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WINGS

Kenya is a coun­try where homo­sex­u­al­i­ty is heav­i­ly stig­ma­tized. Accord­ing to inter­na­tion­al polls, more than 80 per­cent of Kenyans oppose accep­tance for homo­sex­u­al rela­tions, and more than 90 per­cent oppose same-sex mar­riage. There are harsh penal­ties pre­scribed by law, insults like mashoga” [a sar­cas­tic use of the Swahili word for friends”] are tossed about, and vio­lence — and even death — are seri­ous pos­si­bil­i­ties. In the US, par­ents of gays played a major role in soci­etal accep­tance. Kenyan moth­er Mary Mumbi tells the sto­ry of how she came to terms with her daugh­ter’s sex­u­al­i­ty and has come to pro­vide emo­tion­al sup­port for oth­er gays, to con­nect with the gay rights move­ment, and to speak out to fam­i­ly and asso­ciates — even in church — about accept­ing and respect­ing gay peo­ple. She says gays were cre­at­ed by God, and that peo­ple who insult them may well have clos­et­ed gays in their own fam­i­lies. Inter­view for WINGS by Diana Wany­onyi in Mombasa.