Founded by six young legal advocates, The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) announced its foundation at its inaugural Gay and Lesbian Awards in December 2012. Held in Nairobi’s City Hall, the Awards affirmed the Kenyanness of the LGBTIQ community while demanding for their inclusion in public and social organizing spaces. Since then, NGLHRC has been encouraging diversity and agitating for public dialogue on sex, sexuality, gender and non-conformity.
We began our work by conducting a nine month study to understand the needs and priorities of the LGBTIQ community. Our study found that current punitive criminal laws against expressions of same sex intimacy were a major barrier to equality. In effect, these laws convey to Kenyan society that LGBTIQ persons “are criminals,” and should be treated “as you would a criminal.” This has allowed for ongoing and unfettered discrimination of the community.
Our study also found that the LGBTIQ community was greatly in need of a national legal aid response mechanism that would: