Where love is illegal

Category : Naya Blog

Image by bebee producer

Story by Martha

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

My name is Martha and I am a lesbian woman. I live in a community which is very homophobic. Despite me being born and raised in the community, I have always been treated as an outcast ever since I came out of the closet and identified myself as a lesbian woman publicly.

It takes a lot of courage to live an open life as a lesbian woman in a community which is so intolerant and violent towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

I really love my community and I just wish things could change. I wish my homeland was a safe place for people like me to be happy, live, laugh, love, and free to express ourselves and be who we are.


Evans: Now is the time to embrace sexual diversity in our country

Category : Naya Blog

Story by Evans

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

Coming out of the closet is not easy and it takes a lot of courage to do so. When I came out of the closet, I lost a lot of friends, friends who I grew up with, and went to school with. They stopped talking to me and avoided me completely. The main reason for their actions was that I was not normal in their eyes.

Looking back at the decision I made in past to come out of the closet, I feel I owe no one an apology for doing so and I don’t regret coming out as a bisexual. I feel I did the right thing. I am at peace with myself and I am free now. I no longer need to hide my sexual orientation or care about what people will say.  I am happy that I am living a life of truth despite the so much hate that people have towards bisexuals.

In my community, people are usually so negative about someone who identifies as a bisexual. We are often told to choose to be straight or risk being treated as outcast in the society.

Most people usually think that we bisexuals are never faithful. They believe that when a bisexual is in a relationship with a man or woman, they are probably cheating because they are attracted to both genders and would always want to experience the best of both worlds. However this is not true. As a bisexual I can and do remain faithful to one person when I am in a relationship. When I come out of one relationship, I cannot tell whether my next partner will be a woman or man because I am attracted to both genders. I cannot cheat on one gender with the other just because I want to experience the best of both worlds as people think.

As a nation we need to embrace sexuality and gender diversity if we believe in valuing people for who they are. Now is the time to spread love and understanding to everyone. We can never be the exact carbon copy of one another. Instead of hating people just because they different from us, we should instead embrace and celebrate how special and different we already are.  Now is the time to embrace sexual diversity in our country because it is a beautiful thing and it makes us stronger and more united as a nation.


Wanjiku: I will be a mother when the right time comes

Category : My Abortion Story

Story By Wanjiku

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech 

I was that girl who had everything. My parents worked so hard to ensure I never lacked anything. I went to the best private primary and secondary schools, passed with flying colors and finally I got admitted to one of the top university in Kenya to pursue a degree in medicine. It was a dream come true.

In campus I fell in love with a nice guy then out of nowhere, I found out I was pregnant. I was 2 weeks pregnant to be exact. I was scared and spent days crying. I was 19 years old and I had big dreams. I saw myself as a failure for allowing myself to get pregnant at that age without achieving my dreams and goals in life.

My boyfriend and I were not ready to become parents. It wasn’t fair to bring a baby into this world that we had never planned for. After going through and weighing the different options that we had, I knew what I had to do. I decided to have an abortion. I was not going to tell my parents about it or my friends. It was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make.

With the support of my boyfriend, I was able to get the best safe abortion services at a well-known health facility that offers safe abortion services and moved on with my life.

I made the right choice and I don’t regret it. I have always wanted to be a mother and I know I will be a great mother when the right time comes. For now I am not ready to be a mother. There is time for everything and being a mother is a future dream for me. The dream that I have right now is to graduate with a first class honors in medicine.


Abortion rights is vital for gender equality

Category : My Abortion Story

By Michael Okun Oliech

No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or not be a mother. –  Margaret Sanger founder of Planned Parenthood.

Abortion rights is vital for gender equality. Women need free access to safe abortion services in order to achieve full political, social and economic equality with men and achieve their full potential.

Women need the full right over their bodies just like men. Without this right, they don’t have the moral status as men. Men don’t get pregnant and are not restricted when it comes to what to do with their bodies and the right to choose whether to have children or not. If women have the right to choose, we can achieve equality with men.

The right to control one’s own body is a key moral right that everyone is entitled to and women can achieve this if they are entitled to end an unintended pregnancy if they wish to do so. That is freedom.

A woman has the moral right to decide what she can and can’t do with her body, whether a foetus which is part of her body remains in her body and the right to end the pregnancy she is carrying.

Enabling women have access to safe abortion rights not only protect their rights to bodily integrity and autonomy but will enable millions of women participate fully and equal in society.

 


Elizabeth: I made the right choice

Category : My Abortion Story

Story by Elizabeth

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech 

My name is Elizabeth. I had an abortion because I was raped. I was raped by someone who I trusted and confided in all the time. I was raped by someone who I thought would never raise his hand to kill a fly. I was raped by someone who I had known for ten good years as my best friend. He was high on drugs when he did the inhumane act to me.

There was no way I was going to keep the pregnancy. I knew I couldn’t bring a baby in this world that was conceived out of so much hate. I hated him so much for what he did to me. Never in my life have I ever felt dirty but after that horrible day I felt so dirty.

After some serious soul searching, I made the decision to have an abortion. It was the hardest decision of my life but I knew it had to be done. I don’t regret the decision I made because I know it was right for me.


If men got pregnant, abortion would be safe and legal everywhere

Category : My Abortion Story

Image by kenyabuzz

By Michael Okun Oliech

Consider how different the world would be if men got pregnant.

If men got pregnant, abortion would be normal and not a source of shame.

If men got pregnant, access to abortion services would be a man’s right and no one would question that.

