Indigenous/Native Americans, Africans, and Asians have traditions of recognizing and honoring sexual and gender diversity that predates the modern movement to recognize LGBTQIA+ rights by hundreds of years. Due to European settler-colonialism, imperialism, and Christian missionary attacks on indigenous value systems, many of these communities forcibly adopted the antagonistic and hostile approaches to ways of being and loving, embodiments, and forms of pleasure that Europeans considered perverse, uncivilized, or profane.
Led by the queer descendants of European colonizers, imperialists, and missionaries, the LGBTQIA+ movement has introduced a new iteration of the project that their ancestors started. This version of imperialism, rainbow flag imperialism has endeavored to set the terms of what it means to be queer and inclusive of queerness around the world. They fight their counterparts in the Western movement for social conservatism for control of the hearts, minds, and bodies of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) around the world with both sides of the war have little understanding of or concern for the local traditions of sexual and gender diversity. In this talk, H. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams, PhD, MEd, a sexologist and bodeme in the tradition of the Dagara people of Ghana and Burkina Faso, unpacks these dynamics and offers the opportunity to honor traditions that rainbow flag imperialism and social conservatism have marginalized.