LGBTQI+ Norm Change in Kenya

Building a Norm Change Coalition in Kenya

AJWS has funded 15 key organizations so far that are doing norm-change policy and service work in Kenya. Following our feminist approach, most of these organizations are led by women, trans, and gender non-conforming activists.

AJWS has assembled a broad coalition of partners to carry out a massive research and mapping project to better understand prevailing social norms and attitudes towards LGBTQI+ people in Kenya.

The research process was spearheaded by a Kenyan firm, Public Health Innovations (PHI), and an advisory committee of 12 members from a host of organizations, activists, research groups and funders. This committee is working to unearth new and powerful information that will guide this critical norm change work. Once connected, this coalition of AJWS-supported norm change activists can collaborate for years to come to implement the findings.

Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik

A Collaborative Roadmap to Justice

Since 2018, AJWS has coordinated three convenings of our norm change coalition that were crucial to grounding our initiative in the Kenyan LGBTQI+ movement, and aligning it with the movement’s own needs and vision. These convenings were the first time since 2012 that activists from across the LGBTQI+ movement came together to collaborate on meaningful change. Together, we have developed a roadmap that will inform the strategies of AJWS, our grantee partners, and the wider movement. This roadmap has identified seven key areas of change for activists, organizations, communities and funders to focus on:

  1. Engaging with universities to develop inclusive curricula that address sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) rights.  
  2. Filing cases in the courts to overturn the penal code criminalizing homosexuality, and training young law students and lawyers to become stronger advocates for LGBTQI+ rights.   
  3. Expanding policies in the health sector to include trans people, so they can access health services with dignity and respect. 
  4. Engaging key players in Kenya’s media and the arts to make the industries more inclusive of LGBTQI+ experiences and generate more widespread cultural acceptance.  
  5. Identifying and engaging with progressive political leaders who can become champions of LGBTQI+ rights within Parliament.  
  6. Identifying and coaching religious leaders to confront homophobia and champion LGBTQI+ rights. 
  7. Counseling families to confront their biases and to accept their loved ones and the wider LGBTQI+ community.   

Get Involved

Are you ready to get involved in global norm change for LGBTQI+ people? For information on how to invest in and support our grantees’ critical work, please contact Marina Rosove Javor, AJWS Associate Director, Los Angeles at: or (310) 843-9678.