“We are indigenous Kenyans of diverse sexuality and gender who have experienced stigma, discrimination and isolation because of our sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. We are seeking our rightful place in our families, communities and society with all the rights and responsibilities that infers. We, having realised who we are as individuals, started seeking fellowship with like-minded people in the hope that we could fight for our rights, despite little support and difficult personal situations.”
This statement, delivered by LGBQ activists and organisations at the first East African LGBQ Conference, was the start of discourse that culminated in the establishment of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya in August 2006. The establishment of GALCK came at a critical juncture in the fight for equality and non-discrimination in Kenya. It was at a time where LGBQ individuals among other marginalised and vulnerable communities in Kenya were a non-issue.
The existence of GALCK was a vivid indication of the end of an era of invisibility of LGBQ individuals and issues in Kenya; thus, presenting an opportunity for Kenyans of Diverse Sexuality and Gender to rise, reclaim their rightful places as bona fide citizens of Kenya and demand equality, dignity and justice.
Looking back at the last decade of GALCK’s existence, whereas violence against LGBQ people remains and LGBQ people continue to be perceived as a non-issue; being denied access to justice, services and safe spaces, we celebrate the significant milestones the SOGIE movement has achieved including the in-roads made with the Ministry of Health in the context of HIV, the increased recognition of Transgender and Intersex persons by State, enduring networks cultivated among State and non-state actors at National, Regional and Internationals levels and the conscious efforts at seeking justice for an array of issues.
It is in this spirit that we observe GALCK’s 10th Anniversary by Celebrating ALL Kenyans of Diverse Sexuality and Gender whose persistent courage and endurance has sustained the hope for a brighter Kenya that espouses equality, dignity and freedom for all her citizens.