Kenya court rules that anal probe ‘gay tests’ are legal

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Kenya’s High Court has thrown out a challenge against the legality of so-called homosexuality ‘tests’ that rely on anal probes.

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, with the law specifying that gay sex  can be punished with between 5 to 14 years’ of imprisonment.

Two men had launched court action after police allegedly forced them to undergo invasive anal examinations and HIV tests – a practice that officials claim can be used  to determine their sexuality.

The exams are widely discredited internationally, and LGBT activists say that due to the lack of any scientific basis, it is effectively a form of torture and sexual assault.

Officials behind the exams act based on the mistaken beliefs that every gay man is a receptive partner in anal sex, and that this will be immediately clear through an examination. There is no  medical evidence to support either supposition whatsoever.

But the country’s High Court threw out the case today – ruling that the practise of ‘testing’ for homosexuality via anal exams is legal.

According to the BBC, Mombasa Judge Mathew Emukule ruled that there are grounds under Kenyan law for the testing.

Kenya is not the only country where the discredited practise still takes place.

A report recently found anal examinations are still being carried out on people suspected of being gay in Lebanon, despite the country’s medical board banning the practice.

Until recently, Turkey required gay people to ‘prove’ their sexuality by subjecting themselves to anal exams before claiming exemptions from military service.

US President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, called for the decriminalisation of gay sex on a visit to the country last year.

The US President said that treating people differently eroded freedom and then “bad things happen” – but Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta told President Obama that while the US and Kenya agree on a lot, there are some things that cultures or societies “just don’t accept”.