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04/19/2007


Gay Kenyan Activist David Kuria On The Power Of Coming Out

DavidKuria

David Kuria made history this year by becoming the first openly gay political candidate in Kenya. Unfortunately, financial constraints, particularly pricey security, led him to end his campaign. But that doesn't mean it didn't still make a huge impact.

In an interview with The Guardian on his ill-fated run for public office, Kuria reflects on how Kenyans are starting to understand and accept gay people, largely because of people like him who are brave enough to come out of the closet.

I had seen changes in the way our people in the villages view gay people. For many people, gay people and gay rights are perceived though mediated interpretation of politicians and religious leaders. For the first time it was possible to talk with the people, answer their questions as well as point out the nexus areas of different forms of marginalization, including poverty and other challenges that affect them, too.

Later in the interview, Kuria noted that while it's tempting to view Kenya as entirely homophobic and agreed that many Kenyans still think being gay is "unAfrican," he says things are changing for the better, and will continue to do so...

"I think the narrative of Kenya being a homophobic society is taken out of context. True, many people do not approve of same-sex relationships, but that is because of the stereotypes they have been made to believe in," he said. "Again [the idea that being gay is "unAfrican"] is one of those stories that have been told over and over again that it has come to be seen as true. But there are also very few public LGBT voices – these need to increase for the narrative to be debunked."


David Kuria, Gay Activist, Runs For The Kenyan Senate: VIDEO

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The out, lovely, and terribly brave pro-gay (and anti-poverty) activist David Kuria is running for a senate seat in Kenya. He does this despite the fact that, should he ascend to public office, several of his new colleagues will rather he rot in a jail cell than roam the halls of power.

Kuria runs at considerable personal risk. Though not as violently anti-gay as neighboring Uganda, Kenya takes its legal proscriptions against homosexual behavior very seriously. And Kenya's rural western reaches have seen some of the millenium's most heinous explosions of atavistic tribal barbarity. But Kuria seems neither wrathful nor scared. Meet him and his family in a brief video by S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons, viewable AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "David Kuria, Gay Activist, Runs For The Kenyan Senate: VIDEO" »


Kenyan PM Raila Odinga Calls for Arrests of Homosexuals

Odinga

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for gay people to be arrested at a rally on Sunday, the Daily Nation reports:

Addressing a rally at Kamukunji grounds in his Langata Constituency, the PM said their behaviour was unnatural.

“If found the homosexuals should be arrested and taken to relevant authorities,” Mr Odinga said.

The PM thrilled the crowd when he asserted that the recent census showed there were more women than men and there was no need for same sex relationships.

He said it was madness for a man to fall in love with another man while there were plenty of women and added that there was no need for women to engage in lesbianism yet they can bear children.

Said Odinga: "We will not tolerate such behaviours in the country. The constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared

David Kuria, a prominent gay activist in Kenya, told the BBC that Odinga's were surprising:

"It was believed to be the first time he has made such comments. Mr Kuria told the BBC's Network Africa programme that he did not know why Mr Odinga made the comments. He said most African leaders who condemned homosexuals were trying to gain political leverage but he said Mr Odinga was already popular so his statement was 'surprising'. An MP in neighbouring Uganda last year tried to introduce the death penalty for some homosexual acts, sparking international condemnation. The BBC's Caroline Karobia in Nairobi says gay people are largely left alone in Kenya as long as they do not draw attention to themselves. The city is home to some well-known gay pubs, she says."

Kuria warned that gay "people will succumb to extortion, blackmail and violence" because of the remarks.


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