A Comparative Analysis of Anti-LGBT+ Oppression in Kenya and the United States

A Comparative Analysis of Anti-LGBT+ Oppression in Kenya and the United States

Ciarra I. Hastings Blow (Prairie View A&M University, USA)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2856-3.ch003
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Abstract

Kenya and the United States were built off the same values and beliefs of English colonialism. The introduction of anti-sodomy laws within the legal systems has created a barrier between the LGBT+ community and the government. In Kenya specifically, the public creates division among LGBT+ youth by committing heinous offenses against them such as honor killings, rape, and arranged marriages solely to maintain a heteronormative appearance to the community. In the United States, the 100% increase in the murders of transgender individuals has confirmed there is a long way to go for equality. However, there have been significant changes, such as the election of Lori Lightfoot, Chicago's first black female openly gay mayor. The Penal Codes in Kenya have gone up for debate several times, and each time the idea of doing away with such laws is shot down. This chapter breaks down the differences and similarities between Kenya and the United States and how their anti-sodomy laws have shaped their LGBT+ youth today.
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Background

According to feminist scholar Niara Sudakasa (1986), pre-colonial societies were not deemed rigid. In the case of the Lovedu people in what is modern-day South Africa, there were Supreme Rain Queens who was praised above all else. This was before the patriarchal system could take control (Elnaiem, 2021). According to the Dean of the faculty of law in Makerere University Uganda, Sylvia Tamale, the mudoko dako, also known as effeminate males, were treated as women, and encouraged to marry other men. The Chibados or Quimbanda of Angola were men believed to carry female spirits through anal sex (Tamale, 2013).

Europeans documented women marrying women in 40 precolonial African societies for many centuries. The idea of women being the “husband” was unheard of and perplexed Europeans. Writings from anthropologist Eileen Jensen Krige (1974) show that women who inherited wealth often engaged in homosexual marriages to satisfy themselves (Elnaiem, 2021). Around 1681, historians learned that Europeans grew uncomfortable with Africans homosexual practices and deemed them “filthy and dirty” for men dressing as women (Elnaiem, 2021). This led to Europeans labeling the act of men having sex with other men as “sodomy.” Jinbandaa from Central Africa were often punished, by Christians, for being considered women in their culture even though they were biologically male (Elnaiem, 2021).

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