you looking for?” and I said, “I want to meet someone like 234

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myself.” Most people would say, “that is the most fucked up thing I ever heard.” But I know what I mean. I know how I love. I want to meet someone like me. I want someone who can love me to the standard that I love. I need to be able to share my truths and for my truths to be received with humor. I want to share my anger, my rage, my disappointments, my dark side, my desire to die sometimes, my desire for another woman. I need these truths to be received with humor, with goofiness, without this need to control me, or my creativity. I want to meet someone like myself, and recognize her as a familiar.

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18 “We have sex, but we don’t talk about it” Examining silences in teaching and learning about sex and sexuality in Ghana and Ethiopia Georgina Yaa Oduro and Esther Miedema

Introduction Sexuality, sex, and intimate sexual relations – usually considered to be deeply private and sensitive issues – continue to attract the attention and interest of academics, policymakers, international development actors, health care workers, and educators around the world. Public health-related concerns are often stated as the primary rationale for investments made, including in the design and delivery of school-based sexuality education. While there exists a growing corpus of scholarly work examining teacher skills and comfort levels to address sexuality and sexual relations in the classroom, there is paucity of research concerning culturally inflected silences and vocabularies surrounding issues relating to these topics. In a similar fashion, many questions remain with regard to the ways in which silence and lexical choices are grounded in, and can perpetuate, gendered and sexual norms and identities. This chapter seeks to engage with these questions. Of particular interest to the present discussion are levels of teacher comfort and skills to teach about sex and sexuality, but, more importantly, the silences and lexical choices within school-based sex education initiatives. Many African feminist scholars and activists have partly attributed the silence around sexuality in various African contexts to colonial misrepresentation and racialization of African sexuality and the projection of hyper-sexuality on to Africans (Pereira 2003; Ampofo et al. 2004; Arnfred 2017; Chacha 2017). Additionally, cultural disdain for mentioning sex organs openly in most African languages is said to contribute to such silences (Machera 2004; Anarfi 2006; Oduro 2010; Awusabo-Asare et al. 2017). These factors have in turn informed school-based initiatives with regard to sexuality and sexual relations.

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Using Ghana and Ethiopia as case studies, we examine the teaching and learning about sex and sexuality at basic, secondary, and university levels. Here we are particularly interested in knowing whether teaching and learning about sex and sexuality changes as students advance to subsequent levels in the education system, that is, from primary to secondary and tertiary levels of education. In so doing we address another gap in the literature, that is, comparative analysis of challenges in teaching about sex and sexuality across the three levels of the educational system (Miedema and Oduro 2017; Pateman and Bhana 2017; Robinson and Davies 2017). In what follows, the theoretical premises of the present chapter are discussed, followed by a presentation on the provision of school-based sexuality education in the two research contexts in Ghana and Ethiopia. After detailing the methodology applied in the collection and analysis of the data, we move on to a discussion of central themes to emerge from the data gathered. We conclude with a reflection on methodology and analysis in the final section.

Background and theoretical premises of comprehensive sexuality education Drawing on a review of sexuality education initiatives from different parts of the world, Miedema (2011) conclude that three broad approaches can be distinguished with regard to sexuality education, that is, those that are primarily underpinned by conservative moral values, by conceptions of rights or those that are “scientifically informed.” The authors observe that initiatives that can be understood as moralistically informed tend to be grounded in notions of childhood innocence and family values, and, in practice, often promote abstinence as the central means to prevent pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Research suggests that this approach is most commonly adopted in many Sub-Saharan African countries, particularly in school settings (Gallant and Maticka-Tyndale 2004; Oduro 2010; Oduro and Otsin 2014). Within such programs, young people are typically instructed to “just say no to sex” and particular onus is placed on young women’s responsibility to delay sexual relations (Bhana 2007; Nyanzi 2007; Oduro and Otsin 2014). The imposing billboards with fear-based messages and those promoting (women’s) virginity and abstinence – which are commonly seen in numerous Sub-Saharan African countries – reveal that such moralistically informed approaches are also deployed outside school settings. Awareness of the shortcomings of abstinence (only) based approaches has led to a growing support for more comprehensive forms of sexuality education approaches. A recent study by Awusabo-Asare et al. (2017) on sexuality education policies and their implementation in secondary schools in Ghana, for example, noted the shift from abstinence sexuality education to (more) comprehensive sexuality education. Comprehensive sexuality education builds not only on evidence concerning the lack of positive impact of abstinence (only) approaches but also on increasing acknowledgement of children and young people as sexual beings and of international agreement regarding children and young people’s rights (Bhana 2007; Nyanzi 2007; Allen 2012). Despite the growing support for comprehensive sexuality education (henceforth CSE) for young people, there is not an agreed upon understanding of what CSE is, what this form of education ought to address or how. Despite this lack of clear consensus, a recent review of CSE literature and programs by Hague et al. (2017) suggests that a range of common themes and concepts can be identified to characterize CSE initiatives. First, within CSE policies, emphasis tends to be placed on young people’s rights to be informed about their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and second, to make their own choices (IPPF 2014; UN 237

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2011). Enhancing choice is presented as a central goal of CSE, a notion that is closely linked with that of strengthening young people’s agency (Hague et al. 2017). Third, there appears to be general agreement that CSE must be inclusive of youth identities and should be nonstigmatizing, ensuring the needs and rights of all young people are met (Pingel et al. 2013; UNESCO 2015). Notions of choice, inclusion, and agency are particularly salient to the current discussion, especially in relation to what is deemed “culturally appropriate” or “relevant.” The definition of CSE offered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) (2015) highlights a key tension that will be examined in the current chapter. The agency defines CSE as an “age-appropriate, culturally relevant approach to teaching about sexuality and relationships by providing scientifically accurate, realistic, nonjudgmental information” (2015, 7). Noteworthy in the definition offered by UNESCO is the reference to offering “non-judgmental information” and emphasis placed in the document on being inclusive in combination with the notion of adopting a “culturally relevant” approach. We contend that invoking notions of cultural relevance are often used to justify normative stances taken in relation to – to name a few examples – premarital sex, sexual pleasure, access to abortion, and same sex relationships, including educators involved in the studies presented here. As Klepp et al. (2008) point out, sexuality is a sensitive subject in any cultural context, even if norms regulating sexual practices, identities, and expressions vary according to, among other factors, geographic region, class, and age and may shift over time. Scholars and international agencies have drawn attention to the discomfort many teachers feel in teaching sexuality education, highlighting in particular “cultural taboos” that inhibit open dialogue between teachers and young people – in a wide range of contexts – from openly discussing sex and sexuality (UNESCO 2015). Fundamental to understanding this discomfort is what DePalma and Atkinson (2006, 342) refer to as the “lingering effect” of the gendered Cartesian divide between body/mind and private/public. In this view, the public space of the school is first and foremost conceived as a site for the development of the mind, with bodies (of teachers and students) expected to remain outside the school walls, in the realm of the private. However, as Allan and colleagues (2008) argue, while sexuality is purportedly absent in school classrooms and, we argue, in tertiary lecture halls, it is in fact fully present due both to its conspicuous absence in many formal curricula and to the heteronormative cultures that exist within institutions such as schools (see also DePalma and Atkinson 2006). In other words, schools and universities are neither sexually neutral spaces nor mere sites for academic learning, but instead spaces where “people are educated in the possibilities and limitations of sexual [and gendered] identities” (DePalma and Atkinson 2006, 342). Building on authors such as DePalma and Atkinson (2006), Allan et al. (2008), and Sauntson (2013), we examine the absences and patterns of silence in sexuality education through an analysis of what is said and talked about in the classroom or lecture hall setting, and what is silenced and who is silent or silenced. With regard to what is said, we look in particular at the lexical choices made, while with regard to the silences, we attend in particular to “absences” and silences in the curriculum as well as gendered classroom dynamics. In so doing, we build on Sauntson (2013), who applies elements of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough 2001) and speech act theory (Austin 1975) to examine how language used in the English curriculum program constructs particular ideologies and positions about sexuality, and how this construction work may be linked to the cultures of heterosexism and homophobia. Departing from the idea that silence itself can be understood as a speech act, 238

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Sauntson (2013) focuses on the concept of “illocutionary silencing” to examine the actions performed when something is not said. Sauntson (2013) thus argues that what is present in a text, as well the illocutionary silences within the same text, create school-based ideologies of heterosexism (Pereira 2003; DePalma and Atkinson 2006). Unlike the authors mentioned above – whose work engages with sexuality education in the United Kingdom – our analysis concentrates on the contexts of Ghana and Ethiopia; countries in which homosexuality is prohibited by law. Silencing and active or tacit promotion of heterosexism in these settings arguably takes on a rather different meaning than in a context such as the UK, where homosexuality was decriminalized in 1967 and acceptance of same-sex relations is said to be relatively high (Pew Research Center 2013; LGBT Archive 2016). In addition to reflecting on heterosexist ideologies that young people may be socialized into, our analysis focuses in particular on the relationship between on the one hand, silence and lexicon, and on the other hand, teacher and student comfort. Finally, we examine silence and vocabulary in relation to teachers and students’ positions on premarital sex, pleasure, and disease. Unlike the authors cited above, we focus first and foremost on educators’ narratives regarding sexuality education, which is complemented by non-participant observation of sexuality education lessons. In subsequent sections, we examine how this dynamic unfolds within sexuality education delivered in Ghana and Ethiopia.

Provision of sexuality education in Ghana and Ethiopia Sexuality education in Ghana On the West coast of Africa is the multicultural1 nation of Ghana. Three francophone countries border Ghana, namely, Cote d’Ivoire on the west, Burkina Faso on the north, and Togo on the east. The Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean limit the country’s southern border. Ghana’s population is about 28 million with diverse ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups (Ghana Statistical Service 2010; CIA 2017). Similar to most African countries, Ghana has a youthful population with about 57% of Ghanaians under the age of 25 (CIA 2017). This comparatively young population has implications for policies including the teaching and learning of sex and sexuality education. Moreover, Ghana is a patriarchal society where considerable power imbalances exist between men and women, and between young people and adults. This situation limits young people’s space to question the authority of elders and some young women’s ability to refuse the sexual advances of men (Prah 2002; MOWAC/ UNICEF 2009; Oduro 2010). The prevalence of teenage pregnancy, unsafe abortions, gender-based violence, STIs, and other health-related challenges among Ghanaian youth is reportedly on the increase (Oduro and Otsin 2014; Awusabo-Asare et al. 2017). To respond to these sex and reproductive health-related challenges, sexuality education initiatives are provided at different levels of the education system. Important examples include the HIV Alert program, School Health Education Programs (SHEP), and other co-curricular activities that have been initiated by the Ghana government over the past two decades. The institutionalization of Virgin Clubs in basic and secondary schools is intended to help girls maintain their chastity, prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, and promote the general wellbeing of young people (Dzokoto 2008; MOWAC/UNICEF 2009; Awusabo-Asare et al. 2017). A National Technical Advisory Commission on AIDS was set up in 1985 – the year before the first AIDS case was officially diagnosed in Ghana – followed shortly with the 239

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establishment of the National AIDS/STD Control Program (NACP) in 1987 to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other STIs. While sex education is integrated in the curriculum of social studies, integrated science, life skills, management in living studies at basic and secondary educational levels, and colleges of education, it stands alone at the university level. At the University of Cape Coast (UCC), for example, sex and sexuality education is taught in courses such as gender and sexuality, sex and sexuality, gender and development, health education, adolescent reproductive health, and behavioral change communication, to name a few. In 2007, the UCC instituted a Population and Family Life Education program to train graduate teachers in the delivery of sexual and reproductive health education in Ghana. These recent public initiatives can be seen as extending a long tradition of sex education in Ghana. According to Awusabo-Asare et al. (2017), sexuality education is not a new phenomenon in Ghana, though the approach and medium of delivery in pre-colonial times is different from today. Traditionally, sexuality education was taught during puberty rites and geared towards marriage and procreation. It was gendered with a focus on girls and mainly performed at menarche. Examples are the Bragoro rites among the Akans2 and the Dipo rites among the Krobos both of Ghana (Assimeng 1999; Boakye 2010). Traditionally, respectable community members such as queen mothers, uncles, and aunties of the initiate carried out sex education. It was a taboo for biological parents to discuss such sensitive issues directly with their children (Boakye 2010; Miedema and Oduro 2017). The collapse of puberty rites as a result of missionary influence, Western education, urbanization, and social change created challenges for parents who had not been equipped with the skills and “traditional right” to discuss sex with their children (Nukunya 1991; Oduyoye 1995; Dankwa 2009). In Ghana, issues of sex and sexuality have traditionally been defined by what Serena Dankwa (2009, 194) calls “norms of discretion and verbal indirection.” Discretion is explained as feelings that impede public displays of affection between sexual partners and which prevent explicit talk about one’s own or other people’s sexual lives, especially outside boundaries of marriage and reproduction, while verbal indirection is interpreted as the practice of not directly addressing sensitive issues. Sensitive body parts such as penis and vagina locally known as etwe and koti in Akan are very difficult to mention. Rather, euphemisms and verbal indirections are often employed in describing them. The few who are able to mention them prefer using the English equivalent instead of the local language due to the difficulties. Unfortunately, this discretion and indirection relegates sexuality to the realm of the unspoken. A study by Van der Geest’s (2006) among Kwahu women in Ghana revealed that showing love in public by holding hands, kissing, and embracing was culturally unacceptable and perceived as disrespectful. Rather, local expressions, proverbs, euphemisms, songs, and stories were among the common channels through which such issues were communicated (Ikpe 2004; Oppong 2006; Oloruntoba-Oju 2007). Though the situation has been affected by social change in current times among most modern youth, such a background and cultural baggage have contributed to the silences, absences, and hesitancy that have shrouded the field of sexuality education to this day. It is in this regard that Amina Mama equates sexualities in Africa to “African silences” (1996, cited in Arnfred 2004, 59). Arnfred echoes this observation with the following question, “why is it that discussions of sexuality are so noticeably absent in the works of African feminists” (2004, 59). Notwithstanding these silences, the HIV epidemic, work of some feminists and women’s rights advocates, as well as work by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa 240

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(CODESRIA), reflected in its residential programmes and Gender Institutes (Bennett and Tamale 2017), have contributed in raising awareness and generating interest in African sexuality generally and sexuality education in particular.

Sexuality education in Ethiopia Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a patrilineal society with deeply entrenched gender roles where gendered power relations have a strong bearing on daily lives (Browes 2015; Le Mat 2016). Over 45% of the total population of Ethiopia is younger than 24 years old (Megquier and Belohlav 2014). While young people in Ethiopia are progressively gaining access to education and health services, recent research indicates increasing rates of unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and the prevalence of STIs (Norad 2015). Furthermore, rates of gender-based violence, while still insufficiently researched, are reportedly high (Norad 2015; Le Mat 2016). In its comparative ten-country study on violence against women, the World Health Organization, for example, found that prevalence of intimate partner violence against (young) women in Ethiopia is among the highest in the world (WHO 2015). Sexuality education is provided as part of the formal curriculum at primary and secondary levels in Ethiopia (UNESCO 2015). However, as previous studies have shown, such intracurricular education remains limited, in the sense that it primarily focuses on biological aspects of sex and sexual relations, hereby largely ignoring social dimensions of sex and sexuality, gender relations, and power dynamics (Browes 2015; Le Mat 2016). In some (upper) primary and secondary schools, extra-curricular sexuality education is provided in addition to the regular (intra-curricular) sexuality education. The World Starts With Me (henceforth WSWM), an initiative that seeks to combine CSE with learning IT skills, is one of these programs. Supported by the Dutch non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Rutgers-WPF and Educaids, the WSWM program is implemented in ten countries around the world. The initiative was adapted to the Ethiopian context by the Ethiopian NGO Development Expertise Center (DEC). At present, the WSWM is implemented in more than 65 schools across Ethiopia with the support of local civil society organizations. Teacher volunteers tend to be selected on the basis of their performance and interest. In principle, volunteer teachers in the schools involved in this study received a one-week training prior to the start of their involvement in the initiative. In the study schools, a gender-balanced batch of 120 students is selected to participate in the program every year. These students take 15 weekly lessons covering 15 different topics during a total period of 4 months, with each lesson lasting 45 minutes (WSWM undated). Topics include “Emotional Ups and Downs,” “Is Your Body Changing Too?” “Culture and our HTPs,” “Pregnancy: 4 Girls and 4 Boys!” “HIV/AIDS: U have a role 2 play 2,” and “Love shouldn’t Hurt” (WSWM undated). To ensure parents are informed about the lesson content, every batch of students and their facilitators organize at least one exhibition showing student work on the topics addressed during the program (WSWM undated).

Methods: Researching sexuality, HIV, and AIDS in Ghana and Ethiopia Data are derived from two sets of qualitative studies from Ghana and Ethiopia. The Ghanaian data emanate from a study that focused on the silences, challenges, and 241

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experiences associated with teaching sex and sexuality at a university from the perspective of lecturers, that is, students’ views were not solicited in the Ghanaian study. Data were collected from six purposively selected lecturers involved in teaching sex and sexuality related courses from one university in Ghana between March and June 2017. The interviews were semi-structured and covered questions such as difference between sex and sexuality, interest and decision to teach the subject, training and skills for teaching sex and sexuality, class atmosphere, gender dynamics, language and/or words employed in teaching sex and sexuality, teaching methods used, challenges encountered in teaching the subject, and the influence of Ghanaian culture on the subject. All interviews were conducted in English. The six lecturers/participants comprised three men and three women with ages ranging from 38 to 62 years. All the lecturers were PhD holders and had taught sex and sexuality for a minimum period of three years to a maximum of 21 years. Their courses were captioned under subject titles such as gender and sexuality, gender and development, sex and culture, men and sex, sex and sexuality in African cultures, and sex, sexuality, and responsible adulthood. Unlike the Ethiopian study, the Ghanaian research took place in only one university located in an urban area. The qualitative data from Oromia region, Ethiopia also focused on sexuality teachers’ experiences and views regarding the provision of school-based sexuality education as well as some voices from basic and secondary school pupils. The study was conducted in a rural town in central Ethiopia in 2017, involving the four primary and one secondary schools in the town where the WSWM program was implemented. A total of 56 respondents took part in the study, including teachers, school principals, students, members of parent-teacher associations (PTAs), parents, community leaders, and government officials. Methods included semi-structured in-depth interviews with WSWM educators, school principals, PTA members, parents and community leaders. Two single sex focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with secondary school level students who were taking part in the WSWM at the time of the study, each group consisting of six participants between the ages of 15 and 17 years. Finally, observations of WSWM sessions were carried out in all the schools, whereby particular attention was paid to the classroom setting and dynamics, and how messages were communicated. An Ethiopian female research assistant supported the research, providing help with interpretation during interviews and FGDs (these were conducted in Afaan Oroomo or Amharic). Data sets from both countries were audio-recorded after securing permission from the participants, and transcribed ad verbatim. During data collection in schools in Ethiopia, the researchers and research assistant compared detailed notes of observation sessions as soon as possible after the interview/observation had been completed. The Ghanaian study was manually analyzed due to the small number of participants involved, while the Ethiopian study employed both manual and computer assisted (Atlas.ti) data analysis procedures. We began with open coding followed by a systematic and iterative process of clustering themes guided by the research questions and aims. Thus silences, comfort levels, and language employed by educators of sexuality and HIV/AIDS education as well as the role of gender dynamics were analyzed. A number of key themes relating to the broad thematic areas identified are discussed in the next section.

Silence, culture, and vocabularies: Presentation of data In what follows, the discussion of key themes emerging from the data is structured into two key sections: (a) silences, (perceived) role of culture, language, and lexical choices, 242

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and (b) class/lecture room atmosphere, sex composition, and gender dynamics. Six Ghanaian lecturers (three male and three female) involved in the study are coded as Lecturer 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, respectively. With regard to the Ethiopia case study, this chapter focuses in on data gathered with nine primary school teachers (four female, five male) and three (male) secondary school teachers. When quoting a particular lecturer or teacher, the date of the interview is given and, in the latter case, whether it was gathered in a primary or secondary school.

Silence, culture, and lexical choices in sex and sexuality education Silence, specifically culturally inflicted silence, emerged in the study in ways that both confirmed and contradicted findings from previous studies. First, when asked about the possible challenges of teaching sexuality, only one out of the six lecturers reported feeling constrained in teaching the subject in Ghana. None of the primary or secondary school teachers involved in the study in Ethiopia reported feeling any discomfort in teaching the subject matter, emphasizing the role experience and age played in comfort levels. The most frequent response provided when asked about the critical qualities of a good sexuality education teacher was telling in this regard: Teachers, students, and parents alike mentioned that a good sexuality education teacher needed to be “free from culture,” – freedom which was defined as the ability to speak freely about issues related to sexuality. As a parent involved in the study explained, teachers might “feel shy to speak about [sexuality] in front of the students … you know our culture is very difficult. It is not easy to talk about it with kids.” The selection of sexuality educators, according to the participants in the study, needed to be based on the ability to move beyond reported cultural taboos when talking about sexuality with young people. In the Ghanaian study for example, only one male lecturer out of the six lecturers reported feeling restrained in teaching sex and sexuality. Lecturer 6 reported feeling particularly uncomfortable mentioning the reproductive organs. He intimated: To tell the truth, when I was initially asked to teach the course, I asked myself if I could teach it. I was imagining how students would react when they hear a course like that … Initially, I was to co-teach with a particular female lecturer. So, at the beginning, I discussed with her if I could mention these organs as they are. In fact, I had difficulty thinking of how I was going to mention the organs in class. (Lecturer 6, Male, 57 years, 12 June 2017) Lecturer 6 felt apprehensive and challenged in mentioning the sex organs until pushed by some students to let go his fears. He added: I remember teaching a level 300 course and one day I came across the mentioning of the sex organs and the students realized I was finding it difficult to mention them. So, one of the female students stood up and said, “sir please I want to remind you that we are not in Junior High School, but level 300 university students so feel free and say what you want to say” and that gave me some level of confidence. So initially there were some inhibitions. I worried about standing before my students and talking about the sex organs, and even mentioning them and all that. I thought, hmmm, if I don’t take care and knowing we are Ghanaian, the students will think “I am spoilt” or “rotten” for mentioning the sex organs openly like that. (Lecturer 6, Male, 57 years, 12 June 2017) 243

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As seen earlier from the Ethiopia data, a good sexuality educator was regarded as one who was “free from culture” in discussing issues of sex and sexuality. However, the Ghanaian lecturer in question reported feeling constrained. Could this be attributed to cultural influences which tend to frown on the open mentioning of reproductive and sex organs or his personal inhibitions? None of the remaining five lecturers had such apprehensions. They mentioned sex organs freely in both local and English languages (English is the official medium of instruction in Ghana). One Ghanaian participant observed: “I am very blunt in my teaching. I don’t have other terms, ‘etwe’ is ‘etwe’ (vagina is vagina) and ‘kote’ is ‘kote’ (penis is penis), while ‘Fuck’ is ‘fuck’, period” (Lecturer 4, Male, 38 years, 6 April 2017). Despite the fact that the majority of the participating lecturers felt comfortable in teaching the subject, they were still conscious of individual differences, and sensitivity of students informed by their religious and cultural upbringing in discussions on sex and sexuality. Though a majority reported feeling comfortable mentioning the sexual organs, they noted the discomfort of some students on the subject manifested through fidgeting, changes in facial expressions, and comments like “aww, madam/sir” when sex organs are mentioned. Notably, Ethiopian teachers’ accounts regarding terminology suggested that they were comfortable teaching the extra-curricular sexuality education program, but could not use similar direct language in regular biology lessons, for example. Explaining the differences between regular biology classes and the sexuality education sessions, one teacher (male, secondary school) explained that, The student taught here and the student taught in the [regular] class is different. In the class they don’t have confidence … even some teachers are also afraid especially about the reproductive organs … They use synonyms, metaphors, they tell indirectly because of cultural defect – that is the main problem, but [in the sexuality education program] it is very good. (15 May 2017) When asked about the terms used and whether or not metaphors are useful in teaching about sexuality, the teacher went on to draw a distinction between primary and secondary levels students as follows: Actually … at elementary level we use terms like ‘nafa dhiiraa’ [male organ] etc., but here [at secondary level], we call it vagina, we call it penis … Here [in secondary level WSWM session] we use … what we call ‘tuffe’ or ‘woshela.’3 When we say these words [at primary level] they get afraid and they laugh. So, in order to reduce the noise in the class we use ‘nafa saalaa’ (‘reproductive organs’) [at primary level]. (15 May 2017) Despite the secondary school teacher indicating that at primary level it was difficult to use less formal Oromifa (or English language) terms – such as penis or vagina – observation of sexuality lessons in primary schools suggested that at this level too teachers and, albeit to a lesser extent, young people were reasonably comfortable using these “direct” terms. Illustrative in this regard is the following excerpt which details a primary school class interaction following a group exercise during which girls were asked to draw boys’ changing bodies on a flip chart and vice versa. Upon completion of the exercise, the teacher (male, primary 244

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school) asked who would like to start presenting what they had done. The boys volunteered first, followed by the group composed of girls, who on the whole seemed considerably more reluctant to speak out: GIRL:

The boys’ change that happens are wider chest, growing mustache, voice changes, their sexual interest increases [young woman smiles] … hair [grows] around their “tuffe” [penis] [laughter] and under their arms, they experience erection and ejaculation during sleep [laughter], their penis size grows bigger [laughter]. TEACHER (MALE): Excellent [Clapping] … don’t be shy … this is nature. (19 May 2017) Responding to the teacher’s remarks and possibly the girl’s obvious shyness, we observed a group of boys sitting close to us murmuring to each other. They could be heard saying: “It’s ok … don’t be ashamed,” and “there is nothing to be ashamed of: Nature is not a shame, theft is” (Observation primary school 4, Tuulu Bolo, 19 May 2017). Similarly, illustrative of the apparent level of comfort of students and competence of the teacher was the absence of disruptive laughter. That is, while there was a fair amount of laughter among the students in the class when topics of bodily changes and men and women’s genitalia were discussed, at no point did the laughter become disruptive – as the secondary school teacher seemed to suggest it would. Primary school teachers and students involved in this study seemed sufficiently at ease to use words such as “tuffe” rather than the formal equivalent of “nafaa salaa dhiiraa.” The data thus suggest that certain primary school teachers had created a space in which talking about topics such as bodily changes was progressively normalized. The student’s comment that theft is shameful while changing bodies were natural is informative in this regard and may indicate that the teacher had established sufficient rapport with his students in relatively informal and interactive discussions about a subject otherwise deemed inappropriate in adult–child interactions. The above-mentioned class discussion illustrates the centrality of the teacher in relation to the quality of education provided. While heterosexuality was assumed (in WSWM materials, and by educators and young people involved in the study) and the message taught in all classrooms was to abstain from sexual relations before marriage, within that arguably limited space, certain teachers acted in ways that could be understood as silencing students, while others offered the possibility for more open debate. To illustrate the difference in approach the teachers adopted to discuss sexuality, excerpts of two sets of notes made during observation of WSWM sessions in two different primary schools in Ethiopia are presented below. (MALE): HIV/AIDS is preventable disease … We can prevent it by [using] different techniques: ABC. As we have discussed earlier, since you are too young, which letter is the right preventive method for you? CLASS: A – Abstinence! TEACHER: Very good my children, yeees abstinence is the most recommended for you since you are in primary school. (Observation primary school 2, 16 May 2017) TEACHER

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1: Teacher, I want to know how we get erection while we are asleep. I’m not even conscious during sleep. TEACHER (MALE): Great question … erection happens because the bed sheet touches the penis. Unconsciously this may happen … If you have any question please say so.” MALE STUDENT 2: For a boy it is penis erection, what is it for girls? (Other students laugh) TEACHER (MALE): Very nice question … When boys are sexually aroused, their penis erects. When girls are sexually aroused, their vagina opens up and it gets wet. This is naturally to welcome the penis. MALE STUDENT

While both teachers encouraged abstinence before marriage, the differences in the narratives are striking – in the first instance, discussion regarding sexual feelings and experiences actively foreclosed, with students encouraged to give the right answer, that is, “A for Abstinence.” In the second instance, the teacher had created space for young people to ask very frank questions about their own bodies and those of the other sex without being silenced in the process. While there were clear silences – heterosexuality assumed in both instances, for example – there was a marked difference in what could and could not be articulated in the presence of the teacher.

