Since the High Court ruled that the government cannot block the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from forming an organisation, the contraversial debate of how far Kenya should tolerate gay people have been raging on.
While the three-judge bench acknowledged that the Penal Code criminalises “gay and lesbian liasons”, they added that “popular morality should not be the basis for limiting rights in Kenya”.
The recent US Supreme Court ruling that gay marriages be legalised in that country and Barack Obama, who openly supports same sex unions, bound to visit Kenya soon the debate is bound to get more heated in days to come.
Granted that every Kenyan’s right is guranteed by the Constitution, the enjoyment of those rights should be in a manner that does not infringe in the rights of others. This, perhaps, explains why although prostitutes have a right to earn a living as Kenyan citizens, whatever they do is construed to be injurious to our moral fabric hence its criminalisation.
But this is the opposite in liberal Europe for instance where prostitution is legal in eight countries. Therefore it is hypocritical, belittling and neo-colonial for Western countries to pressurise and threaten Africa, including Kenya, to either embrace LGBTs or face the music.
In 2011 British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to cut his country’s aid to African nation’s whose governments were sponsoring anti-gay laws like Uganda, which had then passed a tough anti-gay law that called for capital punishment, and Ghana.
President Barack Obama, who have been a strong opponent of gay marriages until May 2012, provoked a rebuke from African leaders while visiting Senegal when he tried to urge African leaders to leaglise gay marriages.
Some people have quoted questionable “research” to justisfy that gayism is genetic while its an open secret that just like prostitution, drinking and smoking its an acquired social behaviour.
With allegations flying around social media that the US Secretary of State John Kerry refused to shake Deputy President William Ruto’s hand during his visit to Kenya because of the latter’s statement that gays have no place in Kenya, there is all likelihood that Kerry’s boss might make advocating for LGBTs’ rights one of his key agendas when he visits Kenya in next month.
As President Macky Sall of Senegal told Obama, African culture is wired against “strange” sexual orientations like homosexuality. Therefore trying to force this down our throats through intimidation and sponsored activism will only continue enriching lobbyists and wasting energy and resources that would otherwise be used in other more urgent causes like development.
Even among the most liberal Western societies where gayism is decriminalised “coming out” to reveal one’s orientation as a homosexual is always treated with a lot of hullabaloo because most practise it in hiding.
Examples of prominent personalities who stunned the whole world, including their fellow liberal countrymen, when they came out include CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, Apple CEO Tim Cook, actor Wentworth Miller, and pop stars Elton John, Ricky Martin and Lady Gaga.
The very limited number of LGBTs elected in positions of leadership even in countries where they are legalised is an indicator that, indeed, this is not a “normal” behaviour as its ardent proponents would like us to believe. In France, the law prohibits gay men from donating blood and a recent European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling seemed to support this stand.
Legalising or giving LGBTs more space in Kenya will, most likely, make this unconventional behaviour look cool among impressionable teenagers and youth, hence tempting them to adopt it to “blend in”.
Therefore to ensure we shield our future generations from pervasive and addictive socialisation like prostitution, drug abuse, consumption of illicit liquor and homosexuality we must put in place the right legal and moral barriers to curb their proliferation.