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OPINION: Reject and Report MPs Statements that instigate Violence towards LGBTQ+ Persons in Kenya

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Kenya’s President William Ruto has sworn that he will never allow gay marriage in Kenya, which he says ‘goes against the country’s cultures and religious beliefs’. This comes after a Supreme Court ruling, which allowed the queer community to register lobby groups in Kenya.

By Alvin Mwangi

The last two months have been characterized by a lot of “events” surrounding the queer community in Kenya. From loosing a fierce fashion designer and LGBTQ+ Activist, Edwin Chiloba to Members of parliament calling for jailing of the LGBTQ+ persons in Kenya. Hate can not even describe what and the amount of online violence that has been poured out this week.

Statements on jailing, sending LGBTQ+ persons to the forest among other violent statements shared by Members of Parliament towards the LGBTQ+ persons in Kenya should be shunned away from, rejected and reported. That is Violence.

Edwin’s death, including the hate and the violence from the public that followed has created and sent fear to queer persons in Kenya. What is immoral about living your true self, love? Are we really equal if you can discriminate me? Kill me? Abuse me? Regardless of my sexuality, I am Human, I deserve to live well just like any human around.

Homophobia is the dislike or intolerance of, or prejudice against Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) people. It is portrayed through homophobic behaviour and actions such as bullying, negative comments, physical attacks, punitive laws and discrimination.

The Members of parliament (MPs) have instigated violence towards the LGBTQ+ persons through their online platforms. The present long held laws in Kenya make it harder to report a violation as the laws have already created a perception being LGBTQ+ is illegal. We must encourage and choose leaders who support issues that advance our lives, socially, economically amongst other aspects of life. What is this that irks the religious leaders, politicians about Sexuality? LGBTQ+?Being LGBTQ+ is not illegal.

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Kenya is not a theocracy and religious texts, biases should not be used as the basis for or justification of Public policy or any social and health issue. There are three branches of government in Kenya, Your religious institution is not one of them.

We have seen how the religious groups, leaders and politicians have instigated violence and discriminations through their platforms. They have misinterpreted laws and policies to misinform their audiences. Through this, more violence and discrimination has occurred in manysettings, this has led to manufacturing of moral panic by crafting easy to understand narratives based on misinformation and selective interpretations of human rights, religious teachings, negative cultural beliefs and scientific evidence that create a divided worldview of “good people” versus “bad people”

Kenya is a country, NOT a religious institution. These government bodies and officials should not be allowed to impose their persona; religious beliefs on a whole country. Kenya is ONLY “CHRISTIAN” “MUSLIM” when issues around sex, sexuality and LGBTQ+ issues is involved. Never when politicians milk this country dry, Only at Homosexuality? Religion should not influence legislation and policy. That is demeaning democracy.

Homophobia continues to be a major contributor to the ongoing online violence that is experienced by LGBTQ+ People in Kenya and beyond.

No law should enable for discrimination or violence towards LGBTQ+ people. The LGBTQ+ People experience prejudice in all areas of life, such as health, employment and housing. They are also frequently blackmailed, raped and in the worst cases, murdered. Because the law is used against them, the LGBTQ+ people have no access to protection from this kind of abuse.

We should not fuel prejudice and use the law to target a group of people we don’t agree with! We all deserve respect. Basic human rights, dignity and respect must be accorded to each and every individual regardless of sexual orientation.

Any law, policy and even a Constitution of a country should promote diversity, inclusion and tolerance. We are all equal and have right to protection under the law. Embracing diversity of different sexualities is key in ensuring that no violence or discrimination is experienced.

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Alvin Mwangi

LGBTQ+/Queer Activist

Nairobi, Kenya

Twitter: @alvinmwangi254


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