“For the times they are a-changin’”- Homosexuality and social values in Africa





This piece by Arnold Wehmhoerner looks at the dynamics around debates on sexual orientation in Africa amid a rise in anti-gay legislation in several countries. He charts the peculiar situation wherein cuts in development aid are portrayed by traditionalist leaders as a manifestation of post-colonial interference in African affairs. In this sense, certain actions in the West have been counterproductive in the struggle for gay rights and there have been mixed messages from the West, with US Christian fundamentalists contributing to homophobic fervour.

South Africa is seen as a leader on this issue, as the first country in the world to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. There has been an increase in gay refugees coming to South Africa in recent times; yet there are still serious problems times are changing slowly.