What are my rights as a LGBT?

22 Dec, 2018
LGBT rights refer to the human rights aimed at promoting the legal and social positions and equality of lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the society. These rights are meant to address the social injustices against the LGBT family by outlawing sexual discrimination and violence, making constitutional changes in law to allow equal access to education, health, and public benefits, and also through the recognition and acceptance of various types of relationships and families.

Since there is difference in LGBT rights in different regions, I’ll concentrate on the LGBT rights for people living in Kenya.

Well, let’s look at the LGBT rights using the Q & A approach.

1. Do I have rights as a member of LGBT family in Kenya?

Yes. The LGBT family members share the same rights as every member of the society. You are a human being and all human beings have equal rights. However, here in Kenya, and most African countries with the exceptions of South Africa and Cape Verde, challenges arise from certain laws that criminalize same-sex activity.

Also, an interesting thing to note is that some members of LGBT family have better protection than the other members. This is because the laws that criminalize same sex protect the intersex and transgender people. At the same time, the law does not fully address the needs of intersex and transgender individuals.

According to Article 19 (3) (a) of the 2010 constitution of Kenya, It is stated that your rights belong to you because you are a human being and are not granted by the state.

2. Can I be Fired or Denied Employment Because Of My Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation?

No. According to the Employment Act, the government and your employer has a duty to promote equal job opportunities between the workers. This means that all the employees have the same chances to salaries, promotions, and other work related benefits. It also means that all the candidates for a job share the same chances of being employed. All workers should, therefore, be treated equally regardless of their identity.

3. Can I be evicted from a Rental House Because Of My Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation?

No. Article 43, sub article 1 (b) of the constitution states that every individual has the right to “accessible and adequate housing, and reasonable standards of sanitation.” Based on this law, ‘every individual’ refers to all people regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The person’s right to housing includes his or her right to become a tenant and enter into a fair and non-discriminatory agreement with a landlord.

4. Is there Anything Being Done to Support our LGBT Rights?

Yes. There are many non-governmental and non-profit organizations working to support and fight for the LGBT community globally. In Kenya, we have Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), National Gay and Lesbian Human rights Commission (NGLHRC), and Gay Kenya Trust. Internationally, there are a number of organizations working to support our rights including The GLBT National Help Centre, Europe’s New Social Network for LGBT (GLXY.eu), Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Gay, Lesbian & Straight Educators Network (GLSEN), Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), Americans Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), among others.

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