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Book Review: Tommy Boys, Lesbian Men and Ancestral Wives: Female Sex Practices in Africa
By Ruth Morgan and Saskia Wieringa
Reviewed by Msia Kibona Clark, Washington, DC
December 06, 2006

This book is a compilation of articles on the experiences of lesbian women in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. The stories were born out of the African Women's Life Story Project where researchers and activists from different parts of Africa came together to document the life stories of lesbian women in their respective countries.

The result of the project is a book that takes a grassroots look into the lives of this seldom heard-from group of women. Often the term grassroots is overused, but in this case women with little to no interview and/or research experience were trained in how to collect data and life stories from lesbian women in their country. The stories they documented are raw and are not filtered through academic jargon. These are real stories of real women facing real issues.

The problems facing women in Africa is not new. The violence and harassment that many women endure in their homes, in their marriages, and in conflict zones is well documented. What is less know is the human rights struggles of Africa's lesbian community.

This book tells these stories. It's a glimpse into lesbian communities in a handful of countries and the daily struggles and forced silence that these women face on a daily basis.

While South Africa has legalized gay marriage, being gay in Tanzania or Uganda could get you a life sentence in prison, while being gay in Kenya may earn you 14 years in jail. There are several human rights groups working on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans gender) issues in Africa. They include Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, both of whom have been very vocal on protecting the basic human rights of Africa's LGBT community.

Tommy Boys, Lesbian Men and Ancestral Wives: Female Sex Practices in Africa
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Jacana Media; 1st edition (June 30, 2006)
ISBN: 1770090932 

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