, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2 – Time magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world after he came out as gay and none other than award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sang or perhaps more aptly, wrote his praises in the Time piece The memoirist with a mission.
She wrote: “By publicly and courageously declaring that he is a gay African, Binyavanga (Wainaina) has demystified and humanised homosexuality and begun a necessary conversation that can no longer be about the faceless other.”
The debate that was fuelled further by US President Barrack Obama when he called on African governments to decriminalise homosexuality on a visit to Senegal and later warned Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni against signing into law an anti-homosexuality bill.
“As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda,” he said.
But despite these efforts at changing what they see as African intolerance towards homosexuality, a study released by IPSOS Kenya together with the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum (KCPF) on Wednesday shows the, “majority of Kenyans don’t support homosexual behaviour,” IPSOS Kenya’s Managing Director Margaret Ireri said.
“At least now we have some data on the situation because sometimes when we see some of these issues discussed in the media, depending on how the story is placed and the kind of headline it’s given, it appears to be a big issue or a small issue. At the very least, now we have data,” Ireri underscored.
It’s worth noting however that IPSOS did not come out directly and ask do you or do you not support homosexuality or have you engaged in homosexual acts.
“We must admit that this is a very sensitive topic to do a poll on because I could come to you and ask you have you engaged in homosexual acts and you say no and that may not be the truth. So what we did is use a projective technique. Instead of asking what have you done we ask do you know of somebody that has engaged in a particular practice,” Ireri explained.
And even then, over 40 of the 2,059 respondents IPSOS interviewed in the study carried out between April 28 and May 7 declined to answer.
However, using the projection technique, IPSOS was able to establish that the highest prevalence of homosexuality in the country is in the Coast region at 13 percent compared to the national average of five percent.
The numbers also showed that the majority of Kenyans believe homosexuality is an acquired behaviour and not inborn, “64 percent of Kenyans believe homosexuality is not a natural act but is learned in the growing process,” Ireri relayed.