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Country Overview

Kenya

At a glance

Same-sex Relations for Men Legal Throughout the Country?

No

Same-sex Relations for Women Legal Throughout the Country?

No

Legal Gender Recognition Possible?

Yes

LGBTI Orgs Able to Register?

No

Actions Related to SOGI at the UN:

2016: Opposed IE SOGI

2019:

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Notable progress has been made in the recognition of the human rights of LGBTIQ people in Kenya in the last decade, largely through victories in the courts. LGBTIQ organizations have been allowed to officially register and it has become possible for transgender Kenyans to receive legal gender recognition. Forced anal examinations have also been ruled unconstitutional. In July 2019, Kenya became the first country in Africa to incorporate an intersex category into the national census. However, also in the same year, Kenya’s High Court upheld a colonial law criminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults, claiming that the law is not discriminatory and would, if abolished, open the door to same-sex marriage, which is unconstitutional in Kenya. LGBTIQ people are largely ostracized in Kenya and are often seen as mentally ill, immoral, or un-African. Hate speech from politicians and religious leaders is prevalent and legitimizes the violence and discrimination against LGBTIQ people. Hate crimes against LGBTIQ people, including mob violence, are common and, due to the continuing criminalization, can be perpetrated with impunity, as LGBTIQ people do not seek protection for fear of further victimization, outing, or abuse at the hands of law enforcement. Although the law and judicial decisions now allow for the registration of LGBTIQ organizations, in practice, they are unable to register as such as the NGO Coordination Board has not so far complied with the law. In 2022, Kenya became the first African country to grant universal rights and recognition to intersex people. 

Global Impact

Sub-Saharan Africa

Outright supports LGBTIQ organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and works with mainstream human rights organizations to respect human rights and influence positive changes in laws, policies, attitudes, and beliefs that cause discrimination against LGBTIQ people on the continent.

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United Nations

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Asia

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Europe and Central Asia

Outright International partners with activists to fight for an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in Europe and Central Asia, where most of our work involves emergency responses to harassment, discrimination, violence and most recently, Russia’s brutal and expanded invasion of Ukraine.

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Americas

Our work in the Americas continues to build on the fundamental and positive transformation of human rights protections in recent years. We partner with groups in the Caribbean that focus on ending gender-based violence and eradicating discrimination against trans people.

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Pacific

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