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Don’t rush surgeries on intersex children, rights lobby urges

By People Reporter
Monday, November 25th, 2019
Relief for families raising intersex children. Photo/Courtesy

Anne Sabuni

Human rights crusaders have asked doctors to exercise prudence when prescribing corrective surgery for intersex children.

This comes amid calls for affected persons to come out and be counted.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) officer Amos Wanyoike, regretted that surgical operations on intersex persons, designed to have them fit into the male or female genders, are usually rushed leaving affected persons exposed to 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 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),” said 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.

Mainstream issues

The KNCHR officers spoke on Thursday in Nyahururu during a one-day training for area Court Users Committee (CUC) members.

The CUC noted the need to mainstream issues of intersex persons with the prisons department.

“It takes courage for intersex persons to disclose their condition on arrest and while undergoing prosecution,” said Nyahururu Chief Magistrate Charles Obulutsa.

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