Since 2008, there have been at least six incidents of mob violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Kenya. Human Rights Watch and fellow rights organization Pema Kenya revealed. The local police failed to investigate any of them.
In Kenya, consenting adults can face up to 14 years in prison for having same-sex relations. One can be imprisoned for up to seven years for attempting to have such sexual relations, and five years for committing “indecency” – an offense that is frequently leveled at LGBT people. Men who are suspected of being gay can be forced to undergo invasive anal testing in the erroneous belief that the procedure can determine their sexual orientation. These statutes brand LGBT people as undeserving of empathy, dignity or the protection of the law.
In this era where children think being homosexual is cool and appealing to their peers, as a parent, how mentally prepared are you for the day your child might come up to you and admit to having a same-sex relationship with a fellow girl or boy?
Research shows that at least 83% of men have had more than 50 sexual partners, 43% have had more than 500 sexual partners, 28% have had more than 1000 sexual partners and over 50% are one night stand strangers.
These numbers are shocking but they are the new reality that our younger generations hold. This behavior that is largely growing on teenagers and youths has been widely blamed on western influence mainly through pop, mainstream and online media. Many people believe that if this was not supported and shown in TV programs that young people watch, such characters would not have encroached our African culture.
Agnes, who was once a student at a prestigious girl’s high school here in Nairobi, admits that she was never a lesbian until she joined high school.
“My first day at school was shocking. I had just been admitted as a form 1 and when I went to take a shower later on, another female student just walked into the bathroom and actually kissed me. My first day of high school. You can only imagine how terrifying this was. I didn’t know what to do or who to tell and the strangest thing about it is that nobody seemed shocked. You can imagine how terrified I was. So for four years in this school, I witnessed things I never thought could happen. Girls can be wild. And that is how I discovered I like women and not men. So you can imagine how many other young girls and boys have gone through this or are going through this in schools because most of the time, one is forced into it”
Psychologists however, argue that this issue is more psychological than what people assume. Nobody is born gay or lesbian but the idea is however put into people’s heads as they grow up. When one acts in a certain type of way and people start telling them that they are like this and that, at first they will deny it but with time they start believing this. The more they hear this, it grows on them and they believe that they are that way so they act like that and behave in that way.
Many high school students can attest to the fact that there are such things happening in their schools among their fellow students and some schools are even popular for having a large number of gays and lesbians.
But as a parent, what would you do if your child actually admitted to this. Would you disown them? Would you pray for them and talk them out of it or would you accept them the way they are and believe that maybe that is how God created them?
What if your child told you that they feel like they are in the wrong body? They feel like they were supposed to be born as male or female and they are stuck in the wrong body. The world these days is very influenced by celebrities who shape what a very large percentage of teens and youths do. Taking an example of Caitlyn Jenner who was once known as Bruce Jenner but changed his sex to a woman because he felt trapped in the wrong body. His decision was widely received by majority of people and celebrities and he even won awards for being brave. Such people shape the society and more so, the younger generation that is quite open-minded and experimental.
They might see that being a transgender helped him gain more popularity and he got a lot of attention, brand endorsements and even his own reality TV show. For him, it was all for all the wrong reasons. Or maybe your child’s friends think that it is cool to be this way and so for them to fit in, they want to do it.
This can also apply to a certain popular artist who had a show in Westlands just recently and surprisingly it was a homosexual affair with almost 80% of the crowd being homosexuals who were not afraid to show it with even gay men dancing together. One can only imagine how this could have affected the younger people who might have attended.
Knowing your child’s friends can be very helpful in understanding their behaviors. These are the people your child spends most of the time with throughout the year. For you to understand their behaviors, you must know their company. Youths and teens are widely influenced by the people around them and especially their friends and most of the time they move with the wave and make rush decisions which many a times do not work out in their favour.
Try and understand that your child could also be going through a phase which they probably desperately want to fit in with their peers or want attention so to get this, they believe that being different in the most noticeable way will give them the attention they want. As you can see, its all about seeing the early warning signs, a lot of honest talk on this topic which require that you as a parent becomes very sober-minded and hold your cool even if you will often be tempted to either kick them out, ground them or call in you church priest or counselor for some intervention!