Gerald Hayo on openly being a lesbian in Kenya

Gerald Hayo (on the left) at our monthly meeting last month

Gerald Hayo, who is currently on a fellowship with the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York, spoke at our monthly meeting in February. In Kenya she works for a grassroots organisation, Rainbow Women Kenya in Mombasa. This organisation aims to promote the rights of lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Kenya, focussing on their health rights.
In Kenya being a lesbian is illegal. This affects health staff’s treatment of women who are lesbian, even in cases where their injuries or ill health are due to homophobic abuse or attacks.
Gerald has experienced this kind of attack first-hand.
The national health programme includes health care for gay men but not women. Gay men were identified as a “key population” targeted by the health programme due to AIDS.
Lesbians are denied access to legal rights, even in cases of “corrective rape” of lesbians.
Rainbow Women Kenya carries out training including training of church pastors/priests. At present individual workers who have received training may be supportive but they do not feel able to change the views of their colleagues.
Gerald is hopeful that there will be a change in attitude to the LGBTQI community in Kenya in the future. She asked us to appeal to the World Health Organisation in relation to this issue.

Short Story Competition

On 15 March we announce and publish the winning short story and the three runners-up - on our competition web-page.

March Monthly Meeting

Anima Poudel is the guest speaker at our monthly meeting this month at the usual venue - the Friends Meeting House, Friargate, York YO1 9RL. She is a women's rights and youth activist from Nepal and will speak on the human rights implications of the age-old discriminatory practice of chhaupadi. In remote areas of Nepal this requires women to be separated from the household during their menstrual periods and after childbirth. Anima will discuss the strategies she employs in her work. The meeting takes place on Tuesday 13 March, starts at 7 p.m. with Anima's talk followed by questions and answers and then continues (from 8 p.m.) with our group's regular business. Everyone is welcome to attend and, if they like, to leave after Anima's talk.