Audrey Mbugua, 12 November 2009The term 'transgender people' refers to those who identify with a gender identity and role different from the one assigned by birth. Among transgender people is a group referred to as 'transsexual people' which consists of individuals suffering from severe dysphoria and social and occupational functioning as a result of their assigned sex at birth. This dysphoria, which some refer to as 'transsexualism', is the most severe form of gender-identity disorder.It is also crucial to note that transgender people can identify themselves as transsexual people.Transsexualism is a highly misunderstood subject in Kenya. Some conflate it with inter-sexuality and hermaphroditism. Inter-sexuality consists of an array of conditions in which an individual is born with ambiguous genitalia or with atypical karyotype. Hermaphroditism on the other hand denotes the existence of both testicular and ovarian tissues in an individual. Inter-sexuality and hermaphroditism are an array of atypical sex development and differentiation, while transsexualism is the cacophony between one's self-identity as male or female and one's anatomical sex.Transsexualism is also conflated with homosexuality. Homosexuality refers to same-sex attraction among humans and animals. Transsexual people can be homosexual, heterosexual, asexual, pan-sexual or bisexual, just like diabetic or cancer patients. It is regrettable that a section of Kenyan society has mounted a misguided moral horse and subjected people to gross human rights violations because of the sex of people they love........Transsexual people face an array of hardships in Kenyan society. The mundane activities of life can best be termed a matter of life or death for transsexual people. Lack of information about transsexualism is still one of the major reasons for the stigma and shame that transsexual Kenyans suffer in silence. Parents of transsexual children will normally interpret cross-gender identification among their kids as signs of homosexual inclinations. To discourage this the children end up suffering physical and verbal abuse from their parents.Hostility from members of the public against transsexual Kenyans continues to be the hallmark of transsexual people's lives. These can take the form of name-calling, physical assaults, rape and the destruction of one's property. The excuse Kenyans give to justify such hostility is that transsexualism is un-African and un-Christian and so must be discouraged within Kenyan society. It is often too sad because people have come to accept such lame excuses to commit crimes. Religious and cultural fundamentalism plays a big role in promoting and condoning these dehumanising acts.Transsexual Kenyans face entrenched prejudice in Kenya's medical sector. Despite incessant requests for medical services such as hormone therapy and sex-reassignment therapy, government officials and public hospitals continue to play the dirty games of tossing transsexual people from one government official to another. Discrimination in the medical sector is both overt and covert. For example, there was an incident of a chief executive officer of a hospital cancelling gender-reassignment therapy for a 25-year-old transsexual woman and asking her to have her parents send him a 'no objection' letter. This individual then revealed in the company of his friends that he will never allow his hospital to change what God had created. Public offices should not be allowed to sponsor people's religious beliefs. It is unacceptable in a sane, civil and democratic nation, and the perpetrators of these injustices should be sacked and imprisoned. There is no room for religious fundamentalism in Kenya.....
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Posted by De Sube at 11/14/2009 05:13:00 PM