Kenya joined the world in marking the annual World Intersex Day on Wednesday.
The day was marked with a walk from Michuki Drive near Globe Roundabout to Parliament Road that was flagged off by Kenya National Commission on Human rights (KNCHR) Chair Patricia Nyakundi.
The walk organized by the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC), KNCHR and Gamafrica Foundation was aimed at raising awareness of intersex persons – which is a person born with two sex organs (male and female) or one visible organ while the other is hidden, deformed or malformed.
Speaking at the event, KNCHR Chair Patricia Nyaundi said she was perplexed that people are only categorised as either male or female – ignoring the fact that there are intersex people in the society.
“There are around 30,000 intersex people in Kenya – though the number could be higher,” said she.
Nominated Member of Parliament and chair of special persons committee, Isaac Mwaura, pledged that he would continue the fight for the recognition of intersex persons.
He said that Parliament was in the process of drafting the necessary legislation that would see intersex individuals recognized in the constitution.
Ryan Muiruri, born Ruth Wangui, is an intersex person who was present at the venue said she was happy about the awareness day.
Ryan, who has been arrested several times after authorities thought she was trying to impersonate ‘Ruth’, claimed that he has no valid identification documents and was unable to complete school due to her gender problems.
However, Ryan is now engaged to his long-term girlfriend whom he hopes to marry soon.
Sidney, born Beatrice, also underwent the same challenges. He was brought up as a girl, with a lot of stigma from the society.
He claims that at one time, his family members tried to kill him but he survived and is now encouraging his fellow intersex persons to be proud of who they are.
Gathoni wa Mochama who heads Gama Africa pointed out that there was a difference between intersex and transgender people, with the latter being purely a psychological and lifestyle issue, while the former is a medical problem.
She called upon the government to recognize the intersex people as a category on its own because they too have rights.