He or she? Kenyan marathoner charged in transgender case

Shieys Chepkosgei aka Hillary Kiprotich appearing before Eldoret chief Magistrate Charles Obulutsa on June 27, 2019

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Eldoret-based athlete Shieys Chepkosgei, alias Hillary Kiprotich, who claimed to be transgender in 2019, when they were charged with impersonating a female nurse at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), has been charged with five counts of forgery and false pretence.

Chepkosgei, who appeared before Eldoret Principal Magistrate Naomi Wairimu, denied all the charges.

The first charge states that with intent to deceive, Chepkosgei forged a postnatal discharge summary form and claimed it was a genuine document issued by Uasin Gishu County Hospital.

The court heard that the marathoner, who the state says in the charge sheet is a man, presented the forged form and a notification of birth to the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).

Chepkosgei was arrested after ADAK sleuths investigated his claims and established that the documents were forged as the hospital did not ascertain their validity.

Chepkosgei has already been suspended by ADAK after a directive from the Sports Disputes Tribunal, which said they had tested positive for a prohibited substance.

ADAK said Chepkosgei had illegally participated in a sporting event during the ban period, contrary to the Anti-Doping Act, which amounts to a violation of the World Anti-Doping Code.

Documents in the athlete’s possession indicate that Chepkosgei gave birth to a baby boy through caesarean section at the hospital and was yet to recover.

But the documents did not indicate the date of the alleged birth.

Inquiries by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and ADAK led to the athlete’s arrest and arraignment on March 17.

Chepkosgei was also charged with four other counts of forgery and false pretence.

Through lawyer Colbert Ojiambo, the athlete pleaded not guilty and was released on a Sh30,000 bond with a surety of the same amount or an alternative cash bail of Sh10,000.

The case will be mentioned on March 28.

In 2019, the athlete admitted in an open court that they were born male and told then Chief Magistrate Charles Obulutsa that their actual name is Hillary Kiprotich.

“I was identified as male in primary school, but when I became an athlete, I registered myself as female,” the athlete told a shocked courtroom.

Chepkosgei’s family confirmed that the athlete was born a boy but developed a habit of wearing women's clothing from an early age, which left them disturbed and with unanswered questions.

The family hails from Moiben, Uasin Gishu County.

In 2019, the athlete was found guilty of impersonating a nurse at MTRH and was fined by an Eldoret court.

The case on the athlete’s gender identity is still going on at the High Court in Eldoret.