Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Hermaphrodite: Katherine Connella

Wow - The cousins of Katherine Connella consist of, "Leann Rimes", "John Connelly" and the former first lady "Roselynn Carter". On her website, it also states that, she has two uncles, The bluessgrass legend "Buzz Busby" and rockability slash country singer "Red McCoy". She has labeled these family members as, "The Big Protestant...". Her story was also featured on Montel Williams show. On this show, she discussed living life as a "intersex".

In her own words:

My name is Katherine Connella. I am sometimes known as Kate or Katie or Kacey or Kat...but NEVER Kathy. I am an actress, of course. And naturally, my home is Hollywood, California. What? You don't know who I am? REALLY??? I'm also a singer and a comedienne and just about everything connected with show business you can name. Well, I've never done make-up. Nor have I been a producer. Or...well, anything technical. Just about everything else, though, I've tried at least once. Yet alas, I'm still unknown. But perhaps not for long. You see, I've been harboring a Big Dark Secret my whole life. The name on my birth certificate was Charles. When I was born, I was designated a male and treated as a boy. But that's not what I was.

I was born what is called "intersexed" or a form of hermaphrodite. Generally, when people hear the word 'hermaphrodism', they think of a side-show half man/half woman. But this scenario, called a "true" hermaphrodite by doctors, is so rare as to be almost mythical. What I am, however, is even harder to explain. I was born sexually blended. So while I had what appeared to be a boy's penis at birth, what no one knew or even suspected was that my entire body chemistry and internal reproductive system was female. Officially, I'm classified as hermaphrodite: female identified, which sounds like a laboratory specimen! Our gender is one of the things we all most take for granted. So imagine what it's like to know from birth that you're a female while the entire world tells you that you're a male. Confusing? Certainly. Frightening? Without a doubt. Insurmountable? Apparently not!

When I was eleven years old, my breasts began developing. I was delighted, of course, because I felt that Nature was asserting itself and trying to right a wrong. No one else, however, was pleased in the least. My family physician put me on a grossly unethical treatment of chemical mutilation which offered no solutions but created a myriad of new problems to compound the old ones. One of the most devastating of these was the manifestation of bi-polarity which plagued me for twenty years and put me and all those around me through hell. My first suicide attempt was at eleven years of age. They didn't stop for a very long time. Luckily, as I'm sure you've surmised, they were unsucessful.

I have written the story of my childhood, my tortured adolescence and my journey to try and understand who -- and most importantly, what -- I was in a book entitled Sugar And Spice And Puppy Dog's Tails: Growing Up Intersexed. Such horrifying details as my incarceration in a mental hospital at the age of thirteen are explored, along with sordid stories of multiple rapes, incest and kidnapping. However, my story also has a number of highs as well: learning to live with a genius I.Q., being a musical prodigy as a child, making my first movie, meeting celebrities, etc. All in all, it is a remarkable life. The mere fact I survived to tell the tale is a testament to the stamina of the human spirit. Today, I can happily say that I became what I most wanted to be: an actress on film, in television and on stage, a singer -- and most of all -- a writer.

To say that my intersexed condition made for a confusing childhood is a grave understatement. It wasn't just difficult for me, but for my family and my friends as well. What do you say to a first-grade boy who shows up at school one day announcing, "I'm a girl!" while dressed as one? The reaction I got wasn't what I wanted. But nothing could challenge my self-assurance in what and who I was!


  1. Amazing story! Hopefully it will serve to tell doctors that reassigning someone only by assessing his/her looks is pretty misleading, to say the least. Leah

  2. I feel sorry for the children born with this condition. I work with a hermaphrodite and she /he is angry at the world.

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