“I am in a thick battle of my life, a struggle with nature, science and man so as to be recognized as a MAN.” This is the phrase James Karanja identifies with, a phrase that defines what he is going through. His life has been such- a struggle of gender disorder.
James Karanja was not always known by that name. He was born in 1991, in Nakuru town. When he was born, his parents could not establish his gender as he had ambiguous genitalia. Since he was born at home, there was no medical checkup, and his parents assigned him the name “Mary Waithera” and thus was bound to be socialized as a girl.
When he reached the school going age, James, at the moment Mary Waithera, was enrolled to a mixed primary school. He was later enrolled to a girl’s boarding school, being a “She” by then.
All through he struggled with the wrong gender which had been assigned to him. He had odd preferences and he felt out of place with all the women roles he was supposed to be accustomed to, like the dressing,
Intersex is a complex problem where children are born with either two sex organs (Male or Female) or one visible organ while the other one is either hidden, malformed or deformed.
This is a rare condition that affects both boys and girls in Kenya . This is mostly a genetic/ chromosomal complication that has nothing to do with tribe, race or some beliefs and supersticions. Unfortunately many children born with this condition are treated with rejection, prejudice and suspisionn. Some are adandoned by parents while others are segregated from schools and communities. To a great extent this rejection has resulted to say suicide , crime and promotion of the same sex relationships. On maturity these children do not acquire birth certifcates, identity cards, voters cards, an other legal documents .
The Kenyan law does not recognize these people and therefore do not enjoy the benefits for those born with disabilities.
Its our hope that now we have created an avenue to help these people
“Do you stand or Sit?” is a common question that we are all familiar with or have asked at one given time in order to determine the gender of a person. To the intersex community this question is rather offensive, since their answer to it is a constant reminder of how different they are from other people.
A real life experience is told of an intersex who walked in to a ladies’ washroom but due her masculine physical appearance it raised eyebrows, which caused commotion in the institution, and almost lead to a mob justice kind of action since it was hard for this person to prove that they really are the person in the Identity Card they presented.
This is just one instance where there is a clear indication of a violation of Human Rights and subjection to violence.
Time and again the intersex community in Kenya has had to battle Stigma, Victimization, and Emotional oppressions from individual and the society at large just because they do not fit into the bracket of what the rest of us
Intersex Awareness Day is observed on October 26, 2016. It is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight the challenges faced by intersex individuals.
Thousands of Kenyans born with intersex condition has been suffering silently, having to bear the burden of not being recognized by the law or socially. Child Rights International Network conservatively estimates that there are 20,000 intersex people in Kenya. Intersex is a complex form where children are born with either two sex organs (Male and Female) or one visible organ while the other one is hidden, malformed or deformed. This rare disorder that affects both boys and girls worldwide and is mostly associated with genetic/ chromosomal complication that has nothing to do with tribe, race or some beliefs and superstitions as many of us would want to believe.
Unfortunately, many children born with this condition are treated with rejection, prejudice and suspicion, and there is therefore no official