Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender in Kenya

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Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender in Kenya

Lesbianism, gayism, bisexual, and transgender is illegal in Kenya and when one is caught practicing, as per Section 162 of the Kenyan Penal Code, the act is punishable by 14 years’ imprisonment, and any sexual practices between males (termed “gross indecency”) are a felony under section 165 of the same statute, punishable by 5 years’ imprisonment.

The Kenyan Constitution does not recognize Lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender persons. The state laws are against same-sex relationships and marriages and are banned under the Kenyan Constitution since 2010. Adoption to same-sex couples in Kenya is also is prohibited.

Kenyan society holds negative views of LGBT people and the majority being conservatives are against Gayism and Lesbianism. According to many Kenyan cultural values homosexuality is considered to be taboo.

Same-sex marriage in Kenyan Communities

It’s ironic that many Kenyans consider homosexuality as a taboo while female same-sex marriage is practiced among the Gikuyu, Kamba, Kipsigis, and Nandi and other small communities. However, this is not seen as homosexual but as a way for families without sons to keep their inheritance within the family.

The same-sex couples are considered married, though the terms used for them are mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. The female “husband” (the “mother-in-law”) carries on the family name and property, while the female “wife” (the “daughter-in-law”) bears children, with the intention of having a son.

The female “husband” may be widowed, but may also have a living male husband, but he will not be the father of the female “wife’s” children, and the identity of the biological father, though often kin, is kept secret. Such marriages may be polygamous.

In some communities like Kuria of Migori County, barren women ‘marry’ fellow women in a practice known as Nyumba mboke. The marriage allows woman-to-woman unions, despite the fact that gay marriage is criminalized in Kenya. In these kinds of marriages, there is little love and no romance.

LGBT in Kenya

LGBT society in Kenya has been pushing hard for their recognition but the Government through Kenya’s High Court upheld laws criminalizing homosexual acts between consenting adults, a step backward in the progress Kenya has made toward equality in recent years.

In a petition filed in 2016 by three Kenyan organizations that work to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, in 2019 the High Court of Kenya upheld the homosexual act as illegal and punishable by the law. The organizations said that the criminalization of same-sex conduct under articles 162 and 165 of the penal code violates the rights to equality, non-discrimination, human dignity, security, privacy, and health, all protected under Kenya’s constitution.

Due to not recognized by the Kenyan government, the LGBT community members have been receiving rejection, stigma, discrimination, assault, harassment, eviction from their home, physical and verbal abuse, loss of a job, suspension, or expulsion from school, etc. They have also claimed no to be given equal opportunities in the government sectors.  

Religious groups on LGBT

Christianity

Christians who believe in the creation story in their holy book, the Bible believe that a man has entitled to a woman and not someone of the same sex. Kenyan Christian leaders have been on the frontline to stop the legalization of homosexuality in Kenya. They consider homosexuality as demonic and need a spiritual intervention for one to be delivered from it. The Christian religious leaders in Kenya have also refused to conduct gay wedding ceremonies and uniting the two due to their belief that homosexuality is demonic and also illegal according to the Kenyan constitution.

In the creation story, God created man and woman to male and female, each for the other. And the sexual union that He created and ordained is for husband and wife to come together in physical union.

The idea that human sexuality is all about intimacy and pleasure is not acceptable in the bible but not necessarily recreation and making babies. To establish a sexual relationship without any interest in or openness to babies is contrary to God’s intention for such unions.

Islam

The Islamic religion is also against homosexuality and same-sex relationships ad marriages. In their holy book, The Quran describes the story of the “people of Lot” destroyed by the wrath of God because the men engaged in lustful carnal acts between themselves.

The holy book also condemns homosexual and transgender acts, prescribing the penalty as death for male homosexual intercourse. Homosexual acts are forbidden in traditional Islamic jurisprudence and are liable to different punishments, including the death penalty, depending on the situation and legal school.

Hindu

The Hindu religion is divided into two when it comes to matters of homosexuality. Some Hindu dharmic texts contain injunctions against homosexuality, a number of Hindu mythic stories have portrayed homosexual experience as natural and joyful, and there are several Hindu temples which have carvings that depict both men and women engaging in homosexual acts. However another group of Hindu followers.

In the years 2009, the Hindu Council of the United Kingdom issued a statement that “Hinduism does not condemn homosexuality”. The Supreme Court of India subsequently overturned the capital high court’s decision. A high-ranking member of the influential right-wing Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has publicly stated that he does not believe homosexuality should be illegal and that the RSS had no official stance on this homosexuality.

African Traditional

Most of the African traditions have been in support of same-sex relationships without intimacy, for example, same-sex couples are considered married, though the terms used for them are mother-in-law and daughter-in-law this is seen some of the Kenyan communities ie Kikuyu, Kamba, and Kalenjin.

In the Kuria community of Migori County, barren women are allowed to ‘marry’ fellow women in a practice known as Nyumba Mboke. The marriage allows woman-to-woman unions, despite the fact that gay marriage is criminalized in Kenya. In these kinds of marriages, there is little love and no romance.

Paganism

According to some studies and researches, modern Pagans are very accepting and supporting homosexuality. That’s due in no small part to the fact that a lot of Pagans figure it’s none of their business who someone else loves and the reason behind it.