Existing as an LGBT member in Kenya is almost as scary as being a wanted criminal. They are ridiculed, discriminated, violated, hated, and worse, disowned by friends and family. Kenya’s High Court is set to rule on a case challenging some sections in the constitution that criminalize gay sex. Being a homosexual in Kenya hasn’t been easy and most of them feel like they are committing a crime just by simply existing: they can’t freely interact in public without having spiteful looks thrown at them neither can they share their opinions without being dismissed as being “unrealistic”.
Talking to two members of the LGBT gave me an insight into how challenging it is for them to simply exist in this country. One member, whose name I won’t disclose has this to say about being a homosexual in the country:
Afrika also talks about some of the challenges she faces as a lesbian in Kenya:
The LGBT community has faced discrimination in almost all aspects of life and as much as the constitution protects every Kenyan from discrimination regardless of age, gender, religion or sexual orientation, members of the LGBT community feel like the constitution infringes on their rights instead. They are hopeful that the court will rule in their favour.
Whereas most people belonging in the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation X and the Xennials are strongly against homosexuality being decriminalized, the Millenials and Generation Z are more open-minded when it comes to the same matter. Irene, a 4th-year psychology student at Maseno University says, “Everyone has a right to practice their sexuality without being discriminated or judged. It’s no one’s fault that they grow up attracted to the same sex. They shouldn’t be crucified for being their normal just because it isn’t your normal. Homosexuality should, therefore, be decriminalized.”
The topic on homosexuality is one that is still discussed in hushed tones because many people become uncomfortable whenever it is mentioned but it is my hope that tomorrow will be a bright day for everyone in the LGBT community in Kenya.