Like any parent, Dorah Mirembe was overjoyed by the birth of her daughter. The 18 year old Rakai resident has however been subjected to the toughest time of her life as her husband Alex Kiryowa walked out on the young family. Reason; the couple noticed their daughter was developing male organs at nine months.
By the time the little girl turned 2 ½ years, pubic hair had started growing around the male genitalia. What further confused Mirembe was the fact that both organs were active. With lack of the proper medical guidance and support, the young mother set out to find a remedy for her daughters ‘problem.’ She visited several herbalists in the hope of finding a cure but all was in vain.
Finally, her mother advised her to go to Mulago hospital where doctors recommended several tests. She says most of the doctors have given them inconclusive results because both organs are active and it is hard to determine which of the two is more dominant.
This is not the first intersex case that has left many baffled; in fact most cases go unreported while others are considered deformities by family.
Intersex refers to a group of conditions where there is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals (the testes and ovaries). The older term (which is derogatory) for this condition, hermaphroditism, came from joining the names of a Greek god and goddess, Hermes and Aphrodite.
Intersex, in humans and other animals, therefore variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, or genital “that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies”.
Some intersex infants and children, such as those with ambiguous outer genitalia, are surgically or hormonally altered to create more socially acceptable sex characteristics. However, this is considered controversial, with no firm evidence of good outcomes. Such treatments may involve sterilization.