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Kenyan News Org Outs Pro-LGBT Activists, Potentially Puts Their Lives At Risk

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The Weekly Citizen, a Kenyan news organization based in Nairobi, has come under fire for publishing the names and photos of twelve outspoken advocates for the country’s queer rights movement. While the number of countries that criminalize homosexuality dropping, being gay is still a jailable offense in Kenya that can carry sentences of up to 14 years in prison along with sizable fines. There is a roiling debate amongst the conservative members of Kenya’s governing body and LGBT rights activists who argue that the country’s constitution implicitly protects queer-identified people if its language is to be interpreted literally.  

That same tension between ideology and legality is what ultimately led to the Kenyan High Court’s decision to allow LGBT rights organizers to gather and form their own social programs meant to aid Kenya’s queer population.

“Every person has the right to freedom of association,” The court ruling expressed, pointing to the 36th Article of the Kenyan Constitution.  “[Including] the right to form, join or participate in the activities of an association of any kind.”

Though pro-LGBT organizers saw the decision as a victory, their hopes were shot through with worry of an inevitable social backlash that was likely to develop in response. Technically speaking, the Weekly Citizen in no way encouraged it readers to seek out the twelve activists it highlighted, but some of them saw the paper’s move as a hostile one.

"We are now walking targets," Denis Nzioka, one of those outed, explained to Gay Star News. "While some of the people on the list are open about being gay, some are not. It is putting every person's career, life and family at risk."


Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto: Kenya Has 'No Room' For Gays

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According to William Ruto, the Kenyan deputy president, the country’s tolerance for gay people is at an all time low. During a public church service the governmental official asserted that Kenyan society had no place for any sort of queer culture.

"The Republic of Kenya is a republic that worships God. We have no room for gays and those others," he said.

Homosexuality has been illegal since the country was first organized as a free state in 1963 after existing as a British colony. Both Ruto and Talam’s remarks came on the same day that Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to Kenya to speak about the U.S.’s aid relationship with the country.

"The government believes that homosexual relations are unnatural and un-African," Emmanuel Talam, one of Ruto’s spokespeople, reaffirmed.


Two Men in Kenya Charged For Allegedly Spreading Sexually Explicit Gay Material: VIDEO

Kenya

Two men in Kenya have been charged with being part of a group that disseminated sexually explicit gay material, reports BuzzFeed.

The men were charged yesterday before a magistrate after undergoing court-ordered “medical exams” involving anal swabs.

Both men were arrested when community members identified them from photographs published on a local blog. One of the men was being beaten by a local mob when he was arrested.

The men have been charged with “practicing unnatural offenses” and with the possession of 10 CDs with content that allegedly “corrupt[s] morals.”

If the men are acquitted of natural offenses violations, the prosecutor has tabled an “alternative count” alleging they “jointly committed an indecent act with an adult” who is a third party.

Pepela Mate, a lawyer with the Kenyan Human Rights Commission (KHRC), said:

“The medical exam is more like a pretext. [The prosecution] wanted the anal swabs because they were not charged on Friday, and now they may have grounds for charging [the men with] ‘committing unnatural acts.’”

It has been suggested that what is being called a “gay pornography ring” is led by Europeans and exploits minors. However, William Oluchina, a program officer at the KHRC, said the the claim is “more like a cover up to have a good reason to arrest them…There is this myth in Kenya that if you’re gay, you will be recruiting children. This story is part of that fear.”

Mate requested that the men be released on bail in part so that they could seek medical attention.  Although the request was granted, neither of the men could come up with the required $2,250.

The accused are expected to continue to look for ways to post bail, but it has been suggested that they are safer in prison than in their community.

Watch Christian Pastor Justimore Musombi talk about being gay in Kenya, AFTER THE JUMP...

(Photo via @nitwajina / Instagram)

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Death Of White Rhino Leaves Only 6 Left In The World

Northern White Rhino

Suni was a 34-year-old northern white rhino living in Kenya died last week at the wildlife conservancy where he lived. The cause of death is presently unknown, but for once poaching is not suspected. However, Suni was one of the last two breeding males

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy released a statement saying that they will do what they can to work with the remaining animals that hopefully will result in the birth of a calf.

Thanks to insane levels of poaching of the animal's horn, which was ground up and sold to suckers in Asia for snake oil treatments for conditions such as seizures, fevers, strokes, and nosebleeds, the northern white rhino is officially considered "Extinct in the Wild." Now, it's one step closer to just "Extinct."


Executive Producer Of Film About LGBT Kenyans Arrested: VIDEO

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"Stuff can go wrong, but we love our country. I am not afraid to go back home...I want to go back home." When George Gachara said these words, he was convinced that he was doing the right thing by documenting the lives of LGBT Kenyans in the film Stories Of Our Lives. The movie, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is banned in Kenya based on the Films and Stage Plays Act, which Gachara was arrested for violating. Surely we can agree that the film tells an important story of an underrepresented group in the east African nation; the governing body apparently disagrees.

Daily Xtra reports:

Gachara was in Toronto recently for the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. He and others involved in its making and promotion, who until then had been anonymous, made the daring decision to reveal their names at TIFF, in a show of solidarity with the Kenyan LGBT community...

On Oct 14, Daily Xtra talked via Skype to Jim Chuchu, the director of Stories of our Lives and a co-founder of NEST, about the ban on the film. Hours later, Gachara was arrested.

According to Nest’s Facebook site, Gachara has been released on bail pending a hearing on Oct 17.

Gachara, and the filmmakers' brave actions, are in our thoughts. Most recently, the Kenyan Republican Liberty Party drafted a "stone the gays" bill in connection with "aggravated homosexuality," a continuation of anti-gay legislation already in effect there. Hopefully Gachara and the other filmmakers will not face condemnation for the movie, which was critically-acclaimed by news outlets like Indiewire:

Thankfully, this isn’t a movie about “Africa’s homophobia problem” that we’ve seen before. This is a beautiful little film about love, about humanity, about one of the many facets of what it means to be African.

Watch an interview with Gachara, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Pat Robertson Warns Viewer Traveling to Kenya: 'You've Got to Be Careful, the Towels Could Have AIDS' - VIDEO

Robertson

Televangelist Pat Robertson, who in the past has warned viewers about gays wearing special rings to cut people and intentionally spread AIDS, has a new b.s. health warning for any viewer who might be traveling to Africa.

"You might get AIDS in Kenya, the people have AIDS, you've got to be careful, the towels can have AIDS."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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