About

ls5
I’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.

12 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.

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