FAQ's for Kenya's LGBTQI+ Community

What does Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression mean (SOGIE)?

Sexual orientation is the enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions to men, women or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.

Gender Identity is how individuals perceive themselves and what they call/identify themselves. Gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

Expression is the external appearance of one’s gender identity; usually expressed through behavior, dressing, lifestyle, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.

Is homosexuality a choice?

Homosexuality is a natural inclination towards same sex relationships, though the act of expressing is an individual choice.

Sexuality is fluid and people should be allowed to interact, express and identify to the feelings, emotions and expressions that suits them at a personal scale.

Is homosexuality a mental illness?

Homosexuality is not a mental illness or disorder rather a normal sexual diversity experienced within the society. Presently and historically, many cultures across the world have always had a variety of sexual expressions.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the psychiatric disorders list. This was followed by a decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases in 1990 by World Health Organisation.

Is it illegal to be homosexual in Kenya?

It is not illegal in Kenya to identify yourself as homosexual. What is illegal is getting caught in the ‘act’, this is termed as indecent acts against nature.

N/B: litigation and advocacy is being done to ensure the decriminalization of homosexual acts.


Where can I access legal aid in case of violation, abuse?

NGLHRC offers legal aid to LGBTIQ individuals. This includes, assisting in reporting of cases, representing clients in court, collaborating with the state officers to ensure that perpetrators are arrested and action is taken.

Is therapy a useful model in changing a person’s orientation from gay to straight?

There are official concerns on behavior modification therapy that aims to modify sexual orientation. This is due to the safety and effectiveness being in question. Findings have it that promotion of this therapies have a negative effect on the general LGBTIQ community as it reinforces stereotypes and stigma.

Therapy can be helpful to individuals with trouble accepting themselves and coping with the social prejudices that result in internal conflicts and can result in stress and depression.

Resources for coming out:

  • ‘Coming Out’ or ‘Letting In’? Recasting the LGBT Narrative
  • Tips for Coming Out to Your African Family