Identity Theft: A Trans* Intersex Woman On Traumas and Surgery

For me, being intersex has been nothing short of difficult, scary, painful, and shameful. When I was four years old, my family or the doctors or both, decided I needed ‘corrective’ genital surgery, because my genitals were non normative. I don’t know much about the details of how the decision was made because my family hid this from me and never explained or talked about what happened to me. It was off limits.

I don’t remember exactly what my body looked like before my surgery. I do remember having my surgery though. I was four. I was told it was because I couldn’t pee straight and that it needed to be fixed. I was taken to the hospital and walked back to the operating room. I remember resisting and crying on the way. I remember begging the nurse and my family not to go through with this. They tried to bribe me by telling me I could ride in a toy car for little kids to the operating room. They told me everything would be okay. They lied.

When I awoke, my genitals hurt and were bloody and swollen. They asked me to go to the bathroom to see if I could still pee. I’d had no trouble peeing before the operation, but they’d cut some things off, sewn some things up and rearranged things down there and they wanted to make sure everything still worked. I went to the bathroom with my mother and tried to pee a little. It burned. I quickly gave up on that, and insisted I didn’t have to go pee. My mother turned on the water in the sink while I sat in the stall. I pretended to try, and told her once more that there just wasn’t anything to pee out.

She gave up, and the doctor told her to call later and let them know if I’d gone to the bathroom. I walked around my grandmother’s house for days without any underwear and a t-shirt of hers because any contact with my genitals was so painful. They brought me ice cream to pacify me.

I don’t remember speaking to my family about the surgery again until about 20 years later when I confronted my aunt about it and asked her for details. This was after four years of not having contact with any of my family, due to my queer and trans* status. They weren’t safe people; we’ll leave it at that for now. I met up with my aunt in a McDonald’s with my partner at the time and asked her about what had happened. She said that I was “peeing out of the bottom of my genitals” and that it needed to be fixed. I asked her what was wrong with that. It’s not hard to sit and pee after all, half of the population or more do it every day.

A year later I heard from my mother for the first time in five years over Facebook. She said something impersonal and superficial, and I used it as an opportunity to bring up the surgery. I told her what I’d learned about being intersex. I sent her information about intersex people and trans* people and asked her to read it. She replied by saying she only intended to say hello, indicating she had no intention or interest in reading or learning about these things.

It was disappointing, but I was used to it. I can’t pretend I haven’t hurt over it, but I’ve tried to convince myself that biological relation doesn’t mean someone cares about you or that they have some kind of inalienable bond with you across space and time. My grandmother told me I would never have anyone feel proud of me or appreciate me again after I moved away and reduced my interactions with my biological “family” to e-mails and nothing more. They all stopped speaking to me soon after, mostly in response to me criticizing their homophobia, racism and various other hateful beliefs.

I didn’t officially come out to them until much later due to the fear their reaction stirred up in me and to the abuse they’d already inflicted on me throughout my childhood. When I did come out, it was only to certain people: my sibling, and two aunts, people who had minimal or no authority over me as a child. Word got around and from what my brother tells me, they reacted as though I’d murdered someone and would soon be falling into the deepest pits of hell for my ‘sins.’

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Knowing my history, as with many other intersex people, has been nearly impossible. It’s been hidden from me by my family, doctors, society. I didn’t even know intersex people existed until I was 21 years old and in college. After an exam with a doctor and a comment asking if I’d had genital surgery for my ‘condition,’ I got curious for the first time and felt brave enough to research it. What I found was life changing to say the least. I’d already started experimenting with my gender and how I would express it, and I’d always felt like something wasn’t quite right about it and my body’s history. Of course having an intersex condition doesn’t imply any particular sexual orientation or gender, but at the time I had such a limited vocabulary and this felt like a justification of my newly-discovered queer identity. I needed hard scientific evidence that there was a cause to all of this, that it was out of my hands to some extent, because I’d been raised to hate and fear people like myself. Gender-nonconforming behavior or queer sexual orientations were things that would literally get you killed. I was brainwashed by an extreme fundamentalist Southern Baptist family and culture, and I really did believe and fear burning in hell and bringing on bad fortune and punishment from a god that didn’t like queer people.

