Every year, the LGBT community celebrates in a variety of ways during the month of June. Throughout this special month, several events are held to recognise the impact LGBT individuals have had around the world.
As Pride Month drew to an end on June 30th, MenEngage Africa had the opportunity of speaking with Alecks on celebrating and advocating for the rights of the LGBTQI+ community beyond Pride Month.
Meet Alecks Mario is a 37-year-old proud gay man and human rights defender based in Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County. He works for Q-Initiative CBO, an LGBTQ+ organisation in Eldoret, Kenya, as the programme coordinator.
Meet Alecks Mario, a 37-year-old proud gay man and human rights defender from Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County. He works for Q-Initiative CBO in Eldoret, Kenya, as the programme coordinator.
Alecks is in charge of overseeing the implementation of numerous operations inside the organisation. He is actively involved in advocacy work throughout the country, with the majority of my time spent sensitising law enforcement and healthcare workers to the importance of providing LGBTQ+ stigma-free services. He also ensures that we have forums with LGBTQ+ individuals to educate them on their rights and to allow them to demand and access vital services without fear of stigma and prejudice, as well as to discuss security issues.
Why is Pride Month important?
The significance of Pride Month is that it allows us to commemorate the accomplishments we have made as society over the years. Unlike in the past, we may now freely express ourselves as LGBTQ+ persons without fear of rejection from family or friends.
“We are human beings like everyone else, and we do not deserve to be treated differently because of our sexual orientation”.
Engaging communities around LGBTQI+ rights.
Although attitudes and injustice persist, we have come a long way since then. It is also critical to recognise that the LGBTQ+ community is still under grave risk of be violated or discriminated. As a result, we engage the communities around LGBTQI+ with sensitization forums by making them understand that we exist in the community. We do not want special treatment or services rather than just acceptance. They do not deserve any kind of abuse, and it is a crime to subject any human being to abuse because of who they are or who they choose to love.
“We do not want special treatment or services rather than just acceptance.”
LGBTQI+ rights extend beyond the confines of Pride Month.
Beyond the confines of Pride Month is a continuous process. Every single day, LGBTQI+ people fight to be in every space and every opportunity. We will continue to advocate against the injustices subjected to us by the police, by healthcare workers, by the general public, and even in social places. We will continue to make ourselves visible without any shame. We are here to stay, and we will do anything to make sure that our rights and freedom are recognised and respected.
Kenya still upholds discriminatory laws that marginalise and expose LGBTQI+ persons to harm. On April 17, 2022, in Karatina, Kenya, Sheila Adhiambo Lumumba, a 25-year-old non-binary lesbian, was found murdered. Lumumba had been gone for several days before her body was found. Lumumba was raped and subjected to physical and sexual violence.
This was an instance of corrective rape and hate crime, a scourge that has afflicted our society and is geared towards the LGBTQI+ community. This is due to societal gender roles, which dictate how we should act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct ourselves based on our assigned sex. Girls and women, for example, are expected to appear traditionally feminine and to be polite, accommodating, and nurturing. Men are stereotyped as being strong, aggressive, and daring.
MenEngage Africa goes beyond Pride Month to advocate for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons on the African continent. We invite everyone to join us because it is critical to continue celebrating and advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons beyond Pride Month in a variety of settings.