Publication: "Researching Homosexuality in Difficult Contexts"
In her article in the journal Sexes, Frida Lyonga explores the challenges of conducting empirical research on homosexuality in Africa via an autoethnographic account of her experiences as a researcher investigating attitudes towards homosexuality among Cameroonians at home and in Switzerland.
Homosexuality is a sensitive issue in Africa, that inspires a great deal of public contention and controversy and attracts much social science research interest. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, conducting empirical research on homosexuality in Africa or within African population groups could be subject to several challenges. This article presents an autoethnographic account of my experiences conducting empirical research on attitudes towards homosexuality among Cameroonians based at home and those living in Switzerland. This paper highlights the key challenges, surprises, and lessons learned experienced in the different stages of the research process, from design to data collection, analysis, and publication of findings. Drawing on these experiences, the article calls attention to some aspects that young researchers embarking on research in sensitive topics should be aware of and should plan for upfront. It proposes practical coping approaches that can support young researchers to navigate the difficult waters of researching homosexuality in challenging settings so they can achieve their research goals within the timeframe and resources available to them.