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It is time for Kenya to bring the LGBT conversation out of the closet.

By okun oliech | January 16th 2017
Coming out and identifying yourself as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or even as Transgender is always a challenge no matter where you live because of the stigma and discrimination that one is bound to face for the rest of their lives.

Diversity is a beautiful thing, and to make people feel excluded for something they have no control over is not only wrong but also ignorant. It actually speaks volumes about us as a society.

Globally, 8 out of 10 teenage suicides are committed by the LGBT youth. We are at risk of losing an entire generation of beautiful, talented, individuals who feel alienated because they’re taught that being different is wrong when the truth of the matter is it is not wrong and it shouldn’t be.

Most people are unaware that it is not only external homophobia that keeps many LGBT individuals in the closet but a deep sense of internal homophobia too.

As you read this, there are probably thousands of LGBT individuals here in Kenya sitting at their computers, Googling everything from “is it wrong to be gay?” to “how do I come out to my parents?” They are searching for answers, answers to questions they are too afraid to ask out loud.

The only way for the LGBT community to win this battle against stigma and discrimination is by them gaining some courage and coming out of the closet and fight for their rights. But before we can have people coming out of the closet, it’s important to realize that we have to first bring the conversation out of the closet.

 The best way to do it is to talk about it and hope that somehow, somewhere, that one young LGBT kid contemplating suicide sits up and realizes that he or she is not alone and finds the courage to stand up and live life the only way it should be lived out and proud.

In these times of rising intolerance across various aspects of life in Kenya, it’s important that we sustain the dialogue around diversity, and the spectrum of sexuality needs to be included in it regardless of how uncomfortable it makes some feel.
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