Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities

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Stephen O. Murray, Will Roscoe
Palgrave Macmillan, Feb 3, 2001 - Social Science - 358 pages
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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.

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About the author (2001)

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.

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