Kenyans have been urged to recognize and embrace the intersex community as they also played a critical role in the development of the country.
The Chairperson of Intersex Person’s Implementation Coordination Committee (IPICC), Commissioner Jedidah Waruhiu, said the proposed amendment Bill on the Registration of Persons (Amendment) 2019 that was pending in Parliament could address some of the discriminative laws that infringed on the right of the community.
She said the proposed legislation aims to protect intersex persons to ensure that their unique gender was factored in the Nation’s Registration Systems right from their birth to adulthood.
Waruhiu, said the proposed Bill spearheaded by Senator Isaac Mwaura, was a first step to open up for inclusive legislative proposals envisaged by the Intersex Taskforce to promote a culture of respect, dignity and inclusion of intersex community in all spheres of life including their education, health, employment, security and the general social acceptance.
Waruhiu said the committee has a daunting task of ensuring that the 27 recommendations made by the intersex task force are implemented through change of attitude, policy, law and protocols to enable the intersex persons live in dignity and respect like other Kenyans.
“The recommendations have pushed Kenya into being the first country in Africa and the world to count intersex persons in the National Population and Housing Census with a unique code 3 ‘intersex’ under the sex marker after ‘male’ and ‘female’ in August this year,” Waruhiu said during the Law Reform Advocacy breakfast meeting held at a Nairobi hotel to discuss the inclusion in law of intersex persons in the country.
Speaking at the event, Kwamboka Kibagendi an Intersex, told the gathering that the biggest challenge facing hermaphrodites is acquiring national documentations such as passports and identification cards because of their gender status.
“Each one of us plays a critical role in ensuring that there is inclusion and non discrimination as envisaged in our constitution that no one should be discriminated by birth or by sex,” said the Chairperson.
The Nairobi County Women Representative Esther Passaris in her remarks, said every child is a blessing hence people should not discriminate against them as the problem is genetic. She urged Members of Parliament (MPs) to pass the Bill when tabled before them even if it will require huge amounts of funding to support the intersex persons’ needs.
The Intersex Person’s Implementation Coordination Committee (IPICC) was established by the office of the Attorney General in a Gazette Notice No. 7264 of 2019 to assist the government to implement the recommendation of the intersex taskforce report following its release in March 21, 2019.
The legislation comes against a backdrop of a case in 2007 in which the Judiciary was confronted with the first intersex case of a suspect in Kitui County who was detained in the “wrong cells’ at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison.
The anomaly generated national debate before the National Assembly seized of the matter after the intersex community petition the house in in 2016.
An Intersex person has sex characteristics that is inherent and mixed in the genital anatomy and does not fit in the typical binary of female or male, therefore referred to as intersex persons or hermaphrodites.
By Judy Wasonga and Charles Kirundi