Reports from Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa indicate that popular bars enforce a strict no-entry policy towards men who are judged to be ‘too effeminate or women seen as too “masculine” or “butch”’.
Tacos club seen by many as the ‘unofficial official gay bar in Nairobi’ had its bouncers turn away shocked gay patrons after having received strict instructions not to allow any homosexuals into the premises.
Apparently the owner of Tacos made ordered this policy after discovering two men fondling in the bar’s restroom.
Nevertheless Identity Magazine pointed out that no-entry for gays policy has happened several times before.
In Nakuru, Club Taidy, considered as the city’s main gay venue, has also been clamping down on gays and in particular lesbians. This has been the policy for a month since a lesbian couple enjoying a friend’s birthday party were forcibly removed by bar security for ‘sexual dancing’.
‘Since the management knew the gays hanged out with the lesbians, they decided to also say no to them. If the bouncers see you they point you out before you can enter or shout at you,’ reported John, a gay student from Nakuru, to Identity Magazine.
Club California in Mombasa has also applied a strict no-entry policy to LGBT people. One witness told Identity Kenya that ever since the anti-gay riots in Mtwapa in 2009, no ‘kuchu’ (a local term for gays) are allowed to frequent the popular spot.
Other Nairobi clubs that are reported to turning away or being harsh to members of the community include Club Tribeka , Club Envy, Jazz Club and Steps club.
Speaking with Gay Star News, activist and editor of Identity Magazine, Denis Nizoka said: ‘I think bars are social, interactive spaces and the fact that bars are not allowing anyone in on account of their dress, walk, mannerism, talk, as an indication of their sexuality or gender identity is tantamount to discrimination.
‘There are reported cases of bar security beating up, assaulting patrons who display feminine or butch characteristics. This is wrong and should be reported to police. Also, such bars should be avoided by LGBT people and we can show them that we have the pink power and we can spend our money where we want.
‘No one has to suffer and yet we bring good business to these establishments.
‘I also urge restraint, decorum and patience from the LGBT community when frequenting such venues, avoid unnecessary fights, arguments or extreme display of affection.’