|When I was born in 1950 the doctors told my parents that they should bring me back when I was a year old and they would look towards doing some kind of surgery on my genitals. My parents asked what they should do about bringing me up, they were told to raise me as a normal boy. This statement makes me think that it was never in the doctor's minds to re-assign my gender, and for that I am truly thankful.
When I was taken back a year later I was examined and sent away again, I believe that the proposed surgery was most likely considered to difficult, when you take into account the surgical techniques of their time. The same happened again the next year and I don't know why, but after that I was more or less left alone.
I grew up as what I considered a normal boy; I liked to do boys things, train sets, Mechano, model planes, etc. There was never a time when I doubted being a boy.
When I started school there were no special arrangements or disclosures to the school's staff. I suppose this was when I realised that I was not the same as other boys. Where they would stand to urinate, I had to sit down. This led to my being very private about these things. As it happens the junior school that I was allocated was a dump and the toilet facilities were a disgrace, after the first day at this school my mother removed me saying that it was not good enough and I was sent to another school, which was much better.
When I graduated to a secondary school I was given a choice and being a boy I picked the one that meant I had to get the train to go there. I was happy at this school, apart from the fact that I never took part in any sports, because I could not change and shower with the other boys. I managed to get away with this because I had athlete's foot, which then was not so easy to treat.
I was always popular at school, though unfortunately it was a boy?s only school, I say unfortunately because I feel that mixed schools make it easier for boys and girls to relate to each other comfortably.
One thing that I hated, occasionally the school doctor and nurse would visit and class by class they would line the boys up and check for head lice and God knows what else. Part of this examination was to check that the boy?s testicles had descended. They used to randomly check some of us, and a couple of times, I got away with it. Then came the time it was my turn to get caught. Picture this: a whole class of boys lined up in the hall, told to strip to underpants. I left on my shirt as I was developing breasts at this time and was very shy about it. Along comes this doctor (supposedly) and plunges his hand down my underpants. Not finding quite what he expected down there he partially pulled down my underpants in order to have a look, this was done in front of the class, though it is fair to say that they would not be able to see my penis. I felt that I had been completely humiliated, that is until later when I was summoned to the head masters room, where he tried to tell me I was not normal like other boys! As if I did not know. This never happened again and in today's climate I feel that the practise was tantamount to child abuse.
This led to my being taken to another hospital. I was examined again and sent out while the doctor talked to my parents. I afterwards found out that this doctor wanted to remove my testicles ?in case they go bad.? Thankfully my parents told them ?no, leave him alone? otherwise I would be a man with no testes, and no prospect of marriage or any kind of relationship.
I continued to grow up and developed an interest in girls, though as I had no experience of talking with them I was terribly shy.
After I left school I started to work for a government department and soon I had lots of friends both the lads with which I worked and the girls, mainly from the typing pool (remember the days of typing pools?) I was very popular with the girls and on paydays they would come to the department I worked in and we would go to collect our pay together. My manager said on more than one occasion "I wish these women would come here for me". I went out with them but apart from kissing I was frightened to go any further.
Over the course of the next few years I dated several girls, but I always ran a mile if they started to get too intimate. It was very difficult as I wanted to kiss and cuddle but as soon as they made a move I would run away.
Then I met the girl who was to become my wife. I met her through work, by now I had a different career which took me to different customers premises, and after chatting her for a couple of weeks I asked her out. We dated a few times but I felt differently about this girl, I was falling in love with her. When things started to go further, instead of running away, I told her that there was a problem with my genitals. I fully expected to never see her again but she was very understanding and we started a sexual relationship.
As a result of this wonderful woman, I went to see a doctor and he referred me to hospital for tests, at this time I still did not know what was wrong or the cause of it. By the time I actually got his hospital appointment we were married. There were tests done on me and all I was told was that my body was making very high levels of testosterone naturally but my body tissue was not responding, as it should. When I asked what could be done about it they shrugged their shoulders and said "nothing." I was still not given a diagnosis, or name for my condition, this was 1976.
At about this time fate reared its head again and my wife missed her period, I was cautious as I thought that I may be infertile, though I had never been tested and was still not aware that my condition would make me sterile. We took a urine sample to the local chemist for a pregnancy test (before home test were available) and 24 hours later he told us she was pregnant. We were delighted but after a few weeks she started to bleed. The doctor made her rest and after a week it cleared up. I then happened to have a hospital appointment with the endocrinology department, when we told them of the pregnancy and bleeding one of the doctors asked to examine her breasts and promptly declared she was not expecting at all. We went back to the chemist and told him this and he ran another test, which also came out positive, at the same time he tested his own urine and it told him he was pregnant. Despite all of this, the endocrinologists still did not tell us I would be sterile.
As a consequence of not being told, we were still trying to have a child and with nothing happening after a year we consulted our family doctor. I suggested that he had me tested first and sure enough I was sterile. I now know that this was the beginning of the end of my marriage.
After a couple of years, where my wife?s libido dried up completely, over the childlessness, we started to get our life back together and have a sex life again. We decided to get some dogs, as a child substitute I suppose, they gave us a lot of fun and we showed them with some success. We move to a different part of the country and our lives appeared to be quite good though money was never plentiful.
Then in 1998 she suddenly moved into the spare bedroom, after a lot of talking she came back to the marital bed. During our temporary separation we discussed the things that I had done wrong, in her opinion, during our marriage. I admit that I would not consider adoption or artificial insemination by donor and after all those years these points had become very important in her mind. At around this time I visited my doctor for something unrelated and I asked him if he thought I should see an endocrinologist as I had not been seen for 22 years and he referred me to a very good professor of endocrinology. When I saw this man he talked and examined me, asking if I had been given a diagnosis, when I said no, I was told I had Riefenstien Syndrome in his opinion and blood was taken for tests. He also asked if testosterone therapy had been tried, when I said what is that he was very surprised, he went on to say that he was convinced he could help me. On a subsequent visit I asked if anything could be done to tidy up my genital deformities and was referred to a plastic surgeon.
So at the age of 49 I was actually going through a kind of puberty. The plastic surgeon was very upbeat and said he would remove my breasts, some of my tummy and correct the hypospadias and chordee. While this was going on I was working hard at saving my marriage, and I thought I was succeeding until my best friend at the time turned up telling my wife that his marriage was over and he had always loved her. I want to cut this part short, as it is painful to me, but she was going to leave me for him, he then went back to his wife but despite my pleading she decided to divorce me.
I thought my life would never be the same and I went into the surgery thinking that I have nothing to lose. So far I've had a mastectomy and abdominoplasty, and I am still waiting for the genital surgery.
I have now found a wonderful new partner, one who understands the problems associated with the condition, for she is also a sufferer. She has given my life a new meaning and I am looking forward to the future with hope and love in my heart.
One final point I wish to make: I have outlined the emotional difficulties of my life, but I have lived for 50 years, 49 of them having had no surgery. Despite this, I for the most part have had a happy and fulfilling life; my parents were very loving and could not do enough for me though I could never discuss my condition with them. Since my mother has died, I have spoken with my father about it, however I don't like to discuss it with him too much as I don't want him to feel that I blamed them in any way. My marriage was a truly wonderful thing; we had almost 22 years of happiness out of the 24 we were married.
So an A.I.S. male can survive in this world and have happy relationships without surgery.
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Last update: 22 January, 2014
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