An original study of 18 LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people in Kenya I conducted for this paper revealed the unique ways LGBT people in Kenya rely on the Internet. Data showed that the LGBT community in Kenya, a country that still criminalizes homosexuality, uses the Internet towards three main things:
Safe space to meet other members of the LGBT community and allies (17 out of 18 respondents);
Resources for activism and as a tool to disseminate information (6 out of 18 respondents);
Education, news, health, and other personal improvement resources (14 out of 18 respondents).
But this safe space is being threatened by increasing threats to privacy and security online exposing the LGBT members to public outing and physical violence.
For the Internet to serve as a technology promoting equality for the LGBT community, anonymity and privacy are critical. The Internet has the chance to change the narrative on the treatment of LGBT individuals by ensuring they have equal opportunities for internet access, online expression, and personal security. Additionally, and importantly, the Kenyan state should also honor the constitution and decriminalize homosexuality to offer policy-level changes to ensure homophobia narratives are not sanctioned by state actions.
Find the report here.