Meet Martin, a man who is legally married to his wife with whom they have five children but there is more to him than meets the eye. Unbeknownst to most, he divides his time between his family, Kenyan and European boyfriends.
Martin, 37, spends four days a week with his wife and family, and three with his Kenyan lover. However, both are set aside when the European jets into the country.
“My wife and partner always think I am out of town for some business. They do not know I am traversing the country with my European guy.”
Martin cannot bring himself to leave the European, who he says has changed his life.
Born to a polygamous family, Martin, one of a dozen children, felt different at the age of 12. “I was raised in the church as an altar boy, but I guess it was not meant for me,” he said.
In Standard Seven, he slept with a classmate at his father’s home. His father found them and the classmate accused Martin of seducing him.
Martin was disowned by his family. He moved to Mombasa where he briefly stayed with his aunt before going “commercial” on the streets.
“I was getting money but most clients abused me because I was naive and I could not negotiate my terms.”
To keep his gay life a secret, Martin got married in the church and get this, his male lover was his best man. His wife eventually caught wind of his other life when rumours started flying around the neighbourhood.
“She had a problem with my sexuality but we had to come to an [understanding]. She accepted me for whom I am,” Martin said.
“My sexual preferences have remained a [secret] between me and my wife and no one will ever find out. I would understand if she cheats on me with another man.”
Martin later discovered he had contracted HIV but luckily never infected his wife. He has kept his double life hidden from his children.
“I dread the day my children will tell me they are gay. It will break my heart because it is a tough life and I would not want them to go through what I went through,” Martin said.
“I would pay to get medicine that will make me whole because it is not easy to lead a double life just to satisfy your sexual urges [and keep] society [happy].”
Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya. If found guilty, one can be jailed for between 8 to 13 years.
However, for homosexuality (or sodomy as the Kenyan legal system defines it), only an anal examination can prove that one engaged in the activity.
In a landmark ruling in March, three Court of Appeal judges ruled that it is illegal to compel men to undergo anal tests to determine whether they engaged in homosexual acts.
The court ruled that orders by the High Court to have two men tested was unconstitutional and a violation of their human rights. The lower court ruling was overturned.
In February 2016 Caleb Omar Idris and George Maina Njeri were arrested in Kwale on suspicion of having sex. An anal exam was ordered to obtain evidence. They were charged in a magistrate’s court.
They moved to the High Court in Mombasa to contest using the examination results as evidence. Judge Anyara Emukhule dismissed their application and allowed the test to proceed on grounds the procedure and examination were lawful and within the confines of the Constitution.
Kenya National Muslim Advisory Council chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao says gayism is against the African culture and religion. “The holy Koran, even the Bible, does not support homosexuality. Why should we entertain it?” he said.
Ngao said it’s dishonourable for gay men to marry women to hide their secret life.
“You not only dirty yourself but also the woman whom you have married,”
Ngao said a woman should report to religious leaders if she finds out her husband is gay.
He said Islam allows a woman in such a situation to divorce the husband. Ngao said a woman who willingly stays in a relationship with a gay man having found out about his sexual preferences, is also a sinner.