Having some kind of tangible physical evidence of the nonsensical, illogical things I’d been conditioned to believe was both relieving and terrifying. I had no understanding of where I was going and was battling internalized homophobia, transphobia, and intersexphobia every day. I became very depressed and had regular anxiety attacks. I had to convince myself I was not mentally ill, live as intelligently as possible and take care of myself. I had to prove to myself I wasn’t going to be irresponsible, frivolous and dangerous, as I’d been led to believe all queer people were. What made it even harder was the negative portrayal and information about queer people that was available and prevalent, and the way people around me reacted to me exploring and expressing my identity.

Some people began to look at me as though I was unreliable, dishonest, sexually promiscuous, deviant and sick. My grandmother had once suggested that I was doing this to be popular. What a joke. I wish I could be more ‘popular’ and accepted for being queer and intersex and trans*. Others asked invasive questions about my genitals. Some, such as my partner at the time, felt my femininity diminished hers and that I was now competition. Many agreed with the doctors. Doctors are seen as all-knowing and infallible, and if they did this, they had good reason.

The doctors themselves were less than helpful. When I first found out I had an intersex condition, I had a doctor try to convince me that wasn’t actually intersex,because my genitals had been normalized and didn’t look like some of the “most ambiguous” genitals he was aware of and had pictures of in a book. It seemed as though he was trying to comfort me, as though if I’d left believing I was intersex, it would somehow be a bad thing, a crisis.

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I didn’t tell another doctor or seek any assistance on the matter until four years later. The doctor is now my OB/GYN and prescribes me hormones. He understood me for nearly two years as just your average transgender person. The reason I told him about my intersex history was because I wanted to change my birth certificate gender marker. The law in North Carolina states one must have a letter from a physician saying the person has undergone “sex reassignment surgery” and if it does not say exactly that, then no change to the gender marker will be made.

I hoped to find a way to get my birth certificate changed. Could we argue that my surgery as a child was “sexual reassignment” and get my gender changed? My doctor no; technically that was a “female-to-male” surgery and the surgery I needed to have and document for a gender change would need to be a “male-to-female” surgery. So essentially, because some asshole doctor somewhere decided to perform this surgery, and assign me male, I have to fix his mistake by having more surgery. How is that okay? How is that logical? But this is what my doctor told me would need to happen before he wrote a letter.

Many trans people don’t want surgery or can’t have surgery for medical reasons or because it costs tens of thousands of dollars, and that can prohibit someone from legally being recognized as the gender they are, ever. This group of people includes me. It was interesting to see my doctor’s face and reaction when I told him the only thing I would change about my body would be to undo the surgery that was forced on me as a child and that otherwise I was not unhappy with my genitals and didn’t want to change them. He replied, “Well, you can undo it if you have the surgery.” He seemed perplexed that I wasn’t unhappy or loathing of my genitals and advised that I remove, cut, and scar more of my genitals in order to cover up the first surgery.

But not only did I not loathe my genitals, removing more sensitive, functional genital tissue, including a large portion of the glans of my clitoris to reduce its size to a more “normal” size seemed like a bad idea to me. I enjoy my sex life and surgery seems like it would reduce functionality and sensitivity.

I know lots of trans people decide to have genital surgery, and of course that’s their right. But it’s also my right to elect not to. It’s terrible to push someone to choose surgery or expect them to simply because they are trans or intersex. I’d been traumatized by the mutilation that was forced on me as a child, and have no desire to relive it.

This discussion ended with him trying to convince me that I wasn’t intersex, that due to the fact it was successfully erased by surgery, I was essentially making it all up. In his words, my surgery was to “correct a birth defect,” it was not mutilation. He discouraged me from investigating further and looking into my health further; “It’s probably an isolated thing,” he told me.

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So as it stands, I have conflicting documents. My birth certificate says “M” while my drivers license and the social security administration say “F.” And eventually, when I get together the money to buy a new one, my passport will say “F.” But who cares, right? My various IDs should be enough, right?

As it turns out, no. If it were discovered that my birth certificate were in conflict with my ID, my ID would be reverted to male. If I were to unfortunately be caught walking while trans* and brought into custody or arrested for any reason, I’d end up in a facility with males and treated as a male.

I already have to deal with the fact that if I apply for a job and they run a background check, they will find out that I had a previous name, one that doesn’t fit my appearance or gender. So I will either have to let them know up front – to prevent being accused of fraud or deception – by filling out “previous names” on the application, or I can hope they don’t actually run a background check and find out what my old name was. It’s unfortunate, unfair and illogical that intersex people get assigned a gender and a sex and are expected to either stick with them (even if they’re wrong) or fix someone else’s mistake with expensive, risky surgery on their genitals.

I’ve wondered what would happen if someone like myself asked my genitals be returned to their normal state, as they were before surgery. Would any doctor be willing to leave their operating room with genitals that weren’t part of this constructed binary? I don’t foresee ever being able or allowed to exist as something physically “in between” to any degree in so far as my genitals are concerned. That body, my body, is unacceptable. If we define sexual orientation based on anatomy, as most people do, who would an intersex person be expected to be with in order to be heterosexual? We are destructive to heteronormativity, to the notion of “men and women”, even to ideas like “gay” and “lesbian” if we define sexual orientation purely by anatomy. So what’s next? Where do we go from here? And how do we get there without violating the bodies and identities of more intersex people?


About the author: Amelie is an intersex, queer, trans* woman pursuing a Master’s degree in pure mathematics. She attained her undergraduate degrees in German and Mathematics, and has studied abroad in Germany at Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg. She has experience with working inside the university system with administrators and educators to change policies and develop educational programs offered to faculty, staff, and students. She has also experienced first hand the way in which gender and sexuality are understood in western European countries. When she isn’t studying mathematics, she is active in the community and tries to educate and raise awareness around intersex and trans* issues.

Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

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42 Comments

  1. Thumb up 4

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    Your mom sounds like my mom. While I’m not intersex and can’t understand what that’s like, I grew up with abusive, extremely conservative, legalistic Christian parents, and my mom (and also my dad, but his denial is tied to narcissism) is in COMPLETE denial about everything that happened during my childhood (I didn’t live with my parents for most of my childhood because of their issues, so that’s some pretty big denial.) I think it’s directly tied to her belief system: she can’t let herself recognize that she made mistakes, because then that would make her a bad person, and maybe she wouldn’t get into heaven. It’s almost a mental illness. I’m glad you were able to separate yourself from your parents; I’m trying to. It’s hard, but in some situations, it’s completely healthy.
    Anyway, you sound kickass. I wish you all the best in dealing with all that’s been dealt to you. You definitely didn’t deserve any of it.

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    Ugh, the only thing (IMO) worse than going through transition is being force/transitioned as a small child and having to go through retransition yet again. The issue of protecting the rights of Intersex children’s bodies (and identities) needs to be placed front and center in discussions of medical ethics. Thank you for speaking out about something so highly personal yet needs to be understood by the larger community. Your body is your own and no one has a right to change it without your express consent or tell you “who you are.”

