Kenya, Africa

The country is named after Mount Kenya, a very significant landmark and the second highest mountain peak of Africa. Violent riots followed the flawed national elections in December 2007. 1500 people were killed in ethnic and political fighting. On 28 February 2008, an agreement on the formation of a coalition government was signed in which the opposition leader would become Kenya's second Prime Minister. The Penal Code criminalizes homosexual behavior and attempted homosexual behavior between men, which is referred to as "carnal knowledge against the order of nature". The penalty is 5 to 14 years' imprisonment (rarely enforced). Lesbian relations are not prohibited in the law.

 

News & Reports:

 

In one week’s time, we will know whether Kenya is the next country to decriminalize gay sex.

The law has impacted LGBTI people living in the eastern African country for decades. Voices of Kenya, put together by All Out, gathers some of their experiences of discrimination and persecution. ‘The aim is to show that the question of legalisation is not a technical, purely legal, matter. Real people are getting hurt and suffer… Read more »

Kenya’s refugee camp Pride will be back despite violence and death threats

For security reasons they’ll keep the location of the Pride parade secret until the last minute Organizers of the first Pride parade in a refugee camp will defiantly return despite violence after the inaugural event. Mbazira Moses and his organization, Refugee Flag Kenya, put together the 2018 Pride at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.… Read more »

Selly Thiam’s Digital Media Organization Is Committed To Documenting Stories of Queer Africans

In 2004, Selly Thiam was working as a teacher in Chicago when she read about the murder of Sierra Leonean lesbian activist FannyAnn Eddy. Thiam, a Senegalese-American, was shaken by the news and also by how little she knew about LGBT activism in Africa. Harsh anti-LGBT laws across the African continent have kept many LGBT… Read more »

Kenyan gay man wants to change minds with new collection of LGBTI stories

Gay activist Denis Nzioka finds way around Kenyan anti-LGBTI discrimination in new anthology book #RafikiZetu: Kenyan LGBTIQ Stories, As Told By Allies is an anthology book aimed to promote acceptance of the LGBTI community in Kenya. Same-sex sexual acts are illegal per Section 162 of the Kenyan Penal Code and punishable by 5 to 14… Read more »

Attacks Prompt Push to Relocate LGBTQ Refugees in Kenya

Massive camp housing hundreds of thousands of dispossessed Africans now unsafe Advocacy groups in Kenya are rushing to relocate LGBTQ refugees who are facing brutal retaliation from local communities and authorities after they protested a spike in homophobic attacks at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in the northwestern region of the East African nation. Refugees, fed… Read more »

UN moves LGBTI refugees to safe houses in Nairobi after Kenyan camp attacks

About 30 LGBTI refugees received injuries in a vicious attack after trying to rally for improved conditions at Kakuma Refugee Camp The UN has transferred LGBTI refugees to a safe house in Nairobi after they experienced violence from fellow refugees. About 30 LGBTI refugees received injuries in a vicious attack after trying to rally for… Read more »

Kenya High Court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex in February

The court heard arguments on how India’s landmark ruling this year affected Kenya’s court case Kenya’s High Court will rule on whether to repeal Section 162 of the Penal Code, which criminalizes gay sex, on 22 February 2019. On Thursday (25 October), judges heard final arguments relating to India’s decriminalization before making the announcement. Kenya’s… Read more »

Kenya’s High Court will decide whether to follow India’s gay sex verdict

Could Kenya become the next country to decriminalize homosexuality? Kenya’s High Court has allowed arguments whether India’s decision to scrapped its gay sex ban is relevant to Kenya. The court said it will allow parties to make submissions on the issue based on the Supreme Court of India’s decision to scrap Section 377 of the… Read more »

Kenya judge lifts ban and rules lesbian film can be submitted to the Oscars

Will this film win Best Foreign Film at next year’s Academy Awards? A Kenya judge has lifted the ban on a lesbian film and said it can be submitted to the Oscars. Rafiki, which means ‘friend’ in Swahili, was banned in Kenya due to its homosexual storyline. Given its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival,… Read more »

Lesbian romance director sues Kenya to lift ban on film

If the ban on “Rafiki” stays in place, it will not be eligible as Kenya’s Best Foreign Language Film entry for the 2019 Academy Awards. Nairobi – The Kenyan director of a movie banned in her home country for telling the love story of two women has filed a lawsuit seeking to lift the bar… Read more »

Following pride event, Kenya’s gay refugees fear for their lives

Approximately 600 people showed up for the first pride event held at one of the world’s largest refugee camps. The Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya held its first LGBTQ pride event on Saturday, but now the event’s organizers are in fear for their lives. After the event, which organizers said drew approximately 600 people,… Read more »

Director of Kenyan lesbian film says she’s been ‘threatened with arrest’

The director of a Kenyan lesbian film, which debuted at Cannes Film Festival this month, says her home country has warned her with the “threat of arrest.” Rafiki, which means friend in Swahili, is about two Kenyan girls who fall in love. It was banned in the African country after director Wanuri Kahiu reportedly refused… Read more »

