LGBTQ is not new, it has been with us since time memorial

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) persons have been battling for their civil rights in courtrooms and in the streets for decades around the world. Politicians, religious leaders, and other well-known figures have been discussing their sexual orientation in public arenas for centuries if not millennia.

Most of us take our freedom to participate in daily life for granted, either because we already have the right under the law, or because we are not subjected to discrimination for merely existing.

Laws which prohibit discrimination simply give LGBTQ people that basic right to be equal participants in the communities in which they live.

Most historians agree that there is evidence of homosexual activity and same-sex love, whether such relationships were accepted or persecuted, in every documented culture. We know that homosexuality existed in ancient Israel simply because it is prohibited in the Bible, whereas it flourished between both men and women in Ancient Greece.

Substantial evidence also exists for individuals who lived at least part of their lives as a different gender than assigned at birth. From the lyrics of same-sex desire inscribed by Sappho in the seventh century BCE to youths raised as the opposite sex in cultures ranging from Albania to Afghanistan; from the “female husbands” of Kenya to the Native American “Two-Spirit,” alternatives to the Western male-female and heterosexual binaries thrived across millennia and culture.

These realities gradually became known to the West via travelers’ diaries, the church records of missionaries, diplomats’ journals, and in reports by medical anthropologists.

The fact is that homosexuality has been with us since time memorial. It is neither an agenda nor is it new, and to dismiss it as a novelty is to bury our heads in the sand. It is a fact of existence.

Read also: What is the place of men in advancing women’s progress?

On Friday 24th February 2023, the Supreme Court castigated the NGO Coordination Board for refusing to allow the inclusion of the words “gay” and “lesbian” in the name of a lobby organization on the ground that same-sex marriage is outlawed in Kenya. The court found that it was unconstitutional to limit the right to associate through denial of registration of an association purely based on the sexual orientation of the applicant.

Just a day before the judgement, almost prophetically, Homa Bay Town MP George Peter Opondo Kaluma filed an official notice that he intended to introduce a Bill which would jail for life people convicted of homosexuality or the promotion of it. While Friday’s Supreme Court ruling arguably torpedoes any attempts to legally harass openly gay people with new laws, Mr Kaluma can still rally MPs to increase jail terms for gay sex.

Today, the LGBTQ community in Kenya celebrates another incredible landmark in the fight for their rights – the fight for the world to acknowledge their existence. This will go a long way towards affirming legal protections in education, housing, credit, and health care — areas where too many LGBTQ people still face discrimination.

The clergy has called on Kenyans to oppose the apex court’s ruling saying it goes against the natural law of justice. But what do we know about natural law? Natural law states that humans have rights. Are the LGBTQ persons less human? Don’t they have rights as humans too? The natural justice system is common to everyone irrespective of race, gender, and socioeconomic status.

To this very day, there’s no existence of a system that defines which law is moral and which one is not. The church and other institutions are not above law, though they are welcome in the democratic process of lawmaking. Let us give the Judiciary the space to conduct its full mandate with no external interference.

The author, Kelvin Mokaya, a human rights defender, is a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) expert. Email: [email protected]

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, every month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.