by Nathan Kipkosgey, Nairobi

by Nathan Kipkosgey, Nairobi

Freedom of Association

28 Dec, 2018

by Nathan Kipkosgey, Nairobi

During these festive seasons, we tend to a break from our busy schedule. These provide us an opportunity to meet with friends and family. Freedom of association is key in achieving these. It includes the gathering of persons who pursue, promote defend a common interest. As the LGBTQ family, the festive season provides us with an opportunity to meet in our local clubs so that we can discuss challenges that we face every day and how we can overcome them. As homosexuals we may find it difficult to meet openly because of the stigmatization that came with being gay, however, we should not let other people's discomfort hinder our rights of association.
As we speak today the LGBTQ members in Africa and the Middle East face enormous challenges in their quest to form clubs and association. The repressive regimes crack down on the "evil" association. Once arrested the members could face long jail terms and public lashing.
The right of association is a human right, no one state has a right to withdraw it from its citizens. We must strive to achieve these rights of association across the world since these rights are key in our mission to ensure zero discrimination against homosexuals. This association helps our movement to build networks across continents. This way we can highlight the problems that our colleagues face in every corner of the world. These would enable the international community to place pressure on these barbaric regimes to grant its gay community their rights.
Openly meeting of gay people also goes a long way to demystify what the LGBTQ movement is all about. This is because it will provide straight people with an opportunity to meet and interact with us. These will go a long way in ending homophobia. This will end their ignorance since knowledge is power.
Failing to plan is planning to fail, these associations will go a long way in educating our members on their human right and how to face authorities and homophobic persons. In the case of harassment and arrests, we can raise legal fees in order to fight for their freedom and liberty. These means essentially having your members back and some sense of security.
Freedom of association and assembly is a human right that does not come easy in most parts of the world. Even in western democracies where their citizens enjoy these rights it has not always been like that. Concerned citizens and activists had to fight hard against fascist governments of the time in order to enjoy these rights today, for example, Germany under the rule of Hitler the unions were nationalized and collapsed to form a single German Labor Front which was state controlled.
As we celebrate the progress that we have made across the world there is still more room for improvement. We should remember there are lots of people who are against these rights. As we strive to convert them to join our movement, these rights should be jealously guarded lest we reverse the wheels of progress. There is no doubt that we shall overcome these challenges even though the road ahead is narrow and meandering.