INTERSEX

Accepting intersex people begins with families

In Summary

• Intersex children in Kenya have been subjected to surgery

• The government should come up with better and more informed policies to protect intersex people

Part of the groups that took part in the intersex community demonstration advocating for the rights of the intersex children
Part of the groups that took part in the intersex community demonstration advocating for the rights of the intersex children
Image: file

Intersex persons are human beings entitled to all human rights and fundamental freedoms as stated in Chapter 4 of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya.  

It is unfortunate the way many people treat intersex children as if there were lesser human beings. It all begins with their family members. Families with intersex children find it hard to cope with the challenge, so they opt to hide them.   When a family does not accept its children as normal children, they deny them the right to be normal from their childhood, subjecting them  stigma, discrimination and ridicule. 

Because of lack of proper documentation and pressure from doctors and the public, intersex children in Kenya have been subjected to surgery which, when forced on them, is a violation of their human rights.

Being intersex should not be an issue. It is a naturally occurring variation in humans, and isn’t a medical problem. Nature does not decide where the category of male ends and the category of intersex begins, or where the category of intersex ends and the category of female begins.

Unnecessary surgery and other medical interventions should be postponed until intersex people are old enough to decide for themselves what gender they identify with and what, if any, treatments they want. 

We must uphold the Bill of Rights and treat each other equally. This applies to everyone, intersex persons included. The world has changed and the future is here. What we must learn is to adapt and respect the rights of every Kenyan, including intersex individuals. They have a right to make a choice.

The government should come up with better and more informed policies to protect intersex people from discrimination. We must act now and protect everyone's human dignity.