Inter-sex convict tells of suffering

Tuesday July 13 2010

Denied education, rejected by a would-be marriage partner and subjected to inhuman treatment in prison.

This is the trail of suffering narrated to court on Tuesday by a double-sex prisoner seeking to introduce a third gender in the Kenyan law.

Richard Muasya attributes his troubles to the fact that, as a double-sex man, he is not recognised by the laws of the land.

He is now asking for a change in the statute books to accommodate him and others like him.

In a landmark case, Muasya, who was born with both male and female genitals, but passes off as a man, says he has been unable to get a birth certificate and, as a result, cannot achieve his academic ambitions.

His would-be wife walked away from him after she realised his condition, saying she could not live with a fellow woman, Muasya says.


He finds himself in a statutory framework that doesn’t have provisions for him and people like him.

The robbery convict says the law recognises only male and female sexes, which he terms unfair and discriminatory.

Under the international law and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, everyone has a right to legal representation, Muasya says through lawyer John Chigiti.

But he argues that, under the Kenyan law, he doesn’t enjoy the protection of the law. The Kenyan law does not only fail to recognise people like him, but also lacks definition for such people.

Genetic condition

However, in international jurisdiction, a double-sex man is described as one who, because of his or her genetic condition, is born with reproductive organs that are not exclusively male or female.

He believes that, if the court orders his recognition, he will be able to get legal and travel documents, and maybe undergo corrective surgery.

But Christian lawyers want the court to ignore Muasya’s prayers, arguing that allowing a third gender would most likely open the floodgates for the teaching of homosexuality and lesbianism.

The hearing continues.