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The ordeal of an intersex woman in Cameroon

An intersex person’s life is difficult in Cameroon. Like other LGBTI people,  she is rejected by society but, unlike other LGBTI people, there’s no organization she can turn to for help.

From the African Human Rights Media Network

A flag of the intersex community was flown outside the New Zealand parliament building in 2018 on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. (Jan Logie photo courtesy of the Star Observer)

By Courtney Stans

HH is a 30-something intersex person living in the city of Yaoundé, Cameroon, sharing her family home with her sisters. (She uses a pseudonym in this article to protect her from additional abuses.)

A victim of repeated family rejection and discrimination, she says she has been abandoned to a life of misery, mockery and illness.

As an intersex person, HH was born with characteristics of both males and females. HH presents herself as a woman, which is why HH is referred to as “she/her”.

HH suffers from severe anemia and many other pathologies which could be due to her intersex status, according to doctors she had contacted. But she lacks financial means for in-depth examinations.

HH lives in an environment where she is mocked, called abusive names, assaulted and discriminated against almost every day. After losing her parents at an early age, she tried hard, but did not make much progress in her education.  She received no career training that would allow her to earn a living.To raise money, she creates and sells paintings and decorated slippers.

HH says, “I need help to get training so I can become independent. It’s very difficult to be intersex in Cameroon and live according to the whims of my family, who are ashamed of me and regularly call me a ‘human monster’.”

Cameroon has no programs for intersex people. Its organizations focus on LGBT people, particularly their health and human rights. Currently, vocational training is not offered for any LGBTI people.


Courtney Stans, the author of this article, is a Cameroonian journalist who writes under a pseudonym. Contact her at [email protected].