Sexual Minorities, Human Rights, and Public Health Strategies in Africa

  • Marc Epprecht
Part of the Contemporary African Political Economy book series (CONTAPE)


This chapter examines specific initiatives that are using subtle, somewhat covert means to negotiate a path between rights activism and secretive bisexuality. It argues that strategies primarily focused on health concerns that simultaneously yet discreetly promote sexual rights are having some success in challenging prevalent homophobic or ‘silencing’ cultures and discourses. Overall, in the last few decades, remarkable progress has been made towards the recognition of sexual minority rights in Africa. At the same time, a marked increase in attacks, rhetorical abuse, and restrictive legislation against sexual minorities or ‘homosexuality’ makes activism for sexual rights a risky endeavor in many African countries. Campaigns for sexual rights and ‘coming out’ are frequently perceived as a form of Western cultural imperialism, leading to an exportation of Western gay identities and provoking a patriotic defensiveness. Cultures of quiet acceptance of same-sex relationships or secretive bisexuality are meanwhile also problematic given the high rate of HIV prevalence on much of the continent.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc Epprecht
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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