Class Atmosphere, Sex Composition, and Gender Dynamics The role of the gender composition of the class, and its effect on class atmosphere and level of interaction emerged as an important theme. All six lecturers in the Ghanaian study reported an average of 40 students with periodic fluctuations and a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 80 students enrolling in such courses. Most of the sexuality courses at the tertiary level in Ghana are elective and not core, hence the fluctuations in student enrolment and class sizes. Such courses are normally scheduled for final year undergraduate and graduate students. Though the gender composition of the class varied from year to year, five out of the six lecturers reported having consistently more males than females or equal numbers enrolling in the course each year as evidenced here: More often than not, there are more males in the class than females, with the exception of this year, where the number of females has outnumbered the males. (Lecturer 6, Male, 57 years, 12 June 2017) I have also consistently had more males than females or equal numbers. It was one particular year that I had more females and it really affected discussions and dynamics in the class because that group of students were reserved and non-responsive like the previous years where I had more males or equal numbers and I think it because of the large female population. (Lecturer 1, Female, 42 years, 25 April 2012) Only one out of the six lecturers reported consistently having more female students than males during her five years of teaching the course. From her experience, the female students were more active than their male counterparts. While different cohorts of students have their own dynamics, four out of six lecturers believed that the gender composition of the students has an influence on class discussions and dynamics. Five out of the six lecturers observed that males are generally louder and more engaging than females and so having

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more male students makes the class more participatory and interactive, although they also acknowledged that the dynamics sometimes change. Lecturer 2 observed, It depends on the batch of students one gets from year to year. Sometimes or some years, the students are more open and frank. Other batches are more withdrawn but the males talk a lot … discussions on gender roles can be very passionate with entrenched gendered positions. (Lecturer 2, Female, 60 years, 5 March 2017) From the perspective of Lecturer 4, classes with more males appeared more active and participatory, In comparison to female students, male students were seen to “love talking about sex”, such that “while the women (about 50%) would read the course due to the gender component, the men (about 80%) would largely choose it because of talking about sex” (Lecturer 4, Male, 38 years, 6 April 2017). A question on whether the personality of the lecturers influences the dynamics and participation in class revealed mixed responses. Four out of the six lecturers said their personality played no role in their teaching because they have the requisite training, skills, and interest which in turn give them the confidence to teach the subject. Another added that while her personality (introvert or extrovert) played no role, her gender as a female reflected in her teaching. She argued, “being a woman I see the world as a socialized female so that affects my positionality. My age, life experience and politics influence my teaching” (Lecturer 3, Female, 62 years, 17 April 2017). The youngest of the six Ghanaian lecturers reported that students’ perception of their lecturers also impacts on the class atmosphere and general dynamics, he argued: “Students know their instructors – those who are blunt and those who are indirect. My students know me hence the atmosphere is ‘sexually academic’ but I don’t sexualize my students” (Lecturer 4, 38 years. 6 April 2017). Participants, however, concluded that being a successful sexuality teacher depended on one’s skills, training, experience, and level of confidence. All teachers and school directors involved in the study in Ethiopia indicated that the selection of students to take part in the sexuality education program was geared to achieving a gender balanced classroom. While gender parity of classroom composition was confirmed during observation of classroom sessions, similar to the situation described by the Ghanaian lecturers, gendered differences in terms of participation were clearly observable. Young men were found to be more vocal during the sexuality education sessions, while young women were generally more withdrawn. Managing gendered classroom dynamics thus require skill and sensitivity on the part of the instructors, particularly in terms of encouraging young women to actively take part. Indeed, one male teacher indicated that part of the reason he was selected to become a sexuality education teacher had to do with his reputation of having a “good attitude [towards] female students” (primary school, 19 May 2017). Teachers talked at length about the different kinds of challenges faced by both young women and men, suggesting there was ample awareness of young women and men’s embodied and gendered experiences and concerns. Additionally, female teachers recounted how they would share their experiences growing up as young women with their female students, including the sexual harassment and abuse some indicated they had experienced. As one female teacher noted “I tell [the girls that] some people – some teachers – may even promise you things, but you mustn’t believe” (primary school, 19 May 2017). Previous research has shown that the comfort level of young men and women increases when they are in the company of an educator of the same gender, particularly when addressing “sensitive” topics such as sexuality (Allen 2012). It is salient to note that while teachers 247

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in two of the five schools involved in the present study mentioned that schools strove to attain a gender balance when composing the sexuality education teaching team, the total sample of eight male and four female sexuality education teachers indicates that gender did not necessarily form a central selection criterion. In a similar vein, when asked about particular skills of a good sexuality education teacher, none of the participants made explicit reference to those required to manage classroom gender dynamics. Instead teachers involved in the study consistently referred to the earlier mentioned need to be “free from culture,” highlighting that if a teacher was reluctant and shy to talk about sexuality, “no change would come” (male teacher, primary school, 16 May 2017). Similarly critical in the teachers’ view was a good sexuality educators’ role model function, that is, according to the teachers, a sexuality educator needed to demonstrate to the students, exemplary behavior (male teacher, primary school, 18 May 2017).

Discussion and conclusion In this chapter, we set out to examine the sexual ideologies that young people may be socialized into at different levels of education, concentrating on the relationship between silence and lexicon, comfort levels of educators and students, and the gendered dynamics within sexuality education settings. We examined these questions drawing on data gathered in two different Sub-Saharan African settings – Ghana and Ethiopia – and from three different levels of education: Primary, secondary, and tertiary. Considering the limited size of, and the diversity within the sample, it is difficult to draw broad conclusions as to vocabularies deployed, the silences within the text and speech and comfort levels. For example, the Ghanaian study focused on just six sexuality education lecturers from one university using only individual interview method, whereas the Ethiopian study was more extensive with different and multiple research methods and categories of participants including drawing on the perspectives of students. Notwithstanding these limitations, a number of overarching themes emerge from the data that merit further reflection. First, educators’ comfort levels did not primarily or necessarily seem to depend on educators’ gender or age, the level of education they had obtained or the level at which they taught. Instead, the data highlight that personal characteristics and background were more important in shaping educators’ approaches to sexuality education, and specifically their lexical choices and what they might silence or not. Indicative of the low explanatory potential of educators’ gender and educational level was highlighted by one male lecturer in Ghana reporting that he worried whether his students would consider him to be “spoilt” or “rotten” if he openly talked about sexual organs, while other male educators in both countries spoke of, and were observed as being, very frank in their approach. Thus, the two data sets presented here suggest that gender, age, and educational level did not help explain differences in approaches or comfort levels of educators. Further research is warranted to examine in greater depth wherein differences between educators might reside. Second, although university students are likely have more freedom in expressing their views and opinions regarding sexuality and sexual relations than their basic and secondary counterparts, data from the Ethiopian study revealed that in critical ways students’ comfort levels did not depend on the level of education but on the sense of safety that teachers were able to create within classrooms. We cannot therefore conclude that sexuality education became more liberal at higher levels of education. However, we are aware that the two studies did not utilize the same data collection methods and sampling strategies. For example,

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incorporating university students’ views or voices in the Ghanaian study is likely to have yielded richer and more nuanced data. Third, the gender composition of and dynamics in classrooms also proved important. The majority of the lecturers in the Ghanaian study reported having more male than female students, confirming existing data on lack of gender parity in tertiary enrolment and participation rates in Ghana (Prah 2002; Britwum et al. 2014). The Ghanaian data also highlight how male dominance in classrooms contributes to the silencing of females in discussions. This finding is in line with research conducted by Madeleine Arnot (2006), Liu (2006), and Emma Renold (2006) in schools and classrooms in the UK, where classrooms emerged as key sites and spaces where the politics of gender and power relations prevailed. Gendered classrooms reflect regimes of domination and subordination, gendered segregation in the form of in-group and out-group compositions as well as gendered interactions between teachers and students and among students. At the same time, data from Ethiopia somewhat nuanced this finding, with some male students – again those of teachers who had been able to create a safe setting for the provision of sexuality education –found to be supportive of their female peers and supported attempts of the teacher to increase girls’ levels of comfort to talk about issues related to sexuality and sexual relations. The sensitive nature of sex and sexuality education, coupled with cultural expectations of girls to be innocent and naïve about sexual matters, have been found to contribute to the power relations and hegemonic masculinities that privilege male dominance over females in sexuality education arenas. There also exists broad consensus that gendered classroom experiences are mediated by social norms and values concerning sexuality, gender relations, and child–adult relationships, as well as teachers’ and students’ social class, ethnicity, and other social identifiers (Machera 2004; Arnot 2006; Renold 2006). Our data illustrate the pivotal role educators play in creating spaces where social norms and values and social identifiers are – even if only momentarily and partially – overcome and where young people are able to express their opinions and doubts when it comes to their bodies, sexual feelings and relationships. Fourth, the question of sexual diversity was conspicuous in its absence in the data generated by our studies. This finding is hardly surprising given homosexuality is outlawed in most African countries including Ghana and Ethiopia. Interestingly, while same-sex relationships are prohibited in Ghana, and sexual diversity is not included in the formal primary or secondary school curriculum, this topic is addressed in tertiary level courses on gender and sexuality and related subjects with the aim of exposing higher-level students to sexual diversity and other orientations. Further research is therefore needed to examine the contents of education on issues related to sexual diversity and, crucially, how lecturers navigate teaching these topics in a context where same-sex relations are criminalized (Solace Brothers Foundation et al. 2015). Further research is also needed to examine whether these issues are addressed at the tertiary level in the context of Ethiopia, and if so, how. Given enrolment rates of young people from lower-class backgrounds in tertiary institutions remains low, particularly in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa, the inclusion of sexual diversity in tertiary level curricula raises important questions as to the classed nature of such teaching and learning (UNESCO 2018). Criminalization of same-sex relationships in both countries and the omission of sexual diversity from sexuality education at primary and secondary school levels adds an additional layer of meaning to Rich’s (1980) notion of “compulsory heterosexuality.” To paraphrase Jackson (2006), institutionalized – legislated – normative heterosexuality regulates those that are deemed to be within its boundaries as well as – legally – sanctioning those outside them. 249

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Critical to the current discussion are analyses of how compulsory heterosexuality impacts on heterosexual relations. As feminist scholars have long argued, regimes of normative heterosexuality are underpinned by particular conceptions of “good” heterosexual relationships, that is, relationships that are grounded in traditional gender relations. Compulsory heterosexuality thus perpetuates “male appropriation” of women’s productive and reproductive abilities and prevents women from gaining power (Rubin 1975; Jackson 2006, 105). In sum, the data presented in this chapter confirm existing research on the gendered and (hetero)sexualizing nature of educational systems, and crucially, silences and lexical choices in sexuality education initiatives. In important ways, the data support evidence regarding the integral role of teachers in providing comprehensive sexuality education, that is, education that is inclusive and non-judgmental (UNESCO 2015), and that certain teachers are capable of creating spaces where young men and women feel safe to express themselves. That said, while discussions in certain classroom settings seemed relatively free, including settings in which signs of sexual arousal of both men and women were discussed, in the context of the WSWM in Ethiopia, issues related to sexual diversity and gender nonconformity were omitted from the curriculum altogether. Scholars such as Prah (2002) and Arnot (2006) have argued that gender differentiation in classrooms is not solely dependent on the teacher, but rather on a variety of factors, such as school ethos and the norms and values of society more broadly. While our data highlight that sexuality education teachers, their selection, as well as training and support, merit far more attention from scholars and policy-makers, broader value systems that play out in classrooms deserve equal consideration if we want to create comprehensive and transformative sexuality education classes.

Notes 1 Ghana is a diverse nation with many ethnic groups and over 90 local languages and dialects. However, English remains the lingua franca and official language of instruction in schools, government departments, and offices throughout the country. About half of the Ghanaian population identifies with the Akan ethnic group and speak the Akan language. Matrilineal, patrilineal, and bi-lateral descent systems are culturally accepted in the country. 2 The Akans are the largest ethnic group in the multi-ethnic context of Ghana. They form about half of the total population of the 28 million Ghanaians. 3 Both Oromic terms mean “penis,” but both are generally only used among young people. While these are not swear words, the adults neither commonly used them, nor consider them appropriate in conversations with young persons.

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Miedema, Esther. “Claire Maxwell and Peter Aggleton. ‘Education about HIV/AIDS – Theoretical Underpinnings for a Practical Response.’” Health Education Research, Vol. 26, no. 3, (2011): 516–525. Miedema, Esther and Georgina Yaa Oduro. “Sexuality Education in Ghana and Mozambique: An Examination of Colonising Assemblages Informing School-based Sexuality Education Initiatives.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Sexuality Education, edited by Louisa Allen and Mary Lou Rasmussen, 69–93. London: Macmillan, 2017. MOWAC/UNICEF. Children in Ghana. Accra: UNICEF, 2009. Norad Evaluation Department. Evaluation of Norway’s Support to Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Development Cooperation Ethiopia Case Study Report. Norway: Norad Evaluation Department, 2015. https://bit.ly/2vLpIP5, accessed January 2018. Nukunya, Godwin K. Tradition and Change: The Case of the Family. Inaugural Lecture Delivered at the University of Ghana. Legon, 1991. Nyanzi, Stella. “Confusing Messages about Sex for Young People in the Twenty First Century.” Sexuality in Africa Magazine, Vol. 4, no. 4, (2007): 13–14. Oduro, Georgina Yaa. Gender Relations Sexuality and HIV/AIDS Education: A Study of Ghanaian Youth Cultures. Ph.D. Dissertation. Cambridge: University of Cambridge, 2010. Oduro, Georgina Yaa and Mercy Nana Akua Otsin. “‘Abortion—It Is My Own Body’: Women’s Narratives about Influences on Their Abortion Decisions in Ghana.” Health Care for Women International, Vol. 35, no. 7–9, (2014): 918–936. Oduyoye, Mercy A. Daughters of Anowa: African Women and Patriarchy. New York: Orbis Books, 1995. Oloruntoba-Oju, Taiwo. Body Images, Beauty Culture and Language in the Nigeria, African Context. Understanding Human Sexuality Seminar series. Nigeria: Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Center, 2007. Oppong, Christine. “Familial Roles and Social Transformations: Older Men and Women in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Research on Aging, Vol. 28, no. 6, (2006): 654–668. Pateman, Rob and Deevia Bhana. “Learning from the Learners: How Research with Young People Can Provide Models of Good Pedagogic Practice in Sexuality Education in South Africa.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Sexuality Education, edited by Louisa Allen and Mary Lou Rasmussen, 191–210. London: Macmillan, 2017. Pereira, Charmaine. “‘Where Angels Fear to Tread?’ Some Thoughts on Patricia McFadden’s Sexual Pleasure as Feminist Choice.” Feminist Africa, no. 2, (2003). https://bit.ly/2HbEpAc, accessed May 2019. Pew Research Center. The Global Divide on Homosexuality. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, 2013. https://pewrsr.ch/1ajiLou, accessed May 2019. Pingel, Emily Sweetnam, Laura Thomas, Chelsea Harmell, and José A. Bauermeister. “Creating Comprehensive, Youth Centered, Culturally Appropriate Sex Education: What Do Young Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Men Want?” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Vol. 10, no. 4, (2013): 293–301. Prah, Mansah. “Gender Issues in Ghanaian Tertiary Institutions: Women Academics and Administrators at Cape Coast University.” Ghana Studies, Vol. 5, (2002): 83–122. Renold, Emma. “Gendered Classroom Experiences.” In The SAGE Handbook of Gender and Education, edited by Christine Skelton, Becky Francis, and Lisa Smulyan, 439–452. London: Sage, 2006. Rich, Adrienne. “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 5, no. 4, (1980): 631–660. Robinson, Kerry H. and Cristyn Davies. “Sexuality Education in Early Childhood.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Sexuality Education, edited by Louisa Allen and Mary Lou Rasmussen, 217–242. London: Macmillan, 2017. Rubin, Gayle. “The Traffic in Women. Notes on the ‘Political Economy of Sex’.” In Toward an Anthropology of Women, edited by R. Reiter Rapp, 157–210. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975. Sauntson, Helen. “Sexual Diversity and Illocutionary Silencing in the English National Curriculum.” Sex Education, Vol. 13, no. 4, (2013): 395–408. Solace Brothers Foundation et al. Human Rights Violations against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People in Ghana: A Shadow Report. https://bit.ly/2WwHtgT, accessed March 2015. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Gender-based Violence in Education. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report. New York: UNESCO, 2015. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/18. Accountability in Education: Meeting Our Commitments. Paris: UNESCO, 2018. United Nations. Youth and Comprehensive Sexuality Education. New York: UNESCO and UNFPA, 2011.

