Pride event takes place inside refugee camp
A Pride event has gone ahead in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp.
The Pride event, the first of its kind, took place inside the camp – which is home to many LGBT refugees who have fled their home countries due to fear of homophobic persecution.
The refugees who organised the event are from Refugee Flag Kakuma, and was primarily attended by LGBT people who fled neighbouring Uganda.
Homosexuality carries a life sentence in Uganda and LGBT people often face violence and persecution. It is also illegal to be gay in Kenya, but many in the camp hope for resettlement in a third country where homosexuality is legal.
Rainbow flags were on display at the camp as the LGBT community came out to celebrate their identities.
Rlwage Eibusone, a Ugandan transgender refugee, told AFP: “I’m really happy. I feel like I am with my family and I’m very happy for it.”
Pride organiser Wamalabashier Gibson explained: “People are so in the closet, they don’t want to show up for security reasons and protecting reasons.
“So when I say we are the voice of the voiceless, it is we who have come out to tell people that we are of no harm and we are human beings.”
Refugee Flag Kakuma said: “The very first pride event, in Kakuma refugee camp, was fabulous… with a slogan of ‘stop homophobia’.
“The event was so colourful, with two LGBTIQ friends and comrades from the USA and England.
“Thanks for the great love and donations from our beloved patrons, advocates and all other well-wishers who ensured the success of the event through online donations.
“Thanks to all the LGBTIQ participants in the activities of promotion of [awareness] that we are of no harm and human despite our gender orientation, and our rights should be respected.
“We love you and thanks for understanding our situations, big up to our friends from the international community.
“We thank everyone, who has helped out in any capacity to see that our event is a success. May the almighty God bless you all, we love you all, thanks for your good heart and support.”
The group raised thousands of dollars towards the cost thanks to crowdfunding.