The cultural, religious and ethnic dynamics around the subject of homosexuality continues to create controversy in the legal and political spheres of Kenya. To be homosexual is still identified as unnatural, ungodly, a taboo while stigmatization and hostility remain. Recently, threats and physical attacks against gay men appear increasing. The situation is particularly challenging to the public health discourse where HIV infection among gay men contributes significantly to the HIV epidemic in Kenya. In Kenya, the GTZ Health Sector Programme targets sexual minorities such as LGBTI in its sexual and reproductive health interventions. This is based on its rights based approach to programming that recognises sexual minorities as a vulnerable group especially to HIV infection and other STIs. GTZ has supported the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) to develop its strategic plan that is crucial in informing the direction for addressing the needs of its members. GTZ also supports interventions to end discrimination, stigma and social exclusion for such minorities. For instance, in collaboration with ART2BE, GTZ is supporting various best practice projects to help individuals cope with the HIV infection and with homosexuality -- related discrimination.
GTZ has recently partnered with GALCK in the production of a short video which gives a snapshot of the current situation of gay people in Kenya as well as challenges faced in society. The theme of 'diversity' cuts across the 4-minute video and highlights human rights for all. This video was presented through a panel discussion within the "13th Eschborn Dialogue: Diversity, the Culture Factor" that was held in Germany in June, 2010. The key messages and outcomes of the discussions were that: sexual diversity is a right to non-discrimination and that lobbying of civil society is the basis to increase political will. The discussions also highlighted the need to produce positive messages to gain commitment among politicians and the society and to increase the network and lessons learned in exchange with other countries, as well as the need to move beyond a human rights perspective but also look at the social and economic advantage of sexual diversity and diversity management.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010