“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”, Coretta Scott King (widow to the late Martin Luther King Jr., during The Annual Conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, 2000)
Obsolete and backward articles in some laws that still exist since way back need to be revised in order to promptly trash the homophobic culture that is gaining root in our society. Such law as the Offences against Persons Act of 1861 of London that was passed in 1930 creates a basis for unfair punishment and profiling of the LGBTQ+ society at large, leading to widespread homophobic tendencies across the citizens. This is also fueled by utterances of some public figures, which only functions to breed spite against the general LGBTQ+ society.
Article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, in its entirety, grants fundamental freedom to each citizen with specific disregard to any type of discrimination under any situations. Indirectly phrasing it also paints the picture of protection from any disadvantage suffered as an individual or as a group on the basis of profiling. Subsequently, article 28 grants the respect of dignity to every citizen, which on the contrary has not been forthcoming. The Penal Code of Kenya in section 162 (a) & (c) and 165 criminalize private consensual sexual conduct between two adults of the same sex. Apart from intruding into privacy and dignity of Kenyans, vital rights are equally denied by this kind of profiling, among them being health, which is crucial to human survival.
These backward laws have had a growing number of Charity Based, Not for Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations come up to fight for their rights. Often, they have been misconceived to recruit people into the LGBTQ+ circles, to promote sexual acts with minors and in public, and to promote non-consensual sex, which has never been the case. LGBTQ+ rights, just like any other human rights, are encapsulated in ‘we are all born equal and free in rights and in dignity’, and they need to be accorded the same respect as any other human rights. Additionally, adult consent should be regarded as ‘important’ especially in relationships. Having laws coming in between relationships is an open way to disrespect individual dignity and privacy.
Gender identity and sexual orientation remain crucial in the fight to inclusivity in human rights, and the struggle to achieve these rights is incomplete whilst fighting for a fraction of them, but at the same time, turning our backs to equally important human rights. The homophobic culture should be stamped out by awareness through value clarification and through attitude transformation, such that no individual is segregated and profiled because they love differently.