Saturday, June 6, 2009
Cynthia or Stephen
Cynthia was born in 1965 at Evanston Hospital with ambiguous genitalia. Something that looked too small to be a penis and too large to be a clitoris, about a centimeter and a half long, protruded from a cleft that could be seen as partially fused vaginal lips. Testicles were hidden inside the body. Doctors told the newborn’s parents—the father a physician, the mother a nurse—to consider the child a boy, and accordingly they sent out announcements welcoming their third son, Stephen.
But over the next few weeks they developed doubts. For one thing, the baby urinated through a hole that was not on the tip of what Cynthia now calls “my little phallo-clitoris.” Her father consulted a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s Memorial. “‘Oh, wow, this child is not someone who should be raised as a boy,’” the endocrinologist told him. A plastic surgeon at the hospital fashioned what the child was born with into something more closely resembling a vulva and removed the testicles.
at 8:23 PM