Some Facts About Intersex People in Nigeria

According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Life, intersex in humans is a disparity in sex attributes which include gonads, sex hormones, reproductive organs and genitals that do not tally with the typical binary notions of female and male bodies. Intersex is a term that is used for a variety of conditions where a human or animal is born with either external or internal sexual anatomy which are quite different from that of a typical male or female.

Beforehand, intersex people were originally called hermaphrodites, or congenitally “frigid” or “eunuchs”. Over the course of time, the name has been considered to be misleading and setting some marks of disgrace or infamy upon a fellow human being, which resulted in the term intersex. In Nigeria and the rest of the world, the reality of intersex goes a long way to expose that aside from the common chromosome sets, XX for females and XY for males.

There are also intersex cases where the chromosomal set can be XO, XXY or possibly have variations in sets of chromosomes in different cells.  In the cause of this article, we will be looking at some traditional stories especially in Nigeria, concerning intersex with and without a determine basis of fact or natural explanation as it concerns intersex that explains some practice, rite or phenomenon of nature about intersex. Some of these Myths among others include the followings:

Myths about Intersex

1) Intersex people have both male and female reproductive organs  

Intersex people consist of various multiple subtle difference areas which consist of over 35 biological health statuses. People often think that everyone’s genetic and biological distinguishing features are divided into two basic groups, the male and female bodies. Most Nigerians fail to clearly understand the concept of a broad range of varied ideals in medical conditions and chromosomal differences.

In some cases, it Pathol a congenital condition in which the opening of the urethra is situated on the underside of the penis instead of at its tip. In another, just one ovary and one testis condition can be found. Other cases like in AIS, the people involved looking feminine on the outside while with XY chromosomes but don’t have uteruses, rather, they have testes as a substitute to ovaries.

2) Intersex people are voiceless

The Nigerian population is not interested in knowing more about the concept of Intersex condition. Unlike in third world countries, there are fewer intersex activists in Nigeria pioneering its awareness creation and the protection of human rights especially the intersex people. It’s surprising that most intersex people in Nigeria, find it so extraordinary as to seem impossible to accept themselves for who and what they are.

The Nigeria society must have to be more receptive to all the variation of being a person. Fighting for the rights that allow children to grow up the way they are. It’s basic to know that intersectional identities are real humans and people should try to be on the same page with them and stop underrepresentation of the concept. By this, Nigerians should start “Unlearning” the misconceptions that have been circulating and approach the issue without bias.

3) Intersex is a rare condition

Despite the various concepts and details on the word intersex in Nigeria, it’s still obvious that among doctors in Nigeria, the definition of the word ‘intersex’ still differs. And even among nonmedical personnel, the larger population does not believe in the existence of intersex. In Nigeria, just like in the rest of the world “Intersex” is a rear condition.

However, the truth is that intersex does exist and it is more common than people insinuate. The intersex concept in Nigeria is still something that is invariable and misunderstood. Intersex people among us are also not well represented. In Nigeria, the availability of intersex arguably ranges from 1 out of 1000 people, to 1 in every 5, 000.  

4) Intersex is a condition that needs to be corrected

Over a period of time, the majority of the intersex people in childhood undergo surgical correction acting on the basis that it can be corrected. But the reality which has been acknowledged even on medical grounds is that it is undoubtedly among the myths with great consequences. Although the parents, as well as the doctors ‘, meant well’ for the intersex child to undergo surgery in an effort to correct the intersex condition. However, researches have shown that surgery is no longer a safe way out. Children with intersex who have been corrected grew up with terrifying repercussions after the surgery.  

5)  Intersex people may be transgender

Transgender people are those whose sense of personal division either as a female or male, does not match with their sex assigned at birth. Some transgender people who desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another identify as transsexual. The intersex concept is totally different from being a transgender. Although, it’s still ‘a table of the contest’ to state that an intersex person may also be regarded as a transgender.

The truth is that both transgender and intersex are different things because sex and gender are distinct in nature, as an intersex people can be lesbians, asexual, gay, straight or bisexual, and may be established as being a female, male, neither or either of them. The bottom line still remains that people who are transgender or intersex are also humans and enjoy the same human rights as others. Hence, the should be allowed to decide on which gender suites them and not being forced to one.


So many people in Nigeria as well as all over the world have a sexual peculiarity that didn’t match up with the generally accepted conception involving two indicators that are, the male or female. I really think it’s high time Nigerians and the rest of the world uphold the virtue of ending the harmful traumas inflated on intersex children. Traumas that are most times irreversible and invasive through unnecessary surgical operation just to make them “societal friendly”.

We should note that intersex people are humans and should be treated as such with regard to their rights. In line with Amnesty International, the Nigerian government and her populace should keep encourages the fight for intersex people to enjoy rights and privileges which is free of painful feelings, marks of infamy, and disgrace.  

Back to top button