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Professor to speak on history of sexual minority rights in Zimbabwe

Media Contact

Jeff Tyson

A professor from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, will deliver a lecture examining the history of activism among sexual minority groups in Zimbabwe. Marc Epprecht – professor of global development studies, history and cultural studies – will give a talk titled “Reflections on the Struggle for Sexual Minority Rights in Zimbabwe,” March 7 at 4:30 p.m. at the A.D. White House.

“Cornell and the Program in LGBT Studies have the honor of presenting this lecture by one of the most groundbreaking and prolific scholars of gender and sexuality in Africa,” said Naminata Diabate, assistant professor in comparative literature. “Professor Epprecht has a long background in African studies, particularly related to the political and social lives of sexual minorities, contestations around masculinities and human rights.”

Epprecht will provide an overview of the coming-out by Zimbabwean sexual minority groups and reactions against that movement from the Zimbabwean state and in the context of wider anti-feminist tendencies in society.

He will also analyze the factors that have enabled the LGBTIQ rights association Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) to survive. The talk will conclude with some reflections on what Zimbabwean sexual minority rights advocates might consider to strengthen the movement.

“Zimbabwe has garnered international attention for more than two decades for state-sponsored violence against non-normative sexualities,” Diabate said. “That activists in Zimbabwe continue to fight for the rights of sexual minorities should be an inspiration to all of us.”

Epprecht’s extensive list of publications includes “Heterosexual Africa?: The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of AIDS,” “Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa,” “Unspoken Facts: A History of Homosexualities in Africa,” and “Sexuality and Social Justice in Africa: Rethinking Homophobia and Forging Resistance.”

“Anyone interested in activism, not necessarily limited to Africa, should attend to learn how citizens of Zimbabwe are using LGBT and AIDS activism to take their destiny into their own hands,” Diabate said.

Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences.