Gay dating apps — currently at a consumable peak within the gay men’s community in Nairobi — are the riskiest form of meeting anyone. Some cases involve sexual assault, and sadly, rape.
The advent of gay dating apps such as Grindr, Hornet and Manjam was hailed as a success story — gay men could, within the comfort of their phones, seek partners, relationships, meet, and even engage in sexual activity with other gay men.
It was in early 2006 when the first cases of blackmail were reported in Nairobi.
A victim would often meet someone on these apps, and then go to their house.
Gone are the days when gay men would scout bars or street corners.
It was a welcome change – so welcome, that Tinder, Badoo and others were developed to cater for straight people.
On the coast around Mombasa, it’s more polite to wear long pants, but shorts and flip flip are usually acceptable.
Beer and other forms of alcohol in Kenya are widespread and easily available.How do you report a crime when it was done, essentially, when another crime was being done? The assault and extortion cases went down significantly.How do you go to a police station to report that someone has been assaulted, or raped in the house of another man, whom he met online, ostensibly for sex? Others demanded more information from people they met online. I know this because I singlehandedly led efforts to unmask and expose this scam that involved, in some cases, corrupt police officers who were used to intimidate the victims in case they did not pay up.Small neighborhood bars, guest houses, or just the side of the road are good places to get started before moving on.Attire for going out is really up to where you go, and where you are in the country.Most of the victims, even with the information available out there, fell into the trap that is blamed on the need for sexual intimacy and physical expression with another individual. Priests, lawyers, doctors, husbands, students, touts, tourists, and in one case, a prominent politician — have all fallen victim to extortion compounded by the fact that same-sex relations are punishable by law. My advise to all gay men out there — it’s better to be less horny, and more cautious.It has been argued, from our assessments, that the blackmailers are driven by poverty or are just criminals out to make a quick buck. Various factors can be attributed to this — including criminalisation of homosexuality, the emergence of new, easy to instal technology that makes it easier to share information online, or meet people, among other things. It is worse when innovative ways to circumvent our need for and pursuit of happiness, relationships, or just a lay, have become the very way that further puts us at risk. Kenyan nightlife is infamous for its anything goes attitude.Things however are tightening up, and in Nairobi, rules are becoming more common, and more enforced.The good news is that despite the groups, everyone can happily party and mingle together in Kenya.Due to the lack of identification required to enter clubs and bars in Nairobi, there are a lot of younger youth that show up to party.