I Was Born Looking Like Other Baby Girls

by ''Cindy''

I was born looking like other baby girls, and my intersexuality was not uncovered until age 17, when I visited a doctor since I did not menstruate. My doctor discovered I had male gonads and XY chromosomes, but — following standard medical practice in the 1970’s — lied to me about what they had found.  They simply told me I couldn't have children due to a "birth defect", but there was nothing to worry about, as I was a completely normal female.   

I did not learn the full truth and the significant health risks of my syndrome until age 34 in the early 1990’s.

I have the complete form of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome.   Standard medical protocols today urge individuals with AIS to have our undescended testicles removed in our early 20's to prevent testicular cancer at mid-life.  Had I not become inquisitive on my own at age 34 about my medical needs, I might have developed cancer and died very prematurely – no thanks to these doctors. I had my gonads removed in 1992 and have been healthy ever since…

Although most AIS women are heterosexual, I identify as a gay woman. I have found that the frequency of lesbians in the AIS community are similar to the U.S. population at large – about 10-15% of us AIS gals are lesbian.  The majority are straight, married women who are attracted to men and, many choose a husband and adopt children to create their own family.

I lived with my first partner, for 20 years, and cared for her until her death in 1995.  I have now been in a committed relationship with a woman for the past six years.  We held a commitment ceremony in the summer of 2001 and are very happy together.  It was hard telling both my partners they were with a girl who was “female on the outside, but with male genitals on the inside” – but they both loved me, and they both told me that it made absolutely no difference – of course I didn’t tell them this on the first date, I waited some months until I knew that the relationship was very serious but before any permanent commitments had been made. But they knew the full story, and were totally okay about it! I am no longer ashamed of my AIS status, and tell others that I trust, the whole story. I know we were just born this way, and I believe that God meant for me to be a woman – I just took a circuitous path to become one!


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