Opinion: Why LGBTQ Persons Rights Should Be Respected

Anti-gender groups are attacking the human rights of women and LGBTQI+ people by framing gender rights as a threat to the health, safety and well-being of children and the larger community and society.

Anti-gender groups are conservative, and faith-based and operate under the umbrella term ‘anti-gender ideology.

The primary strategy of anti-gender groups is to manufacture moral panic by crafting easy-to-understand narratives based on misinformation and selective interpretations of human rights, religious teachings, negative cultural beliefs and scientific evidence that create a divided worldview: ‘good people’ vs ‘bad people’.

‘Good people’ are those who uphold the heterosexual, patriarchal family as society’s core and defend parental authority over the principle of the best interest of the child.

They claim to protect children from an alleged ‘internationally-funded agenda’ that seeks to corrupt and harm them – part of this agenda are LGBT, women’s, and children’s rights defenders labelled as ‘evil’.

This narrative is highly effective in creating moral panic, and social outrage and mobilizing political support for gender-normative candidates across parties and regions.

Anti-gender groups are part of a long-term political, social, and cultural strategy that has been in the making for decades, and that feeds on social unrest and cultural anxieties.

Moral panic’s main role is political, particularly in contexts of economic, social, and political upheaval and anxiety, as it creates solidarity among different groups and channels outrage into concrete political actions; like the development of laws and policies as well as heavy resource allocation to discriminative actions.

In recent weeks, religious and opposition groups have greatly opposed LGBTQ+ rights for persons with different Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions (SOGIE) citing a number of short and long-term impacts that LGBTQ+ persons if allowed to freely associate will cause.

Access, uptake, enjoyment and provision of freedoms and rights to all Kenyans is a fundamental right.

Addressing issues around rights of the sexual minorities; LGBTQ+ is important to ensure no violence or discrimination is witnessed, as well persons are respected despite their sexual orientation.

Religious and opposition groups continue openly discriminated the sexual and gender minorities, terming them “sick”, paedophiles and needing treatment.

This is a sad and worrying trend as it increases stigma and discrimination which in turn might lead to violence and even fear of accessing services within health facilities.

Religious and opposition groups have been spreading misinformation against access and enjoyment of human rights of all groups particularly the LGBTQ+ Some of the instances where the opposition groups have been discriminatory are as follows;

In a recent response statement by Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM), The church encourages the public of moral integrity to reject, resist and oppose the ruling as in their view it will erode societal norms and morals.

Why are religious leaders obsessed with LGBTQ+ persons and issues when there are more pressing issues like drought, bandits, terrorism, and corruption in this nation?

Is Kenya governed by the bible or the constitution? Why is there an assumption that LGBTQ+ people are only about sex?

The only thing that holds true for these religious and opposition groups is their religion.

Nothing in their profession backs up their claims whether on justice, SOGIE issues, reproductive health issues, policies and law.

Kenya is largely a religious country, and a lot of these groups ride on that and continue to not only cause moral panic, stigma and discrimination using social media platforms but also instigate online violence towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Religious and opposition groups’ strategic portrayal of progressive demands as detrimental to children is negatively affecting the work of progressive activists, organizations and funders, and LGBT and sexual health and reproductive rights (SHRR) movements.

The misrepresentation of LGBT individuals and organizations as sexual deviants and predators are widening the gap between LGBT and children’s rights organizations, advocates, and funders, and further preventing cross-sector or coalitional work between them.

For Many Civil Society Organizations, the religious and opposition groups have hugely divided the landscapes of LGBT rights and child rights (funding, organization and advocacy) and prevented collaborations and coalitional work between them.

With political and public discourse and through the heavy support of these religious and opposition groups, Groups trying to maintain or attain political power are using the notion of ‘fighting gender ideology’ as a key component of their campaigns, supporting authoritative, nationalist, and anti-rights political platforms.

Increased violence in online social spaces has been rampant and lack of protection for LGBTQ+ people especially young people.

The impact towards policy, access and enjoyment of health services has also been felt.

Repealing of discriminatory Public policies within the law, frameworks including the constitution has not been positively progressing with cases like #Repeal162, which culminates in repealing pre-colonial discriminatory laws not progressing well.

Access to Age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education is being barred by misinformation that sexuality education encourages same-sex relations.

Unfortunately, funding for organisation supporting LGBTQ+ Rights have been decreasing owing to non-progressive systems and laws in countries like Kenya

The owner of this piece is Alvin Mwangi, an LGBTQ+ Youth Activist.

The views expressed therein are the owner’s and do not in any way represent the position of TUKO.co.ke.

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