The Family Protection Bill of Kenya is a significant piece of legislation that should aim at ensuring the safety and well-being of families. It should be able to recognize the importance of protecting every member of the family regardless of their gender identities from all forms of abuse, neglect, and violence, and provide a comprehensive legal framework for addressing these issues.
The proposal in parliament of this bill sends a powerful message that Kenya is committed to shun away from safeguarding the fundamental rights of its citizens, particularly the most vulnerable and by vulnerable it includes LGBTQIA persons. It also demonstrates the government's commitment to continue the culture of impunity and ensuring that perpetrators of family violence mainly targeting the Queer persons are held accountable for their actions. Then the question now arises, what about other forms of perpetrators, why offer such harsh sentences of verdicts for persons of identifying differently from the social norms we were brought up believing as being ‘normal’?
As the Bill continues to be vague on different matters such as what is defined as basic education that is to be offered to a person under the age of 18yrs in an institution, which now raise more questions about what exactly is basic education, does this mean anything that touches on human reproductive systems or processes would be considered as improper even though it is part of the school curriculum?
However, passing a bill alone is not enough. It is critical that we all take responsibility for creating a safe and nurturing environment for our families. We must work together to eliminate harmful practices and attitudes that perpetuate violence and abuse within our communities. This can be done by recognizing that families are diverse in terms of gender, social background and even how persons identify themselves. It is essential to recognize that every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, has the right to live free from violence, abuse, and discrimination. We should strive to promote love rather than hate. Behind the gender first,the person is a human being and even from the constitution is entitled to be treated as one.By doing so, we can ensure that every family in Kenya can thrive in a peaceful and loving environment.
While the Family Protection Bill explicitly mentions the LGBTQIA community, it provides a legal framework for protecting all families from domestic violence, abuse, and neglect that is caused by the LGBTQIA persons. The bill recognizes that all forms of violence within the family are unacceptable and must be addressed. This raises eyebrows as to how the queer community is the cause of all negative issues that may cause a family to be experiencing harm. Again we get to see that the number of HIV cases keep on rising in married couples as people tend to hide in marital institutions in order to hide their true sexual orientations and gender identities due to also the community discrimination and insecurity issues among the LGBTQIA community even in the country right now following the ruling that was made on ‘freedom of association’ of an LGBTQ based organization.
Then again, it becomes controversial when the bill talks of preserving cultural and family values by also not compelling persons to perform/observe or even undergo any cultural practice/rite. This comes after a lot of our young ones were subjected to undergo circumcision/initiation rite of passage, which was done with either not the consent of the young person just because the family felt it was right. How again do we justify this was not coercion?
It is crucial to ensure that the Family Protection Bill is inclusive and does not discriminate against any particular group. It is vital to ensure that everyone, including those who identify as LGBTQIA, has equal access to legal protections and support services.
As a society, we must work towards creating a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity. By doing so, we can build a more inclusive and equitable society that values and respects the diversity of all its members.