Members of the LGBTQ+ community took to the streets of Nairobi on Thursday, January 13 in response to Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha’s remarks on banning queer students from boarding schools.
The community took over the Nairobi CBD temporarily, holding placards and LGBTQ+ flags in protest against Magoha’s directive that gay students should be restricted to day schools that are closer to their homes.
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“Right now, there are contemporary cases of children who are homosexual and lesbians, they must go to day schools close to their homes. Your responsibility should be for the greater majority and not a few individuals. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by children,” he said.
The comments did not sit well with members of the public and particularly drove the LGBT community mad, pointing fingers at the Education CS for profiling students based on their sexual orientation.
The community marched straight to the Ministry of Education offices with the argument that the Constitution protects minors against discrimination, and that many of the learners are below the age of 18.
“Today we say we will no longer be silenced, that children are going to be safe. We will do whatever it takes, if we must die, we will die so that the next generation can stay alive,” said one of the members.
They were joined in by activists who claimed that the CS’ remarks were reckless and could lead to divisions among the society.
“Today we march to the ministry of education, protesting against discrimination of queer kids in school following prejudiced remarks by CS Magoha banning queer kids in boarding schools.
“His directive not only bars queer kids from getting quality education but also propels negative attitudes, stigma and discrimination of queer kids. Queer rights are human rights,” read a statement by Bold Africa Network.
Its founder, former BBC journalist Makena Njeri, had criticised Magoha’s comments, terming them as a direct attack on their human rights.
“This should be strongly condemned because we are only fueling the discrimination and adding more mental health issues amongst our young kids who need only love and guidance. You don’t choose your gender identity or sexual orientation,” Makena said in a lengthy Instagram post.
She reiterated that her activism was meant to speak for the children who have o go through a rigorous system that chokes their existence over something beyond their control.
“I do this work for the parents who have gay children and love them to bits and want them to have an easy life full of life,” she added.