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19 Caught between worlds Ghanaian youth’s views of hybrid sexuality Angela Anarfi Gyasi-Gyamerah and Mathias Søgaard

Introduction The philosopher and lecturer at New York University, Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, explains how when he grew up in Ghana during the 1970s, homosexuality was not part of the local discourse (Appiah 2010). Since then the Ghanaian public discourse has changed significantly. One reason is the impact of the religious community. During the 1990s, Ghana began to embark on multi-partism where a democratization process led to the liberalization of media, and Pentecostal churches seized this openness to attract more followers using movies and booklets. Through these sources, Ghanaian churches began to incorporate homosexuality more actively into the public discourse as abominable. An example of this incorporation could be seen with polemics surrounding “supi,” a term often used to neutrally refer to a relationship between a junior and a senior female student in secondary school (Dankwa 2009). Although these relationships could be casual, an extremely close bond akin to that between two close siblings could also evolve. Students engaged in a supi-relationship could write letters to one another, shower together, share their most intimate secrets, and may even share a bed. Nothing erotic had to occur, and no sexual tension had to be present, but sometimes a relationship could turn sexual. Thus, while the possibility of a sexual partnership was never intended to be the emphasis of the term “supi,” the religious rhetoric of the 1990s associated these homosocial bonds between students with lesbianism (Dankwa 2009). Despite religious criticism, closeness between Ghanaian women continues to be condoned in society. More recently, the issue of homosexuality has become an undercurrent that will likely not settle any time soon. This undercurrent was birthed in 2006, when homosexuality entered the front page due to a consistent rumor that Ghana was going to host an international pro-homosexual conference in Accra (Ghanaweb 2006b). Prince MacDarling, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Ghana, debunked reports of the alleged conference and stated that it was a fake story (Ghanaweb 2006a). Following the rumor, the Kufuor administration quickly publicly denounced homosexuality (BBC 2006). The year

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2006 was just a warning as homosexuality took the public space by storm in 2011. The media published a report from an unidentified non-governmental organization (NGO) saying that 8,000 homosexuals lived in Central and Western Region and a witch-hunt ensued. A member of parliament for the National Democratic Congress (henceforth NDC), the party in power, called for all homosexuals to be lynched (Ghanaweb 2011). The issue became a powder keg and in October the same year, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, lit it with the declaration that Britain might cut its aid to Ghana, if Ghana did not “adhere to proper human rights” in protecting sexual minorities (BBC 2011). President John Atta Mills rebutted that, “Prime Minister Cameron … does not have the right to direct other sovereign nations as to what they should do especially where their societal norms and ideals are different from those which exist in Prime Minister’s society” (VibeGhana 2011). When David Cameron withdrew the threat, the situation normalized and homosexuality was no longer on the front page every day, ceding place to usual relevant issues such as the ongoing erratic power supply (dumsor) and corruption as the main topics of conversation, as observed by both authors who resided in Ghana during the Cameron-saga. The issue of homosexuality, nonetheless, continues to re-emerge, especially around presidential and parliamentary elections. Shortly after the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2012, President John Mahama of the NDC was involved in the “Gay Pal Scandal.” In Mahama’s autobiography My First Coup D’Etat: Memories from the Lost Decades of Africa (2012, 316), he personally thanked Andrew Solomon, a known American human rights activist and openly homosexual. This reference to Solomon became an issue that spread as wildfire, and rumors began to spur that Solomon had donated US$20,000 to Mahama. Solomon quickly came forth rejecting these rumors (Solomon 2013). The scandal continued when Mahama nominated as a minister Mrs Nana Oye Lithur, the executive director of the local NGO, Human Rights Advocacy Center (HRAC) and human rights’ activist known to defend homosexuals. When she got accepted as minister of gender, children, and social protection, the threats and insults vanished since the critical voices had lost the battle. After the latest presidential and parliamentary elections held in 2016, homosexuality popped up once again. Shortly after Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won, various members of the civil society appealed to the president that he should express his stance on the issue of homosexuality. Until now, he has remained silent, but the speaker of parliament, Professor Aaron Ocquaye (NPP), is reported to have called for amending the laws of Ghana to ban homosexuality entirely (Osei 2017, para. 1). One notable occurrence during the uproar leading up to this point is that several radio stations in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, held call-in programs that allowed for the public to discuss the issue of homosexuality. The increasing hateful rhetoric that ensued has had and continues to have real repercussions. The fear of being suspected of being homosexual alone can force people to commit suicide. In 2013, a 22-year-old young man hanged himself. According to sources within members of the gay community in Accra, the family had found out that he was sleeping with other men and the fear of public humiliation made him end his life (Peace Fm Online 2013). Furthermore, in 2015, two students of the St Paul’s Boys’ High School at Denu in the Volta region, were almost lynched by their peers on suspicion that they were gay. The fact that teachers within the school prevented them from doing this infuriated the mob of students to the extent that they vandalized school property. The police officers had to be called in to control the situation and this led to the unfortunate death of a first-year student who was hit by a stray bullet (Gadugah 2015). Obviously, it is the young people who do not fit into

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the heteronormative paradigm that exists in Ghana who endure most of the negative impact of the public discourse.

Culture and change: The gerontocratic nature of the Ghanaian society A gerontocracy, in the African sense, is the traditional respect for the authority of elderly persons for their wisdom, knowledge of community affairs, and “closeness” to the ancestors (Dei 1994, 13). According to Rwezaura (1986, 5), traditional African social systems stress the importance of age as a criterion for the attainment of authority, power, privilege, prestige, and leadership position in the community. This special relation to age is in keeping with the general African belief that wisdom and an understanding of the world comes over time (Dei 1994, 13). Although 70% of the continent’s population is under the age of 30, almost all its leaders fall within the oldest 3% of the population (Ruge 2012, para. 5 and 6). In most African cultures children are trained from an early age to obey and respect their parents and other elderly members of the community (Simonds 1945). For example, Rattray (1956, 13) notes that the Ashanti people of Ghana teach their children to honor and respect their elders. Such upbringing ensures that an individual grows up knowing the importance of submitting to the authority of seniors and simultaneously learns to expect similar obedience from juniors (Rwezaura 1986, 9). It is therefore not surprising that Ghanaians practice gerontocracy even in their national governance. Wiredu (1980, 21), however, notes that this emphasis on old age is unfortunate and increasingly exacerbates the “authoritarian odor” that permeates African cultures and causes an unquestioning obedience to elders while negating the curiosity and independence of thought of the youngsters. Wiredu’s point is that the authoritarian nature of African gerontocratic society stifles youthful initiative. According to Gyekye (2003, 172) it is such youthful initiative, which he refers to as the “spirit of initiative” that can engender change in Ghana. Gyekye therefore agrees with Wiredu but stresses that engendering change does not imply a total rejection of the cultural heritage or tradition of a people. Tradition and change are however seemingly at a crossroads within Ghana since the elderly and persons in authority have taken an entrenched stance on certain issues including homosexuality, while the youth feel unable to broach the topic of change in this regard because they will be stepping on the toes of tradition.

Cultural and religious influences As noted previously, the churches, especially the Pentecostal ones, have spread the idea that homosexuality is morally wrong. The negative sentiments about homosexuality, however, go beyond the influence of the churches. For example, each time the issue of homosexuality has been discussed on the nation’s airwaves, the main reasons often given by many Ghanaians for their unacceptance of homosexuality is that it is foreign to the Ghanaian culture and against the nation’s major religions (i.e. Christianity, Islam, and traditional religion). In 2012, Ghana was rated first among the top ten religious populations of the world, with 96% of Ghanaians stating that they are religious (Win-Gallup International’s Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism 2012). According to Atiemo (2013), Ghana not only claims religious adherence, but also there is an intense manifestation of religion in the daily lives of the people also. The issues debated in public such as politics, the economy, health, and education, and of course homosexuality, are subjects of religious discourse (Atiemo 2013). Recent 256

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studies in Ghana (Anarfi and Gyasi-Gyamerah 2014; Gyasi-Gyamerah and Akotia 2016; OtiBoadi et al. 2014; Owusu et al. 2013) also find that religiosity and religious commitment are related to negative attitudes toward homosexuality. Christianity and Islam, for example, have moral codes although the moral codes vary internally and are subjected to human interpretation. There is evidence that religious Ghanaian heterosexuals do not strictly adhere to these moral codes in the expression of their sexuality and/or have a different interpretation of the moral codes in question (Gyasi-Gyamerah 2014). This double standard is only understood when taken in consideration with Gyekye’s (2003, 83) assertion that procreation is highly regarded in local cultures and is viewed as the ultimate purpose of marriage. Public discourse on homosexuality holds that it is a behavior that does not promote human and social wellbeing because it does not permit for procreation in the traditional sense. In Ghana currently, homosexuals cannot marry, and even if they could do so by law, the problem of procreation remains since homosexuals cannot procreate with each other. Gyekye further notes that although homosexual couples may have recourse to artificial insemination to have children, such a practice is very far removed from the ideas and customs of childbirth within most African societies. These simple facts and perceptions make homosexuality highly immoral.

The effect of social media Social media has been widely adopted among youth around the world with high enthusiasm and research shows that social networking sites are impacting the lives of young people (Markwei and Appiah 2016; Ocansey et al. 2016). Ocansey and collegues (2016, 87) found that most Ghanaian youth were avidly using social media mainly for communication purposes. Facebook and WhatsApp are the preferred sites among basic school pupils and University of Ghana’s students respectively (Amofah-Serwaa and Dadzie 2015, 49; Otu 2015, 42). This finding corroborates studies in Kenya and Nigeria showing that the youth use Facebook and WhatsApp to share information, communicate with relatives abroad, monitor the social status of their friends, look for romantic partners, access job opportunities, and read Bible verses posted by friends (Buhari et al. 2014, 9; Wyche et al. 2013, 6). These studies point to the fact that social media is having an impact on the youth from an early age. It must be noted, however, that this impact can be positive and negative. Markwei and Appiah (2016, 1), for example, reveal the need for young people to have a greater awareness of the risks of social media use. They recommend a nationwide education of youth in Ghana about responsible use of social media to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. One impact of social media is that the discourse on homosexuality is becoming increasingly popularized and the positive and negative effects are seen there as well. On one hand, social media provides a space for people to communicate with peers with more progressive views about homosexuality, thereby creating a virtual space of exchange for Ghanaians not fitting the expectations of the heteronormative paradigm. One can follow peers defining themselves within the LGBTQ-discourse, get support from local activists, and talk to people from around the globe. On the other hand, social media also provides a space for people to convey hateful messages on homosexuality and to lure homosexuals with the hope of a relationship into secluded places where they often end up being assaulted, with the threat of involving the police used as a means of extortion (Cobbinah 2011, 63–4). For example, in 2016, the Solace Brothers Foundation (2016), which is an organization set up by Ghanaians for Ghanaians to share their orientation and offer positive support, 257

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submitted a paper in collaboration with three other organizations for consideration at the 117th Session of the Human Rights Committee held in Geneva. In this paper they note the activities of a homophobic vigilante gang calling themselves “Safety Empire” and whose leader refers to himself on Facebook as “The Gay Slayer”. This gang terrorized the LGBTQ community in Nima, a suburb of Accra, in 2015. The strategy they used was for the leader to lure their victims on Facebook under the guise of asking them out on a date. Upon a victim’s arrival, they would strip, beat, and humiliate the person. Videos of these attacks were posted on social media, thus further humiliating the victim and causing fear in the LGBTQ community (Solace Brothers Foundation 2016). Hence social media has the builtin mechanism to polarize, but also to be used as conduit for conversations between gay youth wanting to look for peers to socialize with.

The study We used mixed methods for collecting data from two separate studies by Søgaard (2013) and Gyasi-Gyamerah (2014). While Søgaard interviewed persons from the general population in Accra aged 16 to 28, Gyasi-Gyamerah’s informants were all undergraduate students of the University of Ghana aged 18 to 24. Søgaard located informants through the snowball sampling technique and was able to create a bond of trust after attending church, football matches, and other social events. Due to the bond of trust thus built, he could conduct all the interviews himself. Gyasi-Gyamerah got her informants through the aid of a key informant she had been introduced to by a colleague who had previously worked with this person on another study. She, however, could interview only two of her male informants personally because prospective informants learned of her status as faculty at the University of Ghana. She therefore had to train one of the informants she interviewed to continue the rest of the male interviews. For both studies, the focus of the interviews was to discuss with the informants their sexual orientation and the experiences relating to it. Prior to data collection, both studies sought and received ethical clearance to conduct the studies in the various locations. Of the total informants for both studies, interviews with 20 (14 males and 6 females) selected informants were analyzed for this chapter. Selection was based on how open informants were about themselves and their experiences. The interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded by sex, and thematically analyzed following Braun and Clarke (2006). Questions asked were: 1 How do you label yourself in terms of your sexual orientation? 2 What methods of self-preservation do you employ to navigate a societal terrain that is unaccepting of non-normative sexual orientations? 3 What are your thoughts on human rights based on one’s sexual orientation? The findings are discussed subsequently.

Discussion Doing, labels, and coded language As mentioned previously, in most parts of Africa including Ghana, homosexuality is often described negatively so much so that it stands in opposition to what is considered good and 258

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decent. Despite its negation, there are young people engaging in same-sex activities, just as the situation has been since the dawn of humankind. Although Appiah (2010) did not have to deal with or navigate a place where a certain behavior suddenly was demonized, the young people in Ghana today must. As a result, the Ghanaian youth are trying to find out what and who they are. An example of this is seen in the Kenyan writer Nancy Warinda’s fictional story, in which the female character engages in a sexual encounter for the first time with a woman she met at a bar. Prior to this, she had had relations with men, whom she liked, and after the sexual encounter with this woman, she underwent an existential crisis: But what did that make me? A lesbian? A bisexual? I have never liked those terms. They didn’t sound nice. To me they have always been used in a bad light, always derogatory. Godless, perverse people, with no proper upbringing. Woman was meant for man. So how can this exist? What did this mean? What am I? (Warinda 2013, 76) The negative connotations of the term homosexuality mean that Ghanaians do not necessarily label themselves as gay, lesbian, or homosexual in a manner known in some Western countries. We found that sexuality, in the Ghanaian context, is seen as something you do. Instead of saying “I am this”, informants would refer to sex as an act through the word “doing.” As one male informant put it when asked what his sexual orientation is, “I do not know but I don’t do animals” (Male Informant 1, interview by Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah, March 2, 2013, interview M1, transcript). This idea of “doing” stands in opposition to the understanding of homosexuality that fixates identity premised upon the ritual of “coming out” of the closet to be whom one really is. If sex and sexuality are something one does, it becomes a fluid understanding of oneself, which allows one to start and pause at will. Gaudio (2009) finds similarity of understanding in the behavior of gay men he studied in Northern Nigeria; men who likened sexuality to the act of wearing a shirt that one can put on and take off. Thus, the Western sexual hetero/homo binary cannot be used in understanding the Ghanaian youth’s perception of sexuality and self-identification. We however found that some informants had begun to refer to themselves as gay and since the word is mostly associated with being a bad person in the Ghanaian context, we wondered why. In fact, of the 14 male interviews we analyzed for this chapter, four of them self-identified as gay or men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM), three as bisexual, one as “humansexual,” and the others preferred not to use labels although they admitted a preference for having sex with men. It turns out that at the time of the study, all the informants were following an American Television series revolving around gay main characters. Most popular were Dante’s Cove and Queer as Folk and one female informant also followed the series The L word. In these movies, to be gay is associated with acceptance and positive associations. So, on one hand, homosexuality is locally defined through negative associations while on the other hand, the youth have access to the social media and foreign series, where they stumble upon positive associations to the label gay. Additionally, the informants were aware of the existence of LGBTQ Internet sites, such as the Solace Brothers. This perhaps is the reason some of them began to refer to themselves as gay. But even so, the informants kept coming back to the term “doing.” The result is that an increasing number of the youth in Accra involved in same-sex acts are beginning to label themselves as gay, but not in a Western sense. The appliance of “doing” makes it something one does rather than something one is. It allows for defining and reinventing oneself on one’s own terms in a manner that points to an ever-ongoing process. It also 259

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allows for being with someone of the opposite sex and/or someone of the same sex depending on the circumstances without having an existential crisis like Warinda’s (2013) fictional character. Another label that our male informants preferred was the term “Saso.” This is an acceptable way for a male homosexual to refer to himself and is very popular among educated and non-educated MSMs. Banks (2012) notes that the community of MSMs he studied in a town in the Central Region of Ghana referred to themselves as Saso people. Another popular term is “zee” which is used when referring to other MSMs. So, in explaining his orientation, one male informant said, “I am MSM, you know, zee, saso” (Male Informant 8, interview by Frank, April 20, 2013, interview M8, transcript). Also, we found out that among male homosexuals in Ghana, some are labeled bottoms (ase) and some are labeled tops (ɛsor) to denote the position they prefer to assume in the sexual act and that quite a few are versatile. Furthermore, within the gay subculture in Ghana, there are two types of males, the classics and the locals. The classics are cultured, traveled, well educated, and wealthy, while the locals are uneducated, poor, trashy, and dress stereotypically gay, which makes classics refer to them as princesses (Kramer 2003). To confirm that someone is open to being MSM, the term used is “Onim fem,” while the term “kojobesia” is also used for the one who “does” ase, although it generally describes men who are effeminate. Regarding the six female informants we interviewed, one of them stated that she did not like labels, another one that she was not sure of her orientation as it depended on who opportunity presented as a sexual partner. The remaining four identified as lesbians. Of these four, one alluded to being femme while three alluded to being tomboys, with one of the latter stressing that she is butch. It must be noted that these four lesbians and the four male informants who alluded to being gays/MSMs were students of the University of Ghana and were sophisticated enough to interrogate who they are in an educated way.

