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For us, all of that got shut down.” After Adams was born, her parents had to wait for test results that would help determine her gender.
Ultimately, she was diagnosed with androgen insensitivity syndrome, in which people with XY chromosomes and internally “male” reproductive systems — including undescended testes — are wholly or partially immune to androgen hormones, such as testosterone, that their bodies produce.
In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics went so far as to declare the birth of an intersex child a “social emergency.” (Since then, the AAP has grown more circumspect.
(Lawmakers in Texas and Indiana have also introduced similar bills in recent years, though neither received a hearing.) In June, three former U. surgeons general released a statement condemning the surgeries.
In cases where the cancer risk is low, advocates — and, increasingly, some doctors — argue for waiting and close monitoring.) But the surgery Adams regrets occurred at 18 months, when doctors constructed a vagina using tissue from her bowel.
The result, she says, doesn’t look typical, in part because the operation left scars; more important, in her view, was that she didn’t get to make the choice herself.
Adams, 25, wants to finish college — she has three semesters left, after some stops and starts — and go on to graduate school in psychology.
She wants to be a therapist, or possibly a psychiatric nurse. “I can’t wait to be engaged one day,” she says not long after I climb into her car, complimenting the ring on my left hand. I hate being single.” In her free time, she scrolls through dating apps, looking for women she’d like to get to know over coffee or Chinese food, since she’s not a big drinker.
(The 1.7 figure also includes groups that are frequently labeled as intersex but would prefer not to be: One organization for parents of kids with congenital adrenal hyperplasia — a potentially life-threatening disorder in which the adrenal glands don’t produce the right balance of hormones that regulate the body — argues that CAH shouldn’t be classified with other intersex conditions at all.) ▲ Hann Lindahl, 25 San Francisco “You have to create the content in the media you want to see in the world, and I don't see a lot of intersex stories being told. Somebody's got to do it.” For a long time, most intersex people thought of their physical differences as something akin to a disease.