Intersex Soccer Player Says He Faces Discrimination

James Johnson. Photo via James Johnson

James Johnson, a Nigerian soccer player, says he faces discrimination as an intersex individual in sports.

Johnson initially played as a woman for the Nigerian national team, but was dismissed because he’s intersex, according to BBC. It started when an opponent pulled his pants down during a game, and he was subject to a medical check because of it. They found he was “more male than female,” he told BBC. Johnson was then kicked off the women’s team, and floated between male teams.

“The people I expected to [support] me more from the Nigerian Football Federation, the support wasn’t coming from there,” Johnson told BBC. “I started having issues with discrimation like: You were once in women’s football, we don’t think you can fit into male football.”

An NFA spokesperson told the BBC that the administration at the time should’ve done more to assist him.