Monthly Archive November 2018



It was in February 2012 when I received a text from Peter, my longtime friend from childhood and volunteering partner at a local NGO- “I honestly don’t know why I even told my parents I’m gay even though I live in one of the most homophobic countries in the world,” he said.


” I was literally kicked out the house and my Dad threatened to kill me if I ever go back home.

Now I’m at a friend’s place. I told him and his family that my parents are on vacation and I’d have to crash at their place for a few days. I can’t stay at my friends place forever. And honestly, I don’t know what to do. I Just want to kill myself. I honestly have no clue what to do. No friends that I can to talk to about this. I can’t go to my relatives because my parents must have told them about me being gay. I can’t believe one mistake has caused this – I am so done.”

Reading this text broke my heart and I texted him back “Please don’t give up! Let me call you in a few we talk.”


In the process, I contacted my networks in the LGBTI Field and within no time, an American, who was doing a research on MSM health within Kisumu, reached out and offered to sponsor him.


He promised to connect him with people that could get Peter out of Kenya.

“I know you’re hurt and upset and in shock– you have been betrayed by the people who should love and accept you,” he told him through a mail.


“I know you feel suicidal– those feelings are natural. But they’re not permanent (I’ve also survived a suicide attempt, and much betrayal at the hands of my family). Please don’t give up!! try to carry on as much as you can – and help your friend’s family with chores and be useful. Show them your gratitude. If you decide you are ready to leave Kenya, I would gladly sponsor you and you may live with me here in the US. I’d expect you to finish your schooling, and I would be happy to mentor you for college or whatever you want to do as a career. Feel free to contact me. You have options. There are many here will support you with a few dollars, friendship, and good counsel. Hang in there!!”


The two emailed several times.

Peters friends’ parents demanded to know why he wasn’t on vacation. Fearing his parents would tell them what happened, he gave them an incorrect number. Because they were ‘uncomfortable’ with him staying with them, he knew he couldn’t stay there for long.


For some time, I thought Peter was on a good path until Hurther ( US Contact guy) contacted me to inquire if Peter was OK.


“The last message I heard from him was that his mother was helping him find his passport. His father had already come looking for him and it was clear they intended on doing something harmful to him. This young man is afraid and I hope that he is out of the danger now and contacts me soon.” Said Hurther. I tried reaching him too but to no avail. It like he had gone into hiding.

Two weeks later, Peters sister wrote on Facebook that “It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that Peter has decided to take his own life.” he said.

“His body was found lifeless in his friend’s house along with a letter written as follows:

 “I’d like to thank all those have reached out to this past few weeks for your support and care. It has not been easy for me. As much as I would like to believe there is hope at the end of the tunnel, nothing can replace the rejection from family. I know I have let many people down, but it’s the only way I can truly find peace. Thank you all and may peace be with you.”


I was shocked, couldn’t respond but let my tears flow freely. I attended Peters funeral two weeks later and was more shocked to hear the Dad give a speech on why he doesn’t understand what could make his son take away his own life.

I felt like jumping on him with kicks and blows. I simply stood and left the function without a second thought. I miss my friend, I wish I did more to save his life, maybe he could still be here! May God have mercy on his soul to rest in peace till we meet again.


Douglas Otieno Owila,

Public Health Officer and Human Rights Activist.


For blogs/articles submissions Email


Ending GBV Starts With Me: #16DaysOfACtivism

A few days after coming out and declaring her lesbian stand, Cynthia, 24, became a target for threats, constant ridicule and unwarranted jokes in her workplace and she sunk into near depression, as such, her productivity was compromised due to the continued taunting by some of her workmates. The nearest help that she could access was a counselor.  Her partner, who happens to be within the same workspace, was also not spared from the unwelcomed comments by some male colleagues, who occasionally subjected her to the agony of inappropriate physical contact which adds up to sexual assault. Once in a while, they got teased and would also be asked for sexual favors, making the workplace a humiliating and hostile environment.


