Kenya is a country where homosexuality is heavily stigmatized. According to international polls, more than 80 percent of Kenyans oppose acceptance for homosexual relations, and more than 90 percent oppose same-sex marriage. There are harsh penalties prescribed by law, insults like “mashoga” are tossed about, and violence – and even death – are serious possibilities. In the US, parents of gays played a major role in societal acceptance. Kenyan mother Mary Mumbi tells the story of how she came to terms with her daughter’s sexuality and has come to provide emotional support for other gays, to connect with the gay rights movement, and to speak out to family and associates – even in church – about accepting and respecting gay people. She says gays were created by God, and that people who insult them may well have closeted gays in their own families.
The Women’s International News Gathering Service (WINGS) has been covering the global women’s movement and related issues for community radio since 1986. WINGS may be contacted at [email protected].