Transgender Letoya Johnstone is a brave person. She has always been on the forefront fighting for the rights of LGBTQ community in Kenya, where they face stigma among other challenges.
Letoya has shared a touching story, narrating how she was raped and lost teeth in the hands of her tormentors.
THIS IS THE FACE (PHOTO ABOVE) THAT HAS GONE THROUGH THE MOST ATROCITIES IN THIS KENYA. I HAVE LOST FRIENDS, I HAVE LOST FAMILY, I HAVE LOST DIGNITY, I HAVE FACED DEATH AND ABOVE ALL ELSE I HAVE LOST HALF OF MY TEETH IN THE HANDS OF THOSE WHO RAPED ME, KICKED ME OUT OF THEIR HOUSES AND LABELED ME NAMES OF MISFORTUNE,’ SHE WROTE IN PART.
In May 2019, Kenya’s high court on Friday upheld a law banning gay sex, keeping same-sex relations punishable by 14 years in jail. Giving his opinion on this, Letoya wrote,
TEARS HAVE RUN DOWN MY CHEEKS. MY GOVERNMENT HAS FORSAKEN MY DIGNITY AND MY SURVIVAL IN THE FACE OF THE WORLD WHEN HE SAID, ” THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY ISSUES ARE NONE ISSUES.” MOST OF MY FELLOW KENYANS HAVE USED MY SEXUALITY AND MY GENDER AGAINST ME. I CAME OVER AND FACED MOST. THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS HAS DONE ENOUGH BUT MYSELF AND OTHERS WHO LOVE DIFFERENTLY HAVE STOOD UP TALL AND FOUGHT FOR REPEAL 163 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA. IT NEVER PASSED. WHY? BECAUSE CONVINCING THE PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT MY GENDER AND MY SEXUALITY PROVED TO BE SOMETHING THAT THEY LABELED NOT PURE.
The award-winning fashion stylist and runway model trainer went ahead to question the government, saying that she was displaced in her own county.
MY STORY IS NOT THE FIRST BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT I STOOD UP AND I TOOK THE BULLET SO THAT PEOPLE LIKE ME LIVING IN KENYA SHALL CELEBRATE. I DOUBT IF MY NAME WILL BE REMEMBERED BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER; I WAS HERE TO TALK IN HUMILITY, SHARE MY TRUTH AND STAND UP AS AN INDIVIDUAL WHILST REPRESENTING 10,000 PEOPLE AND MORE. MY NAME IS LETOYA JOHNSTONE. I AM A TRANSGENDER WOMAN WHO IS DISPLACED IN HER OWN COUNTRY. YES, THAT SAME COUNTRY WHICH PRETENDS TO BELIEVE IN SDGS.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”
Myself and my people and community of LGBTQ+ More so the transgender community, are not included in those goals in Kenya. That’s why I fight for visibility, awareness, sensitization of health workers, and lawmakers including convincing the court of public opinion to give me and my kind acceptance that is needed,’ she wrote.