Mon, 17 Jun 2019

Is gay sex in Kenya impacting tourism?

News24
25 May 2019, 17:41 GMT+10

"Will 'Magical Kenya' spend money specifically to position [itself as a] destination for this particular segment of people?," Mohamed Hersi, Kenya Tourism Federation chairperson, asks rhetorically, as he speaks about the possible impact of a court ruling that could decriminalise gay sex in Kenya.

"We'll not go out and advertise this as a tourism segment in Kenya," he tells Al Jazeera, adding that if LGBT people are "given the freedom, let them enjoy it but let them enjoy it quietly".

That quiet enjoyment could boost the East African country's gross domestic product. Discrimination against gays and lesbians costs Kenya's economy 130bn Kenyan shillings ($1.3bn) per year, or 1.7% of Kenya's annual gross domestic product, according to a report released this year by Open For Business, a coalition of global companies promoting lesbian gay bisexual & transgender (LGBT) inclusive societies.

In Kenya, gay sex is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. This month Kenya's High Court will decide whether to abolish sections 162 and 165 of the Kenyan penal code, which criminalises homosexual behaviour. The possible ruling has drawn so much attention, it has come to be known simply as the "Repeal162" case. On February 22, 2019, the high court postponed its decision on the matter until May 24.

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