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Being intersex in Nigeria: I wanted to kill myself

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Musbahu (not his real name), who was born with a mixture of male and female sexual characteristics, grew up as an intersex man in the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria.

“Even though I was born an intersex, I was given boy’s name and I grew up with male friends,” he told BBC Hausa.

The 24-year-old says his life has been difficult - especially from the age of 10, when he hit puberty and developed breasts.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that he thought taking his own life would be "the best option".

He told the BBC that his parents convinced him not to.

According to Dr Anas Yahaya, from Bayero University Kano, one out of every 2,000 babies born at Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in the northern city of Kano are intersex, meaning they have what is known as a sex development disorder (DSD).

DSDs can be treated with hormone therapy, psychological support and - sometimes - surgery.

If surgery is an option, Dr Anas says it should be put off until after puberty.

“That will allow us to know if the person is more of a male or female, because it will be easier to do the surgery that way," he says.

However, medical intervention can be costly for some families.

“It is so unfortunate that [most of] these people cannot afford the surgery, which costs about 250,000 naira ($695, £515),” the doctor said.

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