Cynthia is not alone. A number of employees are subjects of gender-based violence including sexual harassment that is meted out regularly. In general, gender-based violence is a description of abuse of gender status for purposes of manipulation, or for selfish gains, and that it can result to physical, psychological, or sexual harm. The inclusion in this consists:


  1.  Sexual violence and harassment such as groping.

  2.  Psychological/ emotional violence, such as intimidation.

  3.  Cyber-bullying in the case of online platforms.

  4.  Financial and structural abuse.

  5.  Blackmail for monetary gain or for specific favors, including sexual favors.


 As society continues to battle with the traditional cisgender violence, testimonies have recently streamed in especially on social media with the #MeToo tag. The LGBTQ community continues to be a major victim of the heinous acts, being affected directly and indirectly, with the main foundation for this abuse of human rights being the stigma that still surrounds the entirety of the community. However, many times such instances go unreported because of various reasons, such as employers trying to maintain their brand images, reputations, and so on. This only covers up for the growth of the vice without mitigating for its ending.


An overview of statistics shows that women are at a 20% higher risk than men in facing gender-based violence and as such,  translates to a much higher figure for bisexual women. People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are thrice more likely to face gender-based violence than heterosexuals. The dangers of this is that the effects may go all through an individual’s life as physical, psychological (depression, anxiety) flaws, and sometimes may lead to drug and substance abuse, isolation, and worst case scenarios recorded suicide.



The #16DaysofActivism, started on the 25th November, is a campaign to create awareness of the existence of this vice, and to involve stakeholders and individuals in the war against gender-based violence, specific to the workplace. This violence, under The Human Rights Watch, is described as ‘Abuse of Human Rights’, and even though no international treaty or document provides for this by now, we need an overhaul in attitude and values in order to be able to win the fight. Be willing to speak out, and be willing to be involved in stamping out violence at the work-place.








What’s next for Queer in Tanzania?

Many things happen when the government stays silent about what queer persons are undergoing in African countries and it continues to put the lives of LGBTI people at risk.


The LGBT community in Tanzania has actively experienced repeated waves of repression since 2016. There was a time the Tanzania government banned non-governmental organisations from distributing free lubricants to gay people as part of SRHR, a move most people didn’t understand the essence of.


There was also a raid around last year where around 12 men were arrested in Dar es Salaam in a hotel meeting that the government said was promoting homosexuality.


Amnesty International also reported that the men who were arrested recently were suspected of conducting a gay marriage because authorities found them sitting in pairs that is “two by two”.


What is more shocking is that the mere act of sitting together as men warranted an arrest from a government that is extremely homophobic and repressive in nature. The authorities didn’t have any tangible proof that these men were engaging in acts that were against the “order of nature” yet they were arrested on mere speculations.


What makes this even more outrageous is that the conviction for having “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” can lead to 30 years or more in jail in Tanzania and these men would have been jailed for 30 years plus due to mere speculations.


Last week, the regional governor of Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, stated that he was seeking to identify and arrest people he believed to be gay.


He said that he was forming a task force to identify, track down, and arrest gay people in Dar es Salaam. Makonda also encouraged citizens to report on those they believed to be gay, and said officials had received more than 5,000 calls or messages so far, naming about 100 individuals.


Fear was the main mood in Dar es Salaam as many people went into hiding to avoid arrest, with some moving to different areas so as to be safe.


On Sunday, national authorities issued a statement which neither condemned the crackdown nor condone Makonda’s move.


 “The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to clarify that these are [Makonda’s] personal views and not the position of the government,” the foreign affairs ministry said in an official statement.


They added that the government would “continue to respect all international human rights conventions which it subscribes to”.


There were reports of a prevalent sense of calm since the government announcement as it’s believed that the government bowed down to pressure from international groups like European Union and United States of America warning the Tanzania government of fire consequences if they continued to remain silent.  


However, there have still been reports of physical attacks on homosexuals although not documented.


The anti-LGBT crackdown in Tanzania is part of a bigger, more alarming pattern that has had Tanzania recently witnessing an increasingly aggressive targeting of gay people under President John Magufuli, who was elected in 2015, activists told RTE, an Irish outlet.


President Magufuli said last year that “even cows” should condemn homosexuality and openly threatened to deport or arrest gay rights activists in the country.


