Intersex: ‘They wanted to know if I squat or stand’

Ryan Muiruri, IPSK founder, speaking to BBC

I was born an intersex but assigned a female identity and named Ruth. My parents didn’t accept me and went to the witchdoctor because they wanted to correct what most people saw as a curse.

People would tease my mum about my identity, and I would often see her crying.

I knew I was different when I was five.

One day when I was playing with other children, one of them called me a girl and another said: “Who told you Ruth is a girl.”

They went ahead to undress me.

In school, every time I went to the toilet people would follow me to see if I stand or squat. It was so embarrassing and extremely uncomfortable.

One thing that hurt me the most is being called “a curse” by a village elder and being blamed for a drought that had hit our region.

I tried to take my life five times because I felt alone and rejected.

One day I was in a bank to do a transaction, the teller called the police instead accusing me of impersonation. I tried to explain my situation to them but they didn’t understand.

It’s only after I undressed that they believed me and allowed me to do the transaction.

I started the Intersex Persons Society of Kenya to help people like me.

Being included in the national population census is a big achievement for us.