    Just to clarify the issue of Social Security cards… there is no gender marker on the card itself, but it does exist in your Social Security records. The gender marker can only be changed through SRS (in the case of trans women) or some form of body altering surgery in trans men (and genderqueer peeps, good luck trying to get that acknowledged at all). Up until quite recently, if (for example, as a trans woman) you applied for a job and gave your social security number to your new employer along with your F marker DL, your employer would be informed of a gender mismatch by the SS Administation. This was frequently how “stealth” trans employees in past were fired with the justification of “they lied.” Around 18 months ago, the SS Administration changed its policy to no longer search for mismatches, but it hasn’t changed its policy in regards to changing the legal gender marker on your Social Security file. It’s not such a big issue now but you just never know when these things will come back to bite you. :(

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      Thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate your supportive sentiments and your belief in bodily autonomy as well as the right to self identify. As for the Social Security stuff, you’re right, there is no gender marker on the card, but there is in the system, and technically they are supposed to go off of birth certificate, but fortunately no one at the office I went to really knew the procedure, and accepted a letter from a physician saying I’d undergone “gender transition” and should be considered female. This wouldn’t be enough for the birth certificate, since they need it to explicitly state I’ve had “SRS”. There are a lot of inconsistencies in practices and policies in various areas of the government. And I am aware of the “no match issue” that was occurring. It’s just one more concrete and detrimental way of oppressing trans* and intersex people.

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    Somehow I got on the topic if intersex with my cousin and I was complaining about how it was unethical to force invasive cosmetic surgery on anyone. He couldn’t understand why I was so opposed to “fixing” kids so that they could be “normal’. I pointed out that as long as they’re not having medical problems such as a blocked urethra, there was nothing to fix, and his notion of “normal” was just that, an idea. It wasn’t truly reflective of life, which is wide and diverse and a thousand shades of grey. Unfortunately he couldn’t grasp the concept, but he fully acknowledges that he’s poorly read and not a deep thinker. Though I don’t see how “deep” you need to be to figure out that someone slicing up your genitals without your consent isn’t cool.

  4. Thumb up 1

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    I think I have a very simular history to the author, but every time I’ve asked my parents they won’t answer so I don’t know for sure.

  5. Thumb up 6

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    I’m really glad you wrote this. I really enjoyed, in the way you can enjoy things without being happy obviously. However, now I can’t get over that you’re a mathematician and I’m so excited about that because it convinces me that mathematicians can actually think long and hard about gender identity and even write about it. This is something I’m terrible at. I avoid thinking about it a lot because I don’t have the ability to write things that aren’t proofs. My GRE essay basically started as “Let M be a such-and-such such that M is the president of the USA”. I forgot the way to form a real sentence. Anyways. Off topic.

    Great post!

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    I just don’t understand why surgery is required before you can change your gender on your birth certificate. Like, does the government think you’re trying to cheat the system unless you have SRS? It seems like such strange hoop to make people go through. The government sucks, basically. It should just let people be.

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      They have changed it in California so you no longer require surgery to alter your legal sex. There are, however, several states (Idaho, Ohio, Tennessee) where, even after you have SRS you’re unable to alter your birth certificate or change your legal sex.

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        Hooray for California. I’m just really fucking astonished that they don’t have a medical exemption rule for people for whom genital surgery would be dangerous or damaging (you know, like people who had the wrong corrective surgery forced on them as children). I mean Judaism has an alternate form of Bris for children for whom it would be dangerous or risky to perform the traditional one where no alterations are made to the penis and its not actually a new thing so why the hell can’t the government catch up with that?

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          It only works if you’re born in California, otherwise they have no jurisdiction over your birth certificate. Also, circumcision is as much a mutilation of a child’s genitals as “female” circumcision, and “surgery” on intersex kids. It removes healthy, functional, sensitive tissue that is important for functionality and sensitivity of the genitals, just like the clitoral hood and labia, or intermediate analogues. The APA no longer recommends routine circumcision, and most of the world outside of the US doesn’t do it. It’s also something done to the child’s genitals that is permanent and without their consent. Jewish law is also incredibly oppressive towards intersex people. It says they can’t marry, they can’t congregate with women (like men), they can’t be around men while menstruating (like women), they can’t inherit property (like women). “Jewish religious texts such as the Talmud and the Tosefta list extensive regulations
          for people of mixed sex, regulating modes of inheritance and of social
          conduct. The Tosefta, for example, forbids hermaphrodites from inheriting
          their fathers’ estates (like daughters), from secluding themselveswith women
          (like sons), and from shaving (like men). When they menstruate they must be
          isolated from men (like women); they are disqualified from serving as witnesses
          or as priests (like women); but the laws of pederasty apply to them.” (Sexing the Body, Fausto-Sterling pg. 33)

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          lol that’s a tactical nuke on a flock of holy cows. I like.

