US embassy in Nairobi supports gay rights

The US embassy to Kenya hosted a gay pride event, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, at its base in Nairobi at the end of June.

The milestone event saw diplomats unite with local gay activists in support of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Kenya where consensual homosexual activity carries a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment.

Similar events were held at US embassies around the world in parallel with the annual Gay Pride celebrations, and in accordance with Washington’s policy to fight prejudice against LGBT people.

Concerns over an adverse public reaction, in a society which widely disapproves of homosexuality, led the embassy to host a toned-down invitation-only event.

The celebration follows last year's hard-hitting human rights report by the US state department which found that LGBT people in Kenya are discriminated against – citing cases of violence, police detention, evictions and loss of employment.