• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Government urged to stop discrimination against intersex people

Government urged to stop discrimination against intersex people

Worried about stigmatisation and discrimination against intersex persons in society, the Centre for Healthcare Development and Youth Empowerment, (Intersex Nigeria) has called on the government to intervene with policies and programmes to checkmate any form of discrimination.

“Intersex” is an umbrella term for people born with sex traits that do not fit binary medical definitions of male or female sexual or reproductive anatomy. Intersex populations globally are born with these differences in sex traits or may develop them during puberty or later in adulthood.

Obioma Chukwuike, Executive Director and Founder of Intersex Nigeria while speaking at the Global Intersex Day marked every October 26 pleaded with government to protect intersex people from bullying and discrimination.

The theme for Nigeria’s Intersex day celebration is ‘Making visible the challenges and issues of intersex people in Nigeria’.

Stating some of those discriminations, Obioma said for instance, there are columns for either male or female in most application forms but there is no column for intersex.

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Obioma explained that this is an “issue of gender marker; which is a big issue. Some are born female but their body is conforming to male but their certificates bear female. We can’t look for jobs and get it. People will say you are looking female but your certificate is male or you are looking male and your certificate is female”.

Other forms of challenges by intersex persons, according to the executive director include genital mutilation. “When an intersex person is born and the parents found out the child sex cannot be classified, they with doctors most times conduct unnecessary surgeries on the baby.

This surgery comes with challenges and harm. “There could be sterilisation of the body and blockage of reproductive system. There could be trap of wrong sex on the body. When the child grows up the sex the child was given during such surgery will not conform to the body. Sometimes, they have constructed that a child should have virgina but when the child grows up, the child is having bears”.

Obioma pleaded that intersex children should be allowed to be up to 18 years, in order to understand their body better. Then they can do surgeries but doing it at that early stage is violation of human integrity and self-determination.

Also stating that there is not data and recognition of intersex people in the society, Obioma asked “government to provide policies that protect, ban intersex genital mutilation as Kenya has done. We want government to sit with intersex community to understand their challenges and issues and develop strategies to make the community part of the society”

Obioma who is an environmental technician said the organisation will continue its sensitisation among parents and even in schools that the variations intersex people have is natural occurrence and not a taboo. Obioma pleaded for private and public support.