Makonda has been among the most vocal anti-LGBT leaders in the country. He has used harsh anti-LGBT rhetoric in the past and promised clampdowns against the gay community, including, threatening to arrest people who were connected to gay men through social networks like Facebook and groups.


Tanzania as a country also still have some archaic laws like the anti-sodomy laws although homosexuality itself is not criminalized like it is Kenya, Uganda or Nigeria.


Also, Tanzania’s policies weren’t as repressive as those in other countries in the region, although it has in recent years, moved toward more persecution of gay persons.


This latest crackdown in Dar es Salaam in addition to Makonda’s statements is an indication of an increasingly unfriendly climate for queer persons in Tanzania and the many ways the government is aiding it.


The question is, what is next for queer persons in Tanzania and East Africa as a whole? 


Nyar Afrika  


My Queer Story : E01


I have been queer since I was little.

Cliché as it sounds. I have always looked at girls as if I were a boy. So, from the beginning, I always knew I was not straight.


I identified as a lesbian for a while until I was around 14 when I had my first male crush. I couldn’t understand myself because how could I like both genders. By then bisexuality was code for experimentation, and I knew that you were either gay or straight. No in between.


High school was crazy because I was more religious than I was honest with myself. So, I kept my crushes hidden and secret to myself.

However, in campus, I fell in love with my best friend and to this day it hurts me how vigorously straight she is. Sigh…

but I guess I couldn’t make her as happy as she would like to be. I am a lesbian virgin. Well, except for the time I got sexually exploited by a family member when I was 7 years old.


I have never had the courage to officially ask a girl out. My religious conscience always bashes me whenever I oogle at a “fine ass” or fantasize of a gay wedding. Sometimes I wish I could get the courage to be comfortable with who I am, and maybe I could be genuinely happy.


When I think of all the opportunities, I missed because of my double-mindedness I get so frustrated. Oh, I mentioned boys. Well, I came to the conclusion that I must be pansexual because apart from men and women, I have had a crush on a transitioning womxn and a gay guy. Or maybe I am just greedy. Whichever way, I do not see the body as much as I see the character, behavior and general aura of a person.

I wouldn’t mind ending up with anyone regardless of their label but I think females have always had a golden spot in my heart. As for my label, my thoughts are a hundred percent male. My body is as female as they get. Sometimes I enjoy having boobs. Other than that, I think I prefer the pronoun they. Because it all depends on how I woke up.



I hope I end up as happy as Asanda Mqiki and her Partner. 



For Queer Stories Email:


LGBT Crackdown in Dar Es-Salaam, Tanzania, a gross violation of Human Rights:

A few days after Paul Makonda, the Regional Governor of Tanzania’s largest City, Dar Es Salaam, announced that he seeks to identify and arrest gay citizens and their affiliates using a taskforce, human rights bodies and public outcry have made it very open that the crackdown is a gross violation of Human Rights besides contradicting the Country’s motto, “Freedom and Unity”, infringing on the rights of the LGBT community at large.


The Governor’s homophobic remarks based on obsolete laws have sent many into hiding after he requested for reports naming the affected persons, backed by previous remarks by the Tourism Minister, who warned that the country will not allow any gay tourists into the country, and that should any make their way there, they shall be deported back to their original countries, 2 years after the same administrator rounded up commercial sex workers and gay men, and performed forced anal exams on them. According to James Wandera who is the founder of LGBT Voice, Tanzania, a state of fear reigns in the City as many have gone into hiding and relocation for fear of arrest, forced anal tests and physical attacks.


Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, (UDHR), all humans are born FREE and EQUAL in RIGHTS and DIGNITY, and article 2 addresses freedom from discrimination supported by articles 3 (right to life, liberty and personal security), 5 (freedom from torture and degrading treatment), 6 and 7 (recognition as a person and equality before the law). Denial of these fundamental rights under any conditions is denial of human rights, which are also connected to other key rights such as health. This crackdown also possibly leads to forced anal tests, violating key human rights which the according to the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say, can amount to torture, adding up as a gross violation of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In the wake of this primitive crackdown, the European Union, EU, recalled the ambassador to Tanzania, citing deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation, and some sources claimed that it will “be conducting a broad review of its relations with Tanzania”.


