An intersex person is one who is born with a reproductive condition that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male.

For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical sex organs on the inside.

A girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris or lacking a vaginal opening, whereas a boy may be born with a noticeably small penis and a vagina.

In the case of James Karanja, he was born with both sex organs which made him stigmatised his entire childhood.

His rare condition did not only shock his parents, but the entire village. His parents called a priest to lay hands on their son because they did not understand his condition.

In an interview with Radio Jambo on Thursday, James said,
‘Askofu hakuelewa mimi ni mtoto wa aina gani na alisema nafaa kupelekwa hospitalini kwa matibabu zaidi’.

This translates to:

The priest did not understand what the issue was and advised my parents to take me to hospital.

james k - I grew up as a girl and only noticed I had a male organ in high school – James Karanja
James posing

Later, his parents took him to the hospital where doctors advised them to raise their child as a girl, so he was named Mary Waithera.

His dad later abandoned him and his mother and he was raised with the help of his grandmother.

He said:’ Madktari walishindwa kunitibu na kisha wakasema nilewe kama msichana. Tuliporudi nyumbani, baba yangu alitoroka na kusema kuwa hajawahi ona jambo kama hilo katika kijiji chao.’

This translates to:

doctors were not able to solve the problem.they then advised my parents to raise me as a girl. my dad abandoned us, saying he had never seen such a scenario.

A few months later, his mother abandoned him for six months, but later came back. Meanwhile, James was being raised by his grandmother. James said he only noticed he had the male organ in high school.

‘Nikiwa katika kidato cha kwanza siku moja niliweza kuamka usiku wa manane na nikaenda kuoga hapo ndipo niliweza kujua kuna utofauti katika mwili wangu.Niliona sehemu ya siri ya mwanaume ikikuwa,hapo ndipo niliweza kujijua mzuri mimi ni nani.Nilikuwa navutia wasichana sana na hata walikuwa wananitumia barua za kimapenzi hapo ndipo niliweza kufukuzwa shule kwa madai kuwa nimeleta uhusiano wa ngono shuleni.’

This translates to:

one night while I was in form one, I woke up to go take a shower. that is when I realised that I had different sex organs. I realised that I had a penis that was starting to show.

He added,

girls started being attracted to me and would even send me love letters. i was later expelled for claims of having a relationship in school.


He later changed his name to James Karanja when he was baptised after completing high school.

He said his mother has supported him through the trials.

Read more here

Mpasho News

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