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‘Man’ wants court to determine ‘his’ gender

By John Muthoni | October 23rd 2013

By John Muthoni

Nairobi, Kenya: A young ‘man’ of 20-years who was named, raised and made to believe that he was a woman by his parents now wants the High Court in Nairobi to determine his gender.

The petition that is before High Court judge Justice David Majanja was filed by one Dorcas Wangui Kariuki alias Jonathan Karanja Kariuki who wants the court to issue an order to change his name to identify him as a man as he has so far grown features associated to males.

“The petitioner was brought up in belief that he was a girl and at all times dressed as a girl,” Laban Osoro, the petitioner’s lawyer said.

Kariuki was born in 1993 and his parents, together with the midwife, believed that he was a girl.

In 2009, he sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and was issued a certificate in the name of Dorcas Wangui.

He joined secondary School still identifying himself as a girl but in 2011, he started manifesting male characteristics such as breaking his voice and growing a beard.

The petitioner told the court that he then started being uncomfortable as people who treated him as a girl ridiculed him.

He dropped out of school and took a medical a test to confirm his gender.  The doctor found out that he was indeed a man.

Kariuki told the court that he underwent corrective surgery, has accepted his condition and wants to be called John Karanja Kariuki to reflect to his gender.

Kariuki’s lawyer argues that every child has a right to legal recognition by way of registration.

He says that his client has been living a life of inequality, exclusion, isolation and lack of dignity in a legal regime that has no faith in him.

Osoro told the court that his client is in a dilemma because a boy’s school cannot admit him bearing a girl’s name and he cannot attend a girl’s school as his physical features do not allow him to do so.

However, the AG is opposed to this application sighting that the role of naming a child and notification of the same to the Registrar lies entirely with the parents of the child.

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