We are all human, despite our defects

The High Court in Mombasa recently ruled as legal some weird “medical” tests that are to be carried out on some men to find out if they have had consensual anal intercourse. The invasive anal examinations had been opposed by the involved men as both degrading to their human dignity and a form of torture. But the court upheld the legality of the procedure on the argument that evidence could not be obtained in any other way.

The legal matters aside (I can’t claim to be a lawyer) the histrionics around the case fail to make any sense. Unless there is residual semen, there is no medical procedure that can conclusively prove that someone had anal intercourse, consensual or otherwise. The evidence the anal tests look for could be caused by anything from constipation to Parkinson’s disease.

The law that bans homosexual activity in Kenya has no teeth save for the confessions of the involved people or of unbiased witnesses, both of which are hard to come by. Giving it any such teeth, as the court ruling did, inexorably invades and violates the basic human dignity of the suspects and, in the process, the Kenyan constitution.

Many will see this as one more of the examples of Kenya’s wanton oppression of people with variant sexual orientations. Aside from the fact that no one should have to face this kind of mistreatment in his own country, the LGBT lobby now has more ammunition for its deviant and divisive campaign of immorality, which is picking steam around the world. Cases like these only embolden these activists.

This isn’t in any way a defence of homosexual activity. Nor is it an exhortation to Kenyans to accept the phenomenon, give up their sense of public morality and move on. Not at all. Homosexuality remains, and will always be, an offence against nature and culture. It is counteractive to the survival of society, and destructive of family life. And, where it proceeds to same-sex marriages, it becomes an offence against innocent children.

But to deal with a problem like this, the wrong assumptions and unfounded myths that shape the majority opinion about the phenomenon in this country have to be laid aside. No amount of anal tests and prosecution will stop sodomy behind closed doors. And no amount of name calling will stop the LGBT lobby. If anything, this lobby has proved itself more adept at this than civil people ever will be.

The basic dignity of individuals, even when they have a disorder that has some bearing on public morality, has to be respected. No amount of suspicion and mistrust should lead us to abandon the sense that everyone is, at the very core and irrevocably, a human being, despite all their defects.

If this country goes on in the uninformed and prejudiced manner in which it has so far tried to handle this situation, then grievances will arise, innocent people will suffer unnecessarily and a shame-faced apology will have to be given in the end, the battle having been lost.

The experiences of other countries cement this possibility, and belie the assumption that hostility to people can eliminate vices. And the history of this country is replete with dark tales of what happens when people regard their fellow human beings as less deserving of equal treatment.

Whether the men involved in the Mombasa case have already undergone their tests or not, this should be a wake-up call to all Kenyans. You cannot mistreat people and expect them not to fight back. And you cannot fight the sinner in the hope of eliminating the sin. There has to be a better way.

Feature image: Daily Nation.

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