Recently, the queer community in Nairobi watched as an officer of the Government falsely accused a sex positive podcast for exhibiting indecent Lesbianism content. We responded firmly and factually (http://bit.ly/2cr1G2W). In addition to his misinformation on the law, this public servant’s disregard for the impact of his words, actions and their consequences are intolerable. Even those responding to the posts were as a result oblivious to the danger of his actions. Unaware of the potential sparks of violence.
Many stories over the years have been collected by agencies and advocates in the effort to highlight the dangers that the LGBTQIA experience. Collected by campaigner Human Rights Watch and PEMA Kenya, a community organization in Mombasa that provides support to gender and sexual minorities on human rights, health, HIV/Aids, and economic well-being, these stories are just the tip of the iceberg.(http://bit.ly/2cr3id4)
From harassment from police officers to silent politicians, our culture, moved by a draconian law implemented by colonial rulers more than half a century ago, is steeped in prejudice with a dash of hate.
So, what are we doing about it?
- Advocates for the Kenyan SOGIE are challenging the court to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct. Changing this law would make a world of difference. A step in reversing the stigma against the LGBTQIA and all the violations that come with it. http://bit.ly/2cr6l4Y
- Member organizations have created security teams to help mobilize help for those needing immediate assistance. In addition there is a portal, UTUNZI Rainbow Security Network, allowing visitors to report a crime against members of our community. https://t.co/NYOVZyTI54 The more we report, the more we know and the better we are able to address it. So, report!
- Knowing your rights, human rights and your rights as a citizen, could help tremendously. The law will not make an impact in the instant you are accosted or if you are being violently evicted. However, you could talk your way out of a bogus jail stay. In the coming weeks, we hope to share a resource for easy learning so that you are empowered to speak up.
- Stay informed on what is going on in the community. The more you know, the more equipped you are to share with others in your circles and community, and by doing so, changing the tide of intolerance.
It may seem daunting, but these steps will get us closer to creating safe spaces and ensuring our security. As much as the status quo would like to believe our gay rights are a non-issue, these human rights are tied to our health rights, legal rights, educational rights and so much more.