Estimated Total Population:

51.39 million

World Bank, 2018

Estimated SGM Population:



Estimated Total SGM Adult Population:



Estimated % of SGM Adults (18+):



Though woman-woman marriages are common in some villages in Kenya, nine in ten Kenyans believe homosexuality should not be accepted by society (Pew Research Center, 2013). This sentiment can be attributed to colonial-era anti-sodomy laws (that have yet to be repealed) as well as the predominant religions of Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism. Despite this attitude, Kenya is literature-rich, with studies the explore beyond HIV/AIDS research that is typically conducted in the Global South.

Additionally, several organizations work to improve the plight of SGM populations in Kenya, including Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya(GLACK), Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Western Kenya Network(NYARWEK), Refugee Coalition of East Africa and National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. In part because of these groups, the country is making strides; On March 22, 2018, a court of appeal ruled that that conducting forced anal examinations on people who are accused of same-sex relations is unconstitutional.

Kenya's Laws and Policies from ILGA World Report (2019)

Marriage for Same-Sex Couples
Civil Unions
Joint Adoption
Second Parent Adoption
Employment Nondiscrimination Laws
Broad Protections
Criminalization of Violence
Ban of Conversion Therapy
Consensual Same-Sex Acts are Legal?
Male Only
Max Penalty (Yrs in Prison)

Selected Published Studies, Reports, and Other Documents

Goltz, D. B., Zingsheim, J., Mastin, T., & Murphy, A. G. (2016). Discursive negotiations of Kenyan LGBTI identities: Cautions in cultural humility. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication9(2), 104-121. doi:10.1080/17513057.2016.1154182
Graff, N. R. (2018). The Effect of the Shikamana Peer-and-Provider Intervention on Depressive Symptoms, Alcohol Use, and Other Drug Use among Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (GBMSM) in Kenya (Doctoral dissertation).
Graham, S. M., Micheni, M., Secor, A., van der Elst, E. M., Kombo, B., Operario, D., ... & Simoni, J. M. (2018). HIV care engagement and ART adherence among Kenyan gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men: a multi-level model informed by qualitative research. AIDS care30(sup5), S97-S105. DOI:10.1080/09540121.2018.1515471
Harper, G. W., Wade, R. M., Onyango, D. P., Abuor, P. A., Bauermeister, J. A., Odero, W. W., & Bailey, R. C. (2015). Resilience among gay/bisexual young men in Western Kenya: psychosocial and sexual health outcomes. Aids29(1), S261-S269.
Kenya, G. (2016) Research on the Lived Experiences of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women in Kenya.
Koe, G. K. (2018). An Analysis of the legal rights of intersex people in Kenya (Doctoral dissertation, Strathmore University).
Korhonen, C., Kimani, M., Wahome, E., Otieno, F., Okall, D., Bailey, R. C., ... & Kimani, J. (2018). Depressive symptoms and problematic alcohol and other substance use in 1476 gay, bisexual, and other MSM at three research sites in Kenya. AIDS (London, England)32(11), 1507. doi:10.1097/qad.0000000000001847
Mbote, D. K., Sandfort, T. G., Waweru, E., & Zapfel, A. (2018). Kenyan religious leaders’ views on same-sex sexuality and gender nonconformity: Religious freedom versus constitutional rights. The Journal of Sex Research55(4-5), 630-641. DOI:10.1080/00224499.2016.1255702
Mutua-Mambo, C. N. (2020). Living in a Liminal Space: Feminist and LGBT Alliances in Kenya. Women's Studies in Communication43(2), 125-130. DOI:10.1080/07491409.2020.1745598
Njambi, W. N., & O’Brien, W. E. (2005). Revisiting “Woman-Woman marriage”: Notes on Gikuyu Women. In African Gender Studies A Reader (pp. 145-165). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Ocholla, A. M., Odhiambo, R. A., Galavu, L. G., & Muchki, I. (2012). LGBT challenging and reproducing sexual hegemonies: stories from the Kenyan LGB communities. African Anthropologist19(1-2), 19-31.
Ogunbajo, A., Kang, A., Shangani, S., Wade, R. M., Onyango, D. P., Odero, W. W., & Harper, G. W. (2019). Awareness and Acceptability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) in Kenya. AIDS care31(10), 1185-1192. DOI:10.1080/09540121.2019.1612023
Ojwang, J. B., & Kinama, E. N. (2014). Woman-to-woman marriage: A cultural paradox in contemporary Africa's constitutional profile. Verfassung und Recht in Übersee/Law and Politics in Africa, Asia and Latin America, 412-433.
Thirikwa, J. W. (2018). Emergent momentum for equality: LGBT visibility and organising in Kenya. Downloaded from the Humanities Digital Library, 307.
Wilson, B. D., Neubauer, L. C., Park, A., Abuor, P., & Harper, G. W. (2019). The sexual health needs of sexual minority women in Western Kenya: An exploratory community assessment and public policy analysis. Global public health14(10), 1495-1508. DOI:10.1080/17441692.2019.1611895
Zaidi, S. S., Ocholla, A. M., Otieno, R. A., & Sandfort, T. G. (2016). Women who have sex with women in Kenya and their sexual and reproductive health. LGBT health3(2), 139-145.