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Unformatted text preview: w something was
really wrong. While the boys were becoming men and the girls
were becoming women, I had little boobs and an “outtie” that
didn’t even develop like the boys’. My “boy bits” had always Where Our Sexes Come From 91 been different, very small, and didn’t change at puberty, nor did
I develop normal hair growth. Aside from a luxurious head of
hair, I had only a few fine hairs on my face and a light pubic
At home Dianne continued to keep a low profile, and her mother
continued to act as though nothing was happening even as Dianne’s
bed piled over with stuffed animals, her dresser gathered makeup, and
her closet filled with dresses. But when she was away from her mother,
Dianne began to dress more and more like her girlfriends. She wore
makeup; her behavior became more and more feminine. For a while,
that worked. But though she was playing it all close to the vest, Dianne
was on a collision course with herself.
It was also around age thirteen or fourteen something else of
critical importance happened in my life. While spending the
evening with the boy I had a serious crush on, we were laying
on the floor listening to music, he took me in his arms and
kissed me—not a tentative “peck” but a full-blown passionate
kiss, full on the lips! The feeling was like being struck by lightning! All of a sudden I felt passion, sexual energy like never
before. I knew that what I was feeling were “girl feelings,” not
“boy feelings,” and, if it hadn’t been for my physical impediment, I would have lost my virginity that night. . . . My “crush”
had suddenly turned to “first love.” After the kiss, my boyfriend
released me, stared into the carpet, and said “Please change into
[something less alluring] before . . .” I went into the bedroom to
change and had a good cry.
Dianne continued to love that young man for the next ten years.
But every one of those years was filled with frustration as well as desire.
Dianne’s “condition” stood between them and any traditional consummation of that love. But the kiss and that love convinced her; she
wanted her boyfriend, their intimacy, and the possibility of marriage
and children. 92 Between XX and XY The forces tearing at Dianne overwhelmed her, but when she asked
her mother if she could see a doctor about her problems, Dianne’s
mother refused. There was, she felt, no real reason Dianne needed to
see a doctor. For over a year, Dianne continued to plead her case, until
she wore her mother down and was allowed to see a doctor.
It turned out that Dianne’s testosterone and estrogen levels were
both low. The physician suggested to her mother that Dianne start taking a hefty dose of testosterone to “make a man out of her.” Dianne
“I’d rather take cyanide!” she told her mother.
That was 1965. By then at least some doctors knew about cases of
unusual sexual development. But this particular doctor didn’t pursue
the matter of Dianne’s sex. It might have been partial gonadal dysgenesis. It could have been bits of chromosomes slipping from place to
place, or it might have been any number of other things, some of which
we have names for and some of which we don’t. At the time, no one
seemed to care enough to follow up with Dianne. Regardless of the
cause, the solution seemed obvious. As it turned out, Dianne never did
uncover just how she differed from other boys and girls. For her, too,
the exact cause became irrelevant. Resolution was the real issue. She
refused the testosterone.
Since age five, Dianne had been regularly running away from home,
usually to an abandoned cabin she had discovered in nearby woods.
There she would live on vegetables she had stolen from neighbors’ root
cellars. After three or four days—when she figured her mother had
calmed enough to allow her back into the house—Dianne would return
That pattern began to change when Dianne turned fifteen. One day,
while listening to a radio program, Dianne heard the story of a person
classified as a female, but who felt certain that she was a he. Suddenly
Dianne no longer felt alone. Someone else had a problem just like hers,
only in reverse. She wrote to the radio station, and the people there
forwarded her letter to the person Dianne had listened to. He wrote
back, and Dianne ran off to Toronto to meet him. In Toronto there
were others, lots of others, some just like Dianne. And some of these Where Our Sexes Come From 93 people’s parents completely accepted that their children were different.
Soon Dianne had a new place to run to. Now she ran to the homes of
understanding friends and understanding parents. Not only that, but in
Toronto, Dianne could live as a girl. No one there had ever known her
as anything else. She began to go every weekend, changing her clothes
on the train as she sped toward her friends.
It was a delight to be able to meet other teens, go out to clubs
and dances, and just be a normal girl in every way. Going home
was always hard. Chang...
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This document was uploaded on 02/04/2014.
- Spring '14