Gay men are under violent attack, including being physically and sexually assaulted, slashed and left for dead — joust for being gay — in Kenya after religious extremists have ratcheted up anti-gay religious rhetoric and pounced on a discredited study. One man who was murdered had his neck and throat slashed. Another was raped with a hammer.
“The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) has released a report detailing a growing number of violent acts against gays in recent weeks and is calling on government to help,” Gay Star News reported yesterday. “The group notes that ‘high religiosity’ and the conservative interpretation of religious doctrines have contributed greatly to the creation of a pretext that encourages the use of violence and discrimination against gays.”
Via a press release, GALCK reports that in “Kenya, like in many African countries non-heterosexual orientations are not as widely accepted and recognized as in some parts of the world. This can be attributed to the nature in which most of our cultures are set up; a set-up under which the self-determination of women, youth and anyone that is perceived to challenge the balance of power in society has been oppressed.”
Apart from cultures, high religiosity and the conservative interpretation of religious doctrines have immensely contributed to not only non-recognition but also in the creation of a pretext that encourages the use of violence and discrimination against same sex loving persons. Studies such as Pew Research’s Global Divide on Homosexuality have demonstrated this obvious fact.
The study mentioned above has also pointed out that the level of acceptance in Kenya has grown by 5% in the last six years. As human rights campaigners, we know that getting to that vital point of general social acceptance is a process of evolution of culture. This solely relies on the fact that culture is so dynamic. As we wait for this cultural change however, there continues to be gross violations of dignity, equality and basic human rights of individuals that are part of our families, communities and society.
Recent Incitement and Hate Attacks:
21st June, 2013 – Mombasa; a member of our community was slashed with a machete/’panga’ several times especially around the neck /throat area. His attacker later threw him out of a moving vehicle and left him for the dead. Fortunately he was rescued and taken to hospital. He has received medical attention and continues to recover. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7AD1zLyR5k)
22nd June, 2013– Nairobi; A man was sexually assaulted using a hammer and repeatedly hit on the head with it. He also suffered several knife cuts on the head and arms. The incident was reported to the police.
24th June, 2013 – Mombasa; a second incident, where another member of the community was taken to the same hospital with similar slash wounds to the neck/throat. Unfortunately he did not survive.
23rd and 24th June, 2013-Mombasa; Radio Rahma call-in talk show hosted agitated callers who openly said that they were on a mission to “clean up” Mombasa of sex workers especially MSM/Male Sex Workers (MSWs) and the organizations that provide them with health services.
21st -27th June, 2013-Kisumu; There have been reports of intimidation and beatings of persons perceived to be gay by vigilante groups. These incidents haven’t been reported to the police since it is known that even the police in the area fear these vigilante gangs.
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