As a result of a recent media blitz around an alleged gathering of members of the lesbian community in Nairobi, the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya urges all members of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer community (LGBTIQ) to be on the lookout for suspicious activities and practice safety and wellness in all their interactions.
The above-mentioned event has led to negative statements in social media, the press, and by government officials. Many of these statements are false, and are meant to heighten animosity against sexual and gender minorities in the country. In the past, GALCK has noted a link between transphobic and homophobic statements and violence and discrimination against persons on grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. GALCK continues to work with all stakeholders to ensure the wellness and security of all Kenyans, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
The SOGIE community in Kenya is large, diverse, and distributed across the country. This means that the security and safety situation in different parts of the country, among different members of the SOGIE community, and among social categories such as class, ethnicity, race, and nationality varies widely.
Members of the SOGIE community should note that there is no link between being gay, lesbian, or bisexual and paedophilia or any form of violence against children. Sexuality, including homosexuality and bisexuality are innate human characteristics, part and parcel of a person’s being, and can be experienced in a positive and wholesome manner.
In the above-mentioned event there was no link whatsoever between an adult event and any inappropriate behaviour including underage drinking and inappropriate sexual behaviour. Based on our investigation, GALCK can confirm that there were no criminal activities contemplated in the event. In addition, GALCK and its member organisations do not condone any form of abuse against children including inappropriate sexual behaviour between adults and children. GALCK supports the investigation with a view to prosecution of all forms of abuse against children contemplated in various laws including the Penal Code, the Children’s Act, and the Sexual Offences Act. Members of the SOGIE community in Kenya share the same views.
Under Kenyan law, there is no blanket ban on SOGIE related events. There is no law that bans gatherings by SOGIE persons for peaceful purposes including speed-dating. In Kenya, it is not illegal to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer, although same-sex conduct as well as gross indecency is illegal under Kenyan law. The freedom of association for peaceful purposes is guaranteed under Article 36 of the Constitution. This is a protection that is guaranteed to all persons within Kenya regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. The right to free association can only be limited under specific circumstances and in strict adherence to the rule of law. Only the Kenya Police Service, in reference to the relevant laws, can limit this right.
As part of its efforts to enhance the security, safety, and wellbeing of members of Kenya’s SOGIE community, GALCK makes the following recommendations:
- We urge members of the SOGIE community to remain vigilant of any suspicious and out of the ordinary behaviour in their surroundings, including in online spaces and social media.
- On account of the heightened vulnerability of sexual and gender minorities at this time, we urge vigilance and discretion when in public, when attending gatherings where members of the SOGIE community frequent, and when meeting new people physically or online.
- We urge members of the SOGIE community to strengthen their online security, especially on social media, in order to prevent hacks, surveillance, and forms of online violence.
- We urge members of the SOGIE community to reach out to GALCK, its member organisations, and Kenyan law enforcement if in need of support in cases of violence or abuse. GALCK and its member organisations have systems in place to provide support to persons who have faced violence or discrimination on account of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
- We urge members of the SOGIE community to refer to this guide when approached with questions from journalists, strangers, friends, family, and co-workers. We strongly encourage members of the SOGIE community to refer all questions from journalists to GALCK using the contacts provided below.
- We urge members of the SOGIE community to embody nonviolence, repudiate any form of abuse against vulnerable persons, and obey Kenyan laws. Kenyan law does not outlaw SOGIE persons. GALCK is committed to improving the human rights situation of the SOGIE community in Kenya, including fighting discriminatory laws in force in the country.
For more information on online security, wellbeing, and safety, please check out Online Security:
We hope that this information is of use to the members of the SOGIE community. We welcome comments on how to improve this resource. To contact GALCK, email us at email@example.com or get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter.