Former Nigeria Super Falcons forward, Iyabo Abade, now known as James Johnson was born intersex before undergoing a gender reassignment surgery at the Midway Hospital in Los Angeles, California which cost over US$450,000, in 2004 to fully become a man.
Johnson, who was raised a female, began playing football at the age of 11 with a record of 38 goals in the 1996 Nigeria women’s league season while playing for Jegede Babes.
However, it was when he was at the point of making his debut at the 1998 African Women’s Championship, he was stripped by a female opponent and it was discovered that he had both male and female sexual characteristics. The footballer was cut off completely from the team.
It was discovered at the 1998 African Women’s Championship that she had both male and female sexual characteristics, when he was reportedly stripped naked by a female opponent
Fortunately, it was the then minister in the Nigerian government, Muhammed Abba Gana, who approved funding for the transition operation to show appreciation for Johnson’s work with the team.
Speaking on how it has not been easy fit public acceptance, Johnson said he has been faced about carrying his cross alone. He expressed his sadness at the level of discrimination towards despite fully transformed to a man.
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