ISSUE NO .

3

GAY

KE N YA

NOVEMBER 2010

SENATOR DAVID KURIA—KENYA’S HARVEY MILK?
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

EDITORIAL

2

MEET THE SENATOR

2

History has been made in Kenya when David Kuria (photo, right, up), the General Manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) announced his political candidacy. David Kuria has announced his interest for the Senate seat for Kiambu County, Kenya, come the 2012 elections. He becomes the first openly gay man in Kenya to stand for political office. He becomes only the second openly gay African to declare interest in running for a political position. The first known was Ian Ollis from South Africa. This announcement has been seen as a first in Kenya and shows the remarkable progress

of Kenyan sexual minorities in seeking recognition and acceptance. David Kuria has been the target of evangelicals who used a poster campaign to discredit him given his activism for sexual minorities. By declaring his interest and willingness to run for office, David Kuria has exhibited courage and heroism that is arguably reminiscent of one Harvey Milk, (photo, right, down) considered by many as a political ancestor for gay people, a saint and an icon.

SENA TOR KURIA POLITICS

3

WORLD AIDS DAY

4

GALCK NEWS

4

WEB NEWS

4

ARTS & ACTIVISM

6

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2-3

HIGHLIGHTS  KIOS PROJECT  Readers comments  News, stories, articles from the Web  Advertisements  Q-Expressions

KIOS PROJECT
Gay Kenya is pleased to announce that KIOS, the Finnish organization for Human Rights, has given a total of 8,900 Euros to Gay Kenya for the implementation of a proposal on capacity building and human rights trainings for the next one year. Gay Kenya begins to implement this project with the Training of Trainers that will be conducted from 11th13th, November, 2010 in Nairobi. Ten Gay Kenya members will be trained on diverse topics e.g. health, security, facilitation skills, reporting and evaluation, human rights documentation, Yogyakrta principles, e.t.c. In turn, these ‘trainers’ will conduct trainings to LGBTI communities in major towns—Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret. A tentative calendar of trainings and activities will be published in our website. Gay Kenya is proud to undertake this project and extends its appreciation to KIOS for granting the necessary financial support to undertake this project. Asanteni sana KIOS! Thank you KIOS!

GAY KENYA

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EDITORIAL—DENIS NZIOKA
Its not easy to be gay, at least openly! National Coming out Day is an internationally observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender LGBTI issues. It is observed by members of the LGBT communities and their supporters (often referred to as "allies") on October 11 every year and this year in Kenya this day took on an even greater prominence and center stage with the announcement of political candidacy by an openly gay man. Coming out has many implications, within and without the individual. As much as its an individual act, it resonates in the social, economic and political life of the person. And its never easy to come out! But in such circumstances, it helps if someone else, more daring and some say crazy, comes out and in effect, encourages, shocks and spurs others to the same. He becomes a figure we can look up to, a role model and someone who inspires and at the same time proves and lives life the way we would wish to live as—openly, gay, comfortable and happy! Who doesn’t want that? I have many icons and role models, ‘saints’ if you can call them that who I look up to and wish to emulate. It is a great pleasure for me to introduce you to one. Meet him below.

MEET THE SENATOR
David Kuria holds an MBA in International Business from the University of Nairobi and IS currently undertaking a post graduate diploma in Finance at KCA University. He has worked as an Associate Lecturer at Tangaza College of Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), and was also the Business Development Officer at the Social Ministry Research Network Centre. He has co-authored several books on poverty alleviation and is passionate about complete eradication of extreme forms of poverty and the promotion of human rights especially for minorities. He has also authored the first ever book titled’ Understanding Homosexuality in Kenya’ that sought to highlight the various aspects of Kenyan sexual minorities as well as the challenges they face and especially on health.

‘I just wish more of my fellow queers would come out sometimes. It’s nice out here, you know?’ Elton John

GAY ACTIVISM
David Kuria is currently the General Manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK). GALCK is an umbrella body of 6 member groups—Gay Kenya, Minority Women in Action (MWA), AFRA-KENYA, Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA), Ishtar MSM, and PEMA-Kenya. David Kuria is the founder of Gay Kenya. Kuria has steered the gay rights movement in Kenya by bringing together all these groups and forming a formidable entity. He has been instrumental in the inclusion of sexual minorities in major nations policies e.g. HIV/AIDS, human rights and media. He oversees a staff of five people and has the overall responsibility of monitoring the member groups and at the same time, ensuring each group grows independently and works to fulfill their respective objectives. He has shown great prudence, judgment, leadership and managerial skills in his work. GALCK is a success story in Kenya and a poster child of leadership, accountability and completeness among African LGBTI groups and associations.

