Kenyan government attempts to ban gay students from boarding schools

Activists in Kenya are protesting a government proposal to ban gay students from public boarding schools.

The Minister of Education, Professor George Magoha, has called on the headteachers in charge of public boarding schools to exclude gay and lesbian students.

Professor Magoha said that gay students in boarding schools are “influencing their colleagues into homosexuality”, a claim that rights activists have dismissed as government propaganda.

Leading Kenyan lawyer and political analyst Makau Mutua called the move discriminatory, unconstitutional, and inhuman.

Mutua said that Kenyan society must love its children without bias based on their sexualities. 

He added that being gay is a natural thing and a normal African thing.

The Kenyan government wants all gay and lesbian students to be enrolled in day schools near their homes, where they can attend their studies and go back home, rather than boarding schools where they spent whole three-month terms.

The Minister of Education argued that the move is aimed at protecting the heterosexual majority of students.

Western Kenya LBQT Feminist Forum program director Becky Odhiambo challenged the Minister to respect the Kenyan constitution, which guarantees services including education without any form of discrimination based on grounds of sexuality, gender, race, marital status, or social status, among others.

“The Education Minister has violated the constitution and should be arrested and charged in a court of law,” said Odhiambo.

Odhiambo argued that the Minister has no power to determine what kind of schools gay and lesbian students can be admitted to.

Another activist, Caroline Rucah, said that the issue of sexuality is a matter of choice and privacy, and that the government should not use it to discriminate against the gay community.

LGBTIQA+ activists have threatened to take the government to court should it follow through on its threat of locking out gay students from attending boarding schools.

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