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These Kenyan men desire to be women, but do they want women’s problems too?

By Winnie Mabel February 21st, 2023 3 min read

We live in an era where some men desire to be women. They want to be recognized as female despite being born male and so, in extreme cases, they become transgenders and have sex changes to the gender they want to become.

As this can be costly, the alternative is that some of these men begin dressing up like women – from the top of their heads with weaves and wigs, to their toes with six-inch heels and thigh high boots. In between, they have mastered the art of doing makeup to hide their masculine facial features to appear more feminine.

They have learnt the body movements associated with women such as cat walking, talking while swinging hands, accompanying facial expressions and even smiling in ways considered feminine. Women’s mannerisms appeal to them – how women seat and cross their legs, how they eat to avoid smudging their lipstick and how they flip their hair back if it becomes bothersome among other mannerisms.

Kenyan makeup artist Dennis Karuri. PHOTO | COURTESY

In Kenya, we have several types of these men and among the renowned ones are makeup artist Dennis Karuri, YouTuber/Influencer Kelvin Kinuthia, baker Maxwell Mwamburi alias Maxine Mkamburi and TikToker Tuitoek Samanayo. On one occasion or the other, they have been hailed for being fashionable more than women, slaying and bragging about their looks, makeup, hair and other possessions as ‘females’ more than the ordinary female does.

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This begs the question, then, as they desire to be women and considered women, are they ready to take on the following problems associated with being female?

1. Are they ready to live as females in a society where women are sexually objectified and harassed simply for having soft attributes/features? To endure lewd comments on the streets and unwanted catcalls that leave women feeling disgusted and mistreated?

2. Are they ready to deal with monthly menstruation and the high costs of purchasing menstruation products? Are they ready to shell out an average of Sh104 for a pack of 8 pads – assuming one uses about four packs for light periods and up to 6 packs for heavy periods? Are they ready to join the collective anger of pads still being taxed in Kenya as opposed to being zero rated for being an urgent need unlike condoms that are provided for free? Are they ready to join women on the streets to campaign for zero rating menstruation products?

Crossdressing TikTok sensation Kelvin Kinuthia. PHOTOS | COURTESY

3. Are these men who desire to be female ready to deal with the hormonal changes, weight gain and permanent body changes that are associated with childbirth? Are they ready to exist in a society that expects women to give birth after a certain age? Are they ready to deal with the ‘subtle’ pressures of being asked to have more children for your husband? Are they ready to be primary care givers for these small humans at the expense of their careers?

4. Are they ready to receive lower pay than male counterparts who allegedly have less responsibility and more time to work? Are they ready to be discriminated against in the work place when their menstruation affect their health or when their children need them so they have to jump through hoops at work to get permission to take off and take care of things for a an hour or two? Are they ready to be stereotyped against that men know more than women about work- whatever industry it is in?

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5. And at the end of the work day, are these men who want to be women ready to deal with the expectation that they have to take care of chores in the home while the man of the house unwinds after a long day of work? Alternatively, are they ready to deal with the pressures of sometimes being expected to stay home with the children and be provided for? Or, in the absence of children, expected to leave the work place so that you can run a business that will take care of the family?

Maxwell Mwamburi. PHOTO | COURTESY

6. Are these ‘females’ ready to deal with the unfairness of being born female and not being allowed to inherit ancestral land? That you aren’t especially valued by your rural community unless you are bringing them grandchildren, spending money on them or when it comes to dowry negotiations?

7. And finally, are these men ready to deal with menopause and all its annoying symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, anxiety, discomfort during sex, feelings of loss of self and skin problems among other symptoms?

While they find it bold and self-loving to come out as transgender, living flashy lifestyles on social media and being celebrated for slaying, are they particularly ready to go the whole yard and actually endure the above problems normally associated with being a woman?

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