Hi! I'm Waithera. I live in a country where you can be imprisoned for 14 years for being LGBTQ+ or worse killed. So Pride month isn't a thing here. We even had a book and movie called "Stories of our lives" banned because it was talking about LGBTQ rights. I'm not LGBTQ+ but I have lots of friends who are and have to stay closeted for their own safety. Ask me Anything!

Christine Waithera
Jun 18, 2017

So yes. I'm from Kenya and its illegal to be gay mostly because of religion and culture. 

The book and novel that were banned have somehow made their way to some people in the country but the filmmakers and directors are warranted for arrest if the film is found with anyone.

PS: I have the book. lol. 

Comments are locked

Conversation (63)

In three easy steps and under a minute you could be hosting your own AMA. Join our passionate community of AMA hosts and schedule your own AMA today.

Let's get started!

What are the specific Kenyan laws regarding LGBTQ identity?

Jun 17, 7:04AM EDT0

There aren't any laws aganist the LGBTQ identity itself but the carnal act itself. The Kenyan Penal Code of 1930, as revised in 2006, provides as follows:

  • Section 162. Unnatural offenses.

Any person who -(a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or(c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years:

  • Section 163. Attempt to commit unnatural offenses.

Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in section 162 is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

Article 45(2) of the Constitution of Kenya specifically authorizes opposite sex marriage but is silent about same-sex marriage. "Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties".

Jun 18, 2:45AM EDT0

Will any other countries take in persecuted gays from Kenya?

Jun 17, 3:03AM EDT0

Yes, Canada & the US have organisations in place that take LGBTQ refugees. However, the situation here is not as dire whereby many have sought to flee the country. You need to be caught in the "act" for you to be persecuted and few have actually been arrested. We even receive refugees from Uganda as our laws arent as stringent.

Jun 17, 3:57AM EDT0

What are the repercussions if you have friends who are gay in Kenya?

Jun 16, 9:32PM EDT0

The most that someone could do is advise you to stop being friends with them. I havent heard of anything too drastic.

Jun 17, 3:54AM EDT0

What do you predict for the future of gays in Kenya?

Jun 16, 8:16PM EDT0

The future is bright. Im hopeful that the younger generation (who are more open minded) could change these archaic laws when their time comes. More and more gay youth are coming out to their friends and family and changing the mindset of their friends and family. We'll be fine :)

Jun 17, 3:50AM EDT0

How are you working to improve conditions for LGBTQ?

Jun 16, 3:29PM EDT0

I am still looking for more effective ways but as of now I am quite vocal on social media and lending my voice to the cause. I also try to have conversations with people who have different thoughts on the LGBTQ community and understand where they come from and try to change their mindset. Hopefully this does something.

Jun 17, 3:48AM EDT0

How does Kenya's treatment of LGBTQ compare to the rest of Africa?

Jun 15, 2:26PM EDT0

Homosexuality is legal in only 22 countries out of the 56 countries in Africa. The most gay-friendly African country is Cape Verde. im not really sure about the treatment of the lgbtq+ in other countries but in Uganda there are more cases of LGBTQ killings in the country and many LGBTQ refugees flee to Kenya as it is safer here.

Jun 17, 3:38AM EDT0

So this week, the Kenya Film Classication Board (KFCB) has decided to ban animations such as Legend of Korra, Hey Arnold, Adventure Time, Clarence, Steven Universe and Loud House because they have gay characters in it! It will "spoil the kids  by telling them that being gay is okay." The country is divided on this issue with many supporting and many also not supporting it. I personally, im enraged and think that that is how you end up teaching children to be homophobic. How do i tell my child that you cant watch this because it has gay characters! How?! 

Last edited @ Jun 15, 10:03AM EDT.
Jun 15, 9:55AM EDT0

What are the worst countries in terms of treatment of LGBTQ?

Jun 15, 6:05AM EDT0

Im not sure but I  know Uganda, Jamaica & Russia are really bad. 

Jun 15, 9:47AM EDT0

How does Kenyan culture relate to the treatment of LGBTQ?

Jun 14, 3:34AM EDT0

This is a very deep topic but i'll try to summarise it. Kenya is made up of nearly 42 tribes and cultures that value family and marriage (for wealth and power purposes). To some people being LGBTQ+ goes aganist these tribal values as they do not lead to the propagation of families and union between man and woman. For example a gay couple cannot have a child who will carry on the traditions and values of the tribe. So homophobia will be prevalent.However research shows that there were some cultures that accepted LGBTQ in the pre-colonial era. So the colonialist's (Christian) ideals may have changed some of these thoughts and ideas.

