The commemoration of the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Tran’s phobia, on May 17 each year, is an opportunity to reflect on the impact of violence and discrimination against LGBTI people in our society and to take concrete steps to ensure that all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, are treated with equality.
IDAHO’s theme this year is Families, an exhortation to think about the role our families and friends play in promoting LGBTI equality. In Kenya, we lament that families and friends remain some of the most violent towards their LGBTI siblings, parents, grandparents, and friends. LGBTI persons experience exclusion from their loved ones, withdrawal of financial and other support, as well as other forms of violence and discrimination, because of whom they are or who they love. In addition, families composed of LGBTI parents and guardians continue to face hurdles not otherwise experienced by non-LGBTI families including the lack of recognition of relationships, deprivation and prohibition of adoptions by LGBTI persons, as well as lack of services such as appropriate health insurance, life insurance, and family laws.
However, families and friends continue to be important stakeholders in the march for LGBTI equality in Kenya. Today, we honour those who have accepted their LGBTI loved ones regardless of who they are or who they love. We urge all Kenyans to practice tolerance, respect, and openness towards all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission continues to urge the Government of Kenya to create laws and policies that address violence and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. Key among these law reforms includes the repeal of laws criminalising consensual, adult, and private sexual conduct between persons of the same sex, the prohibition of violence and discrimination on grounds of SOGIE, the legal recognition of transgender and intersex persons, as well as provisions which outlaw adoptions by lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.