‘LGBTIs are also humans’
Young gay people are being forced onto the streets, starving and in need of shelter after being denied basic human needs in Kenya.
These refugees are from Uganda and say they have been denied medical care and food. However, they are also banned from working legally.
If they did return to Uganda, they fear being killed by mob violence or arrested for homosexuality.
Last year, interior minister Joseph Nkaissery announced the government’s intentions to close the world’s largest refugee camp. Many of the people living there are from Somalia.
He claimed the camp would need to close, citing security concerns and economic burden. The government also disbanded the department of Refugee Affairs. This has meant hundreds of people have been forcibly dispersed, any income for these stranded people stopped, and any medical care dropped.
While NGOs have attempted to help as much as possible, these homeless youths have said many are now saying Trump’s temporary ban on refugees will have a long-lasting effect especially if other countries follow suit. For if they cannot relocate to a country that will help them to begin new lives, and the country they’re in cannot afford to care for them, the future looks bleak.
So for the past 48 hours, dozens of LGBTI refugees are holding protests outside the United Nations Refugee Agency to raise awareness of their plight.
Among the protesters are two young men, who are 22, who were victims of mob violence. When the crowd demanded to know why two men lived together without women, the mob threatened to burn the house down. One of the men is HIV positive and has had no access to medicine since the shut down.
Also there is a trans biology student was outed in a tabloid. After seeing this, her roommates threw her and her belongings out. Fearing for her life, she got on a bus and left Kampala for Nairobi.
‘This is a protest that is saying, simply, ‘please help us to survive’,
Denis Nzioka, Kenyan LGBTI rights activist, told Gay Star News.
‘They have no papers so they cannot legally work. They are sitting and cannot move forward. All of the agencies are saying their hands are tied. But the LGBTIs are vocal, and courageous, and are pleading for basic human needs: food, shelter, clothing and medical care.’
The protest is notable for it began on the sixth anniversary of the death of David Kato, a Ugandan gay rights activist who was killed after his name and face was plastered on the tabloid Rolling Stone.
‘Even six years later after David Kato, Ugandans are still fighting for their lives. The spirit of David Kato lives on in these young people. Gay people are still being denied homes and are living in poverty. It’s surreal that six years later, people are still pleading for food, for work, for shelter, and for medical care.’