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Opinion

Stripped naked and publicly fired for being gay

Being gay in a conservative Kenyan college made life very challenging, but thanks to the unity among members of the gay community, we managed to pull through and graduate with top grades.

Having studied business administration, my dream was to join the corporate world and use my expertise in building my country.

I secured a job immediately after graduating.

A middle-level company hired me as an assistant business director in charge of supply chain management.

I was allocated an office and assigned a secretary.

What I never knew was that after I left the office each evening, the secretary in my department would log into my computer and peruse my social media and email.

Since it was a personal computer, I saw no need to log off my accounts.

That was where the trouble began.

When I realised it was too late, my secret had leaked.

Three months into my job, just after I arrived one morning, the secretary followed me into the office and locked the door behind her.

She looked me straight in my face and shouted, “You are gay, and I know.”

I was shocked and stood still for minutes, not knowing what to answer.

At that moment, all that was going through my mind was “What will I tell my parents if this job slips away from me?”

I asked the secretary how she knew about my sexuality. She told me that she had seen all my chats with my partner on my computer.

“This company does not employ gays. You will see fire,” she shouted before storming out of the office.

The day seemed like a century in my life. I could not concentrate on my work.

The following morning, I arrived at work as usual and proceeded to my office.

At 9 o’clock, all employees were summoned to a meeting by the senior operations manager.

Usually, staff meetings would be held in the company’s boardroom, but this special meeting was held in the warehouse downstairs.

On arrival, I found the manager shouting at the top of his voice about how the devil had invaded the company. The secretary had told him about my sexuality.

“We are an institution founded on Christian values, and we do not employ gays,” he shouted.

I was summoned to stand in the middle of a small circle that had been formed by my colleagues.

The manager then directed three of my male colleagues to forcibly strip me naked in front of everyone so that they could confirm if I was a man or a woman.

Tears rolling down my cheeks, I picked up my trousers to cover my nakedness.

The manager then announced that I had been fired for contravening the company’s policies by being gay.

He handed me a dismissal letter and ordered security to escort me off the company premises.

Since that day, I have never again thought of being employed.

With support from my parents, I set up a small logistics company.

Today, I am an employer of ten young people who are all gay, and that is my happiness.

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