the rich queer history of Africa emerges….
“African history is replete with examples of both erotic and nonerotic same-sex relationships. For example, the ancient cave paintings of the San people near Guruve in Zimbabwe depict two men engaged in some form of ritual sex. During precolonial times, the “mudoko dako,” or effeminate males among the Langi of northern Uganda were treated as women and could marry men. In Buganda, one of the largest traditional kingdoms in Uganda, it was an open secret that Kabaka (king) Mwanga II, who ruled in the latter half of the 19th century, was gay.
“The vocabulary used to describe same-sex relations in traditional languages, predating colonialism, is further proof of the existence of such relations in precolonial Africa. To name but a few, the Shangaan of southern Africa referred to same-sex relations as “inkotshane” (male-wife); Basotho women in present-day Lesotho engage in socially sanctioned erotic relationships called “motsoalle” (special friend) and in the Wolof language, spoken in Senegal, homosexual men are known as “gor-digen” (men-women).” http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/homosexuality-africamuseveniugandanigeriaethiopia.html
“The indigenous cultures of South and East Africa have a long history of homosexuality, transgender behavior, and even same-sex marriage between both men and women. In early seventeenth-century Luanda (the capital of Portuguese Angola), Catholic priests Gaspar Azevereduc and Antonius Sequerius documented third-gender natives known as chibados. The chibados dressed like women, spoke effeminately and married other men “to unite in wrongful lust with them.” More shocking to the priests was the fact that such marriages were honored and even prized among the tribesmen. In a similar record, Portuguese Jesuit Joao dos Santos wrote in 1625 that the chibadosmof southwestern Africa were “attyred like women, and behave themselves womanly, ashamed to be called men; are also married to men, and esteeme that unnaturale damnation an honor.” In his writings about seventeenth-century Angola, historian Antonio Cardonega mentioned that sodomy was “rampant among the people of Angola. They pursue their impudent and filthy practices dressed as women.” He also stated that the sodomites often served as powerful shamans, were highly esteemed among most Angolan tribes and commonly called quimbanda.” http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8
Dagara: “The gay person is looked at primarily as a “gatekeeper.” The Earth is looked at, from my tribal perspective, as a very, very delicate machine or consciousness, with high vibrational points, which certain people must be guardians of in order for the tribe to keep its continuity with the gods and with the spirits… Any person who is at this link between this world and the other world experiences a state of vibrational consciousness which is far higher, and far different, from the one that a normal person would experience. This is what makes a gay person gay. This kind of function is…one that people are said to decide on prior to being born. You decide that you will be a gatekeeper before you are born…To then limit gay people to simple sexual orientation is really the worst harm that can be done to a person.” Malidoma Some http://www.menweb.org/somegay.htm
Azande: “the Azande tribe in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in sub-Saharan Africa use their queerness to instill fear and respect in the eyes of their fellow tribespeople. Lesbian Azande women were notorious for being very open and proud of their queerness, wearing it like a badge of honor. This was because, to the Azande, the spiritual potency of women was seen as often more powerful than that of men. Already at a magical disadvantage, Azande men were particularly impotent to the power of queer Azande women. By having sex with each other, lesbians of the tribe were believed to be able to double their spiritual power, making their magical prowess the most powerful in all the tribe. To show off their spiritual might, Azande lesbians sometimes practiced their queer sexuality in public as a way to let everyone know now had 2x the power they once had.” (Tomas Prower https://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2696)
“In southeastern Africa, Bori cults—along with their crossdressing shamans and possession rituals—are still quite common among the Zulu. Shamans are known as inkosi ygbatfazi (“chief of the women”) while ordinary transgenders are called skesana and their masculine partners, iqgenge. Zulu warriors traditionally asserted their manhood by substituting boys for women and in the 1890s, Zulu chief Nongoloza Mathebula ordered his bandit-warriors to abstain from women and take on boy-wives instead. After his capture, Nongoloza insisted that the practice had been a longstanding custom among South Africans. Indeed, homosexual marriage was documented among the Zulu, Tsonga and Mpondo migrant workers of South Africa at least since the early nineteenth century. Boy-wives were known by various names such as inkotshane (Zulu),nkhonsthana (Tsonga), tinkonkana (Mpondo)” http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8
“Apart from erotic same-sex desire, in precolonial Africa, several other activities were involved in same-sex (or what the colonialists branded “unnatural”) sexuality. For example, the Ndebele and Shona in Zimbabwe, the Azande in Sudan and Congo, the Nupe in Nigeria and the Tutsi in Rwanda and Burundi all engaged in same-sex acts for spiritual rearmament — i.e., as a source of fresh power for their territories. It was also used for ritual purposes.” http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/homosexuality-africamuseveniugandanigeriaethiopia.html
