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Fighting stereotypes of gay Kenyans

From the article “Fight Stereotypes of Gay Kenyans,” based on an interview with Kenya activist Jane Wothaya:

Jane Wothaya

Jane Wothaya

“People don’t walk around with labels on their foreheads for you to see what their sexual orientation is. These people are your brothers, your sisters, your cousins, your employers and your employees. …

Kenya’s understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity is minimal, she says. There is a lot of prejudice based on the views of many of Kenya’s clergy and “there have been inciting statements made by politicians and a lot of misinformation and ignorance about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity,” Wothaya says.

But it was social media and the mainstream press, radio and television that frustrated her the most. “For example, we had radio stations that did call-in sessions where people would call and talk about the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya as though it is the devil or something.

“And this was the kind of information that they were passing to their teenagers who were struggling to just get to know who they were and getting to discover what they were.”

Custom and tradition have perpetuated the problems for the gay community of Kenya. Wothaya describes “the issue of living in a patriarchal society where gender role and gender norms are passed on for years and years and so the prejudices and ignorance continue.”

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4 thoughts on “Fighting stereotypes of gay Kenyans

  1. Sadly, Jane’s experience is the same everywhere, but I have to say that religion is the source and perpetuator of the teachings which religions have used directly to persecute (harass, imprison, torture, kill etc)LGBTQI. The public– ordinary people, media, governments–are only building on the religious teachings. I can only deal somewhat authentically with my own, Roman Catholicism. I do have to include the major religions I have studied: Judaism and Islam. I have rejected this institution as false at its center, a betrayal of the vision/teachings of Jesus including using Jesus as the authority along with the Bible for persecuting LGBTQI’s. Of late, yes, some more compassionate stances have been taken by certain sectors of Roman Catholicism. We even are supposed to think that Pope Francis is about to change the teaching. At some point in time this infallible teaching will change–just another proof of the emptiness of this religious authority– and although countless people will have died or short of that, suffered enormously until “reason” finally prevails.

    Please, folks, (Catholics especially), go beyond gradually changing the teaching. Go beyond making apologies. Change the way you determine truth. No longer allow killing/ostracizing folks who dissent. Please don’t let extremists compare LGBTQI’s as equal to murderers/alcoholics. Of course we need to be talking about all the other countless souls murdered, maimed, enslaved by direct authorization of the Catholic Church. We LGBTQI’s are not alone. Finally: REPARATION! MAKE REPARATION FOR THIS ANNIHILATION. Catholics, yes, have done great work in HIV/AIDS. But that has to be embedded with the truth and increased with teaching love, condemning violence throughout the world. Catholics–ordinary and leaders–must put their own lives and reputations on the line. I still have a challenge to help CAMEF, the Cameroon service agency shut by violence in Dec. Why not start an “accompaniment” program as well with LGBTQI’s and their allies around the world going and standing with the current victims. Indiegogo Website: Thank you Jane! Thank you Colin!

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  2. Jane,
    You are a shame to Africa, the African woman, mothers and to intellectuals! What ignorance are you writing about? Do you need Socrates or a voodoo priest to educate you that the wrong use of a thing order than it’s original/natural intent is abnormal, bizarre, perversion, detestable and in some cases evil?
    Even your child in the nursery school will scream at seeing a man eat with his legs talk less of ” man to man”-“woman to woman” dirty and demonic sexual perversions! Even if God(your religion) didn’t even say it, wouldn’t common sense tell you it’s as horrible as cannibalism? What a world! As anti-religion,why not oppose the missionaries for teaching us to honor our parents?
    Very soon you’ll be writing in support of America’s spearheaded bestiality right and will see nothing wrong with that too. Better quit that godly country-Kenya and settle in modern day’s Sodom-America.

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    • Dear VIP,

      I’m getting quite tired of your nastiness disguised as Christianity and your demeaning words disguised as logic. Could you please find room in your heart and in your words for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control? I’m sure that you believe that you’re being faithful, but you’re not loving your neighbor as yourself. You’re saying nasty things about people whom you do not know. You compare homosexuality to bestiality and cannibalism.

      Is this the way you think you’ll attract people to Christ? Is your goal to demonstrate that the strongest followers of the Lord of Love spout lies and nastiness day in and day out?

      — Colin Stewart, editor of this blog

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      • Yes Colin,
        That’s exactly what this blog was out to achieve-intolerance and hostility for opposing views just like your compatriots do to countries opposed to gay freedom:
        So many unprintable things were written by your sect against those with different opinion. Horrible and blasphemous phrases were used against apostle John, Jesus Christ and the church and they weren’t nasty to you. If I’d written all I did against the anti-gay countries, you’d have given me pats on the back forgetting that what is good for the goose……Some of your even tagged me whom they know virtually nothing about an “Illiterate” and you didn’t fret to protect your ardent blog follower.
        It’s a pity you fail to understand the link between all vices since you approve of them. The truth, from time, was always intended to be bitter and to sting as it does to you now.
        If you must know, even for being called “brood of vipers,” “hypocrites,” “white washed sepulchers,” some humble folks still found the real intent-love and sympathy in such unpalatable names for repentance! You think Christianity is about flattery in the guise of being nice or loving? There you are wrong.
        Meanwhile, I choose to unsubscribe from your blog. I sure will find a better platform to launch attacks on the spirits behind this abomination. Thank you.

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