About

Contact: liannesimon @ yahoo . com.

ls5I’d prefer to say that I’m a Christian housewife and leave it at that. That I write about intersex in the hopes of raising awareness about such conditions, especially among Christians.

Life isn’t that simple, however. My Lord has called me to become more transparent. More vulnerable. And that means sharing my own history.

 

portrait2

You see, like the main character in my young adult novel, Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite, I have a genetic condition that caused sexual ambiguity and, I was raised, for a time, as a boy.

XY-Turner Syndrome mosaicism resulted in my having a mix of testicular and ovarian tissue. Hermaphrodite is the old medical term for that. It’s not politically correct any longer, but it’s still accurate. In practical terms, what it meant was my puberty came out of a bottle.

My condition also made me tiny and frail as a child. So much so that my parents thought I might not survive. I had mild heart and kidney malformations, visuo-motor and spatio-temporal deficits, dyslexia, micrognathia (a pixie face), and a few other minor issues, like hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, and needing surgery to have vaginal intercourse.

easter

This is Easter, when I was five, with a tea set in my basket. (click for a close-up.) It took courage for my parents to let me move from playing with dolls to living as a girl. At the time, not even intersex kids had many options regarding their gender.

I was the smallest of my peer group until fifth grade, and it wasn’t until high school that one of the boys in my class was shorter than me. I kept right on growing into my early twenties.

 

jamieAt9

I’m nine in this photo. As a preteen, my health improved, and my father decided it was about time I started acting like a boy. No longer were feminine toys, clothes, or mannerisms allowed.

My brother was tall, and strong, and handsome. How bad could that be? But I felt like Pinocchio—if I were good enough, if I tried hard enough, maybe God would make me a real boy. And since I wasn’t, it must mean there was something bad about me. Perhaps it was that I dreamed of being a wife and a mom.

I was never very good—physically or emotionally—at being a boy. By the time I was seventeen, I was anorexic, anti-social, and suicidal. But a Christian boy cared enough about me to befriend me and share the Gospel. As a new Christian, I hoped to become the man my parents expected. Instead, the mask that I had relied on to function socially as a boy crumbled. What remained was an immature girl who wanted to serve her Lord.

passport

At eighteen, I thought getting away from my parents would help. So I moved from a supportive family to a dorm. It didn’t take long for the boys to make clear that I wasn’t one of them. And one proved he could do whatever he wanted to me.

The Lord made it clear that if I didn’t cling to Him, I’d die by my own recklessness. Living meant doing something about my condition, so I went to see a doctor. Most of my life, my mother, who was a nurse, had handled my medical treatment.

The doctor said testosterone and anabolic steroids would give me a male puberty—give me broad shoulders, a deep voice, body hair, muscles, facial hair, and a raging sex drive. But I liked my body the way it was, at least mostly, and after staying with boys in the dorm, I didn’t want to be any more like them.

The doctor thought my two most pressing issues were anorexia and depression. Estrogen would help me gain weight and would take care of at least the hormonal cause of my depression. Then he said I wouldn’t have any trouble being accepted as a girl.

I could have a life that didn’t revolve around gender.

The passport photo was taken shortly after my mom changed my legal status to female, about forty years ago.

16 thoughts on “About

    1. Lianne, the transgenders are the best forms of existence… The separating in 2,3,4 sexes was an experiment of God, but…the androginuous type I think is the best… (my humble opinion…) ♥

  1. I discovered your website only today while looking for ideas for a screenplay about an intersexed boy growing up in Florida in the late sixties/early seventies! I am myself intersexed from CAH (the 17a hydroxylase version). At birth, I was not given a name for two months until enough cutting and stitching was performed to call me a boy. One more surgery was done years later. As a teen doctors twice suggested I had (at least partially) functioning internal female parts. My mother would not allow any tests. As an adult I was out of money for doctors and out of patience with them. Now to the point. I have done a lot of anthropology study on this and these are my theories: 1) Biblical Adam was an hermaphrodite. In Hebrew he is called “the first human” until Eve is split off from him, at which point he becomes “the first man”. 2)Adam may have been Neanderthal. Red hair, freckles and green eyes are thought to be inherited from Neanderthal bloodlines (see MC1R). Evidence for a strong Neanderthal influence is the description of Esau as having “red hair all over”. Have you ever wondered why the only time hair color is identified in the Bible the color is red? And God would wait 3500 years for us to appreciate the genetic significance. 3) Although most people have small percentages of Neanderthal dna some may have more (maybe Andre the Giant with his extra teeth), while some others have inherited health conditions which were formidable advantages to the Neanderthal but become liabilities with aging such as Hemachromatosis or Leyden V. 4) Some modern bloodlines may not be more Neanderthal just more recently Neanderthal. One characteristic I have is Palmerplanterkeratoderma Bothnian. My palms and soles are like leather and resistant to cutting and burning. It is also one of five visible traits that is ALWAYS inherited (the only exception being mutation). It is thought to be a Neanderthal legacy. If so, it would have to be from a recent (late) cross-over or everyone would have it (100% inheritance). My conclusion to assertion 4 is that modern bloodlines resulting from late cross-overs could have characteristics found only in late Neanderthals(terminal generations). 5) Some of the last of the Neanderthals may have been hermaphrodite or may have had sequential gender. As the population dwindled, nature may have equipped the remnants with a mechanism to enhance the likelihood of any pair being a breeding pair. Finding a late Neanderthal skeleton usually sets off an argument as to whether it is male or female (I have read a few hinting at possibly both). Conclusion: Intersex in some or many modern humans may be the incomplete expression of a system evolved by design to preserve a dying race. Living remnant bloodlines, with compromised breeding potential, are dying out going extinct. My Neanderthal grandfather (5’7, 225lbs) now has only one great granddaughter to preserve the line. At 33 years she is married…but still childless. -Tupungato.

