HRC Blog

Prominent Kenyan Writer Comes Out as Gay

One of Africa's leading literary authors and celebrated Caine Prize winner, Binyavanga Wainaina, responded this weekend to the wave of anti-LGBT legislation in African countries by publicly coming out as gay in a short story, "I Am a Homosexual, Mum."

The lauded 43-year-old African author is the first high profile Kenyan to come out. The social and legal context of Africa makes coming out a rare occurrence, especially for a public figure. Fifty-four countries in Africa, including Kenya, criminalize same-sex conduct.

In "I Am a Homosexual, Mum," the award-winning author spoke of his longtime struggle to accept his true identity. With his brave decision to come out, he is poised to become a still-louder voice for LGBT rights in Africa through his literary work.

Calling the story “the lost chapter” from his 2011 memoir, the self-described pan-Africanist said the timing of his announcement was far from accidental, but rather a sign of support of the LGBT Africans persecuted under newly-enacted anti-LGBT laws in Nigeria and Uganda.

Wainaina, author and founder of the influential Nairobi-based literary journal, "Kwani", said he would continue to travel to Nigeria and Uganda, despite the increasing persecution of LGBT people.

Coming out as LGBT or allied is a deeply personal journey for each individual. For more resources, visit HRC’s Coming Out Center.

 

 

 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons 

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