In the words of Coretta Scott King (wife of slain activist, Martin Luther King Jr.) during the annual Conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, 2000, “Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from any racial, religious, gender or ethnic discrimination”.

The role of leaders, more-so nationally, should be to uphold and to protect laws beyond respecting them first, for the best of the citizens and not to shatter them and spread discrimination, fear and inflammatory messages. Equally, for a country with struggling health indicators, funds spent on such divergent programs should instead be channeled to be of the betterment of the nation instead of divisive sideshows.


For Submissions Email:


Train Midwives and Birth Attendants on Intersex Persons

Have you ever wondered what could be happening to intersex children being born in the rural parts of Kenya? I have asked myself this question severally and its time we talked about it. Am afraid we could be having silent murder of infant intersex persons going on in Kenya. Why do I say so? Our communities are not empowered enough to accept intersex persons as normal human beings but as taboos. A situation where a birth attendant or midwife in the villages assists a mother to deliver and see’s a child with two sexual organs, without prior knowledge of the same, I can only imagine the shock, panic and fear.

Related image

How does he/she answer the curious question of “Is it a boy or a girl?” to both the mother, father and community who could be waiting outside the delivery room? This could be a turning point for the child who is innocent. With the high cultural discrimination on intersex persons and LGBTI in general, my fear is as good as yours.



Six years ago, a midwife in Kenya delivered a child with male and female sexual organs. The father told her to kill it, but instead she hid it and raised it as her own. Two years later, the same thing happened again – and before long she was forced to flee to save the children’s lives.


Zainab was used to delivering babies. As a traditional birth attendant in rural western Kenya, she’d delivered dozens over the years. But none like the one in front of her now.


It had been a tricky birth, but nothing Zainab couldn’t handle. The umbilical cord had got twisted around the baby’s head and she’d had to think quickly, using a wooden spoon to untangle it.


After clearing the baby’s airway, she washed the child and cut and tied the umbilical cord. It was then that Zainab saw something she’d never seen before.


“When I looked to see if it was a boy or a girl, I saw two things protruding – this baby had male and female parts,” she says.


Instead of saying what she usually said at this point – “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” – Zainab handed the baby to its mother and simply told her, “Here is your baby.”


When the exhausted mother saw that her child’s sex was unclear, she was stunned. But when her husband arrived, he was in no doubt about what should happen next.


“He told me, ‘We can’t take this baby home. We want this baby to be killed.’ I told him that the child was God’s creation and must not be killed. But he insisted. So eventually I told him, ‘Leave the baby with me, I’ll kill it for you.’ But I did not kill the baby. I kept it.”


The father came back several times to check that Zainab had done what she’d promised. She hid the baby and insisted she had killed it. But this would not work forever.


“A year later, the parents somehow heard that their baby was alive and came to see me,” Zainab says. “They told me I must never reveal that the baby was theirs. I agreed and since then I’ve been raising the child as my own.”


It was an extraordinary – and risky – choice.


In Zainab’s community, and in many others in Kenya, an intersex baby is seen as a bad omen, bringing a curse upon its family and neighbours. By adopting the child, Zainab flouted traditional beliefs and risked being blamed for any misfortune.


That was in 2012. But two years later Zainab was amazed to deliver a second intersex baby.


“This time, the parents didn’t ask me to kill the child. The mother was alone and she just fled and left me with the baby,” Zainab says.


Once again, she took the baby into her home and raised it as part of her family. But her husband – a fisherman on Lake Victoria – was not happy.


“When he went out to the lake to fish and had a bad catch, he blamed the children,” says Zainab.


“He said it was because they had brought a curse on us. He suggested I hand the children over to him so he could drown them in the lake. But I refused. I told him I would never allow that to happen. He became violent and we started fighting all the time.”


Zainab became so worried by her husband’s behaviour that she decided to leave him and take the children with her.


“It was a difficult choice for me because financially I had a comfortable life with my husband and we had grown-up children together and even grandchildren. But you can’t live in such an environment – with threats and fighting. I was forced to flee.”


If an intersex baby was born, automatically it is seen as a curse and that baby is not allowed to live. It is expected that the traditional birth attendant kills the child and tell the mother her baby is stillborn.


