In the last decade, fearless Kenya LGBT activists have made notable progress in fighting for recognition of rights for queer people living and working in Kenya. Progress has been mainly due to court victories made by groups and organisations fighting for human rights in Kenya. As a result, Kenyan LGBT activists have been permitted to officially register several organisations that will help fight for their rights.
Kenya Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals currently have many organisations and groups, some of which are for social support while others are political. The following are some of the organisations that are fighting for social justice and rights for Kenya LGBT individuals.
1. National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC)
Established in 2012, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) are a Kenya LGBT human rights body working independently for constitutional reforms, equality and full inclusion of minority groups such as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people living in Kenya.
The organisation has fought many cases of abuse against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexuals (LGBT) in Kenya’s courts – this the current fight to have gay sex and same-sex marriage decriminalised
2. Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK)
GALCK is an Umbrella body based in Kenya for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexuals (LGBT) organisations.
The organisation was established in 2006. It initially started with only four membership organisations and later increased its membership to 6 in 2008.
The body later added more organisations to its membership from 6 to 14 and 16 in 2012 and 2014, representing LGBT voices across the country.
In 2013, GALCK initiated a devolution process. This was done to decentralise its operations and programming beyond the body’s headquarters in Nairobi. It was also a way of responding to the need to identify and address grassroots needs and concerns across the regions, raised in 2012.
3. Gay Kenya Trust (GKT)
This is a human rights & media advocacy organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people living in Kenya. The institution has been working for fundamental fairness & equality for everyone, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people living and working in Kenya.
This is an organisation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) makers, thinkers, and believers living and working in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi.
The Nest Collective organisation was established in 2012. It has since created works in fashion, film, visual arts, music, and literature. An example of the organisation’s creation is a critically-acclaimed queer collection of film Stories of Our Lives. The documentary has received immense support. It has now been screened in more than 80 countries and won several awards.
Notable Wins for Kenya LGBT Organisations
Several notable wins can be attributed to the above Kenya LGBT organisations. They include;
i. Kenyan court finds that the failure by a government agency to register a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights NGO
In 2015, a Kenyan court ruled that the failure by a national registration agency to register a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights NGO, based on the argument that same-sex is criminalised in Kenya, was not constitutional. The agency involved in the case was then ordered to register the NGO, in what is a major legal victory in Kenya and the continent.
ii. Stopping the forced anal examination of LGBT Kenyan men
In 2018, a five-judge bench in a Kenyan Court of Appeal ruled that the forced anal examination of individuals suspected to be gay was not constitutional. The ruling was due to two men who were arrested and underwent a forced anal examination after they were suspected of being gay.
The National Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission (NGLHRC), a Kenya LGBT organisation, represented the two men in court and made the court rule in favour of human dignity and international law.
Although Kenya is still far behind in recognising lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, the rise of strong LGBT groups and organisations has laid a strong foundation in the human rights cause. The existing Kenya LGBT organisations have helped raise visibility and shifted the media and public opinion favouring LGBT rights with notable progress.
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