By Melanie Nathan, September 20, 2023
Kenya is considering the Family Protection Bill 2023, which could lead to 50-year prison sentences for non-consensual same-sex acts. Protests in the Country are calling for the legislation.
Sponsored by Homa Bay Town legislator Peter Kaluma, the bill aims to ban homosexuality, same-sex unions, and LGBTQ activities and campaigns. It also intends to prohibit gay parades, assemblies, marches, and public 'cross-dressing.'
According to the bill, individuals engaging in non-consensual same-sex acts could face imprisonment for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 50 years. Owners of premises used for same-sex relations may be fined $14,000 (£11,000) or serve a seven-year jail term if the bill becomes law. This development follows recent anti-LGBTQ protests in Mombasa by clerics and civil society organizations, who continue to call for more protests, thereby spreading anti-LGBTQI+ sentiment and making the country even more dangerous for LGBTI people than it already is.
This upsurge in the call for protests against gays, lesbians and trans people in Kenya is a direct result of a recent case where Kenya's Supreme Court upheld a mid-September decision to allow the registration of LGBTQ non-governmental organizations, overturning a decade-long dispute with the National Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission, which had been denied registration by Kenya's NGO Coordinating Board. The Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year deemed such discrimination unconstitutional, marking a significant milestone for LGBTQ organizations in Kenya. The heightened anti-gay climate can also be attributed to neighboring Uganda's recently newly enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, which has East Africa abuzz for the calling to eradicate the continent of homosexuality. President Museveni called upon all African leaders to lead the world in getting rid of homosexuality. It seems Mr. Kaluma and his religious extremists are ready to oblige. It is important to note that new enhanced anti-homosexuality laws are a direct result of the America Christian right pumping over $50 million dollars into the continent, further colonizing an already colonized realm, ensuring Africa's politicians join hands in getting rid of gays.
As can be seen from the front cover of the Kenyan STAR newspaper, the media is complicit in the persecution in terms of how it reports, realizing the popularity of such a headline and how it would serve to enhance readership. In fact a poll on the website indicates that only 20% of readers believe LGBTQI+ people deserve any rights at all. This protest and type of reporting only serves to exacerbate and encourage the ongoing violence against LGBTQI+ people in Kenya which includes local Kenyans, visitors and refugees.
Melanie Nathan is a country conditions expert witness for LGBTQI+ asylum seekers from over 20 African countries to include Kenya.