Not even the almighty gene provided any clear answers, since it was discovered that I was a mosaic, with some cells in my body having the XY genotype and others having XO. Consciously, deliberately "raising me female"—it's like consciously, deliberately breathing.

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But instead of a daily, muddy, physical celebration of life, my tomboyhood was marked by a reckless disregard for the body and a strong desire to be annihilated.

So I reached adolescence with no physical sense of self, and no desire to make that connection.

All around me, my peers and former playmates were dating, fooling around, giving and getting hickeys, while I, whose puberty came in pill form, watched aghast from the sidelines. The doctors and surgeons assured me I was a girl, that I just wasn't yet "finished." I don't think they gave a thought to what that statement would mean to me and my developing gender identity, my developing sense of self. The "finishing" the doctors talked about occurred during my teen years—hormone replacement therapy and a vaginoplasty.

I don't know how my father felt or feels about it; he has never spoken about it except to reinterpret my mother's feelings.

I quickly came to understand that that tomboy—the gender identity with which I had escaped childhood—was less acceptable in adolescence.

Yearly visits to endocrinologists and pediatric urologists, lots of genital poking and prodding, and my mother's unspoken guilt and shame had all served to distance me considerably from my body: I was a walking head.

In retrospect, it seems odd that a tomboy should have been so removed from her body.

When I was born, the doctors couldn't tell my parents what I was: They couldn't tell if I was a boy or a girl.

Between my legs they found "a rudimentary phallus" and "fused labio-scrotal folds." They ran their tests, they poked and prodded, and they cut open my belly, removed my gonads, and sent them off to Pathology.