NAIROBI – A taskforce formed by the Kenyan government has recommended recognition of intersex people as a “third sex”.
The taskforce suggested the introduction of an Intersex (I) marker on official documentation and that intersex people are counted in the census.
Intersex people are born with both male and female sex characteristics, which can appear at birth or later in life. The UN estimates that intersex people make up 0.05-1.7% of global births.
Based on Kenya’s population of about 48 million, this means between 24,000 and 800,000 people would be intersex in the country.
Campaigners in Kenya have long complained about discrimination, lack of recognition and a need for medical care for intersex people.
This report, which was released on Monday morning, comes after almost two years of consultations.
The task-force also recommends a review of laws to ensure equal treatment, respect and protection of the human dignity of intersex people.
The report says that South Africa, Zimbabwe and Uganda are the only other African countries that have made attempts to explicitly recognise the existence of intersex people.
If the taskforce’s recommendations are passed into law, it could be the first African country to legally recognise intersex people.
Germany, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Malta, India and Canada have all passed measures to redress issues facing intersex citizens.