Participant Institutions: PhD in African Studies

Keywords: sexual orientation, homophobia, activism


The European colonisation of Africa left still present legacies, such as legislation criminalising consensual sexual relations between same-sex adults. In addition to these laws, political homophobia has fostered rhetoric defending the family and values considered traditional and endogenous, which harm the exercise of citizenship and freedom by sexual minorities. African Portuguese-speaking Countries (PALOP) are not only felt more tolerant but have even decriminalised and protected citizens based on their sexual orientation. The present thesis focuses on the juridical-political positions in the PALOP, with an emphasis on Angola and Mozambique, discussing regulation of sexual orientation to explain this distinct positioning. This thesis compares the penal reforms in the PALOP, in what regards the regulation of sexual orientation, contrasting them with the various African criminal provisions and with the main instruments of human rights. The articles depart from a global analysis of the human rights’ universalism and the contestation of homosexuality in Africa, explaining afterwards activists’ movements and their strategies of resistance in the face of political hostility. The conclusions of this thesis contribute to the debate on citizenship and rights of sexual minorities in Africa in two ways. First, it demonstrates how the legal-political context in the PALOP is more favourable, reflected in the penal reforms that decriminalised consensual sexual relations between same-sex adults. Second, it shows the effort endured by the PALOP to reach their international commitments to create more inclusive societies.

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