Monday, September 19, 2011

Growing LGBTI Rights Movement in Anti-Gay Kenya

It is no secret that homosexuality is strongly opposed in many African countries, and the nation of Kenya is no exception. Under Kenyan law, homosexual sex (referred to as "carnal knowledge against the order of nature") is a crime punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. A 2007 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that 96% of Kenyans believe that society should reject homosexuality. In a 2011 survey by the Kenya Human Rights Commission, 18% of respondents came out to their families or were outted. 89% of those respondents who came out or were outted were subsequently disowned by their families. It further compiled stories of the respondents who told of being harassed by police officers, being forced to attend counseling sessions to end their "confusion", and how intersex children (oftentimes viewed as a curse in Kenya) are either abandoned or killed. However as a article notes, there is progress being made in the field of LGBTI rights. Although it appears to be an uphill battle, Kenya recently held its first ever gay film festival early this month. In addition, a website called Freedom in Speech was created with the goal of giving a voice to LGBTI Kenyans. It may not be much, but all civil rights movements must start somewhere.

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