ISSUE NO.3

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SENATOR DAVID KURIA'S POLITICS
Electioneering in Kiambu is about the economy – stupid! Any other considerations are auxiliary – and that is why am confident that they will become the first political constituency in Africa, out of Cape Town S.A, to elect an openly gay person. Since this publication has an LGBTI audience, it is important for me to highlight they will benefit from my candidature, not be because am gay, but rather because of the social economic structures that we shall put in place for the benefit of every Kiambu-ian. So then what are these social economic structures? A brief history of what makes the economy of Kiambu tick is necessary to illustrate the need for a new economic deal. The County with a population of just over 1.6 million people is largely agricultural – but that is being simplistic. The County has some of the largest coffee plantation farms in Kenya, but is also home to some of the most sub-divided lands in Kenya. That is why in the 1980 and early 1990s, the people from Kiambu moved to other parts of the country, seeking farming lands, notably in Rift Valley. But ethnic cleansing that characterised the late 1990s and even 2000s made such migratory ventures unfeasible. The people have been left with few options – that is to engage in small businesses (any wonder why the hawkers in Nairobi have become so desperate as to fight armed police with stones?) or join the dreaded Mungiki, and/or indulge in illicit and highly toxic brews to dull their senses. That is why a new economic deal must be put in place – recognizing that Kiambu and its people have capacity to overcome their present predicament. Unfortunately they also have had a history electing the very same leaders who have entrenched their own poverty, and entrenching the assumption that moving out of poverty is synonymous to moving out of Kiambu. Yet what is needed is to address the real drivers of poverty in the region. That is why we propose a new economic deal. The Economic deal will be based on: 1. Land ownership. Though extremely urgent, no politician has ever dared question the policy of ownership and use of land in Kiambu. Yet it is no longer feasible to assume that we can sustain the status quo. We shall need as people of Kiambu to recognize the cultural value and attachment we have to land, and how this can be met while increasing our economic potential. No one in Kiambu, who wants to own a plot of land, should be denied opportunity to do so – I will work to establish policies that enable that to happen. 2. Creating a Service based Economy Kiambu is uniquely placed to take leadership in developing a service based economy. Moreover farming is not feasible as a long-term economic growth solution for the Kiambu-ans. That is why we must as a people deliberately attract and retain businesses in the service sector – this will be both about infrastructure, but also becoming the most progressive oriented county in the region. We must brand our county as the destination of choice for national and international businesses – we shall necessarily have to go against the grain, especially in lieu of the “African concepts” of time, work ethic, among others. 3. Inviting Top-notch Talent and Investment Human Capital is an absolutely necessary component in wealth creation. As a county we shall understand that our achievements will not be measured against our next-door county BUT on the basis of our potential in the Global economy. As such then, we shall have to attract, not just investments but also the necessary human capital. The people of Kiambu have traditionally moved to other parts of the country and the world, and know more than anyone else, how such emigration helped the recipient localities. It is now our turn to invite top-notch talent to our county. 4. Policy Based Politics For a long time, politics in Kenya have been about who spends more money on voter “gifts” and really never about policies. There must be a fundamental and unequivocal change towards well orchestrated policies. We must engage our leaders into discussing issues rather than unhelpfully deconstructing others on matters “below the belt”. As Senator, I will not discuss personalities, but policies, especially what role the national government should have at county level. The national government’s role will have to be limited to creating an enabling environment for the county governments to serve the needs of their people. At county level, the government’s role will also be about creating a friendly environment for the people and businesses to operate with minimal interference. The county government role will also ensure comprehensive reduction of extreme forms of poverty and highest possible form of respect for human rights for all the people of Kiambu – this measured against global standards. As such then, Kiambu will become a place of choice for the LGBTI not merely because their rights will be respected but also because, it will be a cosmopolitan county, with enormous economic growth opportunities.

‘The space is ripe to explore expanded activism, including direct participation into public life as “out” political candidates.’ David Kuria

CAMPAIGN SECRETARIAT David is in the process of setting up a campaign secretariat. This requires not just physical space for the offices but also an initial campaign staff. To ensure success, he is appealing for support from all well wishers - especially because this is our collective candidature. He has opened a dedicated Campaigns Fund Account - purely for campaign funds only. This account will be open to external audit, and will be operated by the Campaign Secretariat. Help expedite the campaign process by donating to: Dedicated Campaign Funds Accounts; Bank Name: NIC BANK Physical Address: NIC HOUSE BRANCH A/C Name: David Kuria Mbote A/C No. SA3-2350002230 Swift Code: NINCKENA - Or. Through the M-KESHO Account Through MPESA NO. 0721-360365

GAY KENYA

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WORLD AIDS DAY—30 DAY CAMPAIGN
Gay Kenya, as part of the runup to World AIDS Day, is pleased to announce that it will be holding a 30-day campaign of sensitization and awareness tions' of HIV/AIDS among 'Most At Risk Popula(MARPs). The campaign will be website based and will feature stories, articles and general information on HIV/AIDS and M A R P s . A l l In addition, a link for a Health and Well-being page has been set up and will be the forum where health issues and mental wellness among MSMs and by extension sexual minorities will be highlighted and possibly discussed. Therefore, we are calling on authors/individuals or groups these information will be posted on our website. or researchers who may have any papers or pieces on HIV/ A I D S a n d touch particularly on MARPs to submit them to info@gaykenya and they will be published for our readers, partners, members and visitors. Gay Kenya is extending an invitation to all to join us in the upcoming WAD celebrations on December 1st at KICC, Nairobi, Kenya.