President Uhuru Kenyatta Says Gay Rights Are ‘Of No Importance’ In Kenya

Appearing this week on CNN, President Uhuru Kenyatta claimed that gay rights are not an issue of human rights in Kenya. Christiane Amanpour, host of CNN International’s Amanpour, asked Kenyatta whether equal rights for sexual minorities is something he “aspires to” for Kenya, where gay sex is a crime and violators face up to 14… Read more »

Gay rights ruling in Kenya could reverberate through Africa

Gay rights activists are celebrating after a Kenyan court ruled that subjecting suspected gay men to forced anal testing was illegal. The landmark case marked a significant shift in sexual minority rights in the country, which activists hope will eventually lead to decriminalizing homosexuality in Kenya and other countries in the region. This case surrounds… Read more »

Gay Kenyans sense they may be on the brink of a historic legal triumph

Nairobi — Faced with police shakedowns and abuse, rejection from religious conservatives and rampant discrimination, Kenyan LGBT rights activists are challenging provisions of this former British colony’s Victorian-era penal code that implicitly outlaw gay sex. In a move that could spawn copycat tactics across Africa and beyond, three Kenyan LGBT rights groups have petitioned a… Read more »

Gay Kenyans sense they may be on the brink of a historic legal triumph

Nairobi — Faced with police shakedowns and abuse, rejection from religious conservatives and rampant discrimination, Kenyan LGBT rights activists are challenging provisions of this former British colony’s Victorian-era penal code that implicitly outlaw gay sex. In a move that could spawn copycat tactics across Africa and beyond, three Kenyan LGBT rights groups have petitioned a… Read more »

Kenyan Court Bans Anal Exams For Suspected Gays

A Kenyan appeals court on Thursday banned the use of forced anal exams to test whether two men had gay sex. Gay sex is a crime in Kenya and violators face up to 14 years in prison. The case involves two men accused of being gay in 2015. The men were subjected to forced anal… Read more »

Kenya Awaits Ruling In Landmark Case To Legalize Gay Sex

At present, persecution of LGBTQ people in the country is rife. Nairobi (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When John Mathenge finished primary school in the early 1990s, he dreamed of becoming a lawyer. But his dreams were shattered when life showed him what being gay in Kenya meant. His sexual orientation was seen as sinful from… Read more »

The American who fled ‘gay conversion’ in Africa

A midnight taxi to the US embassy; an emergency flight home; a new life in New York. An ex-Muslim tells his story. Mahad Olad was in a Nairobi hotel room, looking at his mother. She was holding two articles from a student newspaper in New York. In the first article, Mahad, then 19, said he… Read more »

Kenya Betrays Its Promise to LGBT?People

In 2010, after a long and tumultuous struggle, Kenya passed a constitution that guarantees broad rights and freedoms, and it captured the aspirations of its citizens. The constitutional draft was overwhelmingly accepted in a national referendum. The new constitution has been described as one of the most progressive in the world. However, when it comes… Read more »

Kenya Bans ‘Andi Mack’ Over Gay Character, in Crackdown on LGBT Content

Kenyan authorities have banned the Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack” because of the program’s upcoming gay storyline, part of an ongoing crackdown in the African country on LGBT content. The decision by the Kenya Film Classification Board underscores the challenge for creators of LGBT content on a continent where local mores – and criminal codes –… Read more »

Kenya’s First Gay Health Clinic Provides Care Without the Judgment

Peter Njane was still in college when he first started volunteering with Ishtar, a community-based organization in Nairobi, Kenya. During that time in 2003, the organization was little more than a group of individuals getting together and discussing issues around being LGBTQ in the East African country. “I would come and help organize events,” Njane… Read more »

Kenya’s First Gay Health Clinic Provides Care Without the Judgment

Ishtar is a health care clinic in Nairobi, Kenya, that is run by and for gay men. Peter Njane was still in college when he first started volunteering with Ishtar, a community-based organization in Nairobi, Kenya. During that time in 2003, the organization was little more than a group of individuals getting together and discussing… Read more »

Kenya’s ‘gay tests’ ruled legal

A Kenyan High Court has dismissed a case challenging the legality of anal tests as proof of homosexuality. Two men, who say Kenyan police forced them to undergo the procedure to prove they had had gay sex, launched the case, calling for the tests to be declared unconstitutional. “There was no other way evidence could… Read more »

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Says Gay Rights Are Not A ‘Pressing Issue’ For Kenyans

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday told CNN that Africans have more pressing issues to deal with than LGBT rights. On his recent trip to Kenya, President Barack Obama talked about such rights in a joint press conference with Kenyatta. “As an African-American in the United States, I am painfully aware of the history of… Read more »

Obama faces gay rights challenge in Kenya

As the United States has grown more tolerant during Obama’s presidency, African countries have imposed harsher laws on gays and lesbians. Six and a half years after Kenyans started naming their children in honor of America’s first black president, Barack Obama’s name has also become synonymous, often derisively, with gay rights. “Go wait for your… Read more »

