James Johnson: ‘My struggles as an intersex footballer’

Nigerian forward James Johnson, who was born intersex, began a career as a female footballer, then named Iyabode Abade.

He was called up to the Nigerian women’s national team, but was dismissed from the squad after they discovered he was intersex.

After a series of incidents on and off the pitch, at the age of 19, Abade decided to transition, and became James Johnson.

He has since played for men’s teams in Nigeria’s top division but says that he has faced discrimination at all levels of the game.

“Intersex” is a term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with sexual anatomy that does not fit typical definitions of female or male.

In Nigeria, and across the world, people with intersex traits can face severe stigma. BBC Pidgin‘s Onyinye Chime went to meet Johnson and heard his story.

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