GALCK NEWS
GALCK groups representatives will be attending a Body mapping exercise from 15-19th, November at the German Institute. GALCK will conduct networking meetings with the member groups this month. Groups are to send representatives. World AIDS Day (WAD) celebrations planning are currently underway and will be communicated at a later date. Ms. Keisha Adams will be giving a GALCK send the Inner Circle report to UHAI, which was on Queer Muslim Outreach which saw the inception of Muslim Brothers and talk on asylum and refugee to GALCK member groups on 13th November at the GALCK Center. GALCK attended a Stigma and Discrimination of People living with HIV/AIDS workshop organized by the Kenya National AIDS NGOs Consortium. GALCK met with Ms. Olivier Oketch on the communications strategy for GALCK and how to go about creation of messages for GALCK to aid in various campaigns which will aid GALCK in making a mark and finding various tag lines to aid in awareness creation and the creation of an identity to our members, partners and stakeholders Sister as a part of Gay Kenya.

FROM THE WEB—STORIES, ARTICLES, NEWS
A Kenyan transsexual blogs and speaks about her life, love, work, challenges and success living as a trans woman. Meet her here. A report by NASCOP (Kenya) shows that homosexuals and injecting drug users contribute to about 30% of new HIV infections in Kenya. For more, go here. African scholars and exleaders have petitioned African countries to decriminalize homosexuality in order to win the war against HIV/AIDS. Recent development sin Uganda seem to indicate that the anti-gay legislation is not yet removed or expunged. Various reports are that the proposal may soon be law. Also, attacks on gays continues. In Congo, discussions are being held in Parliament over a proposed legislation outlawing homosexuality. In Malawi, the government refuses to recognize homosexuals as the media continues to highlight on gays.

ISSUE NO.3

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READERS’ COMMENTS & FEEDBACK
Well done to all it is good to see progress albeit small who would have thought a Kenyan Minister would come out openly to support gay rights a few years ago ! Regis Mtutu, Sonke Gender Justice Network South Africa What a fantastic newspaper! Thanks so much for sharing! Best. Sarah, AJWS, USA Excellent, at last something wholeheartedly to update, advocate and entertain the LGBTI community. Keep up the good work. Kennedy Masinya -MAAYGO, Kenya I have found your newsletters very interesting. Do you at GKT make also press releases or such? They are ideal material for our website, and it would be a pleasure to highlight your issue on our webs i t e e s pe c i al ly now when we have started to support your work in Kenya f o r t h e L G B TI community. Anna, KIOS, Finland
Good job Denis, it really looks great, with pics and all. Most importantly also provides us a synthesized space where all the various activities happening in our community are captured for posterity sake. Keep up the good work! Nguru Karugu, PHI, Kenya

‘Gay and lesbian people fall in love. We settle down. We commit our lives to one another. We raise our children. We protect them. We try to be good citizens.’ California Sen. Sheila Kuehl

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www.gaykenya.com

GAY KENYA

Gay Kenya (Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya) P. O Box 13005-00100 NAIROBI, KENYA E-mail: info@gaykenya.com Phone: (+254) 700 71 85 85 Website: www.gaykenya.com

Gay Kenya is a Human Rights, Media and Religious Advocacy group for LGBTI Kenyans. Founded in 2004, the vision of Gay Kenya is to create an environment in which LGBTI persons in Kenya will not be unfairly discriminated on any grounds and especially not on the basis of their sexual orientation.

B R I D G I N G

T H E

D I V E R S I T Y

G A P

Gay Kenya Newsletter is published monthly by Gay Kenya (member of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya). The newsletter and the logo remain the exclusive property of Gay Kenya and any distribution or citation is welcome as long as due credit is given and no copyrights infringes are made. Editor—In—Chief: Denis Nzioka Contributors: David Kuria

ARTS AND ACTIVISM
AFRA-Kenya* is pleased to announce the first ever ‘Q Expressions.’ This is a monthly art forum where queer/gay people meet to discuss, critique, look at and advice each other on all forms of art. This forum begins in November and is open to all. Its also a medium to discover all arts e.g. writing, film and theater, music, photography, poetry, fashion and design, spoken word, drawing, modeling, e.t.c. These forums are to help people discover their talent and see how they can best use them for advocacy. In addition, they will learn how to earn a living using their preferred form . Most importantly, is to create dialogue among the gay community and the rest of Kenyans. For more information, contact AFRA KENYA via the following: AFRA-KENYA

P.O. Box 13005-00100 Nairobi, Kenya info@afrakenya.org www.afrakenya.org (+254) 738 550 095

*AFRA-Kenya is an LBT group that uses the Arts to advocate for equal rights. Its also a member group of GALCK

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