5,000 naked anti-gay protesters to greet President Obama in Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya – An anti-gay political party in Kenya plans to protest against U.S. President Barack Obama by greeting him with 5,000 “totally naked” protesters for his “open and aggressive support for homosexuality.” The Republican Liberty Party’s “main objective is for him to see and understand the difference between a man and woman,” according to… Read more »

Quorum: How To Do LGBTI Activism In Kenya

When meeting anonymously with anti-gay religious leaders, Kenyan LGBTI activist Essy asks, “Do you really think that I should be beaten, now that you know me?” Quorum is a live journalism forum focused on LGBT experiences around the world. Its mission is to lift up the voices of non-Western LGBT activists defining the struggle for… Read more »

Tabloid joins politician, bishops in targeting LGBTI Kenyans

In the wake of last month’s High Court decision in favor of a Kenyan organization seeking human rights for LGBTI people, some anti-gay Kenyans have opened the door to even more intense persecution of LGBTI Kenyans. The latest step in that direction was today’s publication by Kenya’s tabloid Weekly Citizen of a list of the… Read more »

Kenya’s LGBT Community Gains The Right To Organize, But Religious Opposition Looms

Nairobi, Kenya (RNS) In a move that has stirred the anger of Kenya’s anti-gay Christian groups and sparked celebration by pro-gay clergy, the nation’s High Court has ruled that gay rights activists have the right to formally register their own groups and welfare organizations. A three-judge panel issued the ruling Friday (April 24) in response… Read more »

Kenya trans woman wins right to change name on school certificate

The male gender marker will also be removed A Kenyan transgender activist yesterday won a landmark case to change the name on her high school exam certificate. The high court gave the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) 45 days to change the name from Andrew Mbugua to Audrey Mbugua on her Kenya Certificate of Secondary… Read more »

A Win In Kenya For The Transgender Community

While the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community struggles to achieve basic human rights throughout Africa, transgender Kenyans have seen a powerful victory. Transgender activist Audrey Mbugua won a seminal case against the Kenya National Examination Council on Tuesday, granting her legal recognition as a woman on her academic certificates. “We won. It’s a… Read more »

Watch: Kenya criticised for branding LGBT rights groups ‘unacceptable’

Human rights groups have urged Kenya to allow LGBT groups to carry out their work there uninterrupted. he Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a new video in which it notes that the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) was denied its application to register, and that such NGOs were often deemed “unacceptable”.… Read more »

Reports: 60+ Arrested in Raid at Nairobi Gay Bar

Special Note: I’m traveling to Kenya later this summer to report on LGBT issues on an international media fellowship from the International Center for Journalists and the Ford Foundation. More in the weeks ahead. Disturbing news from East Africa. Dozens of people were arrested on Sunday morning during a police raid on a popular gay… Read more »

LGBTI refugees and Western saviors: Ugandans facing violence in Kenya, and how you can (and can’t) help

My friend Victor Mukasa, a distinguished Ugandan human rights activist, helped to found Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) many years ago. Now he’s leading a Kuchu Diaspora Alliance for Ugandan LGBTI people abroad; yesterday the group posted its first videos on YouTube. They describe violence beleaguering Ugandan queers who fled the country and now subsist… Read more »

Queer Rights in Kenya: A Conversation With Njeri Gateru

When asked about the recent progress of Kenya’s LGBT movement, Njeri Gateru doesn’t hesitate to answer with the word “visibility.” She describes promoting conversations on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) in public spaces through events such as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, International Human Rights Day, and World AIDS Day.… Read more »

Activists: Hundreds of LGBT Refugees Have Fled Uganda

A Kenyan activist, Ugandan asylum-seeker, and the American Jewish World Service hope to raise awareness about east Africa’s beleaguered LGBT community, even as hundreds reportedly flee Uganda. Hundreds of LGBT refugees — whose existence has been criminalized under Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act — have fled Uganda for neighboring Kenya after facing threats and being blackmailed,… Read more »

Leading Kenyan MP says homosexuality ‘as serious as terrorism’

Homosexuality in Kenya is as bad a problem as terrorism, the ruling party’s parliamentary leader said on Wednesday, but argued against stepping up legal sanctions on the grounds that existing laws were tough enough. Aden Duale, the majority leader from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee coalition, was responding to a group of MPs demanding tougher… Read more »

Gays flee Mombasa over public attacks

Hundreds of men who have sex with men at the Coast have moved away from major towns for fear of their lives. According to statistics by the Mtwapa Initiative for Positive Empowerment, an organisation working with MSMs in Mombasa and Kilifi counties, more than 200 of the men now avoid public health facilities. Mipe says… Read more »

African Anglican bishops warn Church of England to back off on gay issue

The leaders of the Anglican Church in Uganda and Kenya have warned the Church of England to back off on LGBTI issues after the Archbishop of Canterbury reminded them of their responsibility to support and care for gay people African bishops have reacted to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s letter reminding them of their duty… Read more »