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Drama As Kenyan LGBT Activists Want To Boycott US Embassy Pride Event

Kenyan activists are divided over the recent announcement that the US Embassy in Nairobi is set to hold an LGBT Pride on Tuesday next week.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

22nd June 2012 10:40

Alessia Valenza

The event, said to be the first ever, will bring together local LGBT activists and dignitaries to celebrate Gay Pride Month.

However, several LGBTI activists have called for the boycott of the event with some arguing that the backlash from the public would be severe and will not make gains for the local movement.

‘This pride will further solidify the fact that homosexuality is a white man thing,’ one is quoted.

One activist said that they are not assured of security and since the media will be there it may ‘out’ otherwise those who do not wish to be identified publicly as LGBT.

Others say that since the event is an invite only, it will discriminate against other LGBT Kenyans who do not get a chance to attend it.

Several LGBT and queer list serves in Kenya and worldwide have been inundated with calls for boycott and some with support over this invitation.

Those who support the event have said it will be a good opportunity for networking and shows that the US is actively reaching out to the local LGBT community.

The number of LGBT Kenyans and personalities invited to this event is not yet known though reports indicate that directors and leaders of LGBT groups have received invitation from all regions of Kenya.

In a swift response LGBT critic and Identity Kenya magazine columnist, Queer Watchtower, has opposed the boycott saying it serves no purpose and termed them as ‘insecure.’

He said, ‘After months of disorganization and sloth in petty wrangles that have harmed the movement, some activists want to use this opportunity to spoil for a fight. Where is the security threat? Who is being forced to attend? We need to stop spreading fear and inciting insecurities where we have no credible basis and when the movement has for a long time been unstrategic.’

He clarified that the event is not for Kenyans but for Americans.

‘This pride is not for Kenyans, it is for American nationals in Kenya and their State Department, through their embassy is doing what the White House did last month; hosting a pride for its nationals who are LGBTIQ to remind them that as a government, it respects them and accords them equal rights. Same thing the Kenyan embassy in the US would do for Kenyans in Washington during Jamuhuri day.’

He further added, ‘Build bridges, cease fighting and constituting security think tanks in serv lists. Why didn’t we do that after four lesbians killed themselves this year? Why isn’t there a security think tank to address the near collapse of GALCK. Let us find ways of latching into actionable events and see how we can benefit our LGBTIQ constituents without unnecessarily embarrassing ourselves in spoils for fights.’