In trying to imagine a Kenyan pride, I asked on Twitter and Instagram, what pride means to you, how you are celebrating it and your favourite thing about the Kenyan queer community, if there is. The answers I received are below, in italics.
I don’t think in Kenya I can personally celebrate it because I am not out on social media or to my immediate family. Just a few friends and my brothers know that I like women. Pride to me however means we are here and we are here to stay and we are a growing community. My favorite thing about the queer community is that people are doing great things for especially the lesbian community spaces like Because womenx which is hosted by NGLHRC gives queer women support and a space to interact with their own. They may be a bit too ratchet for my liking but when I was a baby queer a few years back, I had somewhere I felt safe.
I see you. I know it feels sometimes like you are creeping through life. Living more lives than you can care to count, hiding the truth you clutch dearly to your heart. Like you have a new personality and life to share with the different people you meet. I know that you have to bite down stories you want to share because you would be saying too much to people who don’t want to hear, or people who won’t accept it. I know you are constantly looking over your shoulder, holding hands under the table. Not wanting to attract the attention of the wrong person. Holding up a façade hoping no one will look too closely. To closely to see the truth you are so careful to hide. It is okay you know. I know sometimes the people who are out can be very vocal in their condescension for people who aren’t out. And it’s a constant battle between wanting to be safe and wanting to be accepted by your community. It is okay. It’s not a race. Take your time. This is your journey. Coming out is not necessary, safety is. And until you get to the point where you feel completely safe, it’s okay to stay where you are.
Pride to me means being free and experiencing the freedom of being who I am. I’m a believer of pride being every day and not one month in a year. We celebrate the diversity in the LGBTQIA persons and call for the need for equal rights and opportunities to all of us. Pride is the one time you get to love yourself for who you truly are, embrace the person you are and feel comfortable in your own skin because queers are so damn gorge! My favorite thing about the Kenyan queer community is the love we have for each other and the support we give one another because we know we are the minority and there’s need for the community to grow with love and togetherness and the fact that queers are gorgeous.. I say this every time!! I would love to live in a place or society where I am not judged based on who I love and who I choose to have sex with and I’m accepted because my sexual orientation doesn’t change the person I am and the qualities I have. I hate the fact that once one identifies as queer or is outed where they work,they end up losing their job or mistreated. I mean, they were the perfect guys for the job before you knew they were queer. Also I just want to be laid up with my girl and hold hands anywhere and everywhere and not get stares from people.
And still we dream. Of a day when we can love truly and freely. When fellow human beings won’t feel the need to police the private and personal choices of others. When love your neighbor will not come with limitations. And human rights for all will truly mean all.
Pride to me is being proud of me being queer.so basically I went out with some of my queer friends and had our fun. Also attended an event at Eldoret that was all about queer people we discussed some issues like how not to let society define you, how to deal with the stress and rejection that society (friends and family) serves us with when they discover we are queer, when to come out to our parents about our queerness etc..it was helpful and mind opening I loved that session….
I love that the Kenyan queer society are embracing each other and giving support where needed…(like a friend of mine got disowned by her parents when they discovered that she was queer and an LGBT rescue centre came to her help and now she has a place to call home. Though society still has a long way to go about embracing us at least we got each other❤
We are not sitting and waiting for the world to give us its approval. We are living and we are loving and we are not ashamed. I am happy that we have each other. That among strangers, I have found my family. I am proud of us. I am proud of the love we have for each other. I am proud to call you my family.