Self-preservation through conformity Ghanaian homosexuals are first Ghanaians before any other orientation, however it may be described. This means conforming to whatever makes one Ghanaian as society condones to avoid negative experiences. One way the informants conform with societal expectations was through childbirth and heterosexuality as cover-ups. Almost all our informants expressed a strong desire to have children. Children are not only something they would like to have; childbirth is seen as a moral and social obligation. To have children also enabled one to get the respect of others. You need children to be seen as a successful and respectable man or woman, as Gyekye also confirms (2003, 83–4). Miescher (2005, 155) narrates the story of a Ghanaian man who once told him of his childhood and recounted the story of an impotent man, the laughingstock of the community because, “he was the antithesis of the ɔpanyin [big man]”, since he could not become a father. Society assumes that children function as a sort of safety net and life insurance for when one gets old and needs care. We both found the heterosexual participants and acquaintances we spoke to expressing concern for people engaged in same-sex acts for their inability to have children in the traditional sense, because they would have no one to take care of them when they got old. As Gyekye (2003, 89) notes, children and grandchildren in African societies regard it as their unquestioned responsibility to look after their aging parents. Whether children actually do take care of their aged

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parents is another matter, but having children is still preferred in Ghana for the hope that it affords for one’s future. Regarding heterosexuality as cover-up, the following statements from male and female informants are illustrative: That’s cover-up. They are using the guys as cover-ups. I have many friends who use the guys as cover-ups. (Female Informant 6, interview by Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah, April 19, 2013, interview F6, transcript) I am living a strictly undercover life, because I have a girlfriend and I have a boyfriend and I am hiding things … because it is just not allowed. (Male Informant 5, interview by Frank, March 30, 2013, interview M5, transcript) My boyfriend comes home so my family is ok. I’ve been with him 2 years, just like my girl. That is why my girl also told me that “why don’t you allow me to take a guy so that in case my family …” I said, “Ok, fine.” (Female Informant 4, interview by Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah, April 5, 2013, interview F4, transcript) They are scared [so] some of them have girlfriends. My best buddy now is so heterosexual, not because of sexual attraction [to girls] … he’s afraid of what his friends will think. (Male Informant 1, interview by Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah, March 2, 2013, interview M1, transcript) Another method of self-preservation among informants, especially those who were students of University of Ghana (UG), was the formation of informal groups. The male UG informants noted that they had a group that could best be described as a secret society, considering that only “Saso” students got to know about its existence. Group members referred to each other as “sister” and the designated leader of the group was called “mother.” In explaining the structure of the group, one informant said, Sisters are a group of same level students who have the same mother. Irrespective of role, once in a pack or group, you refer to yourselves as sisters. This is the reason why people in the same group or pack do not have sex with each other. The Mother Superior, the leader of the pack or group, usually gives advice to the new ones i.e., the level 100s. Irrespective of role, once you are assumed the Mother Superior, you are called mother. (Male Informant 2, interview by Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah, March 9, 2013, interview M2, transcript) This structure is comparable to Banks’ (2012) saso community where the leader, a legendary fetish priest known as Ɔkɔmfo Kwabena, was referred to as Nana Hemaa (Queenmother) during his lifetime. For both the UG group and Banks’ group, the motherhood status of the leader spoke of his attributes as someone the members could depend on for emotional, intellectual, financial, and psychological support. There were rules governing the UG sisterhood and the most important ones were that sex between sisters was forbidden and sex with a sister’s current or ex-boyfriend was also prohibited. These rules were to ensure that the 261

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group would not be riddled with the obvious problems that could come up when a relationship sours. Sisters rather preferred helping each other identify potential partners outside the group when they met on campus by watching other male students and indicating whether they felt he was “3f3m bubu.” As Male Informant 2 further explains, When a group has gathered somewhere having a conversation and someone feminine or does a feminine gesture, someone will just say “3f3m bubu” just to draw attention of the rest to scrutinize the person very well. Sometimes the same word is used for the feminine ones in the group as a teasing word when approaching the group. (Male Informant 2, interview by Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah, March 9, 2013, interview M2, transcript) Such coded language ensures that male homosexuals can support each other and avoid being victimized. It must be noted that the female informants did not report having to form groups or cliques, perhaps because they often are not even thought of when most Ghanaians debate of homosexuality.

Human rights issue or bedroom matter? Should homosexuality be seen as a human rights issue in Ghana or should it be seen as a matter of sexual preference left in the bedroom behind closed doors? The informants explored this question and their responses show that there is no consensus as to what should be done. While some of them think the country should legalize homosexuality and the University of Ghana should have a policy about it, others think it should not be legalized. The following quotes explain further: Before this thing will descend to the university, it needs to start from the whole country … the university wouldn’t have to necessarily waste time to introduce a policy for such students because the country itself is accepting. (Male Informant 3, interview by Frank, March 16, 2013, interview M3, transcript) Well for me whether they legalize it or not I don’t really mind because whatever they do, I’m still me. But if they are not going to legalize it and they would let us have our peace of mind, no problem. (Female Informant 3, interview by Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah, April 5, 2013, interview F3, transcript) Well I don’t want Ghanaians to legalize this thing. To legalize it, that one is bad. Me I see it to be a bad act. Sleeping with your fellow women is selfishness. How can you give birth? You don’t want to reproduce. I see it to be a bad thing. (Female Informant 6, interview by Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah, April 5, 2013, interview F6, transcript) For me, the kind of secrecy attached to the gay thing affords it some respect, so I wouldn’t want it to be legalized. It is my privacy. I rather believe in having it secretly … Yes, you can say you don’t have any right to beat a person because he is gay, for that I support but legalization? It will make it messier. (Male Informant 8, interview by Frank, April 20, 2013, interview M8, transcript) 262

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These statements speak of the hybrid sentiments of the Ghanaian youth and the confusion they feel in deciding who and what they are in terms of sexual orientation. The statements also illustrate the fear that the youth feel considering their realization that legalizing homosexuality, as Female Informant 3 put it, might not necessarily bring them peace of mind. This fear is obviously justified, as confirmed by an analysis of the Ghanaian newspapers by the Swedish scholar Linda Gustafsson in 2008 to determine how they portray homosexuality. She argues that the Ghanaian media make homosexuality problematic by means of negative associations as seen in the interchangeable uses of homosexuality and prostitution. She further adds that Ghanaians connect homosexuality to HIV/AIDS and so when homosexuals request for acceptance, the myth of the HIV/AIDS pandemic being due to the promiscuity of homosexuals is resurrected (Gustafsson 2013, 12–13). Beyond the newspaper, Ghanaian chief psychiatrist has likened homosexuality to a “disorder” such as being mentally unstable (Ghanaweb 2013). Linkages have also been made between homosexuality and rape and pedophilia, reinforcing the Ghanaian society’s view of it as morally bad and selfish. Consequently, it is not surprising that our informants find the thought of legalizing homosexuality problematic as they are aware that the society will most likely view it as a law that holds the risk of making other people take up this “bad” and “selfish” habit. As there is no evidence that such legislation will indeed happen in the near future, it seems that Male Informant 8 will continue to get his wish for the issue of homosexuality to remain in the bedroom behind closed doors.

Conclusion Regardless how many Western series the youth watch, when they turn their TVs or laptops off, they are still Ghanaians who want to become respected in the society. They take the positive connotations of homosexuality from foreign movies and online sites, the positive aspects of the Ghanaian society, add on the idea of sexuality as fluid, and merge them together into something new but not yet defined. The result is that the youth are grounded in the Ghanaian society yet are different. This hybrid nature allows them to distance themselves from the negative associations linked to homosexuality. Subsequently, it is difficult to apply the Western understanding of homosexuality and heterosexuality to Ghanaians, since locals do not identify with those terms. As a result, scholars cannot passively apply the hetero/homo binary in a Ghanaian context. Furthermore, even when a Ghanaian defines him or herself as a homosexual, scholars cannot naturally assume that the meaning and content of the word are the same as pertains elsewhere, because there is a much larger focus on a fluid understanding of sexuality in Ghana. If scholars blindly label Ghanaians as homosexuals without including their voices, a lot of the finer details of their experiences end up missing. The youth hybridization makes it more important than ever that scholars studying the nuances of sexual orientation in Ghana try to understand the society on its own terms, and do not enforce a personal worldview believed to be universally applicable. Ghanaian hybrid youth should be allowed to decide who and what they are without the pressure to fit into a mold cast by scholars while they are also trying to fit in another mold the Ghanaian society forges.

References Amofah-Serwaa, Naomi and Perpetua S. Dadzie. “Social Media Use and Its Implications on Child Behaviour: A Study of a Basic School in Ghana.” International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, Vol. 3, no. 1, (2015): 49–62.

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Anarfi, John Kwasi and Angela A. Gyasi-Gyamerah. “Religiosity and Attitudes toward Homosexuality: Views of Ghanaian University Students.” In Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, edited by Ralph L. Piedmont and Andrew Village, 173–212. Vol. 25. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “Ghanaians Like Sex Too Much to Be Homophobic.” 2010. Recorded September 13, 2010 by Big Think Edge, The Big Think Inc, New York. https://bit.ly/2VanGlO accessed May 2019. Atiemo, Abamfo Ofori. Religion and the Inculturation of Human Rights in Ghana. London: Bloomsbury, 2013. Banks, William D. “Remembering Ɔkɔmfo Kwabena: ‘Motherhood’, Spirituality, and Queer Leadership in Ghana.” African Historical Review, Vol. 44, no. 2, (November 2012): 1–17. https://bit.ly/2DXf5x8 accessed May 2019. BBC. “Ghanaian Gay Conference Banned.” BBC, 1 September 2006. https://bbc.in/2Www68L accessed May 2019. BBC. “Cameron Threat to Dock Some UK Aid to Anti-gay Nations.” BBC, 30 October 2011. https:// bbc.in/2H9iQBN accessed May 2019. Braun, Virginia and Victoria Clarke. “Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology.” Qualitative Research in Psychology, Vol. 3, no. 2, (July 2006): 77–101. Buhari, Sanusi Rufai, Gambo Ibrahim Ahmad, and Bashir HadiAshara. “Use of Social Media among Students of a Nigerian Polytechnic.” International Conference on Communication, Media, Technology and Design, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2014): 302–305. https://bit.ly/308FyBw accessed May 2019. Cobbinah, Mac-Darling. “‘Because of You’: Blackmail and Extortion of Gay and Bisexual Men in Ghana.” In Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Ryan Thoreson and Sam Cook, 60–73. New York: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, 2011. https://bit.ly/2JjJgUb accessed May 2019. Dankwa, Serena Owusua. “‘It’s a Silent Trade’: Female Same-Sex Intimacies in Post-Colonial Ghana.” Nora – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Vol. 17, no. 3, (August 2009): 192–205. https:// bit.ly/2YhXNT7 accessed May 2019. Dei, George J. Sefa. “Afrocentricity: A Cornerstone to Pedagogy.” Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Vol. 25, no. 1, (March 1994): 3–28. https://bit.ly/2WvoeEx accessed May 2019. Gadugah, Nathan. “SPACO Student Hit by Police Stray Bullet; School Shut Down.” MyJoyFmOnline, 2 February 2015. Gaudio, Rudolf Pell. Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City. Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell, 2009. Ghanaweb. “Gay Leader Asks: What Is Ghanaian Culture?” Ghanaweb, 25 September 2006a. https://bit. ly/2DTZXR6 accessed May 2019. Ghanaweb. “Proposed Gay Conference Still Sketchy.” Ghanaweb, 1 September 2006b. https://bit.ly/ 2WyUVkj accessed May 2019. Ghanaweb. “Homosexuals Could Soon Be Lynched in Ghana – MP Warns.” Ghanaweb, 17 June 2011. https://bit.ly/2vLwwfB accessed May 2019. Ghanaweb. “Chief Psychiatrist Ready to ‘Heal’ Gays.” Ghanaweb, 14 March 2013. https://bit.ly/ 2H9pbMg accessed May 2019. Gustafsson, Linda. “Nationellt Identitetsskapande – En Diskursanalys Av Framställningen Av Homosexualitet I Ghananska Medier.” Master’s Thesis. Mittuniversitetet, 2013. Gyasi-Gyamerah, Angela A. “Attitudes toward Homosexuals: Assessing the Structure of Prejudicial Attitudes and the Moderating Effects of Religious Commitment and Morality.” PhD Dissertation, University of Ghana, 2014. Gyasi-Gyamerah, Angela A. and Charity S. Akotia. “Religious Commitment and Prejudicial Attitudes toward Homosexuals in Ghana.” IFE PsychologIA, Vol. 24, no. 2, (2016): 279–289. Gyekye, Kwame. African Cultural Values: An Introduction. Accra: Sankofa Publishing, 2003. Kramer, I. B. “The Things We Don’t Talk About: Homosexuality among University Students at Legon and Cape Coast.” Undergraduate Thesis. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 2003. Mahama, John Dramani. My First Coup D́ Etat - Memories from the Lost Decades of Africa. London: Bloomsbury, 2012. Markwei, Evelyn D. and Doreen Appiah. “The Impact of Social Media on Ghanaian Youth: A Case Study of the Nima and Maamobi Communities in Accra, Ghana.” Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, Vol. 7, no. 2, (June 2016): 1–26. https://bit.ly/2vO7A76 accessed May 2019. Miescher, Stephan F. Making Men in Ghana. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2005.

