Saturday, 29 December 2012


Gays Kissing

Homosexuality has continued to be a controversial issue the world over. In Africa, the same sex relationships/marriages have faced strong opposition from African countries going by the heated debate in Pan African Parliament. In Uganda both male and female homosexual activity is illegal. Under the penal code, “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between two males carries a potential; penalty of life imprisonment. Uganda remains the one of the most vocal countries in Africa which has publicly criticized homosexuality. Other countries that are against homosexuality include: Algeria, Angola. Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania,  Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The western powers have threatened to cut aid to countries that have refused to legalize homosexuality but most African states have remained adamant.

Although the Kenyan law criminalizes homosexuality (Kenyan law provides up to 14 years in prison for same-sex activity), many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have continued to go on with their activities without problems. This can be attributed to laxity on the government’s side in enforcing the law on homosexuality hence giving the LGBT individuals a ‘lease of life’. The Lesbian, gay, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) community is quickly gaining momentum in the country going by the numerous organizations like Gay Kenya Trust advancing the interests of the LGBTs.The LGBTs are slowly being less homophobic by going out in public and revealing their sexual orientation. David Kuria Mbote, 40, who was a co-founder and general manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, came out to contest for Kiambu county senator’s seat. Everybody will be watching out to see whether he will win given his sexual orientation. Recently, National Gay and Lesbians Human Rights Commission organized an awards ceremony to recognize LGBT individuals for their contributions to the Kenyan society. Despite discrimination and stigmatization by the public, the event was a success with LGBT individuals coming out in numbers to celebrate their ‘achievements’. The Gay/Lesbian movement has continued to thrive in the country with Nairobi and Mombasa taking the lead. These towns have entertainment joints-Clubs and Pubs- designated for the gay/lesbians.

Global Fund recently initiated a program where they issue gays with lubricants and condoms to prevent Sexual Transmitted Infections. The program came under sharp criticism from the humanitarian organizations which questioned the motive behind the initiative. Are they encouraging homosexuality by issuing lubricants to the gay individuals?  The GF sought to enlist the support of a humanitarian organization (name withheld to protect its reputation) to help in the distribution of the lubricants and condoms to the gay. During the meeting with staff of the said humanitarian organization, the GF facilitator said that homosexuality in Kenya is a reality and that the spread of HIV/AIDS is on the rise among the gay community. “We want to issue them with lubricants to minimize raptures during intercourse and condoms to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS. So far we have been able to register 300 clients in Nakuru” she said. “We were all astonished by what the facilitator was saying. I have never imagined myself of one day sitting in a meeting where people are strategizing on how to encourage homosexuality. It was disgusting” said a staff who attended the meeting but didn’t want his identity revealed. 

“When she started explaining how the gay have sex, I couldn’t stand it. I walked out of the meeting but before I could reach the door other staff in attendance interrupted the facilitator and asked her to stop” he added. “A heated debate ensued and eventually we told her that we couldn’t take part in the program since it is against African culture and the meeting was brought to an abrupt end” he concluded.
However, there are those who still practice it in secret. The homosexual activities have rocked the Kenyan prisons going by the recent revelations in an investigative piece by Kenya Television Network-KTN. Inmates are engaging in sex with their fellow men either voluntarily or through coercion. According to the documentary, the rise in homosexuality in the correctional facilities is due to denial of conjugal rights though some are out of volition.

Moreover, what’s more disturbing is the fact that the homosexuality is fast growing in boarding schools both in primary and secondary levels. Talking to Ken (not his real name) whose brother was transformed to gay 3 months after being admitted in school shows the presence of homosexuality in schools. “My brother was pretty normal before he joined form one in a boarding school. When he came home for holidays he started behaving weirdly. He was now putting on very tight clothes meant for ladies and walking like a lady too. I don’t know what happened to him. It is very unfortunate and I don’t like it.” Ken said rather saddened. At some point the government floated the idea of abolishing same sex boarding schools to curb the rising homosexuality but it never came to be. Institutions of higher learning have not been left behind either in spite of the fact that ladies and gents are living in one setting. Stacy, a student in one of the public universities in western Kenya said that she witnessed a homosexual activity firsthand. “I had four roommates but one of the roommates used to sleep with her friend who I had thought missed out in room allocation. One night, I felt the bed moving vigourously since I was sleeping on the upper deck. I was wondering what could be going on since I didn’t remember seeing a male come into the room. It then dawned on me that she was a lesbian” she said.

The homosexual agenda in Kenya has been mainly propagated and promoted through the media. Nowadays, almost every movie/series has a gay/lesbian character. Media is a powerful tool of influence and those who are LGBTs may have got their motivation through the media. Those in support of the LGBTs are now using cartoons to change the mindset of the children. The cartoons are also having LGBT characters for instance Ed, Edd and Eddy. The main function of the media is not only to influence the people but also to portray homosexuality as a normal activity. The idea is that by repetitive exposure to homosexuality the society will come to accept it.

Despite the fact that Africans (including Kenyans) term it as a barbaric act that will hamper procreation, they believe that a man should only make out with a woman or vice versa and not with another person of the same gender. The number of Lesbians, gay, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) will continue to grow owing to the ‘don’t care attitude of Kenyans’. In Kenya, everybody minds his/her business. Perhaps the only challenge for the LGBTs is the jeers, and weird looks when walking on the streets.