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African Anthropologist

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LGBT Challenging and Reproducing Sexual Hegemonies: Stories from the Kenyan LGB Communities

AM Ocholla, RA Odhiambo, LG Galavu, I Muchki

Abstract


LGBT studies in Kenya are unpopular since they are considered ‘uncomfortable territory’. This paper covers stories of people in samesex relationships against a backdrop of homophobia in Kenya. It is based on a study which explored same-sex practices in traditional Kenyan communities, homophobia and same-sex practising individuals. The methodology involved focus group discussions with 20 elders, and face-to-face questionnaires administered in eight towns through a random sampling of 605 people. Twelve same-sex practising people were selected through purposive sampling. They gave their stories with consent, and names were changed to maintain confidentiality. Research findings revealed that homophobia was more common in older than younger individuals. Same-sex practising people and gender minorities accounted for 22 per cent of the population subjected to questionnaires. From the same-sex practising stories, ten of which are featured here, it was found that the respondents had gone through difficult phases in their lives where they struggled to find acceptance and fulfilment. They had challenged explicitly or implicitly, the sexual hegemonies within the wider society breaking away from either a heterosexual existence or finding a more balanced harmonious existence, where they could allow themselves to question and explore their sexualities, in relationships of their choice.




AJOL African Journals Online