Kenya

AT A GLANCE

Same Sex
Relations
Legal?

NO

Legal Gender
Recognition
Possible?

YES

LGBTI Orgs
Able to
Register?

YES

Actions Related
to SOGI at
the UN

2016: Opposed IE SOGI

Overview

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 been ruled unconstitutional. In 2019, Kenya became the first country in Africa to incorporate an intersex category into the national census. However, also in 2019, 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 that LGBTIQ people face. 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.