The Struggle of Being Gay In Kenya

While many countries are fighting over the issues of gay marriage rights, people who are gay in Kenya have not yet gained the basic right to safely exist.

Banned But Often Not Enforced

Like most other African countries, it is actually illegal to have gay sex in Kenya. Prison sentences can range from 5 to 14 years for anyone convicted of participating in gay sex, specifically men. The law does not include lesbians. Though the law exists, it is not often enforced which makes Kenya a much safer haven for its gay population compared to some other African countries, e.g. Nigeria, Namibia or Zimbabwe.

Apart from the legal standpoint, being gay in Kenya is also condemned on a social level. Many people feel the concept is "un-African". With a strong influence in the population from Christian missionaries, the view that homosexuality is a sin is widespread. In rural areas, there are even beliefs that homosexuals are possessed, or cursed by witchcraft.

In such a situation, it’s only logical there are no reliable figures on the numbers of gays or lesbians in Kenya.

Gay & Lesbian Organisations In Kenya

Organizations to support and lobby for homosexuals in Kenya are small. The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) and Galebitra are a two examples.

Behind the Mask is a gay rights group located in South Africa, the one African nation where homosexuals have rights and freedoms. They are involved in gay rights in many other African countries, including Kenya. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is one of the largest world-wide organizations involved in gay rights, and they often report on development that are taking place in Kenya.

Gays And HIV/AIDS In Kenya

Non-profit groups and NGOs that are in Kenya to help educate and support those with HIV or AIDS, are often targeted for supporting the gay Kenyan population. Some are even accused of promoting gay lifestyles, and spreading homosexuality. With no true "gay centers" in Kenya, clinics for HIV or AIDS are often the closest thing available for any kind of support or assistance.

I doubt that empirical data exist on the actual prevalence of HIV and AIDS among the gay population of Kenya.

The Future

In Kenya, like elsewhere, things are slowly changing. The laws condemning homosexuality are still in place, but in society ideas are shifting.

Related Pages:

The Kenya Human Rights Situation
HIV & Aids In Kenya
Facts About Kenya
From Gay Kenya To The Homepage

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