On Wednesday, 26th of October 2022, the Center for Healthcare Development and Youth Development (Intersex Nigeria) celebrated Intersex Awareness Day (IAD), IAD is celebrated globally every 26th of October to make to promote dignity, visibility, and equal rights for the millions of people born with variations in sex characteristics. For Intersex Awareness Day 2022, Intersex Nigeria produced a documentary titled, “In-Between Sexes” This documentary was premiered at the event. A panel discussion was also held with the topic, “Making Visible the Rights and Challenges of Intersex Persons in Nigeria.”
Following the documentary screening, a panel discussion was held to talk about the invisibility, stigma, and discrimination many intersex Nigerians face. The panelists discussed the toll risk of being submitted to harmful practices on intersex people such as Intersex Genital Mutilation practices, i.e. non-consensual, medically unnecessary, irreversible, cosmetic genital surgeries, and/or other harmful medical treatments that would not be considered for “normal” children, practiced without evidence of benefit for the children concerned, but justified by societal and cultural prejudice, stereotypes, norms, and beliefs, and often directly financed by the states. Intersex Genital Mutilation includes “feminizing” or “masculinizing”, “corrective” genital surgery, sterilizing procedures, imposition of hormones (including prenatal “therapy”), forced genital exams, vaginal dilations, medical display, human experimentation, selective (late-term) abortion and denial of needed health care, causing known lifelong severe physical and mental pain and suffering.
Finally, the panelists highlighted the strength and resilience of Intersex Nigeria’s recent progress in their community advocacy and stakeholder engagements and call on the Nigerian government and relevant agencies to see to the recognition and protection of intersex people’s rights.