As people across America and beyond continue to mourn last Sunday’s horrific mass shooting in Orlando, in other parts of the world, human beings are still being punished legally because of their sexual orientation.
In Kenya, as in many African countries, acts of homosexuality are against the law. On Thursday, a judge in Mombasa denied a petition calling for forced anal examinations on men accused of committing sex acts with each other to cease.
To the shock of Kenyan human rights supporters, Judge Mathew Emukule stated, “I find no violation of human dignity, right to privacy and right to freedom of the petitioners.”
The petition was initiated by two men who’d experienced the degrading examinations—which also included HIV and hepatitis B testing—when they were charged for suspected homosexual activity. The men could be imprisoned for up to 14 years.
Of the more than 70 countries worldwide with laws forbidding same sex activity, over 30 of the countries are in Africa. No countries in Europe have laws against same-sex unions, while Iran and Saudi Arabia have laws enforcing the death penalty for homosexuality.
President Barack Obama continues to champion for the rights of LGBT people, proclaiming June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. In an excerpt from Obama’s press release on May 31, 2016, he stated, “Our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts—that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character.”
Author: Lynn Shattuck
Editor: Catherine Monkman; Khara-Jade Warren