how-to-travel-homophobic-Kenya-LGBTQ+

If you’re gay and have the travel bug you know how difficult of a decision it is to travel in a homophobic nation.

I had a gay friend of mine asking me whether it’s safe to travel in Kenya as there are features in Kenya which he’d love to explore.

This is for you Gary, yes, he allowed me to use his name but not his details.

Because Gary is an Australian he doesn’t have to hide but how can he travel in Kenya as an openly extroverted gay?

He asked me a number of questions which I’ll break down for all gay men and women around the world interested in travelling to Kenya.

Table of Contents:

What’s homophobia?

What’s the legal situation for gay travellers in Kenya?

What does religion say about gay men in Kenya?

Are there any LGBTQ+ activities one can involve themselves as a gay traveller?

Why Kenya should be on top of your travel list as a gay tourist.

Reasons to Never Fear to Travel to Kenya as a Gay Tourist.

Dos and Don’ts for booking safe accommodations as a gay traveller.

The political atmosphere in Kenya on gay

What do big travel consultants say about gay travel in Kenya?

Some of the common topics about gay travellers you’ll hear when a gay traveller.

How to answer when you’re asked whether you’re a gay traveller in Kenya.

Challenges you’ll face being a gay couple traveller in Kenya.

Where to buy condoms and lubrication as gay men.

Note: Visit Kenya, not the homophobic culture.

Let’s define Homophobia

According to Wikipedia, ”Homophobia encompasses a range of negative feelings and attitudes toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender”.

I know you already know the definition but I had to define because it’s necessary.

Kenya is a homophobic nation. Where there are rules safely guarding her people against the immorality of the gay men.

It’s such a pity for a country like Kenya which could see tourism high-tides in these economic trying times with competition from South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda and even Tanzania.

Because in South Africa gay is okay.

Capetown holds pride events in June each year since 1993.

They have realised the importance of raising awareness to the society about why people shouldn’t care about sexual orientations.

Also, some statistics pit gay travellers as a lucrative niche, because, well, gays are rich as they’re both likely a working couple with disposable income.

While Kenya is homophobic, some travel experts have declared having non-issues with gay men they do so with fear and a little sarcasm in their voices which isn’t assuring at all.

What’s the legal situation for gay travellers in Kenya?

When travelling to a homophobic nation, one of the key travel features to know is the legal situation in the country.

And in Kenya, gay is a crime punishable up to 14 years in jail and they use a term called, ‘‘Gross Indecency”.

Kenya is also a very conservative and religious nation where women are undressed for dressing immorally while men are sued for kissing.

Section 162 of the Penal Code criminalises carnal knowledge against the Order of Nature in this case, gay.

You’ll be guilty of a felony and risk facing a 7-year sentence for breaking the law.

It’s also important to note that the repeal of section 162 failed miserably as the judges couldn’t offer a ruling until May. Which I predict won’t happen and will never happen.

What does religion/religious men say about gay men in Kenya?

Religious men and women in Kenya are very repulsed by the idea of gay.

Some of them ordering Kenyans to shun businesses owned or operated by the supporters of LGBTQ+ so as to stop the beastly acts which abuse others’ rights and mustn’t be accepted.

Religious leaders are the perpetrators calling homosexuality and homosexuals, ”a disease, a Westernised Disease”.

In Mombasa, an LGBTQ+ meeting was stormed in by these religious machos described them and the meeting as, ”promoting homosexuality which is illegal and ungodly”.

They were promised to be beaten next time.

The group leader assured the ”religious machos” that they weren’t promoting any gay acts just educating them on safe sex and using of condoms and lubricants.

Kenyan relisgious leaders are powerful than politicians another one declaring that homosexuality is worst than terrorism. As if!

Are there any LGBTQ+ activities one can involve themselves as a gay traveller?

Keep in mind that there are some institutions and individuals who aren’t deterred by these stern messages against the LGBTQ+

Some of them, like the Kenya Films Classification Board with its leader, is at the forefront of bringing down every movie down or music produced or seen as gay or lesbian.

For example, they banned the airing of Rafiki and ordered some parts removed to avoid a happy ending.

Rafiki is a lesbian movie.

The producer, Wanuri Kahiu, sued the government for refusal to air but lifted the ban for a week for the movie to be showed in Kenyan cinemas.

The opportunity to engage in gay activities comes from associations like the National Gay Coalition of Kenya in Nairobi.

In most other cities where gay is prevalent like Mombasa, Kiambu and Kisumu, gay culture happens underground.

In Mtwapa, for instance, gay men are everywhere living their lives openly as gay men.

Or people talk in hush tones about them. But that doesn’t mean that gay is actively accepted.

I went on a quest to find out about gay acceptance or not in Mtwapa and a cleric told me, ”You’ll need prayers”.

An Imam told me, ”Are you a lesbian? Why ask too many questions about the sinful people?”.

 I asked why gay is bad and gay community is met with a lot of violence if Allah is violent he responded,

”I’m going to the mosque Gertrude but I’m hoping you aren’t lesbian I’d be disappointed if you were”.

Education, research and more education is what is needed.

You can be an activist writer that’s providing more info about gay.

Or you can choose to join a civil organisation dealing with gay in Kenya.

Or you can silently travel and learn from the locals and hear their opinions.

Why Kenya should be on top of your travel list as a gay tourist.