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Ocansey, Selasi Kwame, Wolali Ametepe, and Charles Fynn Oduro. “The Impact of Social Media on the Youth: The Ghanaian Perspective.” International Journal of Engineering Technology and Sciences, Vol. 6, no. 1, (December 2016): 87–97. Osei, Leticia. “Speaker Calls for Law Amendment to Ban Homosexuality.” Ultimate Fm Online, 20 February 2017. Oti-Boadi, Mabel, Gladstone F. K. Agbakpe, and Emmanuel Dziwornu. “Ghanaian Students’ Attitude Towards Homosexuality: A Study among Students of Ghana Technology University College.” Journal of Scientific Research and Studies, Vol. 1, no. 1, (June 2014): 28–34. Otu, Akua Adoasi. “Social Media Addiction among Students of the University of Ghana.” Masters Thesis. University of Ghana, 2015. Owusu, Adobea Yaa, John Kwasi Anarfi, and Eric Yeboah Tenkorang. “Attitudes and Views on Same-Sex Sexual Behavior in Ghana.” Global Advanced Research Journal of Social Science, Vol. 2, no. 8, (August 2013): 176–186. PeaceFmOnline. “I’m Fed up with Life.” Peace Fm Online, 1 June 2013. Rattray, Robert Sutherland. Ashanti Law and Constitution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956. Ruge, TMS. “Africa’s Gerontocracy Isn’t Going to Last Much Longer.” The Globe and Mail, 29 October 2012. https://tgam.ca/2Yde6Rd accessed May 2019. Rwezaura, Bart A. “Changing Community Obligations to the Elderly in Contemporary Africa.” Journal of Social Development in Africa, Vol. 4, no. 1, (1986): 5–24. Simonds, Leo William. The Role of the Aged in Primitive Society. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1945. Søgaard, Mathias. “Consequences of Imposing the Homo/Hetero Binary and the Prospect for Decriminalisation of Men Who Have Sex with Men in Contemporary Ghana.” Masters Thesis. University of Copenhagen, 2013. Solace Brothers Foundation et al. “Human Rights Violations against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People in Ghana: A Shadow Report.” 2016. https://bit.ly/2WwHtgT accessed March 2015. Solomon, Andrew. “In Bed with the President of Ghana?” New York Times, 9 February 2013. https:// nyti.ms/2vNRYka accessed May 2019. VibeGhana. “Ghana’s President Slams David Cameron: You Can’t Threaten Us with Gay Aid!” VibeGhana, 2 November, 2011. https://bit.ly/30a7Dsb accessed May 2019. Warinda, Nancy Lylac. “The Vampire Bite that Brought Me Back to Life.” In Queer African Reader, edited by Sokari Ekine and Hakima Abbas, 69–77. Dakar: Pambazuka Press, 2013. WIN-Gallup International. Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism. Gallup, 2012. https://bit.ly/ 2uQevv2 Wiredu, Kwasi. Philosophy and an African Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980. Wyche, Susan P., Andrea Forte, and Sarita Yardi Schoenebeck. “Hustling Online: Understanding Consolidated Facebook Use in an Informal Settlement in Nairobi.” Presentation, Conference of Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2013. https://bit.ly/2PTr57G accessed May 2019.

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20 Sex panics and LGBTQ children’s rights to schooling Ryan R. Thoreson

Introduction In recent years, activists, scholars, and governments have increasingly focused on the unique needs of LGBTQ youth in schools. In addition to country-specific research projects and advocacy campaigns, supranational actors such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education recently have foregrounded the needs and vulnerabilities of LGBTQ learners, urging governments to take concrete steps to protect their rights.1 Much of the existing literature on LGBTQ children’s rights has focused on bullying and harassment, comprehensive sexuality education, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.2 Yet the pressing issues that LGBTQ students face vary considerably in different socio-political contexts. Where same-sex activity is criminalized, for example, organizing LGBTQ groups in secondary schools is unlikely to be an immediate priority for activists, and the distinctive design of educational systems mean that certain demands are more intelligible in some contexts than in others. Recent case studies in the US,3 Canada,4 Pakistan,5 Japan,6 China,7 South Africa,8 the Philippines,9 and elsewhere demonstrate how discrimination against LGBTQ youth can manifest in locally specific forms. Globally, relatively little existing work focuses specifically on sub-Saharan Africa and the challenges facing LGBTQ youth navigating school environments in the region. In this chapter, I look at a fundamental and existential threat to LGBTQ students’ rights – sex panics over same-sex activity, gender transgression, and other forms of queerness that prompt mass expulsions of LGBTQ youth from schools. Expulsions have occurred in contexts as diverse as Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, and South Africa, and coverage in mass media typically reproduces familiar tropes of immorality, predation, recruitment, and contagion, with little discussion of how such expulsions might affect the lives of the youth who are directly affected. Yet LGBTQ youth, or youth who are accused of being LGBTQ, are frequently deprived of their right to education and other fundamental rights enshrined in domestic, regional, and international law. After surveying the history of mass expulsions, the discursive frames that justify and perpetuate them, and the rights that are at

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stake, the chapter concludes by examining the practical question of how states in the region might realistically be persuaded to advance the rights of LGBTQ children, recognizing the sensitivity of the topic and the difficulty of managing sex panics as they arise.

School expulsions as a form of moral panic Expulsions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – whether real or imagined – are not exclusive to sub-Saharan Africa, but do occur in the region with alarming frequency. Incidents that have been publicized in the popular press often involve sensationalized coverage, vocal condemnation from school personnel, and salacious details of questionable veracity. In recent years, incidents have unfolded across Africa that illustrate the phenomenon. In Uganda, multiple episodes of expulsions and punitive actions against LGBTQ youth have made headlines, sparking responses from government officials, religious leaders, and LGBTQ activists alike. In 2013, for example, newspapers reported that a secondary school in Iganga had expelled 22 female students for allegations of lesbianism.10 After the students were allegedly caught with sex toys, their parents were summoned, told their daughters were engaged in lesbian activity, and given expulsion letters stating: “I am sorry to inform you that your daughter’s conduct can no longer be tolerated. The administration has repeatedly counseled her, but she has not reformed and there are no signs that she will reform in the near future.”11 The incident was widely covered but supposedly not isolated; the same year, Uganda’s minister of ethics and integrity, Simon Lokodo, claimed the government was investigating four schools in Kampala and Wakiso after investigations claimed to have uncovered that over 30% of their students were engaged in same-sex activity.12 In 2015, a more explosive incident occurred when students staged a violent strike at a secondary school in Mbarara, allegedly to protest what they regarded as the school’s failure to punish homosexuality within the student body.13 According to reports, the students wanted the school to expel two classmates accused of same-sex activity. When the school opted to suspend the pair, the students attempted to lynch them, were stopped, and began to riot, prompting police intervention and the use of tear gas on the strike.14 The media consistently connected the strike with allegations of homosexuality, despite protestation from the school administration that the strike was aimed at students who had stolen uniforms, not students who had engaged in same-sex activity.15 The following year, Mbarara High School indefinitely suspended 20 boys who were accused of homosexuality after classmates allegedly caught three students looking at gay websites on their phones, beat them, and forced them to disclose the names of other gay boys in the student body.16 The headmaster expressly told the press that under the school’s code of conduct, “any student involved in sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts, is at minimum sent home on suspension.”17 Analogous incidents have occurred elsewhere. In 2018, for example, a school in Douala, Cameroon, expelled two 19-year-old girls who were suspected of being lesbian; one was able to attend another school by promising her father that she would never see the other girl again, while the other girl stopped attending school altogether.18 In Malawi, two girls were reportedly expelled from a secondary school in Blantyre for engaging in same-sex activity in 2014. After a classmate found them engaged in kissing and digital penetration in a dormitory and reported them to school authorities, school officials questioned the two girls, expelled them, then released them to their parents.19 In 2015, a boy at a secondary school in Mzuzu

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was pressured to leave amid allegations he was having sexual relationships with other boys and was part of a “gay web reportedly sprawling at the school.”20 In Kenya in 2015, five 17-year-old girls were expelled from their secondary school for allegations of lesbianism. The girls claimed they had fallen asleep while studying on their beds, but the school alleged that the girls were caught engaging in a “major offense.”21 The school sent a letter to the girls’ parents, which stated, “your daughter named above has been suspended from school for gross misconduct. You are required to appear before the school disciplinary committee … to show why your daughter should not be excluded from the institution.”22 When the parents appeared for the disciplinary committee meeting, they were asked whether their daughters were lesbians, and the girls were subsequently expelled. In the girls’ case, however, parents sued the school seeking re-admission, claiming the expulsions deprived them of the right to education and right to a fair administrative action.23 Yet, since the case was filed, other incidents have taken place in the country. In 2015, 19 boys in Bungoma, Kenya, were suspended and sent home pending an investigation of homosexuality – one that, according to media reports, was triggered after a campus debate where some students condemned homosexuality and others defended LGBTQ people. Notably, school personnel did not express an intention to expel the students if they were found to be gay, but intended to counsel them, presumably to discourage same-sex activity.24 In Nigeria, where laws against same-sex activity and advocacy have grown stricter, LGBTQ learners have also reportedly faced backlash in schools. In 2015, Ododo Sylvester, a 30-year-old student at the Ezekiel College of Theology, alleged that he was expelled from the school based on accusations that he was engaged in same-sex activities. Sylvester sent reporters a copy of a letter from the school with the bold heading “Expulsion from the College on Account of Homosexual Activities,” which recounted allegations that he had been reported for engaging in same-sex activity and claimed that Sylvester had admitted to engaging in same-sex activities before enrolling, being sexually attracted to both women and men, and masturbating to relieve his urges.25 Sylvester claimed the allegations were contrived after he said in school that people should not be discriminated against by the church on the basis of sexual orientation.26 Following the expulsion, Sylvester recounted that family members threatened to kill him, the church threatened to sue him if he continued to appeal the dismissal, and a group of men attacked him and left him with physical injuries. Because the college copied other theological schools on the letter expelling him, Sylvester was unable to enroll or find work elsewhere. He ultimately fled to Lagos, where he was moved to a safe house in a nearby city and nearly died when he was unable to obtain antiretroviral drugs used to manage HIV.27 In late 2016, other expulsions were reported in Nigeria as well. After a same-sex rape allegation, and as part of an investigation into same-sex activity that eventually expanded to Hassan Usman Katsina Polytechnic, dozens of students were expelled from Government Technical College, Ingawa under suspicion of homosexuality. Similar to other incidents of expulsions, the accused student was compelled to inform on other students he identified as homosexuals. Other students subsequently outed this way were coerced into writing a statement admitting they are gay to their parents, and were consequently expelled from the university.28 A committee of the Katsina State House of Assembly subsequently adopted recommendations that students engaged in same-sex activity in the state should face strict disciplinary consequences and that all schools should create sensitization committees to warn students about the dangers of homosexuality.29 The idea that students might face disapprobation for their sexual orientation or gender identity in Nigeria – where same-sex activity and advocacy are both strictly policed – is 268

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perhaps unsurprising. But it is notable that South Africa, which has constitutional and statutory protections against discrimination for LGBTQ learners, has also seen discrimination, exclusion, and even expulsion of LGBTQ youth. In an online study of over 2,000 LGBTQ South Africans released at the end of 2016, 56% of respondents under 24 reported experiencing discrimination in school.30 Research with young men who have sex with men (MSM) in South Africa has identified persistent risk behaviors for HIV/AIDS, which experts attribute in part to a lack of LGBTQ-inclusive sexuality education and resources.31 Recent incidents illustrate that discrimination against LGBTQ learners still occurs in South Africa. In Umlazi, for example, a teacher routinely mocked Bheka Khanyile, a 20year-old gay student, in front of the class for braiding his hair, wearing makeup, and wearing feminine clothing. Bheka faced insults and taunts about whether he had a penis or a vagina. In early 2017, the teacher told Khanyile to leave her class because she could not teach a gay student, and he left the school.32 Khanyile said he reported the abuse and nothing was done. Around the same time, an 18-year-old lesbian student, Nokwazi Shelembe, was sent home from her high school for her gender presentation, when her principal told her to only come back if she was wearing a skirt and would stop “spreading lesbianism at the school.”33 When Shelembe’s sister went to the school to speak to the principal, she too was told that the principal disapproved of Shelembe being a lesbian.34 In both Khanyile and Shelembe’s cases, disapprobation toward same-sex attraction was mixed with strict policing of gender expression, with both students being told to come back only when they were prepared to dress as their sex assigned at birth.35 While these examples show that work remains to be done, it is worth noting that students in South Africa have also successfully contested egregious mistreatment at the hands of school officials, using statutory and constitutional protections that are not widely available in other contexts. In South Africa, authorities ultimately responded in favor of both Khanyile and Shelembe. Kwazi Mthethwa of KwaZulu-Natal’s education department ordered Shelembe’s school to reinstate her, emphasizing that the department “condemn[s] and won’t tolerate any discrimination or any sort of abuse against LGBTI students in schools.”36 He also pledged to investigate Khanyile’s incident, stressing that “[e]xpelling a student because of his or her gender status is completely against the constitution of the country.”37 Yet the following month, when two girls were allegedly caught kissing in a high school in the Eastern Cape, the principal of the school identified 38 girls, summoned their parents, and ordered them to identify their girlfriends in front of the rest of the school.38 The incident not only humiliated students and punished them simply for being LGBTQ, but it also put them at risk of punishment by family members.39 In this incident, as in others, school officials disregarded the rights of LGBTQ youth, but a spokesperson for the provincial education department criticized their actions and pledged to investigate.40 Over a month later, the department had not taken any disciplinary action against the principal, but had conducted educational campaigns to promote sensitivity and offered counseling to students at the school.41 While these incidents in South Africa illustrate that formal protections cannot completely eradicate individual prejudices, they also demonstrate the importance of those protections to ensure students can obtain redress when discrimination occurs. Whether real or rumored, many of these reported incidents evince anxiety over LGBTQ youth in schools. As Gilbert Herdt has noted, episodic flares of moral outrage are often sexualized, and come in a variety of forms approaching a moral panic.42 The sensationalized coverage of LGBTQ expulsions in sub-Saharan Africa – like similar controversies documented by Janice Irvine’s work in the United States43 – typically takes the form of what Herdt calls a “moral shock.” As Herdt defines it, a moral shock is “a socially significant 269

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incident or threat that galvanizes public outrage and that is commonly associated with ‘the idiom of disgust.’”44 As fears become deeper and more pervasive, such a shock may amount to a “great fear,” or a full-blown “moral panic.”45 In many of the incidents above, media outlets have actively sensationalized rumors of queerness in schools for a scandalized public. In doing so, they not only reproduce harmful stereotypes about LGBTQ people, but undermine the rights of LGBTQ learners to obtain an education free from discrimination and fear.