If men got pregnant, abortion would be safe and legal everywhere here on earth.

If men got pregnant, abortion would be available free of charge everywhere here on earth.

If men got pregnant, no man would be expected to justify his decision to end an unwanted pregnancy.

If men got pregnant, unsafe abortion would not exist and would not be the leading cause of maternal mortality in the world.

If men got pregnant, they wouldn’t be subjected to an ultrasound of the foetus before having an abortion.

If men got pregnant, the power to choose would be left in their hands and not in the hands of religious leaders, political leaders and women.

If men got pregnant, there would be no pro-life activist. Every political movement would be about championing for human freedom to choose.

If men got pregnant, no one would question a man’s choice to have an abortion. His choice would always be respected.

If men got pregnant, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But since we are having it, it show us how far we need to go in order to realize equality in our society.


Vivian: Homophobia is un-African

Category : Naya Blog

Image by inkanyiso

Author of the Story: Vivian

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

My name is Vivian. I am 20 years old. I am a lesbian woman and I am proud of who I am. During my early adolescence, I knew I was different. I never had feelings for men and I always had feelings for women. I wasn’t sure about myself until in my final year in high school when I realized that I was a lesbian woman. No one in school knew because I was afraid of being judged harshly and expelled out of school. I was in a National catholic school which had strict rules.

After high school I opened up to my family who supported me in all ways and eventually I came out of the closet despite so much homophobia being out there. My family has been protective always because they know homophobia still exists and I am not safe out there. I am in a healthy relationship and I’m happy to love the right person that I want to and not love someone who the society expects me to love just to please them..

Many people often think that lesbian women live in America and Europe. They usually think that in Africa, Lesbian women don’t exist but this is not true. There are so many lesbian women in Africa and it’s a matter of time that many will come out of the closet.

This idea that loving someone of the same sex is un-African, evil, satanic, wrong, and goes against our traditional beliefs is what fuels homophobia in Africa preventing lesbian women from coming out of the closet and express themselves freely without being judged or discriminated in public.

Our constitution under article 27 states that we should not discriminate anyone on any grounds. However due to our culture, traditional intolerance and negative attitude that we have towards lesbian women, this has not been realized.

Being a lesbian woman is not un-African and doesn’t go against our traditional beliefs. The African culture is all about, humanity, love, freedom, unity, togetherness, peace, tolerance, just to mention a few. The African culture is beautiful. Contrary, homophobia is un-African because it spreads hate, violence, and it denies people the opportunity to be African and express their humanity.


Diana: As a Christian I support the right to choose

Category : My Abortion Story

By  Diana

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

As a Christian I may not like abortion but I firmly stand by women’s right to choose. Having that right to choose is a beautiful thing and it means freedom.

A Woman’s body, and the right to choose have nothing to do with politics and religion. As long as it is my uterus I’ll choose what stays inside it and what doesn’t.

Almost half of all pregnancies here in Kenya are not planned and no woman or girl should be forced to have a child that she is not ready for or does not want.

I want every woman and girl in this country to have freedom. Freedom to choose is a right that everyone is entitled to regardless of race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, color, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language.

It is not my place or responsibility to tell people what to do or how to live their lives. If a woman or girl decides to have an abortion, we need to respect her choice and work on ensuring that she has access to high quality, stigma free safe and legal abortion services.


Anne: I had my abortion 16 years ago

Category : My Abortion Story

Image by thefrisky.com

Story told by Anne

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

It was in 2002. I was 19 years and was in a relationship but since contraceptives were hard to find those days in our rural home, I got pregnant. We relied so much on the withdrawal and safe day’s methods but it failed us.

My boyfriend didn’t want anything to do with the pregnancy despite being responsible for the pregnancy. He decided to break up with me. I was left helpless and hopeless.

I had no source of income. I had no family to turn to since they were all dead. I could barely take care of myself.  I relied heavily on my boyfriend who was a teacher in a local primary school but since he was gone, I felt as if my world ended.

I was not ready to have a child under the harsh conditions I was in. It would be cruel to bring a child into this world just to let her or him suffer. I decided to have an abortion but it was expensive for me to have one since I had no source of income.  I had to find ways to raise the money.

With no one to turn to or talk to, I ended up in the street of Kondele in Kisumu County where I became a sex worker. I did the job for one month and I was able to raise some money.

I went to a backstreet doctor who was charging half less of what other private hospitals were charging to have my abortion.

I almost lost my life in the process due to excessive bleeding. I was rushed to a public hospital by a Good Samaritan where I got post abortion care but my womb had to go. Even though I was lucky to have survived, I lost my womb. Had there been access to safe and legal abortion services I would still be able to get pregnant now.

No girl or woman should have to go through what I had to go through.  There is need to provide women and girls with safe abortion services when they need it so that they don’t go to drastic lengths like I did.


You are not alone

Category : My Abortion Story

By Faith

Edited by Michael Okun Oliech

To the women and girls who believe in choices.

To the women and girls who have made the right choice for themselves to have an abortion.

To the women and girls who are considering to have an abortion

To the women and girls who have ended their pregnancies for the sake of their education, career, safety, health, wellbeing and future.

To the women and girls who have been denied the right to choose

To the women and girls who are unapologetic about the choices they made

To the more than 1 million of us

You are not alone.  You owe no one an explanation on the choices that you make. You owe no one an apology on the choices that you make.

You are strong. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are resilient. Let no one put you down based on the choices that you make.

You have the right to choose on what stays in your body and what does not. Be strong and firm on the decision and choices that you make.

My body, My choices, My right. Period.