“The Meru tribes of Kenya have a religious leadership role known as mugawe, which involves priests wearing female clothing and hairstyles. In 1973, British ethnologist Rodney Needham noted that the mugawe were often homosexual and sometimes married to other men… In 1987, anthropologist Gill Shepherd reported that homosexuality was relatively common in Kenya, even among Muslims (both male and female). Most Kenyans initially discourage transgender behavior among their children but gradually come to accept it as an inherent part of the child’s spirit (roho) or nature (umbo). Shepherd observed third-gender men, known in Swahili as shoga, who served as passive male prostitutes and wore female clothing, makeup, and flowers at social events such as weddings, where they typically mingled with the “other” women. At more serious events such as funerals and prayer meetings, the shoga would stay with the men and wear men’s attire. Other Swahili terms for homosexual men include basha(dominant male), hanithi (young male partner) and mumemke (man-woman). Lesbians are known as msagaji or msago(“grinders”).” http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8
“1892-1921. Over two-hundred and fifty sodomy cases are tried in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, with the most common defense being that sodomy has been a longstanding custom among the African natives.” Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex, by Amara Das Wilhelm
EGYPT: “The Siwa Oasis was of special interest to anthropologists and sociologists because of its historical acceptance of male homosexuality. Some argue the practice arose because from ancient times unmarried men and adolescent boys were required to live and work together outside the town of Shali, secluded for several years from any access to available women. In 1900, the German egyptologist George Steindorff reported that, “the feast of marrying a boy was celebrated with great pomp, and the money paid for a boy sometimes amounted to fifteen pound, while the money paid for a woman was a little over one pound.” The archaeologist Count Byron de Prorok reported in 1937 that “an enthusiasm could not have been approached even in Sodom.. Homosexuality was not merely rampant, it was raging…Every dancer had his boyfriend…[and] chiefs had harems of boys.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_history#Egypt
UGANDA: a 2014 report by NGO Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) “Expanded Criminalisation of Homosexuality in Uganda: A Flawed Narrative” was “a response to the anti-gay bill proposal passed in Ugandan parliament in 2009, and is aimed to prove that same sex relationships existed throughout Africa, including the territories that now form Uganda, before the colonisation. According to the report, a commonly cited reason for maintaining, or expanding, criminalisation of homosexuality nowadays, is that homosexuality is “un-African” or, in other words, a foreign phenomenon. The research, however, showed that throughout Africa’s history homosexuality has been a “consistent and logical feature of African societies and belief systems”, and that Uganda’s laws criminalising homosexuality originates entirely from legislations introduced by the British colonial administration in 1902 and 1950.” https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/gay-ugandan-king-proves-that-homosexuality-african-1434416
“The Konso of southern Ethiopia have no less than four words for effeminate men, one of which is sagoda and refers to men who never marry, are weak, or who wear skirts. In the mid-1960s, Canadian anthropologist Christopher Hallpike observed one Ethiopian Konso that lived by curing skins (a female occupation) and liked to play the passive role in homosexual relations. In 1957, American anthropologist Simon Messing found male transvestites among the Amhara tribes that were known as wandarwarad (male-female). They lived alone and were considered like brothers to the tribeswomen. The husbands of the women were not at all jealous of the close friendship between their wives and the wandarwarad. Messing reported that the wandarwarad were unusually sensitive and intense in their personal likings. He also found “mannish women” among the Amhara known as wandawande.” http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8
“In the Sudan, traditional Zande culture is well known for its homosexual marriages, even into the 1970s, as reported by British anthropologist Edward Evans-Pritchard in 1971. Some Zande princes preferred men over women and could purchase a desired boy for the price of one spearhead. They would then become husbands to the young man, provide him with beautiful ornaments and address him as badiare (beloved).” http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8
Note the frequently recurring links between same sex love and spiritual power.
SPIRITUALITY IS THE MISSING LINK in the modern story of LGBTQ+ emergence.
Persecution of same sex loving and gender fluid people is rooted in the efforts of patriarchal monotheism over two millennia to eradicate pagan worship, sex temples, sacred prostitution and magic. Sodomy and sorcery were seen as going hand in hand in ancient Middle East and Europe. Transexuality was considered to bestow spiritual power, and this was common around the world – eg the Two Spirits of the USA, now finding the way to reclaim their power and their role in the wider community, after centuries of being referred to as ‘berdache’ (the word given to them by Europeans, it referred to the passive partner in homosexual sex). This was also the case in Africa. Homosexuality did not exist in pre-colonial Africa – because the Africans were way too intelligent and attuned to nature to define people by how they liked to have sex!