          You forgot the ability to turn women and men gay, all in one package

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          Ok, as much as I’ve agreed with absolutely everything else you’ve said, and I’m glad you’re speaking out about all of this, comparing male circumcision and female genital mutilation is absolutely not okay.
          I really have no opinion on male circumcision; I don’t really want boys, so I’m hoping it’s something I never really have to deal with. My dad is in pediatrics and is pretty progressive in terms of intersex issues (he convinced a family in his church not to “fix” their child’s ambiguous genitalia), and he has said he doesn’t really feel either way about circumcision. So, I REALLY don’t have a bias here.
          But female genital mutilation is an absolutely horrible thing with absolutely horrible consequences. The reasoning behind it is almost exclusively out of misogyny, for one. And again, the consequences are just…ay Dios mio, I don’t even know how to put it into words.
          You can be anti-male circumcision all you want to, but comparing it to female genital mutilation is really just not okay.

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          Sela, your otherwise progressive dad being neutral about mutilating male assigned babies’ (not boys’) genitals is a source of bias, I would say. It is horrific to cut off any amount of an infant’s genitals for non-therapeutic reasons.

  7. Thumb up 3

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    Thank you for writing this. It was gut-wrenching, but any time we’re talking about families being emotionally cruel and dismissive, doctors denying people autonomy over their own bodies, and governments being overly controlling impediments to freedom, it really can’t be anything else.

    I’m so glad that you’ve pushed through those barriers and that you’ve found support amidst the judgment. I don’t know how we can get to a less fucked-up place when it comes to intersex issues, but I know that hearing stories like yours is an integral part of getting past where we are.

  8. Thumb up 7

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    I think the biggest issue in regards to this and the legal system is the lack of differentiation between sex and gender identification. In reality, no one should EVER have to disclose their sex. It’s completely irrelevant to life in 99% of situations, and 100% personal in every situation.

    In reality, we should all get to choose our gender identification at a reasonable age, such as 18, since it’s an expressive thing. And it should be okay to change your gender identification if you want to. In reality, you shouldn’t have to choose a gender either. It doesn’t matter. Ever.

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    ugh, this is such bullshit. if you want to have a pair of fully functional genitalia, that should be your right. why does anyone else give a damn? it’s none of their business! i hope this article helps you find a doctor sympathetic to your views. though they may be rare, i’m positive they exist. check out this article:

    http://nymag.com/thecut/2012/08/neither-man-nor-woman-meet-the-agender.html

    it speaks about (biologically female) persons getting double mastectomies, and in one case, getting their nipples removed. a doctor who is willing to remove nipples at the patient’s request should have no qualms about modifying your body in the way that you want.

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      I really appreciate your anger over my experience and your advocacy for body autonomy. I would like to make it clear, there is no surgery or medical procedure that can “undo” or “fix” what was done to me. You can’t replace things that were cut off, scarred, or surgically changed, it’s all permanent. You can “cover it up” as my OB/GYN suggested, but like I said in the article, his assertion that it would “undo” what was done is bogus, nothing short of some sort of ground breaking regenerative therapy yet to be developed for the public would undo anything. You’ve also conflated transgender with intersex, the people in this article would fall under the transgender umbrella, intersex is different. And the point was that surgery shouldn’t be performed in the first place. There shouldn’t be any “mistakes” to correct, even if there was a way to correct them.

