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 data or statistics on their existence. The first legal case involving an Intersexual who was then labeled as (Baby A) was heard and determined in the year 2009. The court heard that that it was difficult to collect data since some intersex people hide their identity due to stigma. It was during the ruling of this case that the court ordered the attorney general to collect data on intersex people to help design policy.
The Persons Deprived of Liberty Act 2014 is a first in Kenya to define who an intersex person is. Section 2 of the Act defines an intersex as a person certified by a competent medical practitioner to have both male and female reproductive organs. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. That in Kenya, legal recognition is achieved through the issuance of statutory documents known as an acknowledgement of birth slip and a birth certificate which is issued by the 3rd Respondent, the Registrar of Births and Deaths. The first step of recognition that is almost often violated the moment an Intersex Child is born.
The Intersex community in Kenya is segregated from schools and communities. Most Kenyans regard children a taboo and born as a result of incensed or are as a consequence of a curse. To a great extent this rejection has resulted to say; suicide, crime and promotion of the same sex relationships. As adults these Kenyans do not acquire the relevant legal documents such as; birth certificates, identity cards, voter’s cards, among others due to the ambiguities surrounding their gender.
In the quest to overcome challenges faced by the intersex community, Gamafrica Foundation through a campaign dabbed “Let Me Be Me” has organized a number of activities just to create awareness around the intersex condition in Kenya.
Let Me Be Me is an initiative whose aim is to create awareness, call to action and give a voice to the intersex community in Kenya.
On 26th October 2016, Gamafrica foundation in collaboration with Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), Chingiti & Chingiti Advocates, Cure International among other stakeholders held the first ever walk to celebrate the intersex world day in Kenya.
The successful walk attracted more than 50 intersex people including parents with children living with the intersex condition.
As a result of this event, the Let Me Be Me campaign has been able to spread countrywide, with more intersex people and parents with Intersex children coming out and joining hands in spreading the gospel that intersex people are human and should be respected just like any other person.
Through the petition presented to parliament by Hon. Isaac Mwaura, the Nominated Member of Parliament for Special Interest Groups to have all the intersex people recognized by law