Kenya's Gay Community: From 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell to 'Do Ask, Do Tell'

Published: September 26, 2012

Change is here.

If you want to see how progressive Kenya is on gay rights, visit Lodwar town in the north. In Lodwar, there is a group of gay men who have come together and formed a group.

That pastoralists -already a minority group and gay nonetheless – could form a group and acquire office space within Lodwar town to operate is indeed progress.

A few years ago I penned an article titled ‘The Quiet Revolution: On the Increased Visibility of Kenya’s Gay Community’ and I thought it best to do a follow-up article to see whether what was there then has endured .

First, let us talk about the media. The graph of how Kenyan media houses and stations report on gay issues has an upward curve. Years ago, pre-World Social Forum and immediately after it, media was identified as one of the hindrances to progress and debate on gay rights.

 Sensationalism and poor reporting were characteristic of the various outlets. But then that has changed so much so that, with Kenya’s remarkably free and independent media, the gay community has gone ahead to start their own media house which is by far the only one and one of the largest in Africa.

There was a strong presence of gay and lesbian personalities in the airwaves too, affording an otherwise ‘secretive’ community a face. These days, perusing papers for strictly anti-gay or homophobic or hateful pieces is a job activists no longer do.

Four years ago, it would have been unimaginable that public participation of gay people, at least ‘out’ ones, would be possible. Fast forward to a few months before elections under the new constitutional dispensation and what does my magic orb say? Gays are out there and they are not afraid.

Full text of article available at link below –
 

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