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New Site Seeks to Be Voice for Gay Kenyans

New Site Seeks to Be Voice for Gay Kenyans

In a nation where homosexuals can be jailed for up to 10 years just for being gay, many gay and lesbian Kenyans can feel a strong sense of isolation and stigma attached to their lifestyle.

Published June 13, 2011

In a nation where homosexuals can be jailed for up to 10 years just for being gay, many gay and lesbian Kenyans can feel a strong sense of isolation and stigma attached to their lifestyle.

 

But through touching personal stories and news specific to the population, the recently launched Web site freedominspeech.org aims to be an active online forum for the community.

 

“I guess it will be personal stories of growing up—of conflicts with one’s sexuality—of living in a family which is not accepting of who you are,” David Wambua, one of the site’s writers, told the BBC, adding that gay rights should be respected in the nation.

 

In addition, the site will be used to urge those in the closet to come out, activist and site contributor Kate Kamunde told the news service.

 

“We have very many people who are still struggling to come out, so I’ll first do a ‘coming out’ story,” she said.

 

Back in November, Prime Minister Raila Odinga incited outrage from the community due to his inflammatory remarks against gays during a speech. “We will not tolerate such behaviors in the country. The constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared,” he said at the rally. He later added that he was only speaking about cracking down on gay marriage. (Last February, five were arrested, accused of planning a gay wedding.)

 

With homosexuality being illegal in several African countries, Kenya is not much different from many nations in the continent. South Africa is the only nation where gay marriage is legal.

 

In particular, Uganda has been in the spotlight as of late with lawmakers recently considering debating a law that could have made homosexuality punishable by death.

(Photo: Antony Njuguna/Reuters)

Written by Hortense M. Barber

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