An intersex woman born with testicles and a vagina has said that intersex people are not freaks.
Courtney Skaggs, 29, was operated on as a baby. She is genetically male but was also born with a clitoris. However, her body rejected its male hormones and she now lives as an intersex woman following the invasive surgery from when she was a newborn.
Though she lives as a woman and has a vagina and a clitoris, she has never menstruated like other women.
Courtney, from San Diego in California, was deemed female by doctors soon after birth because of her overall physical appearance. She then underwent surgery at six-weeks-old to “normalize” her genitalia by removing her testicles.
She is now distressed that such a major, life-changing procedure was conducted without her consent.
According to Metro UK, the operation took place even after Courtney had been identified as intersex at birth, when doctors realized she had XY (male) chromosomes.
Courtney believes she was “robbed” of her true identity when she underwent surgery to remove the testicles she was born with, and wishes her body had been left alone.
She said she’s unsure how her body would have developed differently if she was left with her male hormone-producing testes.
Courtney now campaigns for intersex-related surgery to be stopped, claiming it strips individuals of “who they really are”.
She said: “When somebody makes the decision to alter your body you are stripped of who you really are. That leads to mental trauma for a lot of people.
“I don’t know where my gender ID would be if I didn’t have that surgery. I have been robbed of who I am from the core.
“I was made to feel like I should hide who I really am for my whole life. I was forced into what was is accepted as the female definition.
“I was born with sex traits that don’t fit the standard male and female, I have some characteristics of both.
“We are neither male nor female, we are a hybrid of genders dotted along the sex spectrum. For me, I was born with testes, a vagina and a clit, and have predominantly XY chromosomes, typically found in males.
“But my body rejected the male hormones and my body developed as female. I also don’t produce any oestrogen and I didn’t go through puberty like any of my friends, I have never had a period.
“I grew up in a world where jokes were made about intersex traits so a lot of the time I’ve felt misunderstood and alone. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying if my body is normal.
“I have been made to feel like a freak for who I am because there is a lack of acceptance and recognition in society for people like me. I have not been able to live my life authentically because I’ve felt like I have to hide who I really am.
“I was pushed to fit into the female definition for most of my life. I have learned to love that I am intersex and that is something that should be celebrated, not hidden.”
Courtney’s anatomical make-up means her body has never produced the usual amount of female or male hormones, which resulted in her going through the menopause as a pre-teen.
Only around 1.7% of the population is born with intersex traits, but having a combination of male and female genitalia like Courtney is much rarer.