LGBT+ Africans optimistic as Kenya set to rule on decriminalising gay sex

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02/19/2019

There is a quiet air of excitement at the offices of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), as the countdown draws closer to Friday when a much-awaited ruling by Kenya’s High Court could make history. The charity has fought hundreds of cases of abuse against sexual minorities in Kenya’s courts, but the verdict on whether to scrap British colonial-era laws criminalising gay sex is undoubtedly their most eagerly anticipated case. “We are excited and cautiously optimistic – but optimistic nonetheless,” Lelei Cheruto from NGLHRC, one of the groups petitioning the court to decriminalise gay sex, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “A positive ruling will mean sexual minorities in Kenya will have the freedom to exist. It will be a step towards their inclusion in society. We feel we have a very solid case.” Homosexuality is taboo in the East African nation and persecution of sexual minorities is rife. Under sections of Kenya’s penal code, gay sex – or “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” – is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

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