Intersex teen seeks support


An intersex teen from Mankhuma Village, Traditional Authority (TA) Mduwa in Mchinji faces an uncertain future after a life of relentless mockery led to a decision to drop out of school.

Intersex individuals are born with biological traits that do not conform to traditional male or female characteristics, in this case, the teen has a combination of both male and female genitalia.

Speaking to Malawi News Agency (MANA), the 17-year-old said that because the intersex condition is well known in the community, the teen is unable to go far from home without fear of people pointing and calling on one another to discuss the teen.

“Even when I was at school my peers would discriminate against me and some would run away from me if I join them during break time, this is why I even lost interest in school,” said the teenager who dropped out in standard four.

The teenager’s mother, who got the child from her estranged husband after remarrying when the first husband died, has asked for the necessary support to help overcome the challenges the teen is facing.

“I would wish for a surgery, which I believe will pave way for a brighter future and adulthood. The last time this issue was raised it received some objection from the father’s side,” said the mother.

Child Protection Worker for Mduwa area, Phales Kalima, said after learning of the child, she thought of seeking support so that the child should be given the required support when growing up.

“I wish to get the attention of those that can come in and give necessary support to this rare case. I have always reported to our nearest health facility at Mikundi; it also appears it is a complex matter,” said Kalima.

Assistant Social Welfare Officer, Hanna Mangani said as an office they are hoping that there can be well-wishers to support the teen undergo surgery which will correct the condition.

“Coming from a poor background the child has gone through a lot and it is saddening to hear about dropping out of school. The teen needs counseling and psychosocial support apart from a surgery to decide the gender,” said Mangani.

The teen said both of the organs are functional but uses the female organs for passing urine.

Although the teenager is being raised as a girl, the child expressed that being a boy is the preference considering how the features of the body are developing.

Reported by Vincent Khonje

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