|Among the many myths created about Africa, the myth that homosexuality is absent or incidental is one of the oldest and most enduring. Historians, anthropologists, and many contemporary Africans alike have denied or overlooked African same-sex patterns or claimed that such patterns were introduced by Europeans. Among African Americans questions surrounding sexuality and gender in traditional African societies have become especially contentious. In fact, same-sex love was and is widespread in Africa. Boy-Wives and Female Husbands documents same-sex patterns in some fifty societies, in every region of the continent. Essays by scholars from a variety of disciplines explore institutionalized marriages between women, same-sex relations between men and boys in colonial work settings, mixed gender roles in East and West Africa, and recent developments in South Africa, where lesbians and gays successfully made the nation the first in the world to constitutionally ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Also included are oral histories, folklore, and translations of early ethnographic reports by German and French observers. The first serious study of the subject, Boy-Wives and Female Husbands is a significant contribution to anthropology, history, and gender studies, offering new, often surprising views of African societies, while posing interesting challenges to recent theories of sexuality. An invaluable resource for everyone interested in the continent's history and culture, Boy-Wives and Female Husbands reveals the denials of African homosexualities for what they are--prejudice and willful ignorance.