Discursive frames and justifications Media coverage and condemnation from officials often amplify and repeat familiar tropes about homosexuality, gender transgression, and queerness that portray LGBTQ students as threats to their peers. Four of these – immorality, predation, recruitment, and contagion – are particularly prevalent themes. They not only sensationalize episodes as they circulate in the media, but function to justify and excuse harsh punitive measures against students who are suspected of engaging in same-sex activity or gender transgression. Immorality, particularly as a religious idiom, is one of the more central tropes in discussions of same-sex activity in schools. In Uganda, for example, the bishop of Masaka Diocese called the prevalence of same-sex activity in church schools “alarming,” insisted that “the church will not tolerate human rights that compromise morality,” and created a committee to investigate homosexuality in schools and fire head teachers in schools where same-sex activity occurs.46 The deputy head teacher of the school that ejected a boy in Mzuzu, Malawi, told him that same-sex activity was sinful and that he could not be “promoting a sinful lifestyle” in school, leading to his expulsion.47 In South Africa, where LGBTQ learners enjoy protection from discrimination under the law, Khanyile’s lecturers nonetheless recounted their own personal religious beliefs, telling him that he was “an abomination” and a “disgrace before God.”48 In part because teachers are not necessarily trained to discuss gender and sexuality in an inclusive, non-judgmental manner, research has found that “[s] ame-sex relationships are considered unnatural, immoral, ungodly and un-African in many South African schools.”49 In one study at Walter Sisulu University, researchers found that 74.6% of university students surveyed “believed sexual intercourse with people of the same sex was abnormal and unnatural,” a conviction that was often rooted in their religious beliefs.50 Predation is also a common trope in media coverage of same-sex activity in schools, attributing homosexuality to older predators enticing or abusing innocent youth. In Uganda, media outlets reported arrests for promoting homosexuality among youth at the time the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was in force, alleging that older Ugandans were operating in primary and secondary schools to lure students into same-sex activity.51 In Nigeria, one sensational case was reported in the media, alleging that a 17-year-old university student was attacked, beaten, and drugged for refusing to join a cult “involved in lesbianism and other vices on campus.”52 One media report hypothesized that the cult attacked the girl because her adherence to Christianity prevented her from succumbing to their advances, despite statements from the school clarifying that it was a dispute between roommates not associated with a cult.53 The idea that youth are recruited into homosexuality with money or gifts is a common trope in a similar vein.54 In media coverage of same-sex activity in schools, recruitment of youth is often attributed in vague terms to liberalizing global mores or to the work of LGBTQ advocates, who are allegedly backed by powerful foreign forces and their financial largesse.55 In one case in Mwatate, Kenya, for example, four male 270

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primary school students were expelled under allegations that they sexually assaulted younger boys and were “taught the habit” by a gay man who would give boys money or beer in exchange for sex.56 The school in Mzuzu, Malawi, that expelled a gay student also fired a cook at the school – who was named in media reports – based on unverified allegations that he would take advantage of schoolboys by offering them better food in exchange for sex.57 Other sources attribute recruitment to more subtle pressures, particularly peer pressure from older or more popular students. In one analysis of same-sex activity in single-sex institutions published in a Ugandan newspaper, for example, psychiatrist Joseph Musaalo surmised that younger students “can easily be influenced because they are seeking acceptance and can easily be oriented into these practices” by older classmates.58 Coverage of this supposed phenomenon often takes on a salacious tone. One media outlet in Nigeria claimed to uncover rampant lesbianism at a local university, including the production of lesbian sex videos featuring students, which an anonymous student in the exposé attributed to gifts and money from older students to younger newcomers.59 Finally, metaphors of contagion are often used to describe how the practice of same-sex activity spreads among students. For example, one counselor in Kigali, Rwanda, told journalists that “[a]ctivities of homosexuality are likely to start when people of the same sex share beds in the night,” because “[w]hen you sleep with someone who has an infection, there is a risk of contracting the same diseases.”60 The idea that homosexuality, gender transgression, or queerness might “spread” through the student population is exceedingly common, and functions to justify efforts to remove offending students as quickly and decisively as possible. In each of these tropes, LGBTQ youth – of whatever age – are painted as threats to the larger school community. Instead of perceiving LGBTQ youth as learners in their own right – or, perhaps more radically, as a source of diversity that enriches the educational experience – they are painted as a corrupting force that must necessarily be removed. Notably, this is true whether or not the students are actively engaging in same-sex activity and breaking rules against affection between students, or are merely suspected of being romantically or physically attracted to peers of the same sex. Thus, instead of training teachers and counselors to be sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ students, incorporating diversity and pluralism into school curricula, or fostering peer support networks, the preordained response is swift suspension or expulsion. When one considers the expelled students as rights-holders, a more even-tempered response to LGBTQ students and allegations of same-sex affection is warranted.

Rights at stake As activists in Uganda and elsewhere have pointed out, suspensions, expulsions, and other punitive actions against suspected LGBTQ students in schools have dire consequences for their rights and wellbeing. A feature in the Kuchu Times articulated just some of these concerns, noting that “suspensions and expulsions cause permanent damage to the youngers; psychologically, academically and socially.”61 In 2015, 12 UN entities – including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and UNESCO – issued a joint statement condemning discrimination which noted that LGBTQ youth are at increased risk of family rejection, homelessness, food insecurity, and mental and physical health risks.62 Perhaps most obviously, suspending or expelling youth who are suspected of being LGBTQ drastically impairs their right to 271

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education. Advocates have recognized that suspensions and expulsions severely undermine LGBTQ students’ right to education, under both domestic and international law. As the incidents in South Africa in 2017 gained media attention, deputy general secretary of equal education, Ntuthuzo Ndzomo, told the press that, no school in South Africa is allowed to discriminate against a student because of sexuality. The student has a right to take the matter as far as the Human Rights Commission. Every student has a right to education regardless of sexuality.63 While suspensions and expulsions impair the right to education in an immediate way, they also have deleterious effects on other rights throughout the lifespan. Where students rely on educational attainment and credentials to secure employment and socioeconomic rights to work, housing, and healthcare, depriving LGBTQ youth of access to education jeopardizes their wellbeing in an irreversible way. A similarly apparent violation is of the right to non-discrimination, which is seriously impaired when students are policed or punished solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As international and regional bodies – including the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights – have increasingly recognized, sexual orientation and gender identity are impermissible grounds for discrimination and violence, and merely being LGBTQ should not be grounds for punitive measures. Where dignitary harms are recognized in domestic law, the right to dignity is often also violated in episodes of suspensions and expulsions. Students are often made to confess in front of their parents, expose their friends, or discuss intimate details of their personal lives, to say nothing of the shame and despair they may feel when contemplating a future where they are unwelcome in school and exposed to the community as an LGBTQ person. A therapist quoted in the Kuchu Times states, Such incidences kill their social lives and as young adults, their lives generally revolve around having a stable social life. The torture they go through because of the embarrassment is incomparable and I have seen some people refuse to go back to school after such brutal treatment. As a medical professional, such outcomes make you wonder if this is the right way to go about the issue.64 Foregrounding these consequences is crucially important, particularly insofar as moral authorities are using sensational coverage of sexuality in schools to frame LGBTQ people as an intrinsic threat to youth. For example, in the investigations into homosexuality in Katsina State, Nigeria, media reports described one human rights activist saying that the government and teachers should intensify monitoring and security to protect innocent children from homosexuality in schools.65 The ways these investigations are conducted not only threaten the right to dignity, but may also threaten rights to due process or a fair trial, as students are frequently suspended or expelled in the absence of evidence they engaged in prohibited activity, with no presumption that they are innocent, and often without an opportunity to respond or mount a defense to the allegations against them.

Conclusion: What can be done? As the scope and fervor of reports of recruitment – and the discourses surrounding them – illustrate, the notion of queer sex and sexuality in schools triggers deep anxiety among many 272

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school administrators, journalists, and religious and moral authorities as well as the public they serve. Yet the swift turn to expulsion rightfully triggers concern among many of these same groups that the children in question are being deprived of rights and left behind. In 2013, for example, the editorial board of the Observer in Kampala, Uganda, published an editorial criticizing Iganga Secondary School for expelling the girls accused of lesbianism. After noting that many people experiment with same-sex affection in school but ultimately end up in heterosexual partnerships, the editorial board argued, Iganga Secondary School has overreacted to something quite normal. The school could have explored other measures before condemning its students to an uncertain future. For instance, counseling should have been prioritized to help them change their behavior. Expelling them could easily derail their pursuit of education as it undermines their chances of joining other schools. At a time girl child education is all the rage, schools should desist from taking drastic actions that exacerbate the problem of girls dropping out of school.66 Other authorities have inveighed in favor of children at risk of expulsion as well. In early 2017, Ruth Sennyonyi, the provincial president of Mother’s Union Uganda, remarked at a symposium for the International Day of the Family that “[w]e cannot keep sending children away from schools because of lesbianism,” adding that when students are expelled, “then where are they going?”67 Uganda’s state minister for gender and culture, Peace Mutuuzo, similarly suggested that “[i]nstead of punishing this child by sending her to go and face the wrath of the world or transfer her behaviors from one school to another, we’d rather deal with the matter from school.”68 In another interview, Sister Gladyce Kachope, the headteacher of a Catholic secondary school in Uganda, emphasized that frankly discussing sexuality with students was important, noting “I talk openly to my girls about homosexuality, we get students who are suspected of this kind of behaviors and we talk to them and advise them accordingly.”69 It is important to stress that the responses to LGBTQ expulsions from these sources are not uniformly positive. They rest on a conviction that sexuality is at least somewhat malleable, and that counseling and guidance can put students on a path to heterosexuality or at least correct them from acting on same-sex impulses. Mutuuzo opined that “these girls have learnt about lesbianism from schools to begin with,” for example, and Sennyonyi was clear that “we don’t want homosexuality but we need to prevent it from happening rather than just chasing away.”70 But they do signal at least some receptiveness to the idea that depriving children access to schooling is an excessive response to allegations of same-sex attraction or gender transgression in school, and thereby create some space to intervene in moral panics and defend students who are at risk of expulsion. And the comments create space for more sympathetic interventions, for example, by experts who encourage schools “to work with medics that are familiar with LGBTI issues; to help the students not only cope with the selfdiscovery they are going through but also find active ways to keep their surging feelings and hormones at bay.”71 Of course, addressing expulsion is among the most basic interventions for LGBTQ youth in the region. Other interventions – like training for teachers and counselors, LGBTQinclusive sexuality education, anti-violence and anti-discrimination policies, and the formation of LGBTQ student groups – may be unrealistic in some locales but valuable where possible. Organizations like the Global Alliance for LGBT Education (GALE) have produced resource guides for activist organizations interested in working on LGBTQ issues in schools, 273

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in both friendly and hostile contexts.72 As Peter Dankmeijer has noted, in some environments “different perspectives – such as dealing with machismo, conflict resolution, promoting respect, and diversity management – are more relevant for effective education, and respect for ‘being gay’ may not be the most dominant aspect of emancipation and education strategies in those regions.”73 Transnational LGBTQ youth efforts that originate in the Global South are particularly important. South African advocates have made distinctive contributions not only to LGBTQ jurisprudence but to comprehensive sexuality education and the recognition of transgender youth.74 Groups elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa are engaging schools in creative ways, including some that have met with success – for example, the Rainbow Project’s use of broad-based but LGBTI-inclusive diversity trainings with teachers in Namibia.75 The need to address HIV has also created some space for sexuality education that addresses risks and behaviors frankly and rationally, and for arguments that underscore why discrimination hampers interventions to improve health and wellbeing for individuals and the communities of which they are a part.76 Opportunities for engagement and intervention vary widely from school to school, and some are much more receptive than others. But the regularity of school expulsions in many parts of the world – and the discursive tropes that make those expulsions possible and permissible – merit a more fulsome discussion when advocates increasingly talk about the rights of LGBTQ youth. A global LGBTQ youth agenda should not shy away from addressing the urgent need to keep LGBTQ youth in schools, and to think of creative and constructive options to ensure that LGBTQ youth receive an education even in hostile contexts.

Notes 1 UNESCO, Out in the Open: Education Sector Responses to Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression, 2016, http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002447/244756e.pdf (accessed 31 May 2017); Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Kishore Singh, A/65/162, July 23, 2010, http://daccess-ddsny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N10/462/13/ PDF/N1046213.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 20 October 2016). 2 EGALE, Every Class in Every School: Final Report on the First National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia in Canadian Schools, 2011, https://egale.ca/every-class (accessed 1 June 2017); Equal Education Law Centre, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation: The Rights of Learners in South African Schools 2016, http://eelawcentre.org.za/wp-content/ uploads/2016/05/LGBTI-Final.pdf (accessed 1 June 2017); Human Rights Watch, “Like Walking Through a Hailstorm”: Discrimination Against LGBT Youth in US Schools, 2016, www. hrw.org/report/2016/12/07/walking-through-hailstorm/discrimination-against-lgbt-youth-usschools (accessed 1 June 2017). 3 Human Rights Watch, “Like Walking Through a Hailstorm”: Discrimination Against LGBT Youth in US Schools, 2016, www.hrw.org/report/2016/12/07/walking-through-hailstorm/discriminationagainst-lgbt-youth-us-schools (accessed 1 June 2017). 4 EGALE, Every Class in Every School: Final Report on the First National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia in Canadian Schools, 2011, https://egale.ca/every-class (accessed 1 June 2017). 5 Naz Male Health Alliance, A Literature Review of LGBT Youth, 2016 (on file with author). 6 Human Rights Watch, “The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down”: LGBT Bullying and Exclusion in Japanese Schools 2016, www.hrw.org/report/2016/05/06/nail-sticks-out-gets-hammereddown/lgbt-bullying-and-exclusion-japanese-schools (accessed 1 June 2017). 7 Tongyu & Oxfam Hong Kong, Chinese LGBTI+ Students’ School Environment Research Report 2016 (on file with author).

