INTERSEX PERSONS

image courtesy

A few months ago, one of our local broadcasters; NTV Kenya aired this very moving documentary highlighting the plight of intersex persons in Kenya. Some of the families interviewed were full of fear and confusion. Others had undergone counseling to handle their child’s condition. One couple took their son to the hospital for tests to ascertain his gender were baffled to learn that their son was indeed a girl when the lab results came out. Following this revelation,the parents of the intersex child were unsure how they would present their child to the world as they were sure he was male. They shared that their close friends and relatives had asked them to kill the child as many had done it before. As it is believed to be taboo in many communities to have a child with ambiguous genitalia. The Mail and Guardian reports that most if not all intersex children are killed soon after birth in smaller remote villages in South Africa. They are snuffled out with a graphic twist of the neck to rid the community of this ‘omen’.

Intersex persons suffer from discrimination and many are isolated from society because of their condition. In some of the communities where these children are born, they are subjected to such cruel invasions of privacy where they are poked at and examined as if they’re specimens. This backlash can weigh heavily on the individual causing high level of stress, identity crisis and in some cases the individual takes their own life.

All is not gloom and doom, as there have been instances where intersex persons have been integrated into daily life and their existence has been acknowledged. One such example is in Zambia where the church has accepted intersex community. If you or anyone you know maybe in need of any security services, report all incidents by

If you or anyone you know maybe in need of any security services, report all incidents by sending an sms to 22069 or hopping on to http://utunzi.com/ .

Find more articles and documentaries on intersex persons below;

Killing intersex babies

intersex conditions

Born in Between NTV

Intersex in Malawi

Advertisements
INTERSEX PERSONS

THE FIGHT FOR HEALTH CARE

kelly-sikkema-475112-unsplash

image courtesy

Donald Trump’s election into office and eventual  inauguration was met with a lot trepidation more so among the LGBTI community across America (and by extension, other LGBTI communities around the world). Transgender folk were dashing to get reconstructive surgeries before Trump’s administration could take away their freedoms. In 2010, the affordable healthcare act popularly known as Obamacare, made it illegal for insurers to turn away those with pre-exisiting conditions such as those who identify as transgender. Those who were broke, trans and living in conservative areas would finally have access to better healthcare. Eight years later, the gains made on behalf of transgender community will be lost as the Trump administration has repealed the healthcare act. Those who benefited from the cover through provision of affordable hormone correction drugs, therapy and surgeries are now left to their own devices. They are now more susceptible to  fake drugs and debt.

However, the repeal of Obamacare is merely a tip of the iceberg. The relationship between transgender community and healthcare providers has been fraught with conflict, dread and misunderstanding. 

Most transgender folks do not seek out healthcare for fear of being ridiculed and profiled. According to the National Center for transgender equality; 27,000 transgender people have had a negative experience with a doctor and a quarter of those who took part in the survey avoid going to the doctor altogether. 

There are medical practitioners who often ask intrusive questions via questionnaire. This causes anxiety that only adds to the patient’s stress. The questionnaire seems to imply that once completed the patient is more deserving or worthy of certain care once they jump through these hoops.

Healthcare practitioners need to have a thorough understanding of these life changing decisions and should even see themselves as guides for those who are transitioning, looking for answers and seeking medical help. One transgender man said he felt seen and validated when his doctor confirmed that indeed he was a man something he knew all along.

There’s need to continue fighting for proper healthcare for all transgender folk more so within our country.  Not only proper healthcare but also, affirming and humane healthcare that ensures transpeople feel protected and included.

To read more on the transgender fight for healthcare in America find the full article here

If you face any discrimination as a transgender person at any healthcare facility, please report via http://www.utunzi.com or send an SMS to 22069.

 

THE FIGHT FOR HEALTH CARE

STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU’RE BEING BLACKMAILED.

