Imagine a Kenya where not a single soul was hurt or affected by the painful words of prejudice. Imagine a Kenya where Gay people and Lesbians could roam the streets, untouched by the discriminatory words of others. Imagine a Kenya where Gay people and lesbians are not given a label as “illegal” or un-African”. Imagine a Kenya where there is no distinction between “them” and “us.” Imagine a Kenya where a young gay person or lesbian can be proud of his or her sexual orientation and not be ashamed to tell people about it. Imagine the peace we could have upon us all.
Picture sitting in a room with your friends, a day before holiday season begins, talking about your vacation amongst your friends. Picture a 20 year old gay or lesbian telling everyone in the room about the trip he or she is taking with their lover and everyone in the room is full of excitement and no one discriminates them. Now, picture a man in the back of the room shouting out, “Watch out for sinners,” while everyone laughs. This is not right at all. No one should have to deal with such derogatory comments or even hide his or her sexual orientation for the sake of staying safe.
We now live in a time in which you will be seen differently based on what religion and culture states and you will be judged and labeled if you go against what religion and culture states.
Being stopped and questioned in public, being denied access to health care services, education, work and other human rights just because you are gay or lesbian makes people feel unsafe. These are just a few examples of the many forms of discrimination gays and lesbians face every day.
Today, homophobia is even depicted by the media here in Kenya. While appeals to the media for accuracy and fairness continue, other forms of media such as radio and written media such as blog headlines regularly use words like “faggot,” “evil people,” “outcast,” and more, all pinned against the LGBT community.
One of the main events which sparked an uproar of hate against the LGBT community was when former president of the United States of America Mr. Barrack Obama came to Kenya to champion for LGBT rights to be respected. 96% of Kenyans including the president and his deputy were against this and said it publicly. Since then, Kenya has been given a new pair of eyes and has begun to see every member of the LGBT community as some kind of threat to society. Homophobia in Kenya is at its peak and showing no signs to decrease any time soon.
The only way to stop homophobia is through awareness creation. People must understand they are human beings and should be treated with respect and dignity. The LGBT community mean no harm to anything or anyone.