Thursday, 29 October 2009

Homosexuality (A brief cross-cultural survey) 2

Female-Female Relationships
Azande, C Africa. (Evans-Pritchard (1970) pp. 1428-34.)Lesbianism is widely practiced and is the subject of much folklore. Lesbianism is thought to be a form of witchcraft fatal to any male who witnesses it, and therefore theoretically punishable by death (as treason) if practiced by the King's wives. In practice sanctions are less severe or ignored.
Bantu speakers of Africa. (O'Brien.)Female-female marriage is very widespread.
Dahomey, to recent times, Benin.Passing mention of female homosexuality within a more thorough description of male homosexual traditions of the serial bisexual kind. Dahomey was regarded as a land of amazons by Europeans, but evidently this had little to do with lesbianism and everything to do with Dahomey being ruled by a queen at the time of the first European contact. Something of European attitudes is revealed in that Englishmen, having been ruled by the Tudor queens, would assume that a black nation ruled by a queen was necessarily amazon.
France, early 20th century. (de Beauvior.)Description of a lesbian student community at Sävres. Although the author's answers do not reveal a particularly advanced view of lesbianism, she has a knack for asking the right questions.
Gisu (Masaba), W slope of Mt. Elgon, 1953-1955. (La Fontaine. pp. 34, 60-61.)A woman reported living in the male role.
Ibo, SE Nigeria, 1930-1950. (Uchendu. pp. 7 & 50, and note 4, p. 7.)Female-female marriage is recognised. Informant's mother had several wives, but he denies a sexual component of these marriages.
KiMbundu, Angola. (Hambly. p. 81.)Women make artificial penises to use with other women (according to a male informant).
Nandi, Kenya. (Huntingford. pp. 16, 19.)A female witch who has a female husband.
Mombasa (Strobel. p. 133 and note 33.)

Women's dance associations provide access to lesbian networks and cover for lesbian assignation (or so some male husbands suspect).

Nama, Kalihari desert, S Africa, 1930. (HRAF FX13 HOTTENTOT 2:SCHAPERA E-4,5 1930.)Lesbianism common, especially between young married women. Lesbian relationships may be sealed by "water-sisterhood" ritual called soregus. This bond may be contracted between any two individuals and does not necessarily imply a romantic or sexual relation, although it often includes such elements. The soregus partner may not be refused anything, including sexual favors, and this obligation supersedes prohibitions against adultery. The usual lesbian sexual practice is mutual masturbation. Male-male practices are remarkably symmetrical.
Nkundó, Africa, 1938. (HRAF FO32 MONGO 2:HUSTAERT 87 M-5 1938.)Nkundó play "husband and wife" and the game is played even by adult married women. The term for the act involved is ya¡kya bons ngo based on the verb ya¡kya, to press against. Nothing wrong is seen in the practice.
Nuer (Zulu), South Africa. (Gluckman. p. 184. Evans-Pritchard. (1950) p. 390.)Zulu women can take wives and the children of this union (via a male perhaps from a different community) belong to the line of the female husband.
Nupe, Nigeria. (Nadel: 1942, p.152).Homosexuality said to occur among women but not men. For this reason, the natives say, women are more complete.
Plateau Tonga, N. Zimbabwe, circa 1960 ? (Smith and Dale. v. I, p. 373; v. II, p. 74.)Women make dildos of leather and wood, but whether for use with other women or for solitary use is not specified.

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