The intersex community in Kenya has called upon the community to stop discriminating and sidelining them.

Addressing the press after the sensitization program in Busia county, the head of the Jinsia Yangu organization Sydney Etemesi, said the intersex community faces a myriad of challenges daily from the members of the community who harass and gun rape them.

“The members of the intersex community face a lot of challenges. It all begins at birth, with naming. During the birth time, the child will be named John but upon growing she realizes that she is no longer John but Mary, which makes it difficult for her to change the name from John to Mary,” Said Etemesi.

He added, “Opening a bank account and other services such as Mpesa services is a challenge to members of the intersex community where most of them are mistaken for impersonation.”

He wanted the Ministry of Health to provide a conducive environment for the intersex community to enable them to access better medication in a conducive environment without being discriminated against.

Etemesi lauded the government for passing the Children Act 2022 into law to punish those who mutilate one of the genitals of the young who are found to have both genitals at birth adding that such an act affects the child when they reach puberty age.

“Intersex genital Mutilation (IGM) among children who are born with both genitals is rampant in our community. This act in most cases affects children when they reach puberty stage where they realize that they need genitals that may have been removed at birth.”

He added, “The fortunate thing is that the government through the Children Act 2022 prohibits anybody from carrying out IGM to children at birth until the person grows up when they can make their own decision.”

His sentiments were echoed by ‘Shakers’ not his real name, appealing to the government to consider them for employment opportunities.

According to him, in most cases they are left out of job opportunities just because of their looks and the names on their documents.

“It is unfair to people of my community when seeking employment, you are told to show your genitals to prove whether you are a man or a woman. Intersex is like any other normal person in the community and we can deliver.” Said Shakers

Traditionally, African communities believe intersex people are bad omens or possessed by evil spirits, religious beliefs intersex people were born out of evil spirits and they would be cleansed without changing their identity.

According to the 2019 census data, Kenya has 1,524 intersex people. Data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) revealed that Nairobi County recorded the highest number of intersex people with 245, Kiambu,135, Nakuru 95, and Busia County recorded 28.