Human, Kenyan and gay: queer women's activism and identity construction in Nairobi

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Dearham, Kaitlin
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of queer women's activism and the formulation of sexual identity and self-representation in Nairobi, Kenya. Several organizations which serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) population are active in Nairobi. These organizations are operating at a local level, while drawing on paradigms developed by transnational queer movements and struggles. To explore the efforts of queer women to gain equality in Kenya, this thesis analyzes the position of queer women in such organizations. Queer women are organizing in both formal and informal contexts in order to gain some measure of security in a homophobic environment, and to debunk the myth that queerness is 'un-African'. This thesis examines the approaches that women are taking towards LGBTI advocacy, and the diversity of sexual and gender identities claimed by women in Nairobi.

queer women, activism, sexual identity, self-representation, Nairobi, Kenya, equality, LGBTI advocacy, diversity, gender identities