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Your baby isn’t quite a girl, or a boy

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It was a quiet, slow realisation for Ryan’s mother. “The midwife made a passing comment to her that they could not tell if I was a boy or a girl,” Ryan Muiruri says of his birth some 30 years ago in Lari, Kiambu County. He now, out of choice, identifies as a male, and will be referred to as male in the story.

Beat and still on her delivery bed, his mother’s would-be celebrations of safely delivering her first born child quickly faded into confusion. All she had wanted was a healthy baby.Even the simple joy of snuggling her new born was taken away from her as medics poked and prodded the ambiguous genitalia to determine Ryan’s gender.

“They were unable to tell my sex by normal routine and so they decided to go with a good guess,” Ryan says. “My mum assumed I was a girl and named me after her beloved mother.”

That it how the journey of Ryan began as a female. As Ruth Mwihaki Wangui.His father feigned fears of a bad omen and deserted them.

So grim was the rejection that he did not consent to the new born being named after the grandfather as per Kikuyu customs.

At about age three, his family contemplated corrective surgery to make him really ‘look’ like a girl. But on the day of removing the “huge clitoris”, a nurse would talk his mother out of the decision on account that the child could resent it in coming years. Thus the corrective surgery was stopped.

“It is the best decision that my mother ever made,” Ryan tells My Health. “I could never have forgiven her if my male genitals were removed.”And with the naivety of a child and mannerisms of a girl, Ruth Mwihaki went on with life till she was five.

“I could hear rumours from my aunties and uncles that I was not normal but was too young to understand the abnormalities they were talking about. At the time, I saw I had both eyes, legs and hands and everything passed off as normal.”But it was the constant nudging from his playmates that revealed to him that all was not well.“Despite my mum trying to regulate my movement, I found ways to sneak out and play with other children and that is when I discovered I was different,” Ryan recounts in a calm and measured voice.

Some of the older kids stripped him naked and made jokes about his sex organs.He failed to muster the courage to confront his mother over the issue and instead opted to “investigate”, telling himself that maybe the kids did not know how a girl should look like.

“I thought the kids were just being cruel. I had grown up as a girl. Surely, my mum, grandma and my doctor couldn’t have been wrong.”

The shame and stress that hung over the pre teen’s head also ate at the mother who had since given birth to two other normal babies.

It made breaching the discussion on his sex very difficult.The trauma followed him into school as his woes were now an open secret.

It became an entire school affair with kids following him into the washrooms, curious to see if he stood or squatted when urinating.

When the pressure took a toll on Ryan, he started skipping school.

However, the safe heaven he thought home was to be, never was. They said he was growing naughty, often beating him and threatening to call the police on him for missing classes.“I would wake up, don my school uniform, eat my breakfast and find a place to hide through the school hours.”

Ryan Muiruri in 2016. [File, Standard]

Breasts or beard?

The truancy went on for months. In Class Six, puberty struck and Ryan’s long-held fear was confirmed.

He was “not a girl”.“Instead of becoming feminine, I was becoming more masculine by the day. I could not hide it anymore and everyone started questioning my sex.”So, he started making up stories about having a menstrual cycle so that he could fit in with his peers.When the stigma and taunts increased, Ryan dropped out of school and attempted suicide six times.

“On two occasions, I was saved and rushed to the hospital,” he says.  Ryan lost his voice for a couple of months and his eyesight became weak after his last suicide attempt in 2014 from poisoning.But It was only when an elderly man accused him of causing the drought that had hit the region that Ryan decided he had had enough and left Lari.“It was on Christmas Day and he wanted me stoned because I was an outcast.”

Bigger threat

Ryan moved from town to town, and he now embraced the fact that he was a man. He was hoping to lead a normal life. But even then, he met the brute of people who often accused him of impersonation as his identification card read female but he dressed and acted like a man.He tells of an experience when he visited a bank and couldn’t convince the teller that he was the Ruth Mwihaki on the ID.

Police officers whisked him to a different room, roughed and beat him up. That was not all, a mob beat him months later at a public toilet when a lady screamed that a man was in the women’s washroom. Simple acts that require he produces his identification card, like mobile money transactions, became a challenge.

“It was a tough moment for me because I felt I had no one to share with my problems and so I nursed my wounds alone,” he recounts.Despite his woes, Ryan does not plan to undergo a surgery, or medical treatment to “correct” his condition.

He was subjected to hormonal therapy as a child and even that is off the table for him now.He says his celebrity status, from the advocacy on intersex issues, has lessened the stigma and made life bearable for him as many people now know him.

Ryan presents his view during the public hearing on the Registration of Persons Bill before the Senate National Security Committee, August 16, 2019. [File, Standard]

Ryan, who championed for intersex persons to be enumerated in the last census, says the society has changed and is willing to embrace people like him.  Asked what we would change about his life if he had a chance, Ryan says:“I could not change myself but I would change people’s minds to be more accepting of others. I was born this way.”

