Claims concerning the presence and status of homosexuality in historic African cultures have become central points of contention in debates among contemporary African Americans. Some of those involved in the debate have even asserted that the original languages of Africa contained no words for gay or lesbian, therefore concluding that they did not exist. As the first work of its kind on the subject, Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands answers an urgent need for accurate, well-researched, and balanced work on African sexuality. It offers perspectives from the fields of anthropology and history, along with extensive evidence from ethnographic and literary sources. The essays explore such topics as woman-woman marriages, early reports of Malagasy "berdaches," male homosexuality in contemporary West Africa, alternative gender identities among the Swahili, the regulation of sexuality in colonial Zimbabwe, and the portrayals of homosexuality in modern African literature. Bound to be an invaluable resource for discussions of traditional and contemporary African cultures, Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands is a book whose time has clearly come.
About the Author
Will Roscoe is most recently the author of "Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America."
Stephen O. Murray's recent book is "American Gay." They both live in San Francisco.
“The myth that homosexuality in Africa is nonexistent, incidental, or the result of Western influence is unequivocally refuted in this though-provoking book.” —Library Journal
“Defying the homophobia common in some parts of today's Africa, then, and challenging heterosexual-bound conceptions of parenthood, Murray and Roscoe have given birth to a new area of study...this book is not only an intellectual achievement-it is an act of courage on the part of both editors and contributors.” —International Journal of African Historical Studies