politics, queer

Pleasurable Vice

An article in the Standard informs us that “Sodomy” is “rife in prisons.” It opens with the startling observation that the director of Health Services in charge of the Prison Department “has admitted that homosexuality is rife in prisons.”

He laments the presence of the “anti-social” “vice” and argues that such “practices” can be combated through “discussion.” (Someone needs to lend him a copy of Foucault. Like, seriously.)

The vice is, of course, responsible for the spread of AIDS. And, worse, “Some prisoners pick the vice in prison and continue with it when freed.”

Broken Record Begin:

I have argued elsewhere on this blog that the historical and socio-cultural contexts through which we discuss sodomy-homosexuality (and I suture both for now) in Kenya shape how we approach it, in casual and institutional ways.

What remains fuzzy in the article, and therefore analytically interesting, is the implicit association between sodomy-homosexuality and the prison as an anti-social space. If, that is, the prison contains anti-social individuals and those same individuals practice homosexuality-sodomy (changing it up), then, at least implicitly, homosexuality-sodomy becomes anti-social because of its sociogenesis. It comes from an anti-social space and is thus anti-social.

There is a certain logic to this argument, if we are willing to go there. I am on a theoretical level, but not on any practical note. (Zackie Achmat has the BEST essay ever written on good prison sex in Africa.)

I do not have the brain space at the moment, but I want to bookmark the implicit synonyms that shape how we read the article: sodomy is equivalent to homosexuality is an anti-social vice. None of these are historically synonymous nor are they inevitably joined. The joining happens in the article.

Will “discussion” fix the problem?

Given how the “discussion” is always already skewed against sodomy-homosexuality, this “discussion” is really about the best way to exorcise this “vice.”

R.S.V.P.: I will not be attending the exorcism