Morocco: The loneliness of an intersex

Reading time 3 min.

Neither male nor female, Said, 45, was born intersex (hermaphrodite). As a result of this condition, Said has never had access to real work or any decent medical care. Dreaming of reversing this condition, Said dreams of becoming a “man” to live live a normal life.

Said is unemployed and has no social life. The 45 year old Moroccan is childless and burdened with numerous health problems. Born intersex, that is, neither quite male nor female, Said lives in a small town near Tetouan, in Morocco, with family because of social prejudices which have resulted in the lack of care. Despite the difficult situation, Said won’t be bogged down: “I plead with intersex people not to hide, they have no reason to be ashamed” Said tells Interview.

Afrik-News: How is childhood like for a person with intersex condition?

Said: My childhood was very difficult. I was often alone. As an intersex, I was deprived of formal education as I could not endure life at boarding school. My classmates laughed at me because I was different. I had problems sleeping, I could not even go to the bathroom because there were no doors. Although I was a studious person I had stop to my school in 1985.

Afrik-News: Do you work?

Said: It’s not easy for someone like me find work. Years ago I worked in a store. One day the manager inadvertently touched my chest and realized I had female breasts… then he showed me the door. I have lived like this, and in solitude all my life. It’s a life I did not choose, I was born like this. I’m different. I have a male name, I am female. This causes problems.

Afrik-News: Have you received any medical care?

Said: I want to undergo a surgical operation to become a “man”; a “gender correction”. I want to reduce my breasts which cause me a lot of grief due to the compression T-shirts that I am forced to wear. It is very tough. I have been to several hospitals and seen many doctors. None of whom prescribed any treatment. Instead they refer me to other doctors. Nobody has really tried to help me. A urologist once made a joke out of my condition when he prescribed a treatment for “abdominal pains”. I am diabetic and I have cancer.

Afrik-News: So have you taken any further steps?

Said: I do not have the means to do so. The trip to Rabat is far and medical care is expensive… Life is difficult and lonely. I do not know why this happened to me.

Afrik-News: You do not seem afraid to talk about your intersex condition, despite the taboo …

Said: I am the only Moroccan, perhaps the only Arab, to talk openly about my intersex condition. For a longtime I concealed my condition, but I am tired of hiding. I plead with intersex people not to hide, they have no reason to be ashamed

Afrik-News: Does anyone support you?

Said: Yes, my family. My close friends encourage me. Other people insult me, and tell me that I am a punishment from God. I am used to that now.

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