How Religion Can Boost Equality in Africa
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Published in: July-August 2020 issue.


ADRIAAN VAN KLINKEN describes himself as someone who “has had enough with discourses on religious homophobia, and prefers concentrating on the other side of the coin where religion can actually advance the human rights cause in Africa.” He teaches Religion and African Studies at Leeds University in England, and his work focuses on religion (especially Christianity) and public life in Africa, with a focus on gender and sexuality. He was a fervent Christian believer in his youth who now describes himself as a progressive Protestant attending an LGBT-affirming Anglican church. Born in the Netherlands, van Klinken is a happily married gay man who has disclosed publicly that he’s living with HIV.

Van Klinken recently published an insightful book, Kenyan, Christian, Queer: Religion, LGBT Activism, and Arts of Resistance in Africa. The book elaborates how LGBT Kenyans find ways to reconcile their sexuality with their religious beliefs, focusing on how religion helps them to reclaim their “Africanity” and “Queer Christianity.” He also discusses the importance of art and other forms of creative expression by Africans as a form of resistance in contemporary African contexts. As he analyses various case studies, he also writes about his personal experiences as a researcher. 


Adriaan van Klinken and friends at his book launch in Nairobi. Johanna Stiebert photo.

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Emmanuel Munyarukumbuzi is an academic and writer based in Rwanda.


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