Malindi: Intersex community decries stigma against members in sports

The Intersex community has started a campaign aimed at fighting stigma among its members in sporting activities.

Led by Chris Kach Mulusa, an intersex player for the Kenya Police Bullets football team, the community said that discrimination was hindering their progress in sports and other spheres of life adding that the victims were born as intersex persons.

Muluse who is a FIFPRO Player Activism Award winner which he won in South Africa last year for being steadfast in promoting and safeguarding the rights of intersex players said that he had teamed up with partners to move around the country to sensitize the community against continued marginalization and stigmatization of intersex and transgender players.

“We have recorded positive changes since the campaign started and when I accepted that I was born an intersex person. People are now coming out to join the course and I believe the society has started embracing intersex persons,” he said during an activism football tournament in Malindi town, Kilifi County.

He added that the mental stability of intersex persons was becoming stronger and that the initiative would spread throughout the country.

His sentiments were echoed by former Harambee Stars player Rashid Shedu who said intersex and transgender education was opening up opportunities for intersex players and driving away fear.

“You find a player who wants to play for girls or boys yet their physical appearance states otherwise and it leads to curiosity among other players who want to check on the body features of the intersex player during changing time in the bathrooms but with this initiative, I am confident that all will be well,” he said.

Terry Ouko, the director of Tuungane Community Based Organization (CBO) in Kilifi County and also a member of the Kenya Footballers Welfare Association (KeFWA) said that the sensitization program seeks to empower girls and intersex children such as sponsoring their education and sporting activities.

“We are encouraging the intersex person in inclusivity in sports so that their talents can be nurtured so that they can feel they are in a safe environment to grow their talents and also sensitize communities. Through KeFWA we nominated Kach to the FIFPRO Player Activism Award so that we can encourage the society to accept that there exist people born as intersex and they can be useful in life,” said Terry who is also a former Harambe Starlet player.

James Situma, the director of Inspire Soccer Academy said that accepting intersex persons in sports had been a challenge but with the changing world and globalization, communities had started embracing intersex people and viewing them as one of their own as opposed to the past where they were regarded as bad omen in society.

“There are already those who have undergone the sensitization and they are ambassadors out there so that we can positively change the community,” he said.

Frank Robert, an intersex person and the director of Jinzi Yangu organization warned against genital mutilation of intersex and transgender persons.

He said that some societies were forcing children to change their gender to conform to their body physique, a move that he termed criminal.

“We have these children in society and they must be recognized and supported so that they can live normal lives. We are not a curse as intersex persons but we were born this way. There are instances where people try to change the gender of the intersex and they should know that it is against the law and the rights of those intersex persons,” he said.

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