|Gay and Christian in
Other Sheep Kenya held seminar for parents, friends of lesbian and gay (PFLAG)
persons in Nakuru on Feb 19. A total number of 32 participants attended the one
day workshop. The seminar theme was “Sexuality and homophobia/transphobia in
view of religious dogma”.
The participants were drawn from Muslim, Seventh Day Adventist, Supkem, United
Methodist Church, Friends church, Reconciling Ministries Network, Family Hope,
Human Rights Network, Mid Rift Human rights Network, God’s Family Church, Africa
Independent Pentecostal church, Catholic church, Integrity, Changing Attitude,
Kinship International, Home Vision Kenya, St. Joseph Youth Center, Brahma
Kumaris, Kenya Youth Alliance, Teachers, Thairira widows, and Anglican church.
Rev. Michael Kimindu, Other Sheep East Africa Coordinator said that what
happened in coastal town of Mombasa, Mtwapa where gay rights were attacked was
a result of homophobia and transphobia catapulted by religious dogma. He said
“Let us respect sexuality and human rights and focus on God who is love”.
He said that Jesus Christ welcomed the marginalized and discriminated persons in
the Jewish culture such as Gentiles, Samaritans, women, children and lepers. This
was the voice of inclusion filled with compassion that we should emulate.
He said that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill being debated in Uganda if it becomes law
then life will be tough for all people. Other Sheep wishes that this draft does not see
the rise of sunshine.
Rev. John Makokha, Other Sheep Kenya Coordinator said that throughout history
of mankind, religion has been used to spearhead oppression, racism, patriarchy,
slavery and ignorance. He told religious leaders of Abrahamic faiths such as
Christianity and Islam to study beyond the holy books, the new researched
knowledge such as psychology, psychiatry and anthropology on matters of
sexuality. Theology should also grow like any other discipline.
He said that homosexuality is very African and LGBTI are our brothers, sisters and
friends. He said “It is un African to hate your neighbor or kill your neighbor because
of his sexual orientation”.
He advised religious leaders and community organizations to come up with MSM/
WSW HIV/AIDS Initiatives in order to effectively prevent the spread of HIV, and care
and treatment of infected partners. He said “Kenya National AIDS strategic plan
(KNASP 111) recognizes an outreach to MSM. The men who have sex with men are
considered the most-at-risk population. However, there is a contradiction when
homosexuality is still outlawed in Kenya.
He said that sexual orientation is never chosen but discovered. The Committee of
Experts on Constitutional review should ensure that the rights of LGBTI and asexual
persons are protected just like heterosexuals. It is social injustice for the rights of
sexual minorities to be ignored in our religious institutions in our independent nation.
Anne Baraza, Other Sheep Kenya Counselor said that religious leaders and
community organizations need to enhance LGBTI peer counseling and education.
She said that research by reputable institutions has shown that being gay is not
She said most counselors in Africa do not know how to handle LGBTI persons who
seek their professional services. They are also homophobic. She stressed that it
was frustrating for an LGBTI client to face a homophobic counselor, pastor or Imam.
She advised parents to be close to their children so that these children can open
up and even be free to share with them issues affecting them like sexual
orientation. She lamented that parents are ‘very busy’ that they don’t have time to
know their children better. When they come to learn about their children’s sexual
orientation they then rush to any counselor with the notion of changing this ‘queer
behavior.’ Unfortunately these counselors start on the exodus journey which ends
up in futility.
Pastor Jackson, Other Sheep Kenya Rift Valley Coordinator and SDA minister
said that research has shown that gays are intelligent and people of integrity. They
are doing excellent work in various careers and professions in our nation. He said
“They are contributing towards the national building just like heterosexuals”.
Peter Wanyama, Other Sheep Kenya treasurer talking about the challenges facing
the gay community noted the gay unfriendly medical providers such as VCT and
clinical treatment. He said one doctor screamed when the patient explained to him
about his anal sexual intercourse.
The seminar participants made the following observations:
- The Kiswahili term “shoga” referring to gay was culturally unacceptable since
contextually it means gay commercial sex workers. It demeans sexual
orientation. They suggested a proper translation to be found.
- They requested for more seminars lasting 3 to 5 days for them to understand
sexual orientation and on how to handle LGBTI in their respective
- They need more LGBTI peer counseling and education seminars to be
equipped with knowledge and skills since they confessed the gay community
in Nakuru is high.
- They requested some sexual orientation seminar for the deaf persons who
have been ignored and yet they exist.
- They expected Other Sheep Kenya to have a safe house and resource
center for further studies and research materials.
- The current Christian Religious Education syllabus in Kenya categorizes
Homosexuality under immorality. The participants requested Other Sheep to
make a formal appeal to the ministry of education to differentiate sexual
orientation from sexual behavior.
- They requested to be given seminar participation certificates in future.
This seminar was made possible with
a grant support from UHAI-EASHRI
Rev. Michael Kimindu, Other
Sheep Coordinator for Other
Sheep East Africa
Rev. John Makokha, Other
Sheep East Africa
Coordinator for Kenya
Mrs. Anne Baraza, Other
Sheep East Africa
Counselor to LGBT and
friends and family of Other
Rev. John Makokha, Other
Sheep Coordinator for Kenya
February, 21, 2010
|Other Sheep Kenya conducts Nakuru PFLAG Seminar - 32
by Rev. John Makokha, Nairobi, Kenya, February 21, 2010
|This webpage was created and published
February 22, 2010, Bronx, NY.
Visits to this webpage since February 22, 2010.
Above photo published with permission