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Lobby group calls for society to accept intersex persons

Kennedy Mutunga
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Intersex Identity has a new thing in Kenya society. Jinsiangu urges community to accept such individual. [Photo/Kennedy Mutunga).

Being intersex is a new thing in  Kenya, which a lobby group; Jinsiangu has tried to push for recognition from both the government and the Kenyan society. 

Jinsiangu is a word coined from 'jinsia yangu' two Swahili words that translate to 'my gender'. 

Jinsiangu coordinator, Francisca Kwamboka notes that 'an intersex is a person whose body cannot be easily categorized as 'male' or 'female' due to one's genitals shape, hormonal makeup or secondary sex uniqueness.''

Kwamboka laments that as a society we are used to only two sexes; that is male and female when relating to gender. A thing that does not rhyme well with the intersex people; as they don't fit into the binary categories of male and female. 

Thus, Jinsiangu is pushing for the inclusion of the third gender, ('I'). 

"Whether intersex people are male or female depends on the person as other tend to identify themselves as intersex (I) or as a third gender. Most of us ignore 'I' we don't want to be associated with them." she added.

Intersex people are bullied, harassed and discriminated by fellow students, teachers and parents forcing some to drop out of school and other activities. A case of Sidney Etemesi, who has since come out to declare that he is an intersex. 

"I didn't know who I was before I came to accept the way I am. I had low self-esteem and felt dejected by friends and my family. I had to give up my football dream due to harassment." said, Sidney.

As a result, Etemesi has urged the society not to see intersex children as a curse or taboo. As parents tend to isolate their children for fear of shame or discrimination by people.

Among the challenges faced by intersex includes:

Lack of socialization affects individual ability to build self-confidence and likely to lead to isolation.

In addition, adult Intersex who are visibly ambiguous, are harassed. They are unable to get a job due to identity issues and are physically and sexually assaulted. 

They also find it hard to access medical care as often doctors are not accustomed to Intersex people and they tend to ogle at their body instead of treating them.

"It is not a curse to have an Intersex child. A parent should not be ashamed of their children, by hiding or abusing them. they should help them learn to socialize." -  added Sidney.

"There is need to talk and give them equal chance and not reject or isolate them. Most are not willing to come out to express themselves and socialize due to fear," noted Francisca Kwamboka

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Thank you for reading my article! You have contributed to my success as a writer. The articles you choose to read on Hivisasa help to shape the future of news across Africa.
-Kennedy Mutunga

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