While there are very few prosecutions under the law, it is certainly better to be discreet as a gay foreigner in East Africa.

Officially, male homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. While prosecutions rarely occur, discretion is advised as gay sexual relationships are culturally taboo, and public displays of affection, whether between people of the same or opposite sex, are frowned upon. In Uganda and Kenya in particular, anti-gay public discourse has become increasingly common.

Female homosexuality inhabits a grey area of legality and tends not to excite the same public outrage, but it still exists very much in the shadows.

Recent developments give little cause for optimism. In 2014 the Ugandan government tried to increase the punishment for homosexual acts to life imprisonment, but the law was thrown out by the Constitutional Court, while in July 2014, 40 people were arrested for 'suspected homosexuality' in a Nairobi nightclub. And in Zanzibar in 2017, 20 people were arrested while attending a HIV/AIDS education session. In October of the same year, three South African lawyers were accused of promoting homosexuality and deported from Tanzania after attending a meeting called to challenge a law preventing private health clinics from providing HIV/AIDS services.

Useful Resources

David Tours (www.davidtravel.com) Can arrange anything from balloon safaris to luxurious coastal hideaways, all with a gay focus.

Gay & Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK; www.galck.org) Local advocacy group that keeps a low profile, but that it exists at all in the public domain represents a scrap of progress.

Global Gayz (www.globalgayz.com/africa/kenya) Covers gay issues with country-by-country links.