Woman B: I have a congenital Disorder/Difference of Sex Development (DSD) called pure gonadal dysgenesi, or Swyer Syndrome.
I'm an intersex woman without fully functioning gonads, or sex glands.
Person A: I was afraid and I feel like that mostly has to do with my initial doctor telling me that there is no one else like me in the world which to a 13 year old is pretty horrible to hear.
Man A: I was relieved that they had found my health problem and that I wasn't critically ill, but I was also confused and scared.
After dozens of blood tests and doctor appointments, I was diagnosed with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome.
It's very similar to Swyer Syndrome, but people with CAIS don't have a uterus.
Woman B: I felt confused and ashamed of my invisible difference — to an onlooker, I'm definitely a girl, without question.
The medical world advised that the only option was for me to live as female, which I did for seven years.
Before the final operation (castration) was due at age 16, I backed out, and was allowed to go back to a male role. I was so happy to be so unique, and I was so happy I'd have some weapon up my sleeve to prove my hated high school biology teacher wrong during her lessons on biological sex.
So after months of not knowing what was wrong, the doctor walked into the room and said, ‘So tell me what you know about your testicular feminization….’ (Side note: Testicular Feminization is an antiquated term that is no longer used) And I had no idea what he was talking about.
As a 17 year old girl I definitely didn’t want what was wrong with me to have anything to do with testicles. It was a traumatic experience and day, preceded by a lot of other traumatic poking, prodding, and behavior.