  2. Aloha Lianne,

    I have nearly finished reading your story. Riveting!!I can’t put it down. I can see how much of your own story in in this book. It makes the story an even deeper book to read. I’ve cried in a few places and been deeply moved in others.

    Your telling of growing up with this condition is extraordinary. I am deeply honored that I got to read it.

    Thank you so much. It’s fabulous.

    Aloha Meg Amor :-)

  3. Hi, i had the honor of speaking with you earlier today and just found your website… Thank you so much for blessing me with your attention and presence and caring about my situation, and it was an honor to read this short biography about you. I have so much respect for you.

  4. I just read it, and it’s beautiful. Thank you for caring, even in the slightest. You saved me, Lianne. I don’t know what I would’ve done without our conversation.

  5. I’m so excited to read your blog. As a conservative Christian who hasn’t had these struggles, I want to understand what it has been like and how God has walked with you through it. I don’t want to be insensitive or uninformed. And I don’t want to cast off certain issues of gender and sexuality as if they don’t exist simply because they don’t exist for ME. Thank you for your bravery!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m not sure it counts as bravery when you’re pushed from behind. :) It’s my Lord that wants me to be more transparent and vulnerable.

  6. I shared your profile on Facebook. So inspiring.

    I have another writer friend with your same condition. She is a fabulous writer and a walking encyclopedia of information.

    TY so much for your courage!

    Sincerely,
    Ledia Runnels

  7. Hi Lianne!
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Someone dear to me has 46XX Ovotesticular Disorder of Sexual development also known as an Intersex/Hermaphrodite. He was born with everything male except did have ambiguous genitilia. There is so much controversy amongst Christians of what is accepted and what is not. He has heard so many things in his life. I think about Galations 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. ” In regards to him marrying a woman or the debate in his mind of what is right or wrong…what advice can you give me to convey to him to give him some kind of Spritual Peace?

    1. I would point to Isaiah chapter 56:

      “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
      who choose the things that please me
      and hold fast my covenant, I will
      give in my house and within my walls
      a monument and a name better than
      sons and daughters; I will give them
      an everlasting name that shall not
      be cut off.”

      God created intersex. And He loves us because like male and female, we are created in His image.

      Kind regards,
      LS

  8. I read your story on Morgan Guyton’s website and I quote the comments here that you made on his website for a reason. At the end of your comments you will see the reason why I quoted these comments from your story.
    My gonads contained a mix of testicular tissue and ovarian stroma.
    But it doesn’t mean that I had both types of genitals. There’s really only one bit of tissue that becomes a penis or a clitoris or something in between.
    Like most girls I knew, I liked to dress up and play house
    In Fifth grade I had my first serious crush on a boy that year, and my father decided it was about time I started acting like a boy.
    I was withdrawn, seriously depressed, and still not very good at being a boy
    As a new believer, I assumed I could become the boy that everybody seemed to expect.
    I went to see a doctor about my condition, he said testosterone and anabolic steroids would give me a male puberty—muscle mass, broad shoulders, facial hair, a deep voice, body hair, and a raging sex drive. By the time he was finished with my body, I would look like a boy. But I liked my body the way it was.
    The doctor thought anorexia and depression were my two most pressing issues. Estrogen would help me gain weight and get rid of the hormonal cause of my depression. And he was sure that people would accept me as a girl. Especially with breast development.
    With my legal status changed to female, my social issues disappeared. No one but my doctors even had to know.
    So I settled in to a new town and a new job, and told not even my closest friends about my condition or my past. I knew I was a girl
    Unaware of my condition, my church had for years been praying that God would send me someone. When I was urged to contact a Christian matchmaker, I reluctantly agreed. Several months later, he introduced me to the man who would become my husband. Every time I shared something personal, he reacted positively. So I dumped my entire past on him in an e-mail. He cried. Shortly thereafter we got engaged. The week after that we met in person for the first time. Two months later we were married.
    It was my husband who encouraged me to get involved with intersex support group work, and to write. He’s the one my dear Lord has given me to lead me closer to Christ.
    You said that the church was unaware of your condition and that they were praying for years that God would send someone your way and several months later you met a man who became your husband. It would seem to me that God determined your sexual identity, that being a woman and only God has the authority to determine that(not your father or anyone else). If the church knew of your condition they perhaps wouldn’t know what to pray for. You tried to be a boy but you knew you were a girl in spite of your physical condition. In fifth grade you had your first crush on a boy and your father decided that it was about time you acted as a boy. But you said you become seriously depressed and as a new believer you assumed that you would become the boy that everyone expected. But then the church unaware of your condition prayed for you for years that you would meet someone and several months later you met a man who became your husband.
    Who determine that? You see I believe that God guided you and I hold dearly to my belief that in spite of the confusion you endured He’s the One who determined that you are female that’s why you felt like a girl when you were young. So He as a Father determined that you are female, a woman in spite of your physical condition.

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