Beach-in-Mtwapa-Kenya

You cannot be stopped to watch an exquisite travel destination like Kenya’s beaches no matter her being homophobic.

Kenya is a travel destination revered world over why be restricted by the fact that you’re gay?

Explore the wild, eat ugali, climb Mount Kenya, go experience the beaches in Mombasa, the wildebeest migration, I mean, there’s a lot to see.

Despite being homophobic, it’s not your sexuality that’s travelling but you.

Reasons to Never Fear to Travel to Kenya as a Gay Tourist.

Now onto Gary who motivated me to start my LGBTQ+ travel company the only one of two in Kenya, the only one based in Mombasa.

Gary was also concerned for my well-being when he, for example, leaves Kenya.

Aren’t you afraid of being stoned to death and leaving your kids orphans?

”When someone kills you they’re relieving you of the burden of living in the world, haha.

The worst they can do is always rape me or leave a woman to death or cut my hair like they did Prof.Wangari Maathai, RIP”, I said to him.

I kept on, As an activist, one has to be prepared to face persecution, ridicule and doubt in their cause that doesn’t mean you stop.

You only become a better person and stand for what you believe in.

I cannot feel bad for standing with a gay man, after all, I have always been asking myself why all the laws favour a woman and never the man!

Yet, we need a man in our lives”.

And Gary was convinced. So I went on to give some tips for travelling to Kenya as gay.

10 Tips for travelling in a Homophobic Nation(Kenya).

These travel tips aren’t to be taken lightly. You cannot be too safe when travelling in Kenya as an LGBT traveller.

  1. Use a travel agency.

A local travel company is aware of the places to visit or not.

In Kenya, there’s only one registered Gay tour company but it’s not even marketing itself as such and it’s based in Nairobi.

I’m yet to register Gertie’S QueeVentures but not to fret, I’m putting funds together for the purpose and creating these contents to link to the LGBT tour company.

The responsibilities of an LGBT tour company are like the tradition tours and travel company: to plan and organise your smooth transition from airport to a safe destination and to the fields to get the experience and finally to travel back.

  1. Sexuality.

Don’t ever feel the urge to discuss your sexual orientation to anyone no matter what.

I have learnt that some people are used as a trap to perpetuate the violence against gay.

When travelling solo, ensure that you discuss nothing but travel issues and just knowing about the surrounding in Kenya.

While I have heard nothing about violence against gay travellers, you never know because as a tourist destination Kenya is known to hide some violence and even thievery against travellers.

It might be tempting to ”come out” especially if you recently realised you’re gay.

But not when you know clearly a nation’s standpoint and 96 per cent of her people against gay and 89 per cent of gay men coming out being disowned by their families, friends, employers, landlords and even when buying property!

  1. Beware of the Laws.

If you don’t know the laws of the homophobic nation you’re travelling to, you risk being jailed or sentenced to death.

Sometimes, you may face public humiliation even the Human Rights of the Nation won’t be able to defend you because you may be dead.

Unfortunately, with corruption rampant, the cover-ups will be unimaginable even to your countrymen/women, they may say ”pride of lions marauded you to death!’

In Kenya, they torture gay men by subjecting them to butt checks and the police rape you too because they want to feel what they’re missing.

  1. Be informed.

Where do you get info about the laws of a homophobic country?

Of course, your travel company will always have the leads that’s why it’s good to book with an LGBT travel company only.

Be informed about the weather conditions, the political climate, the changing tides like the failed repeal in Kenya and so on.

Also, know that there are some bars with heterosexual crowds but are actually a joint for the gay and lesbians to meet.

There are a few I know of in Mombasa.

  1. Avoid meeting on apps like Tinder or Grindr.

You never know whether the meet-up is a set-up for violent thirsty youth.

Or some thief looking to steal from you.

Not to violate your privacy, but ask your travel company about the places where you can meet other gay community because the purpose of travel is to meet other like-minded souls.

  1. Avoid Public Display of Affection.

Be wary of some extra kissing or suggestive hugging especially when travelling with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

In fact, avoid and save the romantic moments for when you’re alone and in a romantic spot like deep in the woods with the animals or at the beach soaking in the sand, sun and sea.

  1. Don’t be afraid to visit nightclubs

It may be risky to even kiss in a night club but don’t be afraid to go out and experience the nightlife.

In Mtwapa, the highlight of the day is always the nightlife.

In Mombasa, after watching the animals or soaking in the sand and sun, all roads head to Mtwapa for the nightlife.

Clubs in Mtwapa don’t care for the crowds they admit. Some Mombasa clubs (Nyali) ones do care for the patrons because they’re afraid of admitting prostitutes or gays.

  1. Don’t have casual sex.

Avoid having sex with just anybody because of the prevalence of HIV in Kenya and especially among the gay community.

In fact, I’d suggest to ”keep it under wraps” completely.

  1. You’re travelling not having sex.

The atmosphere in Kenya is so hot that one feels like cosying up to some sexy me-times.

As I said above, keep it under wraps or if you have found yourself a good boyfriend make sure to use protection and lubrication.

The gay community in Kenya is trying to help gay men know how to prevent themselves from HIV and some centres help gay men with medications and protection in Mtwapa.

If travelling with your partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, get on with it.

  1. Have fun and stop thinking.

Stop thinking so much about homophobia and enjoy your travel as much as you can.

It’s the fun and memories you should build when a gay traveller in Kenya, not tragedy or tragic thoughts.


stephanie

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