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For months, nearly two dozen gay, lesbian and transgender Ugandans had been living in a large house on the outskirts of Nairobi in an area called Rongai.Long after a court struck down Uganda’s infamous anti-gay law—dubbed the “Kill the Gays” bill for a death penalty provision in an early draft—LGBT people in Uganda were still being disowned by their families, hunted down by neighbors, jailed by police, even killed.There are single women and there are rich, single women. Their companies , which they built from scratch, are profitable and very liquid.The latter are the ones you will bump into at lavish clubs or high-end salons flipping through Forbes magazine. Being a single woman has its advantages They are at ease. Some hold senior positions in big companies and have a Ph D or three master’s degrees from reputable universities.He persuaded his kid brother to snag his passport from the house and bring it to him. I ask Kato if he ever thinks of returning to Uganda.He says he’s afraid that his family or the police would hold him there against his will.Hundreds fled Uganda—mostly to Kenya, where they are faring little better. “Kampala is the center of fun in East Africa,” he says, speaking of his hometown.“We had But in Nairobi, the refugees don’t go clubbing.
Many of these refugees grew up in urban, middle-class families and loathe living in a hot, squalid refugee camp, as Kenyan law requires of all refugees.Two dozen of them used to live at the Rongai house, a sort of safe haven for Kenya’s LGBT refugees.There, they spent their days cooking and cleaning, talking, texting and waiting for a call from some foreign embassy offering them a one-way ticket to a new life.Besides, here in Kenya he’s focused on his future—resettling in America or Europe—not on his past.“When family turns their back on you, it’s like a whole chapter has been closed.”The LGBT refugees living in Nairobi are just 500 or so among the nearly 600,000 refugees in Kenya.