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Wed, 21 Feb


Online Panel Talk

We’ve Always Been Here: Queer Histories of Kenya and Ghana

Despite proclamations that modern LGBTQ+ identities are a Western invention being imposed upon African nations, both Kenya and Ghana have long and complex histories of sexual and gender minorities. Find out more at our event!

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We’ve Always Been Here: Queer Histories of Kenya and Ghana
We’ve Always Been Here: Queer Histories of Kenya and Ghana

Time and Location

21 Feb 2024, 18:00 – 19:00 GMT

Online Panel Talk

About the event

Topic outline:

Both Kenya and Ghana gained notoriety during 2023 with proposed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. One of the justifications often falsely given is that the very concept of sexual and gender minorities are a recent 'Western invention' and are alien to local history and culture. This can be seen as an extension of the colonial era which sought to stifle and supress any form of sexual or gender diversity, as ‘taboo, immoral and unacceptable’ (Adair 2015). 

However recent studies have brought to light a rich diversity of pre-colonial traditions of what we would now consider queer histories. From the cross-dressing of the Meru tribe to same-sex marriage of the Kalenjin and Nandi peoples in Kenya to the Fante people of modern day Ghana acknowledging same-sex attraction in women with "heavy souls" being attracted to women, whereas men with "light souls" were attracted to men. This informal panel discussion will bring to light some of these stories, highlight how colonial attitudes towards sexuality and gender still pervade contemporary attitudes and how activists are reclaiming and highlighting the queer histories of their nation states. 

This panel discussion is part of a series of talks and panels for LGBTQ+ History Month in 2024, which will be led by activists and our volunteers in their nation states and regions of the world. 

Where is this event held?

This lecture will be held online, via Zoom.

Who is delivering this?

This panel discussion will be chaired by Phil Thomas, Lead Trustee for Human Rights Research at ReportOUT. Phil will be joined by two ReportOUT Human Rights Researchers as panelists: Arnold Ochieng, who is also an Advocate for the High Court of Kenya and a Human Rights Lawyer, and Papa Kojo Ampofo, an activist and founder of Rightify Ghana, an NGO advocating for LGBTQ+ human rights in Ghana. 


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