Fake Dictionary Dictionary definition of the word blackmail.
image courtesy

“I connected with this guy on 2go [the chat program for mobile phones]. He was in Ogun State. We became friends in no time, as he seemed really nice. We stayed in contact with each other for two months, calling and chatting, until I decided to visit him, unknowing to me that I was embarking on a journey I wouldn’t forget in a hurry. When I got to his place in Ogun State, I met some other boys there. They were all five in number. They waited for me to settle in and then they all brought out their knives. I was dead scared. They called me all sorts of names. They threatened to call my family. I was forced to cooperate as they robbed me; they took the N3,000 [about US $8] on me and my school bag. My Blackberry Bold 5 [smartphone] was also taken away from me.” excerpt from 76crimes

“If you leave  me, I’ll post the pics online”

Blackmail is a form of abuse where the victim is issued with threats and can be extorted by their assailant or abuser. The victim will give out money, valuables in order to avoid shame and ridicule. Because of this, many people keep their sexual orientation a secret for their safety online and offline. Most countries in Africa deem homosexuality illegal by law and often, their citizens take matters in their own hands. They corner, intimidate, rob and castigate members of the LGBTIQ community. 

However,  blackmail can also occur in intimate relationships where one’s partner uses their power and control to instill fear in you to get what they want. The abuser can use facts, sensitive information or lies to paint their partner in bad light (to other people) for their own gain. The threats include physical harm or being reported to the authorities.  While it would be easy to say, don’t get blackmailed. It is hardly that simple. Anyone can be a victim.  

If you do find yourself in this situation, remember the following;

Report. It would be important to inform legal support groups and/or relevant authorities. You can do this by reporting via the Utunzi app or website. These groups are in a better position to attend to this matter since they are experienced and connected.

Block, Block, Block. All abusers will need to be blocked on email, contact lists and social media.

Security. Use passwords, codes and sign up for any system that allows you to know when there’s an intrusion. Most banks and financial institutions have this facility.

Collect evidence/proof. If you have calls, texts, whatsapp messages, DMs or any form of evidence; don’t delete. Keep it. One victim of blackmail signed up for google alerts to see what was being said about her online so that she could know what to use in her police report and protect her image.

Go underground. Dip and let the storm pass. Though, do let loved ones know before you do and the reason behind your low profile. They need to know what’s happening as they might be called and pulled into the extortion cycle.

Leak that info. In some instances, you’d be better off to leak the information yourself and become the primary source. This lessens the power the abuser has over you. Use all channels you have to inform everyone of the blackmail before it becomes news.

Die another day. When attacked, just comply with your attackers and give them what they want. You can replace material possessions. Your life is more important. Quick thinking  and other robbery hacks can save your life. It is good to arm yourself with knowledge on how to survive a physical attack and information on crime hot spots within your area.

 

STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU’RE BEING BLACKMAILED.

TO DATE OR NOT TO DATE?

personas-marketings-online-dating

(image courtesy)

There comes a time in our lives when all you need is a little loving, conversation and a special(or not) someone. So what do you do? You perhaps set out to meet new people at gatherings, through friends or maybe even hop on one of or all dating apps. Let’s face it dating in Nairobi or any big city has become some sort of extreme sport and meeting in person can be nerve wrecking, time consuming and awkward for some.

You download the apps( because modern love) and get down to finding for your mate for the night, week or lifetime. After a little swipe right, left; you’re matched to your mate. What follows is a little ding ding messaging back and forth or no messaging at all. The criteria you use to settle on mate is based on whatever need you want addressed.  Be it casual sex, short or long term dating.  A date is set and a venue chosen.You’re eager to meet your match. It’s like unwrapping a gift. But did you stop and think that maybe meeting them could be the worst mistake of your life?

As humans we want nothing more intimacy and acceptance by others. It is easy to brush aside any red flags especially when we are often shunned by others for certain aspects of ourselves like who we love and how we live.  In the rush of things, we ignore any danger signs and common sense leaves our bodies. We go along with meeting them in places we’re not familiar with and doing things we don’t like. We let our guards down and become vulnerable. Remember, this is a stranger after all and not every single person has your best interests at heart. Better to err on the side of caution. Don’t compromise or let things slide if you feel unsafe. If something feels off, it is definitely off and you need get yourself out of the situation. Unfortunately, all isn’t fair in love and war especially online. People are rarely who they say they are.

Finally, this article on safety while on a dating apps is worth a read.  Report any incidents on the  utunzi app or website. Stay safe.

 

TO DATE OR NOT TO DATE?

SAFETY TIPS FOR LGBTIQ

  • Holidays are a great time to reconnect and have fun in different areas. Whether you go shags, overseas or even within Nairobi, one needs to be extra careful. There’s a higher rate of robberies, murders,rapes and other alarming incidents around holiday time since we’re more carefree or absent minded.
  • If you travel, ensure you know whether your destination is LGBTIQ friendly. Some countries have outlawed homosexuality and are generally hostile. Read up on your destination before hand.
  • In areas that are conservative, you will need to be discreet about your affairs. This means no public displays of affection as these are considered offensive. Different laws and customs dictate different actions. Observe all the rules to stay out of trouble.
  • Be careful when meeting people( new or old) in different area codes, no matter how long you’ve been chatting or have been friends, you never know what could happen to you. Ensure you’re sober and consent to every single thing that happens to/ around you or your body.
  • Cons, cons, cons everywhere. Beware of con men during this season. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You could be involved in blackmail case or have the authorities extort money from you in an entrapment con. Question everything.
  • Check hotel/booking terms and conditions. Some hotels don’t allow same sex couples to sleep together nor do others accept bookings from same sex customers. Always check and be sure.
  • Look out for LGBTIQ friendly travel deals where tours and expeditions are organized for the community or even organize one amongst yourselves with trusted members of your group.
SAFETY TIPS FOR LGBTIQ

5 Ways to Keep Sane This Holiday Season

May the spirit of Dezemba/Drinkscember/Drunksember be with you! I hope you’re letting loose and making merry where-ever you are. It’s a wonderful time to reconnect with loved ones and let off some steam especially with the year we have just  had. However, even with all the good cheer, holidays can be an extremely stressful time for LGBTIQ and MSM folk. With the pesky relatives and intrusive questions about ‘your lifestyle.’ It can be just that much more harder to catch a break and just relax.

 

Here’s a little list of things to help you stay sane over the holidays:

 

Don’t RSVP.

If you’re invited to a gathering or function, you seriously don’t feel great about going then don’t. You don’t have to attend. Maybe you’re not on talking terms, you didn’t like the crowd at the last gathering or haven’t visited your family since they kicked you out.  You don’t need to be at every single gathering. Opt out of it and seek out an environment you like instead.

 

Decompress.

Have some me- time to decompress. This me time is a great opportunity to re-evaluate goals and  reflect on where you are in life. You don’t have to be around people especially if it stresses you out. Take walks, create reminders around the house of your best attributes and really enjoy your company. How about making vision boards and gratitude lists over a nice beer on Christmas day?

 

Distractions.

If you do end up spending time with family, find neutral topics and games that will help bring you together without conflict. This will help decrease the likelihood of being offended by your kin.

 

Volunteer

Donate foodstuffs and your time to others. Spending time with others instead of being overindulgent or being in hostile environments can be a great alternative to the usual holiday traditions. Create this and other traditions with your fellow tribe.

 

Manage expectations

If for whatever reason, you get anxious over the holidays and agonize over what to wear, who to see and what to cook try lowering your expectations this year. Ask for some assistance from friends and family to ease the burden. No one’s perfect or getting out alive enjoy yourself while you can.

 

Support.

Holidays can be a rough time. One can feel sad for no reason or even hate holidays altogether. Holidays can also remind of us our inadequacies, we can feel like such trash. Fret not. Seek help from various toll numbers or support groups when the load seems to heavy. Find a friend or two to confide in and share the holiday with.

 

 

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and a Happy new year!

 

5 Ways to Keep Sane This Holiday Season

EGBV Rapid Response

Electoral Gender-Based Violence is a fundamental violation of Human Rights to women’s participation in politics and elective processes. Kenya’s history of electoral violence has often resulted in sexual and other forms of gender based violence mainly targeting woman and girls. Medical support offered is minimal due to the downplaying of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the face of real violence, insufficient information about available service points and lack of social support to encourage reporting for treatment.
It is in response to these gaps that the GOK, the National Gender and Equality Commission, NGOs and other agencies have come together to ensure that all survivors in whatever part of the country can access quality help within the shortest time possible.
Are you reading this and want to get into contact with someone concerning GBV?

Here are some of the key contacts

UTUNZI Rainbow security network SMS platform 22069

National GBV Hotline 1195
LVCT one2one youth Hotline 1190
Kimbilio GBV Hotline 1193
Childline Kenya 116
FIDA SMS platform 21661
Police 99/112
Lookout for more information of our social media platforms. Join in the discussion using hashtags #GBVHotline1195 #gethep4GBV

EGBV Rapid Response