Pinky / Kenya
“I identify as gay. I live in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya is not a safe place for the LGBTQ community. For instance in high school, I was mobbed by a group of boys because rumors spread about me having a relationship with a male classmate. They beat me but luckily I was saved a teacher. The boys believed that beating me would change my sexuality. They were angry that I was the worship leader at school and they did not believe a gay person should be that.
In high school, I attempted suicide 48 times, using pills, jumping from a bridge , cutting and carbon monoxide . I wanted to change myself but I couldn’t and that made me depressed. So, I thought I should not go on living. I have another gay friend who tried to commit suicide.
Several times I have been harassed by homophobic men in my home area. I have had to move twice to stay safe. I have a gay friend who ran away from his family and no one has heard from him since.
My family knows that I am gay but they cannot accept it. They found out through Facebook. When my brother knew about my sexuality, he beat me. When he is drunk, he will verbally abuse me, telling me that I will never have kids. This makes me feel very bad. I break down and cry at times.
One time my family believed that I was infested by a demon and they tried to use “juju” or witchcraft to “cure” me. I was cut on my chest and my tongue by the witch doctor. It was traumatizing.
It’s hard for me to have a relationship. At one point, I had a boyfriend, but we had to break up because of the pressures of being gay in this society. He eventually got married to a woman. And I know he is not happy. He gets drunk everyday.
People judge me based on the way I dress. For example, on the matatu, the conductors have often said that I dress like a girl and they ask why. And some of them even strip me of my clothing. However, I believe you should be able to dress the way you want. I express myself through the way I dress. My style is “sissy wear”. When I am able to dress the way I want I feel more confident, I can talk freely to people.
I desire for Kenya to be a safe space for LGBTQ people. I want to use my artistry, modelling and make-up to create more awareness and acceptance for my community in Kenya and globally.”