The Kenyan society considers homosexuality a taboo topic in the social and cultural essence. Being a conservative community, Kenyans view homosexuality and being transgender as immoral and degradation of cultural beliefs and values. Most people are hostile and discriminate against homosexuals, calling them names that insult or negatively describe the act. Swahili is the most spoken language in Kenya, followed by English and an additional street language called sheng. Most homosexual names originate from Swahili and Sheng languages. For example, Club 71 is a sheng word that refers to the gay community (Mucherah, 2016). Also, the Sheng language refers to male homosexuals Shoga, which also identifies with male prostitution, and their partners are referred to as Basha, meaning a superior person or the person in charge (Mucherah, 2016). Another insulting name referring to homosexuals is Khanithi, a Swahili word that means impotence or the inability to perform the sexual practice appropriately.
The Kenyan society does not embrace homosexuality or being transgender because they presume it as an immoral vice. Homosexuals and transgender individuals receive harsh treatment and violence from the community, which instills fear in expressing their sexual orientation. Homosexuals receive threats from the community and their close family members, which turn to violence and shunning by family members (Mucherah, 2016). Homeowners also discriminate against homosexuals and avoid tenants who practice homosexuality, leading to limited accommodation in regions accepting the vice. The most condemning medium of homosexuality in Kenya is the media that portrays homosexual acts as perverting vice and lacks society’s sexual values and beliefs. The Kenyan government also prohibits homosexuality and is considered a criminal offense with a jail term of up to 14 years in prison (Steinhauser, 2019). Due to the condemning law, homosexuals facing threats and abuse do not report the cases for fear of being arrested. Homosexuals are victims of sexual oppression with no means of defending and protecting themselves from the government and society.
The treatment that homosexuals face in Kenyan society is inhuman, and uncalled-for considering homosexuals are not destructive, nor do they interfere with other people’s affairs. Treating homosexuals like criminals does not justify the fundamental human rights of freedom and the free will to express oneself sexually. Treating homosexuals as different human beings degrades the societies morality and the value of humanity. Historically, some Kenyan cultures practice homosexuality in teaching and initiating teenagers to adulthood which means the practice has significant roots in the African culture. Therefore, discriminating against homosexuality in the name of keeping cultural values and beliefs contradicts the ancient ways of life. Homosexuals are human beings who deserve the right to be free and happy. While their happiness comes from same-sex attraction, it is inhuman to deny them that right. Instead of being brutal and threatening homosexuals, society should learn to embrace diversity and people who are born with different sexual orientations
I think sexual orientation is not a mental disorder; therefore, it should not be considered in the DSM-V. The attraction between individuals of the same sex is typical in the development of human sexuality, which does not indicate any psychiatric disorders. DSM-V regards mental disorders as having clinically diagnosed mental disturbances that occur due to changes in development psychologically or biologically and affect the individual’s cognitive functioning (Harper et al., 2021). Therefore, homosexuality is not a mental case since it does not involve emotional disturbance and does not affect the normal functioning of individuals. Additionally, the theories of normal variation suggest that homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon that can affect anyone. According to the views, homosexuals are born different from the majority population forming a minority group of people born with a difference. For example, most people are right-handed, but that does not mean left-handed people are abnormal. The same case equates to how homosexuals are born as homosexuals, which does not indicate any mental abnormalcy.
Harper, G., Crawford, J., Lewis, K., Mwochi, C., Johnson, G., & Okoth, C. Jadwin-Cakmak, L., Onyango, D. P., Kumar, M. & Wilson, B. D. (2021). Mental health challenges and needs among sexual and gender minority people in Western Kenya. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(3), 1311.
Mucherah, W., Owino, E., & McCoy, K. (2016). Grappling with the issue of homosexuality: perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs among high school students in Kenya. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 9, 253-262.
Steinhauser, G. (2019). World News: Kenya Court Upholds Gay-Sex Ban. Wall Street Journal. Web.