Saturday, March 2, 2024

Gay fashion designer and activist found murdered in Kenya

Edwin Chiloba, 25, was a Kenyan LGBTQ rights activist and fashion designer who was killed on New Year’s Day, his body found dumped on a roadside.

Edwin Chiloba’s body was found wrapped in a dress and stuffed in the box after which had been seen being dropped by the side of the road from a moving vehicle with no license plate.

Local crime authorities told reporters that residents reported a foul smell coming from the box and that when officers opened it, they found Chiloba’s mutilated body. Police have arrested Jackton Odhiambo, a 24-year-old male freelance photographer, who was a friend of Chiloba’s and was visiting him from Nairobi. They are also seeking the two men seen carrying the metal box. But police have not released exact details of the killing or the motive behind it.

There has been local speculation about a love triangle gone wrong, whereas rights groups attribute the crime to anti-LGBTQ sentiment, which is rife in Kenya. The organization Galecks says an estimated half of Kenyan LGBTQ people have experienced assault. Last year, the killing of non-binary lesbian Sheila Lumumba led to the social media campaign to get #JusticeForSheila.

Chiloba’s Instagram account typically featured numerous posts showing him modeling his clothes in posts which include messages stating his mission to combine style with activism.

“So my movement is for everyone. It’s about inclusion. And if I am going to fight what I have been marginalized for, I am going to fight for all marginalized people,” he wrote in a post from December 2022.

The killing has raised concerns about the escalating violence against LGBTQ people in Kenya and other East African nations. The independent Kenya Human Rights Commission called Chiloba’s killing “reprehensible” and “deeply unjust.”

“This is a frightening crime but it’s becoming common in Kenya — evidence of a growing epidemic of violence in the country,” the organization said in a statement.

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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