Intersex Society of Zambia
voice of intersex persons

The story of JANELLE SANJONGO

One of our community member s, Janelle is a 22 year old intersex person born on the 22nd January  2000. Jannelle was born in Kaoma District of Zambia’s Western Province. When Janelle was born he was raised as a female. At the age of 9  he noticed that his development was different from that of his peers and so he began to ask as to why he was being identified as a girl when he felt and looked like a boy.

When Janelle tried to change his identity from female  to male  he faced negative  feedback from his family and they started calling him ‘demonic’. This carried  on for some time until at the point where he was unable to be among his his family without him encountering the  same tormenting words.

Because of this Janelle chose spend times at the neighboring fanily’s houes. Things were so bad for Janelle as his own father, a Church elder also believed  that his son was under demonic possession. So his father began to meeting up with other local Pastors to carry out prayers for Janelle’s soul. They met often to cast out demons from Janelle in he hope and expectation that Janelle would fid spiritual freedom.

After seeing this Janelle could not take it anymore. He reached out for help with ISSZ to whom he shared about his situation and how that he needs help. He said, “I face a lot of problems in the way that they don’t support me and they don’t give me time to explain and express my feelings, therefore they always force me to dress like a girl and they say I am demonic possessed”. He added, “for once, I would want my family to know how I truly feel”.

After Mr. Mphatso  Sakala, the Executive Director called Mr Chrispine SANJONGO (Janelle’s father) to talk to him over the matter Mr Chrispine SANJONGO finally accepted for his son to change his identity. After the change some of the people in the community advised Janelle to leave the town of Kaoma in order to find peace. He then moved to Lusaka and fully join the Intersex Society of Zambia (ISSZ), where he has since been given an internship position where he can stand for the rights of other intersex persons.

The story of JANELLE SANJONGO
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