Different Global Experiences of LGBT Pride

Section 162: « Any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature »

Section 163: « Any person who attempts to commit any of the offenses specified in section 162 is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years »

Section 165: « Any male person who... commits any act of gross indecency with another male ... is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years »

— Constitution of Kenya (2010)

New York City:

I've never worn so many bright colors and rainbows in my life. It is June 30th, 2019, and my friends, boyfriend John, and I went to our first Pride today in NYC!

At first, I was not too sure what to expect: would it be a full-on dance party, people just marching, or a mix of both? Would John and I be stared at when holding hands, or would no one bat an eye? Would I actually fit in, or would I be under or over-dressed? Thèse questions dominated my mind as we made our way to the parade.

All of these worries disappeared when we arrived, as I saw everyone around wearing rainbows, angel costumes, or little-to-no costumes at all. Everyone was so supportive, and there were many LGBT couples as well, not only demonstrating PDA, but also not being afraid to show who they really are. I became further overwhelmed as I saw the crowds of LGBT people from different companies, offices, and politicians marching in the parade. I also got a lot of free stuff from Pride too!

The best parts were me feeling safe holding John's hand in public for the first time and seeing young children enthusiastically participating in the parade.

Nairobi, Kenya:

It is June 30th, 2019 and I am still in shock. In late May 2019, the Kenyan High Court in Nairobi upheld the criminalization of same-sex relations in Kenya. One of the judge's reasons was that Kenya needs to make its own laws that reflect its own culture (Burke). They also stated people like me are not « born this way », as there is no scientific proof of such, and that the law does not discriminate against people in regards to the Constitution (Burke).

When I heard this while in the Courtroom, I ran outside and wept heavily on the steps of the Court.

Did you know that since 2014, there have been 1,500 cases of Hate Crimes involving LGBT Kenyans, and that, according to a 2013 survey, 90% of Kenyans don't think society should accept same-sex relations (Burke)?

With people forced to go into hiding in Tanzania due to similar laws, I am very much afraid and don't know what to do.

I only hope the next generation can help us.

Gaborone, Botswana:

I have never been more excited and appreciative about today! This is because Botswana's High Court decriminalized same-sex relations earlier this month! This finally allows me to feel safer in my own country.

Justice Leberu said the discriminatory law detriments LGBT people and society as well (Fox). Under the former colonial law « carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature » resulted in a max 7-year prison sentence (Fox).

From what I remember, I screamed and cried tears of joy when hearing the verdict in the courtroom. I'm so happy!

However, we must continue to advocate for LGBT rights in Botswana. For example, by encouraging youth to stand up against homophobic family members, we can help create a better social acceptance in society.




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