My Opinion as an Openly Gay Man on the Current LGBTI Trends in Kenya
By George Barasa
I am not the kind of person that uses religious books and beliefs to justify my sexuality because my life revolves around many aspects and my spirituality, is but just one of them. What is morally right to me could be immoral to you and the reverse is true. So why should one impose their religious beliefs on someone by mixing sexuality and spirituality?
In my lifetime, I have been undressed by priests and seen things that no man should see. If I had to name and shame judgementalists and radicalists, you would be shocked to realize that the same people who spread the hate propaganda against gays are the very ones who look for us in the cover of the nights and cold.
Terrorist attacks have become a common happening in recent times. While the rest of the society is understandably priotising security matters, the LGBTI community continues to deal with discrimination but when it comes to gay rights, Kenya would rather side with terrorists or make a deal with the ‘devil’ to completely eliminate sexual minorities, that is if their comments on social media following the NGLHRC court case win are anything to go by. While I understand there is something called ‘hate speech’, what I do not understand is why no one gets charged when someone posts such hate and violence inciting comments yet the subjects of such detestation are the ones policed in their bedrooms.
I rarely quote from the constitution but that does not mean that I do not know my rights. I believe I have fundamental rights as it is stipulated very clearly in Chapter Four of the Bill Of Rights in the Kenyan Constitution. I also have responsibilities such as to respect the Office of the Presidency and I would not want to be caught on the wrong side of the law and perhaps get charged with treason. But when my Vice President forgets he leads a national state and not a family institution, I dare say that is abuse of office.
He wears a three piece suit with pride, carries an iPhone, and speaks in a western language against gays alleging that homosexuality is not African, one wonders which is unafrican; his forgone culture or something that is older than colonialism.
My VP wants to govern my sexuality, he has taken it upon himself to decide who I hang out with, who I make love with, when I do it and how I should do it. I think with all the issues affecting our nation, his priorities are greatly misplaced.
The President of one of the most powerful Countries, USA and one of the leading gay rights supporters in the world President Obama is expected to visit Kenya in July.
He is expected to hold a bilateral summit and attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit but what does his visit mean to the LGBTI community? If the Garissa attack would not deter his plans, what makes anti-gay crusaders like Archbishop Eliud Wabukala and Vice President William Ruto think they will stop Obama’s visit?
I understand we need USA as much as we need gay rights but that shows our leaders’ level of double standards. They can accept someone who aids our country yet he supports gays but they cannot accept a gay person that religiously pays taxes. Ironically, the biggest part of these taxes are channeled to fund the leaders’ lavish lifestyles, security and also aid to build barriers against LGBTI rights.
Kenyan Media will always air LGBT stories in negative light to raise their ratings. Just recently KTN TV had a talk show on Prime time where they hosted a group of men that bashed gays on live television. On more occasions that we can count, the media has paved way for hate propaganda and invaded us through their publications.
It is time to stop giving anti-gay supporters a platform and universal space to spread hate. Morality and beliefs are personal values that should not be policed on people. It is time for our political leaders to stop using us as a bait to get votes, time for religious leaders to stop using the LGBTI issue to get bigger offerings. For as long as LGBTI people continue to pay tax, we shall continue to fight for our rights to be recognized as taxpayers and citizens with the same rights as everyone else.
Jojibaro is an LGBTi activists and HIV+gay gospel artist based in Nairobi Kenya.