In a useful report at qspirit of an early African saint with a female partner, Kittredge Cherry provides material that as well as being an intriguing report of an Ethiopian queer saint, is also a reminder that:
- Christianity was well-established in Africa more than a thousand years before the arrival of the colonial missionaries.
- Same-sex relationships were common in Africa before the colonial period
- Ethiopia had a literary tradition and written script before the colonial period
- Ethiopia was never colonised by missionaries
- “Saints” are not exclusively those formally honoured by the Vatican.
Introducing her post, Cherry writes:
Walatta Petros is a 17th-century Ethiopian nun and saint who had an intense lifelong friendship with another nun and led a successful movement to drive out foreign missionaries. Her feast day is Nov. 23.
Her biography, written by her disciples just 30 years after her death, is the earliest known depiction of same-sex desire among women in sub-Saharan Africa. That section was censored until 2015, when the first English translation was published.
Cherry’s source is a 2015 translation by Wendy Belcher and Michael Kleiner, of a 17th-Century African Biography by by Galawdewos. Acknowledging that the story is “controversial”, for more background on the story, she includes a link to Belcher’s webpage.
Continue reading Queer “Saint”, Ethiopian Nun Walatta Petros
The common claim by African homophobes is that homosexuality is somehow “un-African”. The reality is just the opposite. Same – sex relationships have always been part of African culture, across the continent, just as they have been the world over, in every period of history (until European colonists and missionaries attempted to stamp it out, thus introducing homophobia).
Writing in the Guardian, Bisi Alimi gives some examples.
If you say being gay is not African, you don’t know your history
Continue reading Some African Gay History
In the Philippines, Pope Francis made some observations about marriage when addressing a gathering of families, that have been widely interpreted as an attack on gay marriage, urging people to resist pressures to “colonize” the family. (Read the full text here)
At Bondings 2.0, Frank DeBenardo has a thoughtful reflection on the Pope’s message, which he describes as “problematic”. I have not yet read the actual text, or detailed reports of it, so withhold comment on the message itself, concerning marriage. Read instead, DeBenardo’s thoughts. However, he does include a useful observation on the word “colonization” that this may have been prompted by the concerns of African bishops at the family synod. As an African myself, this struck me as important. Continue reading Pope Francis, Gay Marriage – and Africa.