      I also have to say, your use of the term “biological woman” is problematic. There is no such thing as “biological women/men”, sex is a social construct, as intersex people prove. The qualities we have set out to define women and men as “biological” or “natural” or “born a woman/man” are arbitrary, cissexist, dyadic, intersexphobic, and useless. Check this out for more clarification, it’s an amazing, atypical, non-stereotypical, and unsimplified explanation.

      http://tranarchism.com/2010/11/26/not-your-moms-trans-101/

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    wow, i really enjoyed your article although it stirred up my own past. i had the same, “corrective” surgery when i was young with no one telling me why my genitalia was different, not my parents, not the doctors. i’m planning on getting proper “corrective” surgery at the end of the year so i had to mention this to the surgeon. i then discover that this was an intersex condition and when i found out, i was upset to put it mildly, mainly because i felt i’d been lied to and how my life would have been different if i had have known. anyways, I’m still really angry about it and i think its outrageous that someone can decide what gender you are (because it looks more like one thing) and then ” correct” it.

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    I was also born intersex and there are a lot of us.

    As you my Free Methodist Father’s family has disowned me. My first indication as a child that something was out of place was when the Southern Baptist preschool would not pass me on to first grade. They put me in the church basement doing art projects all day by myself. But in time I figured out how to act like a little boy and was allowed into first grade.

    My salvation (pun intended) was my Scottish Grandparents. Their trailer was a gender free zone. Thank God for my Grandparents. But there is more to the story.

    When I entered High School I was not allowed to take gym class. Looking back it was not my first indication that I was born intersex. But it was a very public indication.

    After prostrate cancer that came on suddenly and ended in surgery I was given testosterone blockers. It was heaven on earth. Two years of freedom. Then came an end to my freedom and the oscillations started. One month of testosterone, and the next with estrogen, only to be followed by another month of testosterone. It was nuts. My body couldn’t figure out if I was a boy or girl.

    The first doctor said in effect “take to aspirins and don’t call me in the morning”. I asked the next doctor better questions and it took him longer to push me out the door. In time I asked ever better questions. Finally I got one of the doctors to come clean and started getting better medical care.

    Now after Gender Reassignment Surgery (what an ugly name, can someone tell me why I needed reassignment?) all my documentation has been corrected.

    I look back on my life and have come to realization that I am my Grandfather’s child. He and I share the same DNA. The only difference is that I didn’t die suddenly of prostrate cancer. I went on to become his granddaughter. Thank God for my Grandparents.

    Personally I follow the advice of Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

    I did it. I faced my fears and asked the questions and I kept asking questions until I started getting answers that made sense.

  12. Thumb up 1

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    Stories like this make me sick. Even though it’s the 21 century, it’ll be years until the public realizes this whole gender binary thing is rediculous! With intersex people especially, you should be able to just change the birth certificate to whatever you want, especially if some a$$hole doctor mutilated your genitals. If your “non-conforming” genitals are left as they were, how would they express the “gender binary” on a birth certificate? You’d be both male and female, while at the same time being neither! Anyways, stay strong and hopefully someday you will be recognized as how you want to be recognized!

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    While I can’t relate to being intersex, I can definitely relate on many of these same issues as a trans woman–very religious family forcing me to be what I’m not, the bs that is the legal documentation. It’s horrific to have that mutilation of your body forced on you–even more so than trans children’s gender issues, it should be illegal to perform these kinds of surgeries. It’s a tragedy that people get so hung up on their phobias that they can’t just let children (and adults!) be who they know they are!

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    If you want a sysframe it is your right. As much as if you wanted a particular model/brand of a car.

    Mutilation is a pointless, shrill concept serving no one. Quantifiable loss of functionality under current technology would be a more level-headed way to look at it. To look at it – and prevent the setbacks inflicted upon you by an idiot doctor’s reckless gamble on your future identity, performed with all the responsibility of a banker dealing in derivatives.

