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The medical world advised that the only option was for me to live as female, which I did for seven years. I felt like it was a super power, being female with a Y chromosome. I am blessed in that I received my diagnosis in a liberal household in the 21st century, and both my parents and doctors were so honest and supportive.
Before the final operation (castration) was due at age 16, I backed out, and was allowed to go back to a male role. Woman B: I felt confused and ashamed of my invisible difference — to an onlooker, I'm definitely a girl, without question.
Person A: I was afraid and I feel like that mostly has to do with my initial doctor telling me that there is no one else like me in the world which to a 13 year old is pretty horrible to hear.
Man A: I was relieved that they had found my health problem and that I wasn't critically ill, but I was also confused and scared.
After dozens of blood tests and doctor appointments, I was diagnosed with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome.
It's very similar to Swyer Syndrome, but people with CAIS don't have a uterus.
I entertained thoughts that nature intended for me to be a boy and I questioned my gender identity.
Woman C: The doctor who told my mom and me the news thought that I already knew of my diagnosis from another doctor I’d seen.
So I play the role of male, knowing that I am biologically neither male nor female. After more physical exams and lab work, he charted Swyer Syndrome as the official diagnosis. Because my mom didn't start her period until she was 17, and because I was very active in school sports, they always told us that I was just a late bloomer, and not to worry about it.
I started with an XY chromosome set, but because those gonads didn't develop and produced no hormones, my body kept the Y chromosome but just didn't develop male parts.
So my body stuck along the default path of looking fully female on the outside, but having no functional female reproductive parts on the inside.
Woman C: For me, in general, being intersex means being born with primary or secondary sex characteristics that do not fit neatly into society's binary definitions of male or female.
You're born with traits and characteristics of both sexes. For me specifically, being intersex means that I was born with Swyer Syndrome.