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Accepted Paper:

Whose futures? Queer women and men from northern Ghana speak back to English speaking, metropolitan and/or activism mediated coverage and research  
Colette Santah (University for Development Studies) Rachel Spronk (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

The paper is based on narratives of queer people from northern Ghana who ‘speak back’ to dominant narratives that are based on English speaking, metropolitan and/or activism mediated coverage and research. Speaking back is about responding to power and taking agency in redirecting representations.

Paper long abstract:

Over the last decades, queer sexualities in Ghana have been making it to global media outlets such as the BBC, CNN, The Guardian, as well as non-governmental organisations such as HRW and Amnesty International. Particularly the discussion of the ‘anti-gay bill’ in parliament in 2021 has drawn considerable interest. Regarding academic research, there is literature on queer lives through the lens of public controversies and debates, activism, violence and discrimination, and health. Both the reporting and the research are dominated by coverage and studies located in Accra or the urban south. In this paper, we take up the question of who represents whom and based on what? from the perspective of queer women and men in northern Ghana. By way of their practices and perceptions, they speak back about certain (mis)representations, but they also comment directly on certain matters such as LGBT politics, and thus create different futures. We use the term ‘speaking back’ by showing their narratives. It signals responding to power and, in the same act, taking agency in redirecting representations or knowledge production. They ‘speak back’ to dominant narratives which a) constrain the available ways of thinking about queer lives in their breadth, by discursively constructing queer lives as LGBT+ -identity constructed, privileging and reifying sexuality, as vulnerable and prone to violence and b) to knowledge based on English speaking, metropolitan and/or activism mediated research. The paper seeks to demonstrate the complexity and inherent ‘messiness’ of queer lives and of the way tolerance and intolerance coexist.

Panel Anth50
Feminist sexual futures in the making
  Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -