Archived News

KENYA: First We are Women, Then We Are Lesbians

George Barasa (Jojibaro)
LGBT Artist & Activist

She is a fresh college graduate. A loving mother to a two year old toddler. A girlfriend to one fellow lady. For security reasons I will call her “Lucy” in this article. Lucy does not know peace both as a lady and as a lesbian. She is an orphan to begin with. Her grandma took her in when she lost her mother. She was educated and brought up in a christian way with hopes that she would get married to a working class man, have many children, and bring them out of poverty.

Her girlfriend had already been thrown out of the home she had known for 21 years and was literally homeless.To add to the pain, Lucy’s family found out she is a lesbian and was already in a relationship. So she and her son were rejected and ejected out of their home too.They accused her of sleeping around with people who can’t assist her in anyway. They regretted ever educating her only for her to turn out lesbian. So they cut any family ties and do not want anything to do with her. Before that happened, she had applied for a job and when she arrived for an interview with her friend, they denied her the job on allegations that they were lesbians. She was obliged to bribe her way to get the job. She told them to give her a job and cut the amount from her salary but they still refused. With a child on her back and girlfriend on her side, they left Kiambu County in pursuit of freedom. Everywhere they went they were rejected because they are lesbian parents. They sought help from a friend who gave them shelter but they don’t know until when…

Now, Lucy has a child who needs to be fed. She and her girlfriend need to survive, they have no resources to do so. And she can’t get a sustainable job because her transcripts are being detained unlawfully by their family. These are two invisible women and lesbians who are victims of religious conservatives and discriminating laws. This has even made so many opportunists to start up briefcase organisation in the name of assisting LGBT persons only for them to offer sex education and apparatus while they pocket the rest of the money. Am speaking as a gay and not an activist here. If at all we have LGBT organisations assisting us here, then why is it that we don’t have a success story?
If they are trying, then they need to try harder. A lot harder.

There is nothing like protocal. Let’s say this couple needs accommodation at the moment. Lucy needs her papers so she can get a job to bring up her family. Should we be chasing after her papers or try and get her a shelter? Where has our priority gone? That individuals have to take initiative of offering help to us as LGBT’s while we have community organisations who inspired themselves to do so? As for her documents, I believe that if have legal organisations to assist, she can get them. She does not need papers to get married. Her plea is to get food, shelter and clothing for her child.

This is a cry of a mother. A woman, a lesbian and a girlfriend. I see rejection, neglection, denounciation, and what have you. It pains me that the much I can do is to write this but I can’t do more. All I know is there is someone out there who is reading this and is touched in a way.

(The identities of the above persons have been changed for security reasons.)