ANYONE CAN BE BORN INTERSEX: A PHOTO-PORTRAIT STORY BY INTERSEX-NIGERIA

Collage of Intersex People

Intersex persons all live different kinds of lives but all of them are strongly shaped by everyday discriminatory experiences, which do not allow them to pursue the professional or family life they are dreaming about. Some are in school; others have used their vocational skills to earn their livelihood but they all have been prevented from exploiting their potentials fully because of who they are.

Representation is important, seeing people who are like you, coming forward to boldly identify with your group is empowering for others. The photo story is an opportunity to remind the Nigerian society of the fact that sex is not binary and that government regulations, service and infrastructure provision need to take this into account. Above all, the government needs to ensure social inclusion.

The photo portraits intend to encourage public education, conversations and awareness campaigns on intersex persons and their rights against discrimination, stigmatization and bullying. They are a call to government to wake up and to embark on public discourse about the need to embrace people who are rejected by the society due to ignorance and stigmatization. People need to be educated on why it is not okay to de-humanize another person because they are different. The government needs to create infrastructure for people who do not fit into what is considered “normal”. A lot of groups are marginalized in society because they are different.

Our message is clear: Anyone can be born intersex. An intersex person is normal, being intersex is not a curse, neither is it a disease, rather it is a variation in sex characteristics of an individual that doesn’t typically fit into male and female sex binary notion and this occurs naturally. Living as an intersex person does not come with a lifetime physical challenge. People need to know that when they see something they do not understand, it is okay to ask questions. Misconceptions should not be used to treat people in a discriminatory manner. Society should interact with persons who are considered different based on facts and not myths. People should make an effort to understand differences and they should be more accepting, especially if no harm is brought to them by being accepting of others.

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