By Ryan Collett
Kenya held its first ever gay pride event this week at the US Embassy. The event joined other gay pride celebrations being hosted at US Embassies around the world this month.
The event occurred in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi and consisted of a small invite-only forum attended by Kenyan LGBT allies and US diplomats.
Though the event was considerably small in comparison to other Pride events around the world, it marked the first ever gay pride event for Kenya – the African nation where homosexual activity is punishable by law. In 2007, the Pew Global Attitudes Project reported that Kenya ranked the fifth-highest rate of non-acceptance of homosexuals with 96% of the country believing homosexuality to be an unacceptable lifestyle.
The groundbreaking event marked another push by the Obama Administration to further the progress of human rights across the globe using US Embassies.
“The advancement of human rights for LGBT people is central to our human rights policies around the world and to the realization of our foreign policy goals,” said John Haynes, a public affairs official of the US Embassy at the event.
The small forum was seen as a significant victory for LGBT rights in the African nation. The general manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, MaqC Gitau, said that, “What makes this day stand out for us here in Kenya however is that more than anything else, it is about visibility.”