Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for Policy in Africa

Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) (2015)

Cite: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), (2015). Diversity in human sexuality: implications for policy in Africa. [Online] Available at: DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/assaf/0022


ASSAf, in collaboration with the Uganda National Academy of Sciences, undertook a consensus study on Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for Policy in Africa in 2015. The topic of sexual and gender diversity has elicited very different reactions in African countries and amongst scholars in Africa. Same-sex activities are becoming more visible in African populations, yet the subject is consistently avoided or the practice denied or criminalised. Although it has been regularly and widely claimed that homosexuality is “un- African”, reputable studies by historians and anthropologists have found same-sex relationships to have been prevalent since the pre-colonial period in Africa. Thirty-eight of fifty-three African nations criminalise homosexuality, thereby imposing varying degrees of legislative restrictions on sexual preference and practices, and on the fulfillment of human rights of individuals and affected groups. Furthermore, the stigmatisation and criminalisation of homosexuality has made public health interventions, particularly with respect to HIV prevention and treatment, difficult to effectively implement.