Intersex surgery should be consensual - task force

In Summary

•The study indicates that majority of intersex group is of school going age.


Correctional surgery should not be done on children without their consent, the task force on intersex has said.

The task force was formed in 2017 by the Attorney General with an initial term of six months which was subsequently extended and ended in October last year.

It was mandated to collect and present its findings, which included the number of intersex people in the country, distribution and the issues the group faces.

Task force chairman Mbage Ng’ang’a said the majority of intersex persons undergo correctional surgery at a tender age.

The findings indicate that the majority of the intersex group prefers that the child reaches puberty stage before correctional surgery is carried out.

“We emphasise on the consent of the person before any surgical intervention."

The report indicates that the majority of intersex people are of schoolgoing age with a low level of education, with only 10 per cent of the group managing to obtain tertiary education.

The report further revealed that most intersex persons and their families go through shock, anger, embarrassment and confusion upon realising that they are intersex.

On self-recognition, the study revealed that only 5 per cent of the group is able to accept the reality of their status. Others get confused due to inadequate awareness, lack of information and support from family and community.

The report indicated that 58 per cent of the intersex group is receiving poor healthcare due to the high cost of treatment even in the presence of few specialised hospitals.

The report says that only the national referral hospitals have specialists able to attend to intersex persons.

Mbage also said intersex persons lack birth certificates for legal recognition. The report says that the few who have managed to get them have had it rough accessing them.

The report has recommended an amendment of the legal framework to ensure intersex persons have ane easier way of accessing documentation.

Mbage further said intersex persons are isolated.

“Intersex persons are a marginalised community and a vulnerable group that continues to face a lot of challenges and human rights violations are evident. It includes stigmatisation, ridicule and discrimination.”

The findings of the task force have been handed over to the office of the Attorney General.

Last year, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said that some intersex people undergo genital surgery without their consent and in some cases the procedures were botched resulting in death.