The University of Nairobi

A Kenyan newspaper has published an anti-gay scare story about alleged predatory homosexuals; perpetuating the myth that gays are out to “recruit” young people in Africa.

The Nairobian last week published an “expose” – under the headline “Shock as gays offer university students Sh250 for sex” – about an apparent “massive marketing campaign” by gay people to pay students at Kenyatta and Nairobi universities for sex.

According to the newspaper, “alleged homosexuals and lesbians are looking for young students in universities for sex” in exchange for “Sh250 [about $3 USD] and Sh4,000 [about $46 USD] for a night.”

It claimed that “dozens of posters were pasted on walls of mostly Kenyatta and Nairobi universities after renowned writer Binyavanga Wainaina publicly revealed he is gay in late January.”

The newspaper didn’t clarify what the acclaimed Kenyan author and journalist’s coming out had to do with the alleged posters.

“One of the common posters at University of Nairobi’s Eastleigh Campus reads: ‘Want a gay man? Call 07… Price is negotiable,’” stated the publication.

“The toilet walls too are awash with writings advertising gay sex services for as low as Sh250,” it claimed, citing another poster that reads: “For the best gay experience, call 07XX XXX925, Gabbo.”

The newspaper further asserted that “lesbians have turned Ruwenzori and New Aberdares Hostel at Kenyatta University into hunting grounds.” One advert, it reported, reads: “Want a cute chick for an exciting experience? Call 07XX XXX336 or 07XXXXX241.”

The posters or adverts that the article mentioned, however, appear to be for escorts or sex workers plying their services, and are obviously not attempts to bribe anyone to have gay sex, as The Nairobian claims.

This reckless reporting serves to vilify gays and lesbians, putting their lives at risk simply to generate sensationalist headlines. Last week, we reported that there are moves afoot in Kenya to target the LGBT community with a possible new Uganda-style anti-gay law.

The belief that gays and lesbians pay young people to ‘become gay’ or have gay sex has been used to justify both Uganda and Nigeria’s recent draconian legislation.

Under current law, same-sex consensual sex between adults is already illegal in Kenya, with penalties of between five to 14 years imprisonment.

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