Kenya: 19 school students suspended for supporting LGBT rights
A group of Kenyan high school students who argued in favour of gay rights during a debate, have been suspended for a week after they were accused of being homosexuals.
The group of 19 students – from St. Mary’s Kibabi Boys High School in Bungoma County – were sent home for a week last month, pending an investigation by the school into the allegations against them, after anti-gay students accused them of being gay.
The teenagers were taking part in a group debate regarding gay rights – an issue no doubt heightened by the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama.
A White House spokesperson has said the President has every intention of discussing gay rights on his trip to Kenya – despite the country’s warnings not to.
However, after the school boys vocalised their own support for gay people, their opponents accused them of being homosexuals themselves, and they were subsequently asked to leave school.
They will be allowed to report back to the school next week with their parents to hear the verdict against them.
The school’s principal, Mathew Namunwa, has warned that if any of the students are discovered to have participated in homosexual acts, they would be given counselling.
Namanuwa confirmed that there had been a debate the previous week between the pro and anti-gay pupils, which led to divisions among the peers. He said those accused of being gay are suspected to have been practising “it” with the school’s youngest and most vulnerable students.
“We all know this is a societal issue and we cannot pretend or run away from it but discuss it and find a way out,” he told The Star Newspaper.
Anti gay protesters in Kenya – where gay sex is currently illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison – took to Twitter to warn the President to avoid the subject of homosexuality and gay rights during his upcoming visit to the country later this month.
The social media campaign to dissuade President Obama from discussing pro-gay issues followed an earlier anti-gay protests that took place in the country’s capital of Nairobi.