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Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands: Studies in African-American Homosexualities
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on April 27, 2000
Here is a book with oral histories and folklore tales from ethnographers that went to Africa. The book is an eyeopening one into the sexuality aspect of Africans often challenging theories of sexuality. It is an excellent book to answer to the question of How & Why Does Same Sex Sexual Behavior Varies Cross Culturally? It was writing an essay on this topic that got me to this book, I have always wanted to know about this issue since there has been a lot of denial from African colleagues but once I have read the first few pages of the book that 'denial' and "shh" feelings that exist within many Africans, was brought to light. The same smoothness and revelation is experienced throughout the book. The book seperates Africa into four regional sections to illustrate the diversity of African culture within that vast continent. It is very easy to read and simple too. If you are a book worm, you will love this one. It is the book for History, Anthropology or Gender Study students or those with interest in the above mention + Sexuality. The book now occupies a special place in my selective collection, get one too, I am sure there will be no regrets!
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on November 29, 1999
The first book to attempt to survey homosexualities across (sub-Saharan) Africa is also a very good one. At a time when certain East African leaders are trying to hold onto power by scapegoating homosexuality as "un-African," Murray and Roscoe show that there are and have been a wide range of roles in "traditional" African cultures for those who love persons of their own sex. Once this is established - and it is established beyond any reasonable doubt - most readers will probably be more interested in the parts of the book dealing with contemporary individuals (including a young Kikuyu's male's memoir, Amory's chapter on the changing conceptions on the Swahili coast, and an explanation of the view in Lesotho and elsewherre that two women cannot have "sex," so that their physical relations are not seen as "sexual").

The book concludes by looking at the "social construction" of homosexualities by cross-tabulating societies with a kind of homosexuality (with relationships structured by age, structured by gender, or more-or-less egalitarian ones) with other structures (e.g., of inheritance, postpartum taboos) in the same societies. No absolute, categorical patterns emerge. I.e., there are correlations, but no clear "if x, then homosexuality y" conclusions.
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on February 28, 2013
The myth that homosexuality was brought to the African continent by Arabs or Western colonial powers is here shattered by the detailed and thorough research which shows that it was a long-standing part of the African culture. The book divides into five parts, each covering an area of the sub-Saharan continent and puts another lie in the throat of the dictator Mugabe who persists in his wrong-headed and duplicitous attitudes. It is not an easy book to read as it is more of a Sociological treatise, but the details are illuminating of an often-hidden and even more often denied social activity--esp. given the open hostility of US Black Churches ton the issue!
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on July 13, 2003
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"Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities" is a wonderful resource for those interested in learning African homosexualities. I gave it four stars because there is little about Somali homosexuality but the book is perfect. It goes from coast to coast and all in between.
I didn't know much about African homosexuality before I bought this book. Now I'm familiar with my home continent's homosexual "tendecies." :-)
I bought a few copies for friends as gifts and they loved it. Some of them have told me it read more like novels than a cultural study, which it is. It is fascinating to the last note. Enjoy, darlings.
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