Saturday, September 5, 2015

Where Do the Lies About LGBTIs in Africa Come From? | Michael Ashworth

This is an excellent example of The Religious Right’s 10-Point Playbook For Hijacking Nations
Shocking legislative developments have focused Western media attention on the gay rights situation across Africa like never before. Many of the column inches dedicated to Uganda's Anti Homosexuality Act have demonstrated an awareness of the complexity of the social and political landscape for African LGBTIs. The colonial provenance of the penal code provisions which outlaw same-sex intercourse has been explored. The claims that "homosexuality is unAfrican" have been shown to be false, thanks to a wealth of anthropological evidence to the contrary. The incoherence of using a religion imposed on Africa by proselytising European missionaries to decry same-sex attraction as unAfrican has not gone unnoticed. In short: on the issue of LGBTI rights in Africa, analysis has (largely) been surprisingly nuanced.

What is generally lacking from Western media, however, is an understanding of some of the most pernicious lies about LGBTIs in Africa -- and relatively few people have asked the question, 'where do the lies come from?' 

The migration of the trope from North America to Africa can be explained through the influence of US neoconservative organisations, such as the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD). According to a report by the think-tank Political Research Associates, the IRD is "one of the main organizations promoting homophobia in both Africa and the United States over the last decade." The report claims that while mainstream Episcopal church funding in Africa is directed towards visible projects -- and therefore requires accountability on how money is spent -- "conservative funding pays the salaries of archbishops and their staffs," concluding that "archbishops' offices have become mouthpieces of U.S. conservatives."
While the situation for LGBTIs across Africa is far from uniformly pessimistic, any judicial victories will be diluted by the extreme social hostility fomented by these toxic beliefs and by the American religious fundamentalists who sustain them. What is needed is a brighter spotlight shone on the role that foreigners have had in stoking anti-LGBTI hatred in Africa by co-opting postcolonial politics for their own ends. The notion that money flows from abroad to fund a 'homosexual agenda' needs to be countered forcefully with the indisputable truth that foreign money is flooding from the US to fund an insidious neoconservative agenda. The lies told about LGBTIs in Africa need to be exposed as such.
Where Do the Lies About LGBTIs in Africa Come From? | Michael Ashworth

No comments:

Post a Comment