The year is 2019 but the gatekeepers of human sexuality are still lurking around. Their daily routine seems easy. Wake up, bark anti-gay orders, express disdain for LGBTQIA to anyone who cares to listen, furiously question why rainbow colours were painted on staircases, walls or bios and then sleep. Rinse, repeat.
I speak as a global citizen who is learning over the years to embrace, not exclude based on gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race, colour, language, religion etc. The world is big enough to accommodate us all.
Despite the spirited efforts from LGBTQI community, allies and civil society groups, this is only viewed as the ideal situation so in the meantime we get to deal with bigots on a daily basis. I live in a society that faces widespread discrimination. Where conservatism trumps liberalism and policing is the order of the day. Kenya is one of those religious nations that promptly quotes scriptures to wish your thoughts and rights away.
Laws are made by man. The same laws ought to be changed when they become obsolete as a result of the ever-evolving times that we exist in. The Judiciary here turned a blind eye. After Kenya’s High Court recently upheld its own anti-homosexuality laws, Kenyans watched on as Botswana showed the non-growing ranks of Africa how to do it.
“The time has indeed come to decriminalise consensual private sexual intimacy… Sodomy laws deserve a place in the museum or archives and not in the world. It is not the business of the law to regulate private consensual sexual encounters.” — Judge Michael Leburu
Botswana did the damn thing.
Religious admonitions have long stigmatized sexual relations between same-sex individuals. The white man and his Bible came with guidelines that have governed and colonized the black man’s mind for years. The irony is that the West is at advanced stages of reversing these set rules and is accepting of LGBTQI rights including the freedom to choose the life you want to live.
Meanwhile, African countries remain stuck with the strongly held oppressive beliefs and laws that brand homosexuality as ‘unAfrican’ or ‘unnatural.’ This does not mean the West is 100% prejudice-free. There have been reported cases of discrimination and violence which goes to show there’s still a lot of work to be done on a global scale.
Kenya’s population is largely made up of young people who are better placed to understand, accept and co-exist with each other. There is still a large number of adults who strongly oppose anything to do with LGBTQI – leaving no room for unlearning and learning – and those who actually cause harm.
Quick question, how is it any of your business? Why do you care if two men (or women) choose to engage in consensual sex? What is immoral or illegal about it? How does it directly or indirectly affect your life? I’ll wait… And if it’s about your religious beliefs, then try not to impose them on everyone else? We can all co-exist regardless of the beliefs we hold.
On racism, we should all treat each other equally and with dignity period. The colour of my skin should not automatically put me at a disadvantage before I even open my mouth. Unfortunately racism, xenophobia and ethnicism and intolerance are still rife in Africa and the world at large.
We have to continue fighting against racial prejudice and inter-ethnic conflicts at all levels. We should amplify our voices when we see blatant acts of racism and intolerant attitudes at our doorsteps or feeds. Individuals and companies that still discriminate against locals should be strongly condemned.
Let’s create spaces that allow for equal rights that outlast generations.