BY Ama Nunoo, 10:00am December 20, 2019,

Merry Queermas: This is how Kenya’s LGBT community celebrates Christmas

Photo: BBC

In Africa most people believe being gay is a sin. Gay Africans are mostly shunned by Christian relatives and some even end up being homeless.

The Kenyan gay community wanted to legalise same sex marriage in May this year, but they were unsuccessful.

During this festive season they have decided to find comfort in each other by celebrating their own Christmas, Queermas. A term that has been in existence for a while but now gaining grounds in Africa.

Christmas is a time where families bond over good cooked meals and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

For the Kenyan LGBT community, they celebrate Queermas to create a haven for each other in a country where it is illegal to be gay and to celebrate one another.

The Kenyan LGBT community usually feel displaced during the Christmas festivities. They end up lonely and depressed.

Since they started celebrating Queermas many who have been shunned by Christian relatives fraternise with others in their community to have their own form of celebrations.

Last year a young lady, Kioko attended Queermas and gave an insight about her experience, BBC reports.

She said, “there’s a sense of community and it’s a free space where you can enjoy things that you’ve grown up doing and are used to.”

Most gays in Africa have difficulty coming out of the closet. They end up living a sheltered life. Kioko further went on to describe her experience.

She said this celebration is an avenue for those who have been ostracised by their families to know they have a support system in the Kenyan LGBT community.

“It’s a safe space for us and it feels nice to know you’re not alone,” said Kioko.

This celebration is important more so because after the Kenyan High Court ruling against legalizing same sex marriage, the community feels more shunned by their people.

When one is arrested for being gay in Kenya, they are likely to face 14 years in jail, although there is no record of such an arrest.

Interestingly many other African countries criminalize being gay and have their own penalties for perpetrators.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: December 20, 2019


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