It's Not Natural

From The Guardian:
It's not natural: The developing world's homophobia is a legacy of colonial rule

... When the constitution for the newly independent territories of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados was drawn up in 1962, its architects honoured their former rulers by preserving colonial values which would themselves be abolished in Britain within five years. These laws had their roots in Victorian morality, but they were embraced enthusiastically by the black nationalist middle class; and, like many illiberal attitudes in the world, these filtered through society, and were transmuted into a virulent machismo among the poor; a consequence, perhaps, of people having been stripped of everything else, including the promises of a better life after independence. It is out of this culture, fortified by contemporary evangelical Christianity, that the culture of music-driven homophobia has grown.

Jamaica, of course, is far from the only country coming to terms with the imperial bequest of hatred of same-sex relationships. The Naz Foundation, which works on Aids prevention in India, recently challenged the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. This forbids "sexual acts against the order of nature". The response of the central government was that homosexuality cannot be legalised in India as the society disapproves of such behaviour. "The purpose of Section 377 is to provide a healthy environment in the society by criminalising unnatural sexual activities against the order of nature."

In fact, such laws were often inspired by imperial anxieties about homosocial cultures among their subordinate peoples. Even today, it is common for westerners, observing young men holding hands, and mistaking the meaning of this non-sexualised touching, to marvel at the "openness" of gay relationships in India. ... (more)

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