The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) wants Kenyans to stop discrimination against intersex persons.
The Commission decried increased discrimination of intersex persons saying most of the time intersex people are denied key government services due to their nature.
During a sensitization forum on the rights of intersex people held in a Murang’a hotel on Thursday, it emerged that the government has not fully recognized the intersex persons since it has not provided special facilities for individuals with this condition.
KNCHR senior human rights officer Mr. Amos Wanyoike recounted how intersex people have suffered as they try to access education, health among other services.
Wanyoike underscored the need to educate members of the public about intersex people and how to uphold their rights like other human beings.
He noted that intersex children suffer when in school where they are exposed to humiliation from colleagues after they discover about their nature.
“To help the intersex persons, we should start by having special names for them because by giving one a name of a lady which does not match the appearance or voice, exposes the person to humiliation,” Wanyoike said.
He added that the government should recognize the intersex as one of the gender by providing eye-mark to indicate one is an intersex in identification documents.
“Our plea as KNCHR is also to have special schools for the intersex children because currently some intersex children have failed to get an education as they fear discrimination from other learners,” Wanyoike further said.
In the 2019 census, it emerged that in the country there are 1, 524 intersex persons with Nairobi County leading with 250 people.
“Murang’a County, according to the census has 28 intersex persons but we are sure that’s not the right number as intersex persons shied off from taking part in the census,” Wanyoike observed.
One of the intersex persons, Benson Kamau reflected on how he was forced to transfer to five schools before completing his secondary education.
“Every time I joined secondary school, I was humiliated since other students could not understand my physical appearance, looking like a girl yet I had a male name. My nature also caused my parents to divorce as my father denied me saying I was cursed,” lamented Kamau.
He added that his nature also made him lose his job noting that workmates used to discriminate against him.
“Living as intersex person in this country is a big challenge. We face stigma in the community since many people don’t understand who we are,” Kamau said.
Another intersex person, Gloria Luhunga appeals to the government to help them by recognizing intersex as a third gender.
Gloria narrated how she has struggled to prove her identity since her physical appearance differs with details indicated in her identification document.
“Even when accessing mobile money services we are treated as imposters. My identity card bears a girl’s names yet my voice is like that of a man even though I look like a boy,” said Luhunga.
By Bernard Munyao