More than 100 Kenyans with a rare gender disorder could benefit from a law that seeks to enable them to get special services, after Parliament took up the matter.
Intersex people are born with a gender identity disorder that makes it difficult to determine whether they are male or female at birth though their gender becomes apparent as they grow.
According to expert opinion, the victims have both female and male sexual organs at birth, both poorly formed, hence the confusion when they are given a girl’s name only to develop male features on reaching adolescence and vice-versa.
On Thursday, the National Administration and Security Committee, chaired by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama, began hearing a petition to the National Assembly on behalf of the intersex people by Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura.
Mr Kamama said a meeting of various stakeholders from the ministries of Education, Health, Interior (Statistics Department), among others, would be tasked to come up with ways of ending discrimination against those living with the condition.
“This is a complex issue that requires a multisectoral approach to address all areas for which these people face discrimination,” said Mr Kamama.
Human rights activists who accompanied the petitioners cited sections of the Constitution that provide that no Kenyan will be discriminated against on any grounds in appealing to Parliament to come up with the necessary Bills to uphold their rights.
Mr Mwaura said the committee should consider compelling the government to foot medical bills, which most cannot afford, saying multiple tests are required to determine the actual gender, and later, corrective surgery.
“An intersex person requires at least four chromosome tests to determine their gender, each costing about Sh79,000, and corrective surgery at Sh500,000, which are beyond the reach of most families,” said Mr Mwaura.
Kesses MP James Bett urged intersex people to come out so that a census can be conducted to inform the budgetary allocation that the Treasury would have to make to ensure “special services” are offered that would take care of the special needs of the people suffering from the condition.
MPs suggested setting up of special schools, where the victims can get an education without discrimination, and also have birth certificates modified to not only have “male” and “female” sections but also a new section for “others”.