Sunday, February 1, 2009

XXY is an Intersex Condition

Everyday I am faced with the binary world, male and female. Not a day passes that I don't wonder if perhaps it would be easier to pick a side and just be, well one or the other. For now, I skate along the edge of male, and it works well enough. The wonderful USA does not recognize an intersex gender, so its one or the other for documentation no matter how poorly I fit into that category this decade. Because like anyone I change with time. When I was 10 years old, I looked more female than male. When I was 20 years old I was living as a young woman, because it was easier than trying to explain to people that I wasn't female. When I was 30 years old, I was living as a male, because I'd gained weight (my health was also critically challenged) and presenting as a male was easier.

To understand why I say this, you have to start with who I am:
  1. Intersex person.
  2. Klinefelter's Syndrome 47,XXY person.
  3. A person that chooses to use estradiol (an estrogen) rather than testosterone.
  4. Someone that has read countless papers, documents, concepts, biology texts, etc... and come to a conclusion that these doctor's are on the wrong track.
  5. I have both male and female sex markers.
  6. If I wear loose clothing, people pick a sex based on my voice high for female, low for male. But if I wear tight clothing, form fitting, they usually pick female regardless of vocal range.
  7. At one time I had osteoporosis.
  8. I still have dyslexia, that never really goes away.
  9. I naturally have less testosterone (4% of scale), and more estradiol (20% of scale or more).
  10. Gender identity disorder, oops, sorry I'm intersex I can't have a gender identity disorder because I'm an intersex person this doesn't really apply. Ergo I'm simply confused, or perhaps you are confused. Deal with it.
In the group of people that have XXY, that is 47 chromosomes, where a "normal" person only has 46 and is either 46,XX or 46,XY; There are people whom identify with the gender of neither, both, male and female. In the United States law only recognizes male and female, the gender binary, so we all have been assigned to one side or the other. The United States is one of the least progressive countries in the world in regards of gender, being phobic of just about anything related sexuality and gender. This creates a number of problems for people like myself, whom can be either sex.

I'm personally concerned about my own medical health. That is really all we have in this world, our own personal health. And like most intersex people, I have my own set of challenges. For example, I have a nearly shut down endocrine system, I do not naturally produce progesterone, or cortisol for that matter. This is similar to the condition Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, but because I have Klinefelter's Syndrome the other condition does not apply. So say the doctors.

The challenges I've faced, or continue to face:
  1. Osteoporosis: This is where the bone density tests put you in the -3 medians category. They claim that this can effect anyone over the age of 18 years old, but generally only affects people over the age of 70, whom are small, old women, whom smoke, don't eat balanced diets, and never get any exercise. At 35 years of age, tested on both male and female charts, I was told I'd better fix my life to try to fix this. What the doctors did not tell me is that osteoporosis is caused by a lack of estradiol (retains built bone), and progesterone (builds new bone). Whether you are male or female, this mechanism is clear. The human body needs estradiol (converted by aromatase in males, and made naturally in females) as well as progesterone (made naturally in males and females) in order to build new bone and retain the bone. In addition I needed to take alot more of calcium (primary building block of bone), vitamin D (used to convert calcium into bone), and other trace elements (thank you multi-vitamins).
  2. Gender Identity Disorder: Okay so I don't qualify, for a long time I thought I did. In the American Psychological Association's Diagnostic and Statistics Manual, commonly called the DSM-IV, it is clearly stated that intersex people cannot have the condition known as Gender Identity Disorder. Only males and females can have this condition, which I'm not. Many people are pushing the idea that 47,XXY is male only, which is nice, but not so helpful. Especially to people like me whom identify as Just Not Male. I don't have to be female or male, but I run into trouble trying to be male. You see, the problem is that I do not understand men. Talking to males is difficult because I don't use the right forms of obedience or whatever it is that allows them to trust one another. Being perpetually ignored by people, or considered someone they can't "trust" simply because I don't understand the mechanics of male relationships should be reason enough to allow space for us "not so masculine people" to be "Not Male". I'm sure some XXY people really want to be males, I wish them the best at it.
  3. Sexual Identity: This is a hard one... I'm a somewhat effeminate person whom can be either an effeminate possibly gay male or a butch lesbian female based almost entirely on the pitch of my voice. Silly I suppose but its one note difference, and people make assumptions about me based on their own views. I grew up homophobic to males, too many of those males tried to be a bit too close (mix that up with martial arts and we have a recipe for disaster). In my 20's I tried to be a woman, and like guys. That didn't work too well, though I did meet one boy... and thats a story for another time. Then you have to understand that the whole concept of male sex with a girl, the activity of the male, is a turn off to me. I can go through the motions but its cold, repetitious, and boring. So what does that leave me, interested in girls but not as a male. Lesbian? Currently living on the male side of the gender binary, butch lesbian.. ? Go figure...
  4. Physical Shape: Hi guys, yes I have breasts, and no I'm not a girl, but I'm not a guy either, so deal with it. The hour glass shape of my 20's was really hard to suppress, eventually I got tired of explaining I wasn't female to people. If I'd been paying more attention back then, I probably would have chosen to be a transsexual and taken the Male to Female route. Many people with XXY choose the Female to Male route and take large doses of testosterone. Others are like me, and have breasts; Those whom pick Female to Male have to have their breasts removed. I chose to avoid that question, I mean, seriously who would want to have their breasts CUT OFF? Are they crazy? The intersex people whom identify as male probably don't think its crazy to have their breasts removed, but I don't identify as male, so why would I do that? Much less take testosterone....
Its been several years now since I was diagnosed, originally seeking answers to extreme fatigue, bone/muscle pain, gender identity crisis, etc... I no longer have any of those problems. The solution that I found was estradiol, progesterone, and vitamins. Understanding why I experienced these problems and addressing the problem not its symptoms have enabled me to live a better, more healthy life. By stepping out, and I do in my personal world with people that I know and work with daily, I am working to make a change. One small piece at a time. For now, this is enough.



  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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  2. all transgendered not the same as you know,. I was born without testes and my penis was only 1 inch long! I don't remember my boyhood. Perhaps it is better that way when dating. I am so sick and tired of people telling me they know best for me;. The doctors said they knew best when they cut me up at 18 months to produce a boy, all they left me was a joke and something from a horror show. It is just more comfortable being a female.

  3. It is me again it's like you wrote my story. including osteoporosis before I started on female hormones I started on hormones at 12 I am 26 and still present as a female because, as you say it's just easier. I did find a nice man and we have two adopted children. I am trying to make my life work. To just live a normal life. if that is even possible. For people like us.