Our lives in danger over link to LGBTQ, say intersex people

Community does not have enough information about them thus targeting them unfairly

In Summary
  • Intersex people say the hostility is not only coming from strangers but also from family.
  • Anti-LGBTQ Movement official urges the government to come up with a clear policy which will protect intersex people.
An activist waves a gay pride flag during a protest in Nairobi.
An activist waves a gay pride flag during a protest in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

The intersex group living in Mombasa want protection from residents who are linking them to the LGBTQ community.

Halima Mohammed (Not her real name) said they started receiving threats from different people after the conversation and protest against the LGBTQ  begun in the country.

Mohammed said they are being targeted unfairly due to how they were created, which is beyond them.

“As all this conversation against LGBTQ goes on, we also become victims. People should know that we are all human beings and there is this group of intersex people who exist.

“We feel we are being targeted for no reason because this is how we were created, this is God's creation and we cannot do anything about it,” Mohammed said.

She said the main challenge she is facing in her community is threat because no one understands her, people keep telling her that her days are numbered and they have to know if she is a man or a woman.

Strangers have approached her threatening to deal with her and sometimes when standing somewhere, people start shouting that the LQBTQ should be killed.

“Today we have people who are intolerant to gay people and there is even an anti-LGBTQ movement in Mombasa. When someone looks at me, they will not understand who I am because my appearance is between a man and a woman.  So if you do not know who I am, you will easily think I am part of the LGBTQ.

“So when they are being attacked, there is no way we can escape it because our appearance is the same, we feel like we are in danger and at risk because people do not know who we are,” Mohammed said.

Few months ago, she said she received letters from three strangers from different mosques with information about LGBTQ and is now questioning why they gave her the letters.

Mohammed said the hostility is not only coming from strangers but also from her family who know her well but are members of the anti-LGBTQ movement.

Growing up, she said her life has not been easy because she was discriminated against and often harassed and insulted but praying has kept her going.

“It has not been easy and now things have become worse. In my family I have my siblings who understand me but again I have those who are fighting me despite being my blood,” she said.

“So it becomes even more challenging because if the fight starts from home, then it becomes difficult for you to survive outside because these are the people giving out information about you as outsiders come to attack you.”

She called upon the community to learn how to talk to them in case anyone has any doubt on them and listen to what they are going through.

Mohammed urged Kenyans to respect each other's rights and extend some kindness to each other.

She said no religion condones harassing or killing of a person, these are actions taken by people to hurt others.

“I don't know where to run to because even the churches and mosques where we thought are the only safe buildings have become the first ones to throw stones at us yet there is nothing I can do about my body,” she said.

She called upon religious and political leaders to come out and fight for the rights of the intersex people saying failure to do that, many people with the same condition will be attacked and even be killed.

She urged human rights defenders to also come out and help them fight for their rights. She said she lives in fear yet she is a Kenyan who pays taxes but because of her creation, she has been denied her freedom.

“I do not have freedom of movement meaning my rights have been taken away by someone, I cannot socialise with people because of fear," Mohammed said.

“In our constitution we have rights to everything but for us, we do not have any right, it is so painful that even some leaders are fighting us in the community just because of their values,” she said.

She called upon the government to come out and protect them saying that parents should also stand and fight for their children and not hide them because they need to speak in one voice.

Mohammed also urged the religion leaders not take the lead in advocating for them to be killed. They should instead embrace us because religion is peace and love, she said. 

“My plea to community is that let us live in peace, that is all I want. We are living in the world where everyone is a sinner but we are blaming each other for sinning in different way. To the intersex people, take heart and be careful with your security.”

Mombasa Anti-LGBTQ Movement treasurer Athman Shariff said the movement is only advocating for harsh punishment to both organisations and people advocating for LGBTQ .

“The intersex people are a special creation by God, therefore they should not worry that any person will target or hurt them in any way. We only want these people and organisations advocating for LGBTQ,” he said.

“But for the victims like these ones, they are youths who were created that way and therefore we need to be kind and compassionate  with them,” he said.

Athman called upon the National government to come up with rehabilitation and correctional centres with experts where the intersex people can always go to whenever they feel vulnerable and at risk for help.

“We as Anti-LGBTQ Movement are very accommodative towards the intersex group, our war is only against the people propagating and giving our children information about LGBTQ. We want the government to come up with a clear stand about it,” he said.

He said the intersex population is big and therefore the government should ensure they are not threatened by coming up with a clear policy which will protect them and inform the community about their existence.







-Edited by SKanyara

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