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Makena Njeri: How being outed on Twitter for being gay changed my world

Queer community member Makena Njeri has revisited a past incident when she found herself sinking into depression after being outed on Twitter for being gay.

At the time Makena worked for the BBC and wasn’t ready to publicly come out. The drama began with her car being vandalized. But she only learnt of the incident after she found out she was trending on Twitter.

“A couple of years ago when I was working with the BBC, I had a crazy life-changing experience. I remember I was asleep at 5am and my phone kept on ringing and was wondering what was going on,” Makena recalled.

When she picked the phone there were about 15 missed calls and messages on WhatsApp.

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“I opened the messages from my cousin who was like ‘what is going on?’. It was at that moment that it hit me that the previous night my car had been vandalized and all sorts of messages written on it,” she said.

Makena said pictures of her car were taken in the morning and ended up on Twitter and that had her trending for three weeks. In the process her sexuality was made public.

“So many people started writing the ‘gay journalist’, many people went into the discussion of sexualizing queer people.”

Makena says the situation left her depressed seeing how people cancelled her existence with some tweets calling for her to be killed.

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The topic of queer community continues to be a hot debate in Kenya with Makena and her likes always fighting back.

In March, President William Ruto broke his silence on a Supreme court ruling on LGBTQ rights.

The LGBTQ debate was revived after the Supreme Court affirmed a decision by lower courts that quashed the decision by the NGO board to decline an LGBT lobby group’s formal registration.

The debate ignited mixed reaction from all quarters.

In response, speaking during the International Women’s day celebration, President Ruto stated that he isn’t going to allow men to compete with women for other men and vice versa.

Despite homosexuality being illegal in Kenya, there have been no cases of prosecution for persons in the queer community.

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