Advocate Highlight

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

2015 Advocate Louisa Essendi is currently working as a consultant JINSIANGU:  an Intersex, Transgender and Gender non-conforming organization in Kenya, and identifies herself as a black, lesbian, queer, feminist, womxn. Gigi is also the Board Chair with Minority Womxn in Action and Rainbow Womxn of Kenya, both of which are Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer womxn-led organizations in Nairobi and Mombasa, respectively. Essendi also works as an independent consultant, working within Kenya and other countries in the region.

Essendi has experience in security planning and management, research, regional and international advocacy, capacity building, organization and movement building.  Her skills and experience in working on topics based on gender, sexuality, research, security and policy advocacy at national and regional levels continue to be visible in her work as a human rights defender.  She has been recognized as one of the frontline LGBTIQ+ activists in Kenya, particularly during current legal case against Sections 162 (a) and (c) and 165 of the Penal code of Kenya, which criminalize adult, consensual same sex practices in Kenya.She is passionate about interrogating, learning, unlearning and navigating ways to utilize African histories and narratives to address current human rights issues around sexuality, gender and environmental protection.

As one of the vocal voices and frontline activists in the Kenyan LGBTIQ+ movement, Essendi continues to advocate for equality, inclusion, access to fair justice, non-discrimination, an end to patriarchy and visibility for LGBTIQ+ persons with a specific personal interest to LBQ (Lesbian, bisexual and queer women) at all levels with an account of the intersectionality of Kenyan and African social, religious and political context.

Essendi is an Alumni of HRAP at Columbia university 2015 and CREA Sexuality and Gender Research and Learning Institute, 2018.