I can trace the idea of KFSE to one evening in 1999 - some time around October or November. At the time, the seminary administrators had been holding final evaluations for the fourth year theology students to be recommended for ordination into priesthood. Although I knew I did not want to be a priest, I also knew there was no justifiable reason why they would decline to recommend me for ordination.
So I took a solitary walk to a Grotto we had at the seminary. I prayed that God would give me an acceptable way out of the seminary, now that the philosophy and theology studies had come to an end. Perhaps you are asking why I did not leave earlier. It is a legitimate question, but I did not have the courage, so I postponed that decision to the last possible date. It so happened that, that particular evening was the make or break day.
In the Grotto, I remember my prayer very well; I told the Lord, that he knew very well that I did not want to become a priest, but I also did not have the courage to bolt out - so he should give me a way out. As it turned out, the Lord heard my prayer, but in a very surprising way. It was to turn out that my recommendation was suspended pending investigation of some suspicious allegations that had just been brought up.
As it turned out the allegations were that I had had sex with a “priest in Rome.” That was interesting because the said priest had left our seminary more than two years earlier, so it was curious that the accusation was coming out now. But it was completely false. Even though we were friends with the said priest, our relationship was very much “older-brother-younger-brother” kind of friendship. It was both cordial but very deferential too. I guess this may have led someone with a hyper-imaginative mind to create a story.
For me though the accusation did two things. First, because I was ordered to go home as the investigations were being undertaken, it provided the opportunity I needed to go leave the seminary without a scene. When I went home, I told my folks I had been dismissed, and to my surprise they were very supportive. They did not even seek to know why. If I had told them the truth, I feared they would have persuaded me to go back, as they had done so often. For many Catholics having a priest in the family is regarded very highly, and I fully understood their motivations.
The second thing it did was to present the issue of sexual orientation in a very poignant way. It was an issue my spiritual counsellor had urged me to present always in my prayers. For my spiritual father, it really did not matter much since the main issue was whether one remained faithful to the vow of celibacy. I would not say I had as much problem with the vow of celibacy as I did with the vow of obedience.
In fact since taking the first vows at the age of 22, the only time I really felt challenged in celibacy was during the pastoral year at age 24, when I had a crush on some fellow in choir in one of the outstations. As it turned out, I thought the devil was really tempting me, so I protected my vocation by trying as much as I could to hate the guy. It turned out, that the only real threat he posed was on my capacity for Christian love and charity. Unfortunately, for no other mistake other than being who he was, he received the harshest treatment I ever gave to anyone.
In Theological studies however, I had come to think through the Church’s position on same-sex sexuality. Something about it did not sit quite right with me. Yet I thought, the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:12, applied to people born gay. Of course in the 1990s there was a lot of gay rights activism going on in the Western World, and it was both a subject of the local press as well as theological conversations.
So upon leaving the seminary, it became an issue to confront. At first I worked for a wonderful anti-poverty program sponsored by the Institute of Social Ministry - Tangaza College. With time I left and joined other founders of the LGBT rights movement in Kenya and even went on to become the first General Manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya - GALCK.
Having done my time in the movement, I wanted to join mainstream professional work, but as it turns out, the mainstream has no space for me. Not that it is much of a problem at a personal level because am still able to find short term consultancies that more than adequately pay for my upkeep. Yet every single day, some of my friends ask for help, and we can all see many others who would benefit from our generosity.
It is with these people in mind that KFSE is born. Indeed, by combining my life experiences and the desire to join politics, I feel it may be possible to bring on board the support of other people, to improve the lives of the people in need. In a sense then KFSE is both connected to my life experiences as someone who joined seminary at the age of 13 and started living a vowed life at the age of 22, but also as one who will likely remain single. In KFSE, I get an opportunity to contribute to the society especially in the lives of those who experience exclusion and shame because of either whom they are or conditions in which they find themselves in.
It is in this context then, that I have found interest in joining politics.