Law enforcement officers and administrative officers in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County have benefited from a sensitization exercise on gender diversity and gender expressions of intersex and transgender persons.
The sensitization exercise by Amka Africa Justice Initiative aims to advocate for human rights and dignified treatment of intersex and transgender persons.
Speaking at the sensitization exercise, the founder of Amka Africa Justice Initiative Milka Wahu said the sensitization of law enforcement officers and administrative officers is critical in advocating for the dignified treatment of intersex, transgender persons and transgender refugees who face challenges of differences in their identification documents and gender identity.
“We are sensitizing law enforcement officers on intersex and transgender persons to create awareness on gender expressions so that they are treated with dignity when they seek services. These people may appear different from what is on their documents and be charged with offences like impersonation,” said Milka during the exercise.
According to lawyer Colbert Ojiambo, the constitution of Kenya has a limitation by lacking a provision to change the male or female marker on identification documents to correspond to the gender identity of intersex and transgender persons.
“We are pushing for the alignment of the birth certificates, national identification cards and passports of intersex and transgender persons with their gender identity so that they are able to lead normal lives, travel and conduct business,” said Ojiambo.
The founder of Jinsi Yangu Arnest Thiaya who identifies as a transgender man has cited the importance of sensitizing the community on intersex and transgender persons as well as providing guidance and counseling for intersex and transgender persons to avoid emotional distress.
“If your gender identity is male and you have female physical attributes, it will be a source of emotional distress but such people can go through social and physical transitioning to match their physical and gender identities,” he said.
The Registration of Persons Amendment Bill, 2019 seeks to amend the Registration of Persons Act to make provision for the registration of intersex persons born with both male and female reproductive organs as the third gender in addition to the previously recognized male and female gender.
By Gworo Alice