Kenya recognized intersex people in the national census for the first time

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Kenya has become the first African nation and one of the only countries in the world to officially count people born with hormone and sex characteristics that do not fit the male/female binary. The United Nations estimates that up to 1.7 percent of babies are born with nixed sex characteristics that do not allow to identify them as either male or female from the point of view of anatomy. According to Reuters, the results released on Monday showed that 1,524 Kenyans – 0.003 percent of the population – said they were intersex. Campaigners believe this low figure is due to widespread stigma and low awareness, as many intersex children are subjected to surgery in order to make them fit either male or female characteristics completely, which is more harmful than useful for them, and they are also unaware that their intersex status is the reason why they struggle to self-identify and/or have health problems affecting their reproductive systems. Isaac Mwaura, Kenya’s senator for persons with disabilities, told Reuters that the inclusion of intersex people in the country’s official census is a big step forward. “Certainly the numbers are not what we expected in terms of big volumes, but the KNBS data confirms that every county has people who identify as intersex,” he said.

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