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Delay surgical operations on intersex children, medics say

By Christopher Owuor
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
Intersex. Photo/Courtesy

By Anne Sabuni

Human rights crusaders have asked doctors to exercise prudence when prescribing correctional surgery for intersex children amidst calls for affected persons to come out and be counted.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Officer, Amos Wanyoike, regretted that surgical operations on intersex persons designed to have them fit into the male or female genders, were usually rushed leaving affected persons exposed to suffer the confusion of an identity crisis at puberty.

“The issue with intersex is not about their physical appearances but the hormones which start manifesting themselves at puberty. It is our prayer to parents with such children and the medics to delay the operations until the hormones are active.

“Access to justice has also been an issue and most of the intersex persons are forced to have two identification cards to survive. We are hoping Parliament will pass the amendments on Registration of Persons Act to include the I- mark to represent those that are neither female (F) nor male (M),” noted Wanyoike.

Peter Maingi, whose nine-year-old child has a congenital sex disorder, decried the high cost of karyotyping that helps to understand their conditions.

“Don’t chop off the penis of a child just because the female organ is more prominent, chances are the child may grow to be a boy.”

“Let every person know that there are intersex persons who have a right to education and socialization. Let’s stop infanticide and allow them to grow, let’s love these children because the stigma pushes them to commit suicide, they are God’s creation,” added Maingi calling on families to seek help at the Intersex Persons Society of Kenya through mobile phone contact: 0792244709.

The KNCHR Central regions office in Nyahururu has rolled out a number of programmes to enlighten the society on the emerging issues. 

“We are organizing referral partners meetings, public forums and Chiefs barazas to create awareness on the emerging issues as the IPIC works to implement the recommendations of the intersex person,” noted KNCHR’s, Noreen Wewa.

The KNCHR officers spoke on Thursday at a Nyahururu hotel when they held a one-day training for the area Court Users Committee members.

The CUC members noted the need to mainstream issues of intersex persons with the prisons department and decried the confusion that ensues whenever they come across such persons during the strip-down parades.

“It takes courage for intersex persons to disclose their condition on arrest and while undergoing prosecution. Even a closer look at the person cannot separate them and this is a challenge that we have to face and cannot wish away,” noted Nyahururu Chief Magistrate, Charles Obulutsa.

Advocates at the workshop committed to extend pro-bono services in case of prosecution of intersex offenders.

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