According to articles 162, 163 and 165 of the Kenyan Penal Code, “male to male homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya (and the penalty is five to fourteen years imprisonment.)” (Kenya Law Report, 2010:06:12). The Constitution of 2010 does not speak on same-sex marriage, Article 45 – 2 reads, “Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties…”
Many homosexuals in the country are afraid of expressing themselves freely and openly in fear of the hate they’ll receive from their peers.
The reactions we see from the public when we’re told of a Kenyan man marrying another man in a foreign country shows how unaccepting we are of homosexuals generally in our country. When renowned Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina revealed he was gay in 2014, we saw people’s negative reactions and further so when he revealed he has AIDS late last year which is a condition mostly associated with gay men.
It is thus not surprising when we hear of campus boys sneaking off to do the ‘do’ in a private place. They cannot speak as openly about their sexuality as straight people and are extremely oppressed. A gay gospel musician named Joji Baro aka George Barasa faced a lot of backlash for being openly gay and also a gospel singer.
In an interview, he stated that when he told his CU leader about his sexuality, the patron had teachers beat him.
“My parents were outraged. My family was revolted. And my whole clan was in pure shock. And because of that, I was rejected by my family, my parents and my people.”
When Noti Flow released a song in support of LGBT rights, Kenyans tried to have it banned.
Kenyans Feelings Towards Homosexuality
Generally, Kenyans do not react well to hearing anyone, especially men, are gay though we still seem to be a bit more tolerant of gays than some other African countries. Gay Ugandans often come to Kenya to avoid persecution in their home country. A gay man in neighboring Uganda can be sentenced to the death penalty as per a bill passed by longtime president, Yoweri Museveni. In Nigeria, former president Goodluck Jonathan too passed an anti-gay bill. Videos of African gays being publicly beaten can be found on the internet.
When a man exhibits ‘gay tendencies’, friends label them as a weirdo and give them mean looks. Gay tendencies include having a high voice, wearing feminine clothes, having feminine mannerisms, having a feminine hairstyle and walking or dancing in a girly way. Even when a person reveals their homosexuality, people who usually have no problem with gay people are afraid to defend them from haters or to openly admit that they have nothing against gays.
Homosexuality In Kenyan Universities
Recently, stories about gay university students offering sexual favours for a price outraged many even though when a woman offers men the same, it’s deemed okay but what if there are customers out there who want that, why not let them take advantage of the offers?
The gay men of my age I’ve spoken to have told me that they’re afraid of telling their friends that they are gay, they only tell open-minded people who they believe will understand and not judge them. They’ve been threatened by even their closest friends, been told they’ll be beaten or stoned. People are quick to quote the Bible too when asked their thoughts about such even though on Sundays you’ll find them nowhere near a church but instead at home nursing a hangover from the previous night of sinning. Or they just make a disgusted face and avoid the topic.
A lot of people, men especially, are intolerant of their male friends who are into men.
The biggest fear is that they’ll start crushing on them or touching them. If your gay friend knows that you’re straight, they won’t hit on you, why waste time trying to get you when you could never want them and there are people out there who could want them?
Men like to make homosexuality about them when truly it’s an individual’s personal thing. When a lady says she is lesbian, “I can ‘fix’ that.” When a man says he is gay, “Don’t hit on me.” Most men who say such things are not even desirable.
Young boys who are into boys too should not be seen as disgusting or mentally challenged, there’s nothing wrong with being gay. Stop harassing your friends; just leave them to their lives as they’re leaving you to yours. Let them be!
Will a day ever come when Kenyans stop looking down on gay people? I truly hope so. What do you think? Share your thoughts below.