A few weeks ago, I sat in a meeting where I was offered the opportunity to edit the first (or nearly the first) locally published anthology of queer writing in Kenya. As envisioned, the project will document the lives and loves, joys and struggles of queer Kenyans, at home and abroad. I have dreamed of such a project for longer than I can remember. Probably since I first picked up Brother to Brother and, later, In the Life, and realized it was possible to read about lives like mine, loves like mine, feelings like mine.
I do not call myself a writer. But these books called me to writing.
Right before I left Nairobi, I attended the history-making launch of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya Resource Center. I have never felt as hope-filled about Kenya as I did on that day. I will treasure the program forever.
Queer Kenya exists. Is here. And is doing necessary, vital, life-saving, and nation-saving work.
I worry about the Media Bill because of its non-definition of obscenity. Queer writings have often been seized and destroyed on the ostensible basis of their “obscene” quality. In a country where the very words “gay” and “lesbian” are whispered, considered to be obscene, will it be possible to publish content by Kenyans, for Kenyans, about Kenyans?
It is vital and necessary and imperative that queer content on Kenya be written by Kenyans for Kenyans. We need to talk amongst ourselves, even as we invite visitors to share in our living and our loving.
I am less concerned about how the Media Bill gags journalists from revealing the truth about politicians. In Moi’s Kenya, we learned to talk through holes bored into our cheeks. We will always know what is happening.
I am concerned that this Media Bill forbids Kenyans from talking to teach other, about each other, that “public safety” is code for “protecting the politicians.”
I have said it before in conversation: 2012 is too far away. And our smug politicians who believe in a repressed population should be very, very wary.