In Summary

  • But in 2004, when she was a Form Three student at Keveye Girls in Vihiga, she discovered something was amiss with her body.

  • Ms Makungu shared her story with the Nation at a time when the government is seeking ways to officially recognise transgender people.

  • Ever since the eerie transformation happened, the 31-year-old has suffered moments of confusion, not knowing whether to wear female or male clothes.

Born a girl, grew up to be a boy. Now Sheila Makungu wants the government to change her documents to indicate that her sex is male.

Ms Makungu’s identity card, and her birth certificate, Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and P1 indicate that she is female but when you meet her, she has a beard, a deep voice and will most likely be wearing men’s clothes.

Even the photo on her ID card will make you think someone mistakenly placed a man’s photo on a woman’s card, and that scares Sheila.

“When I go to an M-Pesa agent, I dread being asked for my ID,” she says. “Even the TSC (Teachers Service Commission) may reject me.

They may say I’m not the person they trained,” she says.

A GIRL

She had been raised as a girl since was born in September 1986. At her home village of Musala in Sabatia constituency of Vihiga County, she wore girls’ clothes and was socialised as a girl.

But in 2004, when she was a Form Three student at Keveye Girls in Vihiga, she discovered something was amiss with her body.

Ms Makungu shared her story with the Nation at a time when the government is seeking ways to officially recognise transgender people.

Since May 26 when Attorney-General Githu Muigai announced the formation of a taskforce to come up with institutional and administrative reforms with regard to transsexuals, a team of nine has been seeking ways of creating government policy for that category of people.

The taskforce has six months to come up with recommendations and it is chaired by Mr Mbage Ng’ang’a, the chairman of the Kenya Law Reform Commission.

Mr Ng’ang’a says the team has been holding meetings to analyse its scope, create terms of reference and identify the relevant stakeholders.

END MISERY

“The taskforce intends to meet with and collect views from various stakeholders including but not limited to: schools, correctional facilities, religious groups, registrar of persons, action groups, and affected persons across the country,” he told Nation.

Ms Makungu hopes that the work by Mr Ng’ang’a’s team will end her misery. “If you get somebody who is insensitive, he may take you to court and say you’ve stolen somebody’s certificates,” she says.

The day she confirmed that something was not right with her anatomy was when she went to see a doctor. “He said it seemed I was born two-in-one,” she recalls.

Around that time, she realised that something “looking like a male feature” developed on her private parts.

“The male feature brought the male hormones. But it’s not active. The female one is the one that is active,” she said, adding that her menstrual cycle is yet to start.

Ever since the eerie transformation happened, the 31-year-old has suffered moments of confusion, not knowing whether to wear female or male clothes. Her struggle began in secondary school.

DRESS UP QUICKLY

“I would wake up very early, at 4am, and make sure I’m the first one in the bathroom, shower and dress up quickly. Normal girls would just shower freely but I would look at my features and say no, it’s not okay for me to be seen,” she says.

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