The tragic death of Joan Sandy Achieng less than a week ago has brought outrage by members of the LGB community. Most of the anger has been directed towards her family, who most feel acted harshly when confronted with their daughters lifestyle.
As Joan is laid to rest today, Kate Kamunde of Artists for Recognition and Acceptance (AFRA-Kenya) brings to light developments in the whole tragedy.Though the family refused to invite members of known lesbian community to the funeral, they were graceful enough to release a photograph with the request that it isn’t made public. Kate says that the mother feels so distraught by the fact that she didn’t know of her late daughters’ sexual orientation and does not know how to come to terms with her death. The mother says that Joan must have been under enormous pressure and if she understood her daughter better, maybe the death would have been avoided.
She is now in touch with Kate and others who will intern help her meet others who can offer emotional and spiritual counseling, as she comes to terms with everything.
The whole tragedy has seen many questions raised about the actual reach of LGBTI organizations throughout the country, and in particular those under the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), whose assistance had been sought by a close friend of Joan, prior to the unfortunate event.
It is regrettable that intervention efforts were not effective enough to prevent her suicide. However, the coalition would like to assure members of the LGBTI community that GALCK member groups operating under different sexual orientation and gender identity mandates remain committed to their welfare. And will not be dampened in spirit, but rather rejuvenated in their fight towards acceptance and equality for all LGBTI.
As Joan is laid to rest on this day, Women to Women discussion group comprised of lesbians and bisexual women have requested that we all join them in a moment of silence today 18th June 2012 at 2pm.
GALCK also sends its condolences to Joan Sandy Achiengs’ family and friends, and to the entire LGBTI community that struggles for acceptance and recognition in everyday life.
May her soul Rest in Peace.