Written by Denis Nzioka
It is reported that several bars and clubs in the major cities have declared an all out war against persons who are perceived as gay, lesbian or transgender.
From reports gathered in Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa, popular drinking joints are now enforcing a strict no-entry rule on men who are deemed too effeminate or women seen as too ‘masculine’ or ‘butch.’
Tacos club on Kimathi Street in Nairobi has issued an order that no homosexual is allowed inside. They have also added extra security to ensure this code is adhered to. Many gay patrons who considered Tacos the ‘unofficial official gay bar in Nairobi’ were shocked to be turned away by bouncers who relayed they are under strict instructions not to allow them in because of their ‘behavior’.
It is claimed that the owner of Tacos came to this decision after discovering two men fondling in the men’s room in the bar. However, this is not the first time Tacos has ‘thrown out’ gays. Several such incidents have been reported each year.
In Nakuru, Club Taidy, considered as the ‘Tacos of Nakuru’ has also been clamping down on homosexuals, especially lesbians.
This was after an incident last month where a lesbian couple was removed forcibly by security for what they termed as ‘sexual dancing.’ The two lesbians were at the bar enjoying the birthday party of one of their friends.
According to sources, Taidys is now a go no zone for the gay men too.
‘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,’ said John, a gay student from Nakuru.
Club California in Mombasa has also been closing its doors to gays. One witness told Identity Kenya that ever since the anti-gay riots in Mtwapa in 2009, there has been no ‘kuchu’ (term for gays) entering the popular spot.
Other clubs that are reported to turning away or being harsh to members of the community include Club Tribeka on Kimathi Street as well as the newly established Club Envy on Tom Mboya Street.
Others include Gypsis in Westlands that routinely targets the non-Caucasian patrons with some describing it as ‘racist.’
Club Bettyz, opposite Tacos on Kimathi Street occasionally bars gays so does Zeep bar on Mama Ngina Street (Norwhich Union building). Jazz club on Moi Avenue has been a no-go zone for close to three years now.
Steps club on Tom Mboya is considered a ‘safe spot’ especially for gays who frequent its underground bar and dance floor on Sundays. However, there are reports that gays, lesbians have been turned away on several occasions.
Club Sylk, on Kimathi Street is a popular spot for gays and with the exception of bouncers asking for tips or bribes, there has been no report of a ban on gays. Apart from some of the bouncers having personal issues with particular gays, lesbians, no major clampdown has been reported.
Clubs that are now considered ‘safe’ include the Wine Bar in 20th Century building as well as Club Sound on Standard Street. Galileo and Simmers are also known to be lenient.
The Exchange Bar in Sarova Stanley, Kimathi Street is considered a gay high end spot for, well, exchange.