In the Luo culture, there is even a euphemism for how the baby is killed. Traditional birth attendants say that they had “broken the sweet potato”. This means they had used a hard-sweet potato to damage the baby’s delicate skull.


For Zainab’s adoptive children, such decisions are a long way off. They are healthy and happy and when she talks about them her face lights up. She’s visibly proud of them and the new life she’s built for herself. She still delivers babies when she’s needed, but makes her living mostly by buying and selling clothes and sandals.


“We all eat well and I can see that they are normal children. We talk, the older one helps with the household chores and my son thinks of them both as his siblings. They are all my family. It’s a miracle from God.”


When asked if she’s ever regretted her decision, Zainab laughs as if it’s a ridiculous question. “Should I throw them out? No, I’m their mum! They’re human beings and I have to take care of God’s creation.”


Her take is that the midwives and birth attendants should be trained on comprehensive sexuality to ensure they are well equipped to not only handle such sensitive birth cases but be agents of intersex human rights issues within the community.


Douglas Otieno Owila

Public Health Officer and Human Rights Activist



32- year old Mike (not his real name) from Siaya County has been sexually attracted to men all his life. Mike says he realized he was different in primary school when men would make him blush.
‘I always wondered what was wrong with me because during my adolescent stage, unlike my peers I always found myself wanting to get closer to boys unlike girls.’


Mike who is currently married to a woman and has two children says he married because it was the right thing to do and it is what society expected him to do.
‘I am still attracted to men but I will just stay with my wife because she has a clean heart. I don’t want people judging me.’




Mike describes his love for men as a best-kept secret. It’s something I would never tell anyone, ‘I just opened up to you because I have seen your stories and I trust you will keep my secret’.
He says his father died without knowing he was attracted to men and it is not something he is willing to open up to his mother about.


In order to run away from reality, Mike confesses that he was involved in very many relationships. He thought he would find that one woman who would take away his sexual attraction to men.
‘I must confess I broke very many hearts back in the day.’
He says he has also dated men in the past but in secret. He informs me that most of his relationships with male counterparts were with married men.


His fashion sense is perfectly fitting clothes. He has an eye for fashion, something which he attributes to his need to look good at all times. Despite being married he still has the urge to dress and look good for men. ‘There is something about men giving you ‘the look;’ you are a lady you know it.’ He laughs jokingly.


Mike explains that he has gone through his fair share of challenges. “Imagine kupenda mtu na huwezi kaa na yeye” (loosely translated to “imagine loving someone and not being able to be with them).
He describes his relationship with his wife as the right thing to do. I intrude a little bit and inquire whether he loves his wife or not something which he shyly evades.
He says he would never comment on that, though this makes me more curious as to whether the wife is aware that he is attracted to men.


‘While growing up I loved wearing my sister’s dresses and playing with girls, but it never occurred to me that it was because I felt feminism inside.”


I enquired whether he was part of a support group for men attracted to men and he quickly shot down the idea.’Hata siwezi enda place kama hiyo,hii ni siaya nitakuwa judged plus I have a family.’
He said he has had sexual relationships with men in the past but all have been a secret.


The trained lab technician says he discovered he was sexually attracted to men way before people started having what he describes as “gay conversations” in this country.
The youthful family man says the thought of something being wrong with him made him slip into depression and even caused him to contemplate suicide at some point.




He turned to the internet for knowledge to try and understand his attraction for men and later found out that there were many more like him. According to him this gave him reprieve.


By Aluoch Oito


VACANCY ADVERTISEMENT FOR A VOLUNTEER-Finance and Administration Officer

Job Title: Finance and Administration Officer
Reports To: Chief Creatives Officer.
Location: Kisumu.
Position: 1
Terms: 1 year


Kisumu Peer Educators (KISPED) was formed in the year 2006, with its mandate to promote fundamental human rights value of Sexual and Gender Minority persons through Arts, Media and Sports.
This position involves daily management of project finances and administration duties. It also entails adherence to donor reporting guidelines and standards and as per the Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles.