Jun 14, 7:53AM EDT0

Is there any reason for the LGBTQ community in Kenya to have hope?

Jun 14, 12:24AM EDT0

Yes Perez, there is hope. The millenial generation is more open to the LGBTQ+ community in Kenya and are quite vocal about the injustices on social media. Steps have even been made to legalise being LGBTQ which you can read HERE. We are still a long way to go but the future looks bright. :)

Jun 14, 1:38AM EDT0

How do your gay and lesbian friends deal with despair in Kenya?

Jun 13, 9:40PM EDT0

I didn't know if im in the position to answer this question so I passed it on to my friend who's gay and this was his response.."Gay people are more fab than ever giiiirl💁🏽. Despair? For who? We have a very close nit gay society that helps each other and a lot of non LGBTQ+ friends who support us. But we need more love. You could come hand and support gay causes while you take a fabulous trip to Kenya"

Jun 14, 6:47AM EDT0

Would you consider crowdfunding to help support gays in Kenya?

Jun 13, 8:51PM EDT0

Definitely. I know a friend who is part of the many LGBTQ alliances and societies(NGOs) that deal with projects to cater for the LGBTQ community that require donations. This projects are aimed at economic empowerment. So, definitely crowdfunding is defnitely being done.

Jun 14, 6:53AM EDT0

What kind of support is available for LGBTQ in Kenya?

Jun 13, 8:23PM EDT0

Hi Alexander, there are organisations in place to help the LGBTQ community such as the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) and others. They are trying to pass a bill to legalise being LGBTQ...(not marriage yet). You can read more about that in this Vice article

Jun 14, 1:35AM EDT0

How does the current Kenyan government treat gays and lesbians?

Jun 13, 7:46PM EDT0

Rumors have it that some top government officials are LGBTQ+ so there haven't been much anti-gay propaganda made by the government itself if compared to our neighbour country Uganda.When President Obama came last year and talked at a conference urging the government to make steps towards equal rights regardless of sexual orientation with our President Uhuru Kenyatta; our president stated that due to the people's culture and religious beliefs it will be difficult to impose such ideals to the people and that we have other pressing issues to deal with.So that is the stand of the current government which I am totally against.

Jun 14, 1:53AM EDT0

How many of Kenya's LGBTQ are too afraid to even 'come out'?

Jun 13, 7:14PM EDT0

Many. I read a statistic where there are 150,000 kenyans on gay dating sites but its quite rare to meet one who is 'out'. Maybe to friends and family but not to the entire world through social media or at work.

Jun 14, 7:21AM EDT0

Have you seen any improvement in treatment of gays and lesbians in Kenya?

Jun 13, 12:50PM EDT0

Yes I have. When I was younger I used to hear about a lot of physical violence towards gays and lesbians. They still happen (mostly in rural areas & lower income areas) but I haven't heard much. Millenials are also vocal about their support for gay rights.

Jun 14, 1:58AM EDT0

Are there any leaders in the fight for LGBTQ rights in Kenya?

Jun 13, 10:48AM EDT0

Unfortunatley we do not have any leaders but activists who are funded by numerous countries and the UN to fight for LGBTQ rights. We have one openly gay writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, who is doing a lot ffor the cause through his writing. But we definitley need more activists.

Jun 14, 6:57AM EDT0

Have you used social media to bring awareness to this?

Jun 13, 9:30AM EDT0

Yes. I am personally quite open about my stance on LGBTQ rights on social media and outside. There are very many Kenyan millenials especially on Twitter who are ready to shut down any anti-gay propaganda. When the Kenya Classification Board tried to ban a certain music video there was a lot of backlash from Kenyans on Twitter (KOT as we are called) that led to the video not being banned. However, there is still a lot to be done to raise awareness on social media and otherwise.

Jun 14, 7:03AM EDT0

What percentage of the Kenyan population identifies as LGBTQ?

Jun 13, 8:07AM EDT0

There arent any statistics that I am aware of but i heard one that there are nearly 150,000 Kenyans on gay dating sites and apps..so that can give you a rough estimate.

Jun 14, 8:05AM EDT0

What are some acts of homophobia that you have witnessed?

Jun 13, 5:45AM EDT0

I havent really witnessed much mostly people saying inhumane things about LGBTQ people. But iv heard of police brutality and public shaming and parents disowning their children.

Jun 14, 7:12AM EDT0