Letter about intersex in Uganda, from OII Australia to members of OII

Dear OII Members,

I have followed up on an email by Curtis [Hinkle, founder of OII] in regard to two intersex infants in Uganda who are of concern to our good friend and ally Julius K. Kaggwa of SIPD (Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development.

I had two reasons to correspond with Julius, the first my concern for the two infants referred to below and the second the current attempt to introduce homophobic legislation into Ugandan law.

OII Australia in conjunction with Amnesty International and Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) is organizing a protest against the Ugandan legislation in Taylor Square, Oxford Street, Sydney, this Thursday coming, December 10th, which is also International Human Rights Day.

I asked Julius how that legislation effects intersex in Uganda and I have posted his response below.

I also asked Julius how we can help with the two intersex children he is concerned for.

Julius has indicated emergency donations can be made the following way:

Because we are still in the process of registration, we use Akina Mama wa Afrika as our fiscal sponsor for larger program donations/grants. For the emergency or rapid response ones (which have only been 2), we get direct wire transfers through Western Union or to A/C 0101113824700 of Standard Chartered Bank of Uganda, Speke Road branch. Swift code: SCBLUGKA.

Julius’ Email:

We have two lovely intersex children born to a very young couple in the Eastern part of Uganda – a district known as Tororo. The two children follow one another. The older child, called Kange, is two years and the younger one, called Henry, is just over two months.

Due to great stigma in their rural village, the family is disintegrated. Through our intersex support organization – SIPD – we have continued to counsel them and there is hope that we will manage to have the family restored because the father of the children is slowly beginning to realize that the children are OK and can live to be just as productive as any other child. He has reduced his drinking although he still resorts to it for comfort. However the man’s family is still unwilling to accept the woman with what they consider two consecutive ‘curses’ of children.

The mother, Jackie is a very strong young woman and very hopeful, which makes working with them a lot easier. However, they are extremely poor and she has no where to access support as we work on restoration of family relations. A local church has been helping, which is equally poor and all they could give us was shelter – which shelter was so wanting and one of the children has had a bad cold attack! But we were grateful that they were not on the street. However, we now desperately need to accommodate Jackie and the children in a relatively decent place temporarily and support them as family relations are restored.

We are looking for sympathetic members of our OII family to help us cater for the emergency needs at hand, which mainly include the following:

Home (very basic housing, bedding, and food) for these children and their mother.

Rent for a very basic house for six months in advance (rent here is paid in advance of either 3 or 6 months depending on how big the house is) making $324 for accommodation.

We got old clothing and we hope this will be enough for the babies for now.

We need $360 for food and  $120 for personal effects such as soap, toothpaste, vaseline, water to wash clothes and body, etc.

We therefore are desperate to raise $804 urgently. A Scottish nurse working as a missionary here has donated an equivalent of $200 of this already and we badly need to raise the remaining – about $600.

And this in respect to the Anti-Homosexual Bill:

The anti-homosexuality bill – if passed into law – will affect everyone because it criminalizes every Ugandan who does not volunteer information on suspected homosexuals to police in 24 hours, it criminalizes everyone who rents out a facility to a gay person or a medical person who treats a gay person and does not hand them over to police, or a parent who does not hand over their gay child to police or a religious leader who has counseled a gay individual and not handed them over to police or anyone who touches another with “intent” to commit homosexuality (and we are all wondering how intent will be measured).

Some intersex people may grow up to take on a[n apparent] homosexual orientation and so it does affect us especially in keeping our society closed to constructive dialogue around sex development issues. Having said that, the general population is more sympathetic to us for just one reason – that we are born that way – which they don’t believe to be the case for gay people.

I am hopeful though that the public education campaign we will be doing as SIPD from January next year will help inform and transform public opinions on sexual diversity and the dynamics of sexuality in their entirety.

Any one with questions should address Julius directly at aissgeastafrica@gmail.com.


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