Kenya

Kenyan Author Criticizes Anti-Gay Laws, Says He's Gay in Online Essay

Binyavanga Wainaina

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NAIROBI, Kenya — African literary light Binyavanga Wainaina says he's known he was gay since he was 5 though he did not have a homosexual encounter until he was 39.

To celebrate his 43rd birthday, the prize-winning Kenyan has published an online essay telling the world that he is gay. His story contributes to an increasingly fierce debate about gays in Africa and is a protest against laws that seek to further criminalize homosexuality.

It is illegal to have gay sex in most African countries. Gays in many parts of the continent face severe harassment, physical threats and judicial punishment. Kenya has a law banning sodomy. Uganda, a neighbor to the west, recently passed legislation that calls for life in prison for some gay acts.