Sunday, January 2, 2011

An Attempt to Disprove My Theory

The UU church has always treated me as the woman I am. Deb, the worship ministry chair, and a lesbian friend from Interweave asked if I would write a piece on Welcoming to fit with her theme, and I feel very comfortable and safe in the UU church. I can't hide from my past always, and the UU church was a significant help in my transition just by being welcoming. I have no problem relating that history to people I consider my friends to help them understand the significance of welcoming. It went really well today, and people were thanking me for telling my story. I know many of you are not of an activist bent, and I seem to be in a perennial place where if I tell my story, it can bring understanding.

Despite the fact that I'm probably really intersex and didn't know it.

I poked around last night and measured the depth of my inguinal canal on both sides. I was trying to disprove my theory that I have PMDS (Persistant Mullerian Duct Syndrome). On the left side, I can insert a finger up to 2 knuckles deep and on the right, 1, corresponding to 3 inches and 1.5 inches respectively. I Google'd the depth of the inguinal canal and found that the right side is the average normal depth. I discovered another link that said a uterus is about 3 inches deep by 1 inch wide. What I have down there has the same dimensions as a uterus. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well last night.

My doctor had previously put me on a double dose on the patch, and wrote the prescription for the injection in a way that assumed I would do the same, but working my way up.  She said to do 20 to 40 mg bi-weekly, starting at 20 mg to see how well I took it. The prescription reads "Take as directed." Many women in transition work their way up to 5 mg daily. The doctors before were trying to help feminize slowly, per my request. The fact that I can still get an erection is also an indication that the dose right now is too low.

I am a woman. I have no choice to like it or not. And I have not been able to deny it anymore for a few years now. While my body is apparently physiologically 75% male, that remaining 25% was enough to leave my mind a blank slate before hormones. And it seems now not so much a coincidence that I developed at 3/4 the rate of other boys. At 16, I looked 12 and hated it. My first whisker was at 17, my first chest hair arrived in my early 20s. My arms wouldn't build until I was in my late 20s. At 36, I suddenly had the physique of a 25 year-old man and freaked, seeing my father in the mirror. People still try to guess my age in my 30s. Now, at 45, I don't hate my slow adolescence anymore. Slow adolescence is one of the symptoms of AIS (Androgyne Insensitivity Syndrome) and PMDS is a form of Mild AIS, but more specifically related to Anti-Mullerian Hormone Deficiency or defective Androgyne Receptors.

But I do know now, as a woman, becoming that woman, spiritually and physically, I am more at peace with myself, I am more outgoing, I am more loving and more loved.

Hugs and God Bless,


  1. Sophie,
    When we have settled our minds to the fact that we are trans, for me to discover the biological reasons is a nonissue. I just knew I was trans and had to come to grips on how to raise my children and just when to begin transition at a time when I knew was right for me. When one has a family it is difficult to determine just when it would not hurt too much for anyone in my immediate family. It would be nice to have some inclusive test that would say that we are this or that.
    Just as I can never say what exactly was the reasons for me developing breast cancer. I can point to possibilities, example. Did my mother take the drug DES before and during the time she was pregnant with me. Was it possible that it was the affects of the Chromic Acid that I had to use and be around when I worked at the music store for 11 years. Was it the fact that there is a strong family history for breast cancer and that my hormone receptors happened to be estrogen positive. Or was it a combination of these fact that directly affected my taking estrogen. Who really know, it doesn't especially matter if it was an accumulative effect of all of the above; I needed to take estrogen to jump start my transition and to negate the years of testosterone.
    Sorry, I don't mean to sound flippant, but we know who we really are and all the guessing of the whys can only distract us from living the life we know is ours.
    Thanks for telling your story it is important that we put a face on the "T" so others can connect and realize that our lives are like theirs.
    Happy New Years and have fun living yours.

  2. Hi Auntees,

    I gave up trying to discover why I was trans some time ago. I finally accepted understanding some of the causes as enough.

    But something else is going on with me that I needed to at least attempt to figure out: I have been having strange genital problems that the doctors insisted were normal when I was younger, and were more concerned when I was older. I was led to believe at a young age that I was a normal physiological male.

    I needed to figure out what was going on down there, so that I can understand the severity of my problems, so I can help doctors better diagnose me. For example, on one occasion last year, my left testicle reascended painfully, and when it came down, I felt like I had testicular torsion. After 10 days of pain, I limped into the clinic, where the doctor noticed that I was constipated and was going to treat that and give me a powerful antibiotic, even though when I asked what that had to do with what I felt, she said said, "nothing."

    This problem also almost caused me to be wrongly diagnosed with appendicitis at 9, if the doctor hadn't noticed that I had an undescended testicle.

    I also had urinary incontinence when I was 9. The doctor's only x-rayed my bladder and I wound up having a ballonoplasty through my urethra to reshape my distended bladder. No one sought to find the cause.

    A drunken man who took advantage of me was able to penetrate me there unknowingly causing me significant pain, as I felt he was going to tear my scrotal tissue.

    My instincts at my age tell me that my testicle should not be causing me pain at least once a month in my lower abdomen, in a position that seems to be too close to where one finds ovaries. That this is not normal.

    So I had to find out how normal this is, it's severity and what other conditions are associated with it, so that they are not wrongly diagnosed.

    I can't afford an abdominal scan, and repeated what my intersex girlfriend did, taking measurements, and then researching to see if this was normal. It wasn't. And I was more shocked to find that I may really have a uterus, and that as a bonus, it may explain why my gender identity is the way it is.

    Hugs and God Bless,