1. Maintain cashbooks and account records
2. Make payments, including payment vouchers
3. Receive cash, including preparing receipt vouchers
4. Prepare month end cashbook
5. Maintain monthly bank reconciliation statements for all accounts
6. Prepare monthly payroll and stipends
7. Maintain staff attendance every month
8. In coordination with Chief Creatives Officer, ensure all staff records updated and well kept.
9. Oversee all administrative filing and records
10. Ensure petty cash documents are well updated and the float is maintained.
11. Make note of exchange gains or loss in donor foreign currency
12. Ensure all the organization’s bills are settled in time
13. Conduct procurement activities as per the office requirements in line with the procurement policy.
14. Produce monthly and quarterly financial reports and share with the Chief Creatives Officer for decision making.
15. In charge and organize staffs meetings


1. A Degree/Diploma in Business related field especially Finance, Accounting, Administration or any other related field.
2. At least 2 years’ experience in an NGO set up
3. Must have a background accounting software’s
4. Must have a background in computer packages especially in excel, Access, MS Word etc.
5. Good team work, communication and inter personal skills.
6. Has experience in working in a human rights organization especially in sexual and Gender minority organizations.
7. Ability to work independently as well as in teams and meets deadline with little supervision.
8. Understand or have knowledge on donor reporting standards


All applications must be sent electronically to the email address;
by 19th November, 2018: the email should include the following
1. A cover letter detailing current work, experience, qualifications and expected remuneration.
2. An updated CV
3. Names and contacts of at least 3 professional referees
4. Copies of academic certificates
NB: KISPED is an equal opportunity employer irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, HIV Status or physical capacities. Person who identify as LGBTI are encouraged to apply.



Kisumu Peer Educators (KISPED) is looking for a qualified person to fill the below position

Job Title: Program Officer
Reports To: Chief Creatives Officer.
Location: Kisumu.
Position: 1
Terms: 1 year (Renewable)


Kisumu Peer Educators (KISPED) was formed in the year 2006, with its mandate to promote fundamental human rights value of Sexual and Gender Minority persons through Arts, Media and sports.
The Position entails coordinating and implementing Projects on Media, Arts and Sports within the organization. The officer in charge will be reporting to Chief Creative Officer and the implementation will be in realignment with the Organization policies.


  • Ensure day to day researching of relevant content on issues of LGBTIQ; through interviews and conversations with affected community members.
  • Scripting; Ensure production of quality and inspiring scripts on relevant content affecting the LGBTIQ society on a monthly basis.
  •  Supervising artists and art works; ensure artistic performance and creativities are within the work plans and are adhered to.
  • Ensure proper records of the artistic volunteers are properly filed and kept for reference.
  •  Ensure production of quality plays through proper and through performances and frequent practice of the artistic volunteers.
  •  To ensure proper media (both video and studio/podcast) documentation in place in accordance to the current work plans.
  • Ensure all the media productions are forwarded to the chief creative officer for proper storage.
  • Coordinate with the sustainability officer and ensure that the prospected leads are executed end to end.
  •  Coordinate with accountant when selecting the right venue with the target audience for booking and equipment needed for the activity.
  •  Ensure quality reports are prepared in time after every activity and submitted to the supervisor for filing.
  •  Ensure coordination with local and mainstream media.
  • Will be in charge of studio and Production of podcast, documentaries, Audio productions, Photo Galleries and development of documentation consent note before production.


1. A Degree/Diploma in Media/Public Relations field especially project management or any other related field.
2. At least 2 years’ experience in an NGO set up.
3. Must have a background in Performing Art and Media Advocacy.
4. Ability to communicate with people at all levels
5. Good team work, communication and inter personal skills.
6. Has experience in working in a human rights organization especially in sexual and Gender minority organizations.
7. Ability to work independently as well as in teams and meets deadline.
8. Understand or have knowledge on donor reporting standards.


All applications must be sent electronically to the email address;
By 19th November, 2018: the email should include the following
1. A cover letter detailing current work, experience, qualifications and expected remuneration.
2. An updated CV
3. Names and contacts of at least 3 professional referees
4. Copies of academic certificates
NB: KISPED is an equal opportunity employer irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, HIV Status or physical capacities. Person who identify as LGBTI are encouraged to apply.