He also hopes that one day, Intersex people will cease being grouped with the LGBT community.“I don’t like it that when one thinks of intersex people and the first thing they wonder about is the sexual orientation. Well, there is more to us than that.”

Until then, he maintains that the intersex will continue to face the stigma and oppression of the sexual minorities, a grouping he believes they are not part of.

By SDE


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PHOTOS: DP Ruto, Mudavadi attend Matungu MP Murunga funeral

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Matungu MP Justus Murunga is set to be buried today at his home at Makunda village. He died on November 14.

He collapsed that evening and was rushed to the Matungu Sub county Hospital in the company of his handlers and bodyguard.

The MP was then rushed to St Mary’s Hospital where healthworkers tried to save his life but he died while receiving treatment.

He was taken to Lee Funeral Home where his body was airlifted from today to his eldest wife’s home in Makutano village in Lugari.

The body of Matungu MP Justus Murunga arrives. [Willy Lusige]

It is expected that the body will be buried in accordance to Ministry of Health Covid-19 guidelines that include pallbearers wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

The family had earlier been stopped from carrying on with the burial arrangements after a woman moved to court over the matter.

Milimani court issued the order restraining Murunga’s widows Christabel Murunga and Grace Murunga from conducting the burial, interment or cremation of the body pending the determination of a suit filed by a woman claiming to have been his lover.

The suit was filed by Agnes Wangui, who said she had two children with the MP in a secret relationship.

In her application she alleged that Murunga’s family had conspired to lock her and her children out of the funeral and burial arrangements.

Murunga, fondly referred to as ‘The Drill’ was born in 1960 and was a manager at  mbakasi Ranging Company in Nairobi before getting elected in 2017.

Present at Murunga’s burial was Deputy President William Ruto, ANC  leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, his Bungoma counterpart Wycliffe Wangamati, MPs Ayub Savula (Lugari), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), among others.

BY STANDARDMEDIA.CO.KE


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Wendy Kimani shares the struggles of relocating abroad and music comeback

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Wendy Kimani came into the limelight after being in the first runners up of Tusker Project fame by charming fans with her amazing voice.

She has done hit songs such as Haiwi Haiwi and Unajua which she was featured by Israel born artist Gilad. Not much has been out here about the artist but she is back with a boom.

The singer speaking in a virtual interview at Let’s Talk show in Ebru TV shares struggles of relocating to the Netherlands with her mzungu husband having to leave behind friends and family back in Kenya

The mother of one reveals that although she has always had massive support from her husband, living in the Netherlands has not been an easy thing for her.

For starters, she could not find a salon to do her hair in the country and was left with no other choice but to depend on YouTube vlogs to care for her African hair and that is how her journey into content creation started.

Wendy also shared that the biggest culture shock she experienced is lacking the presence of friends and family.

For her, she had to start over with majority white friends and dearly missed her mother. She also felt alone after she gave birth to her son as the Kenyan culture of friends and family looking after a woman who has just given birth was lost.

For her, she yearned for the tradition in which a mother and friends would bring her plenty of food and offer a helping hand around the house once given birth.

Wendy Kimani also shared that her comeback is now final as she does not plan to step out of music again unless because of unavoidable circumstances.

The songbird revealed that the reason she had to step back was as a result of the family as she was married and then had a baby and relocating to a foreign country she had her step back for some time to organize herself.

Wendy also says she is open to sharing more than hair content on her YouTube channel and will also talk about life in the Netherlands on her vlogs.

She is currently comfortable in the country as she has made a lot of Kenyan friends there who make her feel at home.

She also promises to release more music and a virtual live performance for her new song ‘Pagawisha’ as she cannot jet out of the county because of the strict COVID restriction in the country with approximately 10,000 new infections daily.

She, however, reveals that she will be releasing another single after Pagawisha.


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It’s ‘miracle’ baby number three for ex-TV presenter Faith Muturi

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Former TV presenter Faith Muturi and husband George Ngugi are expecting their third child.

The mother of two shared the news on social media revealing her pregnancy which is at an advanced stage.

The baby, she said, is a miracle baby due to the fact that after having their second child doctors had told her that chances of her getting another one was almost nil.

“Some of you know our story, that 3 doctors… Not one, not two, but 3 competent and credible doctors we respect, told us on different occasions that our chances of getting a baby were extremely low. BUT GOD🙌🏾 Here we are, 3rd miracle December baby. He did it again. 🙏🏾 Jesus, you do all things well. Be praised, forever and always 💜,” wrote Faith Muturi on Instagram.

She said their third born child is due anytime in December.

The couple got married in 2013 in a colourful ceremony which was attended by the who-is-who in the entertainment industry.

By NN


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