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8 Equal Education Law Centre, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation: The Rights of Learners in South African Schools 2016, http://eelawcentre.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/LGBTI-Final.pdf (accessed 1 June 2017). 9 Human Rights Watch, “Just Let Us Be”: Discrimination against LGBT Students in the Philippines 2017, www.hrw.org/report/2017/06/21/just-let-us-be/discrimination-against-lgbt-students-philip pines (accessed 9 March 2019). 10 Yazid Yolisigira, “Iganga School Expels 22 Students Over Lesbianism,” Daily Monitor, December 30, 2013, www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Iganga-school-expels-22-students-over-lesbian ism/688334-2128792-vkduvu/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017); “Uganda: Iganga School Got It All Wrong,” The Observer, December 17, 2013, http://allafrica.com/stories/201312180204.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 11 Yazid Yolisigira, “Iganga School Expels 22 Students Over Lesbianism,” Daily Monitor, December 30, 2013, www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Iganga-school-expels-22-students-over-lesbian ism/688334-2128792-vkduvu/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 12 Didas Kisembo, “Homosexuality in Schools – Can It Be Checked?” Daily Monitor, August 18, 2015, www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Homosexuality-in-schools–can-it-be-checked-/ 691232-2836308-t6214yz/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 13 Uganda Radio Network, “Ntare Closed as Students Accuse School of ‘Homosexuality Coverup,’” The Observer, August 6, 2015, http://allafrica.com/stories/201508070885.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 14 Colleb Mugume, “Ntare School Closed Over Anti-Gays Strike,” Daily Monitor, August 7, 2015, www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Ntare-School-closed-over-anti-gays-strike/688334-2823018du6y8oz/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 15 Uganda Radio Network, “Ntare Closed as Students Accuse School of ‘Homosexuality Coverup,’” The Observer, August 6, 2015, http://allafrica.com/stories/201508070885.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 16 “Ruthless Shaming of Gay Students Continues as Mbarara High School Expels 20,” Kuchu Times, June 15, 2016, www.kuchutimes.com/2016/06/ruthless-shaming-of-gay-students-continues-asmbarara-high-school-expels-20 (accessed 1 June 2017). 17 “Shocker! Mbarara High ‘Homosexuality Crew’ Headed by School Head Boy,” Eagle, June 16, 2016, http://eagle.co.ug/2016/06/16/shocker-mbarara-high-homosexuality-crew-headed-byschool-head-boy.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 18 Steeves Winner, “Cameroon: School Expels 2 Allegedly Lesbian Students,” Erasing 76 Crimes, April 5, 2018, https://76crimes.com/2018/04/05/cameroon-school-expels-2-allegedly-lesbian-students. 19 Steven Chirombo, “Michiru Secondary School Dismisses Two Girls Over Lesbianism Acts,” Malawi News Agency, March 26, 2014, https://allafrica.com/stories/201403260758.html (accessed 9 March 2019). 20 Judith Moyo, “Student Forced out of Mzuzu School Over Gay Claims,” Nyasa Times, December 29, 2015, www.nyasatimes.com/student-forced-out-of-mzuzu-school-over-gay-claims (accessed 28 May 2017). 21 Carol Maina, “Students Expelled for Being ‘Lesbians’ Sue School,” The Star, May 27, 2015, http://allafrica.com/stories/201505280319.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 22 Carol Maina, “Students Expelled for Being ‘Lesbians’ Sue School,” The Star, May 27, (Maina 2015), http://allafrica.com/stories/201505280319.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 23 Carol Maina, “Students Expelled for Being ‘Lesbians’ Sue School,” The Star, May 27, 2015, http://allafrica.com/stories/201505280319.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 24 Brian Ojamaa, “19 ‘Gay’ Students are Sent Home,” The Star, July 15, 2015, http://allafrica.com/ stories/201507150261.html (accessed 28 May 2017). 25 Letter from Ezekiel College of Theology to Ododo Sylvester, October 28, 2014 (on file with author). 26 Michael K. Lavers, “Nigerian Theological Student Expelled for ‘Homosexuality,’” Washington Blade, May 5, 2015, www.washingtonblade.com/2015/05/05/nigerian-theological-studentexpelled-for-homosexuality (accessed 28 May 2017). 27 Michael K. Lavers, “Nigerian Theological Student Expelled for ‘Homosexuality,’” Washington Blade, May 5, 2015, www.washingtonblade.com/2015/05/05/nigerian-theological-studentexpelled-for-homosexuality (accessed 28 May 2017). 28 Habibu Umar Aminu, “How 27 Students Were Expelled over Sodomy,” Daily Trust, December 1, 2016, http://allafrica.com/stories/201612010445.html (accessed 1 June 2017).

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29 Habibu Umar Aminu, “Assembly Extends Sodomy Probe to State Polytechnic,” Daily Trust, November 29, 2016, www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/assembly-extends-sodomy-probe-tostate-polytechnic/173725.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 30 Luiz DeBarros, “Shocking Scale of LGBT Discrimination in South Africa Revealed,” Mamba Online, November 29, 2016, www.mambaonline.com/2016/11/29/shocking-scale-lgbt-discrimin ation-south-africa-revealed (accessed 30 May 2017). 31 Adiel Ismail, “Revealed – Sex Secrets of South Africa’s Same-Sex Male Students,” News24Wire, June 8, 2015, www.health24.com/Medical/HIV-AIDS/News/Revealed-Sex-secrets-of-South-Afri cas-same-sex-male-students-20150608. 32 Nompendulo Ngubane, “Gay Student Kicked Out of Durban College,” GroundUp, February 8, 2017, www.groundup.org.za/article/gay-student-kicked-out-durban-college (accessed 1 June 2017). 33 Nosipho Mngoma, “Pupils Booted Out for Being Gay,” The Mercury, February 9, 2017, www.press reader.com/south-africa/the-mercury/20170209/textview (accessed 1 June 2017). 34 Nosipho Mngoma, “Pupils Booted Out for Being Gay,” The Mercury, February 9, 2017, www.press reader.com/south-africa/the-mercury/20170209/textview (accessed 1 June 2017). 35 Xolani Dlamini, “Abuse of Homosexual Students on the Rise,” Sowetan, February 10, 2017, www.sowe tanlive.co.za/news/2017/02/10/abuse-of-homosexual-students-on-the-rise (accessed 1 June 2017). 36 “Lesbian Pupil Expelled for Not Wearing Skirt,” Sowetan, February 10, 2017, www.pressreader. com/south-africa/sowetan/20170210/281556585571103 (accessed 1 June 2017). 37 “Lesbian Pupil Expelled for Not Wearing Skirt,” Sowetan, February 10, 2017, www.pressreader. com/south-africa/sowetan/20170210/281556585571103 (accessed 1 June 2017). 38 Luiz DeBarros, “Outrageous! Eastern Cape School Outs 38 Pupils as Lesbians,” Mamba Online, March 8, 2017, www.mambaonline.com/2017/03/08/outrageous-eastern-cape-school-outs-38pupils-lesbians (accessed 30 May 2017). 39 Luiz DeBarros, “Outrageous! Eastern Cape School Outs 38 Pupils as Lesbians,” Mamba Online, March 8, 2017, www.mambaonline.com/2017/03/08/outrageous-eastern-cape-school-outs-38pupils-lesbians (accessed 30 May 2017). 40 Luiz DeBarros, “Outrageous! Eastern Cape School Outs 38 Pupils as Lesbians,” Mamba Online, March 8, (DeBarros 2017), www.mambaonline.com/2017/03/08/outrageous-eastern-cape-schoolouts-38-pupils-lesbians (accessed 30 May 2017). 41 “No Action Taken against Principal Who Outed ‘Lesbian’ Pupils,” Mamba Online, April 13, 2017, www.mambaonline.com/2017/04/13/action-taken-principal-outed-lesbian-pupils (accessed 30 May 2017). 42 Gilbert Herdt, “Introduction: Moral Panics, Sexual Rights, and Cultural Anger,” in Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight over Sexual Rights, edited by Gilbert Herdt (New York: NYU Press, 2009): pp. 1–46. 43 Janice Irvine, “Anti-Gay Politics Online: A Study of Sexuality and Stigma on National Websites,” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, Vol. 2, (2005): 3–22. 44 Gilbert Herdt, “Introduction: Moral Panics, Sexual Rights, and Cultural Anger,” in Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight over Sexual Rights, edited by Gilbert Herdt (New York: NYU Press, 2009): p. 4. 45 Gilbert Herdt, “Introduction: Moral Panics, Sexual Rights, and Cultural Anger,” in Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and the Fight over Sexual Rights, edited by Gilbert Herdt (New York: NYU Press, 2009): pp. 4–5. 46 Sadab Kitatta Kaaya, “Homosexuality in Catholic Schools Irks Masaka Bishop,” The Observer, November 11, 2014, http://allafrica.com/stories/201411120412.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 47 Judith Moyo, “Student Forced out of Mzuzu School Over Gay Claims,” Nyasa Times, December 29, 2015, www.nyasatimes.com/student-forced-out-of-mzuzu-school-over-gay-claims (accessed 28 May 2017). 48 Xolani Dlamini, “Abuse of Homosexual Students on the Rise,” Sowetan, February 10, 2017, www.sowe tanlive.co.za/news/2017/02/10/abuse-of-homosexual-students-on-the-rise (accessed 1 June 2017). 49 Catriona Macleod, “Why Sexuality Education in Schools Needs a Major Overhaul,” The Conversation, May 25, 2016, http://theconversation.com/why-sexuality-education-in-schools-needsa-major-overhaul-58176 (accessed 1 June 2017). 50 Dominic Targema Abaver & Mzi Nduna, “Gay University Students Feel Invisible. It’s Time to Shine a Light On Their Issues,” The Conversation, May 21, 2017, http://theconversation.com/gay-universitystudents-feel-invisible-its-time-to-shine-a-light-on-their-issues-77579 (accessed 1 June 2017).

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51 Didas Kisembo, “Homosexuality in Schools – Can It Be Checked?” Daily Monitor, August 18, 2015, www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Homosexuality-in-schools–can-it-be-checked-/ 691232-2836308-t6214yz/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 52 Willie Etim, “Dastardly Action … Among Girls?” The Guardian, April 20, 2015, https://guardian. ng/news/dastardly-actionamong-girls (accessed 1 June 2017). 53 Willie Etim, “Dastardly Action … Among Girls?” The Guardian, April 20, (Etim 2015), https:// guardian.ng/news/dastardly-actionamong-girls (accessed 1 June 2017). 54 See, e.g., Charles Kachikoti, “Why Homosexuality Should Not Be Legalised in Zambia: Part 6,” Times of Zambia, March 10, 2014, http://allafrica.com/stories/201403110348.html (accessed 1 June 2017) (“Homosexuality offers a false solution to unemployment by offering youths money for sex”). 55 See, e.g., Didas Kisembo, “Homosexuality in Schools – Can It Be Checked?” Daily Monitor, August 18, 2015, www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Homosexuality-in-schools–can-it-bechecked-/691232-2836308-t6214yz/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017). The trope has been kindled by figures like George Oundo, the ex-gay activist who publicly claimed that gay activists offered him large amounts of money to recruit children in schools. Id. 56 Raphael Mwadime, “School Sends Pupils Away over Sodomy,” The Star, August 26, 2014, http:// allafrica.com/stories/201408260476.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 57 Media accounts of the firing specifically note that the cook had a wife and children and that the “gay claims” against him were unverified. Judith Moyo, “Student Forced out of Mzuzu School over Gay Claims,” Nyasa Times, December 29, 2015, www.nyasatimes.com/student-forced-out-ofmzuzu-school-over-gay-claims (accessed 28 May 2017). 58 Rachel Kanyoro, “Why Are Cases of Homosexuality Common in Single Schools?” Daily Monitor, August 18, 2015, www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Why-are-cases-of-homosexualitycommon-in-single-schools-/691232-2836320-k5mys/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017); Didas Kisembo, “Homosexuality in Schools – Can It Be Checked?” Daily Monitor, August 18, 2015, www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Homosexuality-in-schools–can-it-be-checked-/6912322836308-t6214yz/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 59 Kingsley Fanwo, “Lesbianism Scandal Rocks Kogi Varsity,” Vanguard, October 26, 2015, www.van guardngr.com/2015/10/lesbianism-scandal-rocks-kogi-varsity (accessed 1 June 2017). 60 Solomon Asaba & Pontian Kabeera, “Why Are Students Sharing Beds in Universities?” The New Times, September 10, 2014, www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2014-09-10/180690 (accessed 1 June 2017). 61 “Ruthless Shaming of Gay Students Continues as Mbarara High School Expels 20,” Kuchu Times, June 15, 2016, www.kuchutimes.com/2016/06/ruthless-shaming-of-gay-students-continues-asmbarara-high-school-expels-20 (accessed 1 June 2017). 62 International Labour Organization et al., “Ending Violence and Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People,” September 2015, www.ohchr.org/Documents/ Issues/Discrimination/Joint_LGBTI_Statement_ENG.PDF (accessed 30 May 2017). 63 Nompendulo Ngubane, “Gay Student Kicked Out of Durban College,” GroundUp, February 8, 2017, www.groundup.org.za/article/gay-student-kicked-out-durban-college (accessed 1 June 2017). 64 “Ruthless Shaming of Gay Students Continues as Mbarara High School Expels 20,” Kuchu Times, June 15, 2016, www.kuchutimes.com/2016/06/ruthless-shaming-of-gay-students-continues-asmbarara-high-school-expels-20 (accessed 1 June 2017). 65 Habibu Umar Aminu, “How 27 Students Were Expelled Over Sodomy,” Daily Trust, December 1, 2016, http://allafrica.com/stories/201612010445.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 66 “Uganda: Iganga School Got It All Wrong,” The Observer, December 17, 2013, http://allafrica. com/stories/201312180204.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 67 “Christian Group Says Schools Must ‘Correct’ Gay Students,” Mamba, May 23, 2017, www.mambaon line.com/2017/05/23/uganda-christian-group-call-schools-correct-gay-students (accessed 1 June 2017). 68 “Christian Group Says Schools Must ‘Correct’ Gay Students,” Mamba, May 23, 2017, www.mambaon line.com/2017/05/23/uganda-christian-group-call-schools-correct-gay-students (accessed 1 June 2017). 69 Rachel Kanyoro, “Why Are Cases of Homosexuality Common in Single Schools?” Daily Monitor, August 18, 2015, www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Why-are-cases-of-homosexualitycommon-in-single-schools-/691232-2836320-k5mys/index.html (accessed 1 June 2017). 70 “Christian Group Says Schools Must ‘Correct’ Gay Students,” Mamba, May 23, 2017, www.mambaon line.com/2017/05/23/uganda-christian-group-call-schools-correct-gay-students (accessed 1 June 2017).

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71 “Ruthless Shaming of Gay Students Continues as Mbarara High School Expels 20,” Kuchu Times, June 15, 2016, www.kuchutimes.com/2016/06/ruthless-shaming-of-gay-students-continues-asmbarara-high-school-expels-20 (accessed 1 June 2017). 72 Peter Dankmeijer, How LGBTIQ Activists Can Develop a High Impact Education Strategy, www.lgbteducation.info/doc/gale-products/GALE_COMMITTEE_GUIDE.pdf (accessed 30 May 2017). 73 Peter Dankmeijer, “LGBT, to Be or Not to Be? Education about Sexual Preferences and Gender Identities Worldwide,” Counterpoints, Vol. 367, Sexualities in Education: A Reader, 2012: 254–269. 74 Mohammed Allie, “The Cape Town Schools Learning from Transgender Students,” BBC, January 2, 2019, www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46213884 (accessed 9 March 2019); Tiffany Jones, “South African Contributions to LGBTI Education Issues,” Sex Education, 2018: DOI: 10.1080/ 14681811.2018.1535969. 75 Peter Dankmeijer, How LGBTIQ Activists Can Develop a High Impact Education Strategy, www.lgbteducation.info/doc/gale-products/GALE_COMMITTEE_GUIDE.pdf (accessed 30 May 2017). 76 Peter Dankmeijer, “LGBT, to Be or Not to Be? Education about Sexual Preferences and Gender Identities Worldwide,” Counterpoints, Vol. 367, Sexualities in Education: A Reader, 2012: 254–269.

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Pods Unoma Azuah We are like pods Our teeth are found with splits Each tooth bears a seed heavier than others Each shape replicates nuts tossed across cold floors for divinity Though they are all nuts some sides blunt the slants of sun beams while others bear sun rays like baskets of kola nuts each nut opens up in single splits Pods though one crack on multiple sides.

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