Kenya’s anti-gay laws are leaving LGBT community at the mercy of the mob
By Jonathan Cooper
October 8, 2015
There have been at least six incidents of mob violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Kenya since 2008, Human Rights Watch and fellow rights organisation Pema Kenya revealed recently. The local police failed to investigate any of them.
Sadly, this is unsurprising. It is the foreseeable and tragic consequence of laws that criminalise people on the basis of their sexuality and gender identity.
In Kenya, consenting adults can face up to 14 years in prison for having same-sex relations. They can be imprisoned for up to seven years for merely attempting to have such sexual relations, and up to five years for committing “gross indecency” – a vague offence that is frequently levelled at LGBT people. Men who are suspected of being gay can be forced to undergo invasive anal testing in the erroneous belief that the procedure can determine their sexual orientation. These statutes brand LGBT people as undeserving of empathy, dignity or the protection of the law.
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