„What is remarkable is that Namibia’s outspoken homophobia is relatively new“

Und noch ein Artikel, den ich recyclen möchte: eine Reportage von Laurie Goering mit dem Titel „African leaders target gays as cause of continent’s ills“ (Chicago Tribune, 17. Juni 2004), die dem Versuch einer kulturalistischen Deutung von Homophobie im südlichen Afrika entschieden opponiert:

In Namibia, homosexuals have been blamed for severe drought by religious leaders, who insist their wicked behavior displeases God. Government officials, who have threatened to deport gays, accuse them of trying to depopulate the country and describe their lifestyle as a kind of cancer, threatening to spread and lead to „social disorder.“

[…] Some Namibian gays find themselves subject to brutal „cures.“ Families arrange to have lesbian daughters raped to show them the „right“ way to behave. Gay men are held down by police and earrings are ripped from their ears. A leading government official has written a treatise describing how homosexuals can be „cured“ by sawing off the top of the skull and washing the brain with a chemical solution.

What is remarkable is that Namibia’s outspoken homophobia is relatively new. A decade ago, gay men held hands on the streets of Windhoek, seen as a homosexual mecca for southern Africa. For generations lesbians and to a lesser extent gay men were quietly accepted in at least some of Namibia’s ethnic cultures.

[…] Since then government officials — most of them from northern Owamboland, Namibia’s richest, most populous and most traditionally homophobic region — have tried to criminalize gay sex and threatened to deport homosexuals. In heavily Christian Namibia, the government has promoted a view of homosexuality as un-Christian and as an imported European deviation.

The problem with that view, gay-rights activists say, is that Christianity itself is a European import in much of Africa. Over centuries of colonization most of the continent’s rich oral tradition was lost, making Africa’s traditional views on homosexuality unclear. What is evident, however, is that gays were an accepted part of at least some African societies.

[…] „People say it’s imported colonial behavior,“ Somerville [editor of Behind the Mask, a web site for gay Africans] said. „But in fact the opposite is true. The colonialists, if anything, tried to stamp it out. They were, after all, the Victorians.“