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    Beautifully written article and I empathize with the pain of being marginalized / disowned by family. Is critical that government move fully into the 21st Century re: the process of correcting one’s gender ID documentation for trans / intersex individuals. As a trans woman who happened to be born in Ohio I am not allowed at this time to change the gender marker regardless of having SRS or not so the absurdity of such things is not lost on me. Thank you for articulating an issue that has been a persistent problem for many and I hope you are able to find solace (and joy) in living as who you truly are!

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    Your essay was so insightful. I will never understand how people can be so hateful towards their own children. If I were a parent I’d hope that I’d be happy to simply have an eloquent and seemingly lovely child : )

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    “I’ve wondered what would happen if someone like myself asked my genitals be returned to their normal state, as they were before surgery. Would any doctor be willing to leave their operating room with genitals that weren’t part of this constructed binary?”

    For all the “trans women have such better bottom surgery options” that gets thrown around in trans spaces, at least in this aspect FAAB people have more options [albeit that spectrum of outside-the-binary options probably only exists because the inside-the-binary options require a lot of compromises]. I’ve got to say, the implications of that for non-binary MAAB people had not previously occurred to me.

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    Most states if your lucky can and will “impound” your BC “birth certificate” so when you change your name “if your state permits” no one can view the original document! Check with your state and local laws hope this helps some

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    Thank you so much for writing this!

    I don’t have the earlier parts of your history, but I do have a lot of your later experiences. I transitioned over the last five years, being put through an extremely strict interpretation of the SoC, and was “heavily encouraged” by my medical and (less so) by my mental health providers to have SRS. I was content transitioned by non-op but faced adverse actions against me; namely, unconscionable changes to my HRT doses that lead to emotionally difficult mental health and physical situations.

    I had SRS nearly a month ago due to the unrelenting pressure and the mentioned loss of ability to be comfortable non-op. Now, I struggle with regret about surgery. I have found that there is little support for those who transition and either do not have SRS or are unhappy with it. For the former, the trans* communities and supposed allies often consider transition and SRS inexorably linked. For the latter – like me, regretting it – the assumption is that the only people who regret are those who rushed through and bypassed the SoC restrictions, which was very much not what I did. Indeed, my regret is very specific; I do not regret my transition and would not wish to detransition, but I very strongly regret SRS.

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    As a child I was given tablets for a heart condition, found out in my late teens these tablets were to keep me male. Parents had daughters and wanted a son – that was what they decided for me. Always wondered about my female feelings then found out the reason. Sadly in the late 70′s there was little support, went with parents to family gp and made to feel so wrong. Lived a “normal” male life with closet cross-dressing. Fast forward to Dec 2009. Been that long since visiting a doctor, that 70′s gp had passed away and that surgery had moved to a new medical centre.For some reason my records had been changed to Susan back in that 70′s meeting. Despite not going out much “en femme” I accepted an appointment as Susan – gosh was I nervous! By January 2010 I was in mainstream hospital being told I had kidney cancer and 2 months to live without a major op. Thought what the heck – my last chance so lets go full time/deedpoll etc. Obviously the op was successful, though complicated by my 2 genders, though I am a regular at the hospital not fully cleared. Looking back I don’t know how I found the guts to be Susan through this ordeal but I swear it saved my life. Just for good measure I did a beauty pageant in Oct 2010, guess I gained a lot of confidence very quickly.

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    I am straight guy but more specifically i am an individual just like you and its soooo easy to simply accept you 100% for who you are and i wish you didn’t have to go through this, its what i call “the dark ages kind of thinking” when the obvious is over looked and the obvious is that you are perfect the way you are and whats on the inside is more important then whats on the outside, that being different is perfectly fine and should be appreciated!!
    I wish i had family like you!!

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    A.S.

    I am not intersexed but know several who are, or have a chromosomal Mosaic, and I feel for them. Being trans is difficult enough, so I can’t imagine having a conflicting body which may cause hormonal imbalance along with the general dysphoria we endure.

    I had my own childhood horror to negotiate, but I can’t complain when I see some of the stories, like yours, which seem nearly unbearable.

    Hugs, A.S.

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